the good, bad and ugly – Cyclocross Nationals

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I managed to make my way over to the venue yesterday to watch a few races before taking off and head to Louisville.  The weather was perfect and the venue was beautiful.

The good is that the race course was awesome.  It is super spectator friendly, easy to get around, beer for sale nearly anywhere you want, just about perfect.  The course still is a bit hard for most of the guys that are racing before Sunday, but most bike racers like challenges, so this is probably a petty concern.  They weren’t hauling people away on stretchers or anything like that.  Parking seemed to be manageable.  I have no idea how many guys were parked over at the satellite parking, but it really wasn’t an issue driving straight to the venue and finding a place.

The bad now, and I think this is terrible.  The officials were pulling riders because the scheduling didn’t allow them to finish.  It is total and complete bullshit.  I wasn’t at the start finish line for all the races yesterday, but I was there for the race I was supposed to be racing.  I was so surprised when the officials started pulling guys and the race leader was hardly half a lap into his final lap.

I made a note to look at the timing clock and they started pulling riders a full 5 minutes before the leader finished.  These are guys that had one lap to go and there was no chance they were going to be lapped.  I would love to hear an explanation from anyone how this is possible.

These guys paid at least $65 to race and they deserved to get to race their complete race.  If USAC didn’t allow enough time for them to do so, all I can say is Shame on them.   The riders from 33 place to 59 were put one lap down and all were still racing for places.  I don’t understand it.  There is no a rule in the USAC rulebook that allows this.  At least not one I know of.  I’m sending out a couple of emails to the officials and powers at USAC to try to get an explanation.  Someone 1/2 a lap down in a cross race, with one lap to go, especially the Nationals Championships, deserves to get to finish the race and not get pulled.

The ugly, well, that is weather dependent.  Like I have written the past couple days, if this course get wet, it is going to be dangerous and there is going to be a ton of running.  It is already a tad muddy from the freeze/thaw cycle, but if it rains, then watch out.  I would love to be watching on Sunday, but just couldn’t stay around.  It was hard enough watching yesterday.

I’m in Louisville Kentucky, heading up to Cable Wisconsin this morning.  I’m pretty beat up.  The main problem is my ribs.  Broken ribs are pretty painful and really get in the way of life.  I didn’t realize how violent a burp or hiccup can be. Or just laughing.  I can’t blow my nose.  And so far, the last two nights, sleep is nearly impossible.  But, I’ve went through this before and know it gets better.  The broken thumb is just inconvenient.  Having use of two hands is something you get used to and only having one is awkward.

Pete Weber and Mark Savery duked it out all day.

Pete Weber and Mark Savery duked it out all day.

Peter finally got the lead and won.

Peter finally got the lead and won.

Mark wasn't far behind.

Mark wasn’t far behind.

This section will be treacherous wet.

This section will be treacherous wet.

Tom Price finished 2nd in the 55 plus after winning last year.  He was technically the best rider on the course, but has had some personal issues recently, so he had a super race.

Tom Price finished 2nd in the 55 plus after winning last year. He was technically the best rider on the course, but has had some personal issues recently, so he had a super race.

This is a pretty cool section of the course.  But, once again, wet, it is going to be a completely different story.

This is a pretty cool section of the course. But, once again, wet, it is going to be a completely different story.

11 thoughts on “the good, bad and ugly – Cyclocross Nationals

  1. El Tejan

    Problem was the race, IMO, was 1 lap too long. Races (mostly) were slated for 45 minutes. The winning time for the 45-49 group was over 50 minutes. And the last non-pulled rider was just under an hour. Had the races been 5 laps instead of 6, the winners time would have been about 41 minutes and the average lead-lap time about 45-46 minutes.

    Because of a mechanical which cost me about 2 minutes I got pulled. Had the mechanical not happened, I wouldn’t have gotten pulled and finished 30-40th.

    I was a bit surprised and disappointed at the time, but looking back I guess the good thing is that was doing okay for me before the mishap and the course rocked. So I’m not too upset.

  2. Ana L Wartz

    Do you think USA Cycling even cares? Nationals are a cash cow and that’s the only thing that matters. I’m glad the venue is riding well and appears that things are going smoothly. USA cycling is happy if they’re getting paid and that is about it.

  3. Bolas Azules

    Oh wait, don’t tell me the officials were ruining it for the riders! This is a time honored badge that has been worn by race officials in the US for about as long as there have been races.

  4. channel_zero

    Exactly. No one racing seems to mind the abuse because they keep showing up every year.

    $65 is chump change anyway. Racers are spending more than that on a single tire.

  5. Bill K

    Looking at the results, it looks like they pulled all riders that were more than 10 minutes down.

  6. Joe

    I’m not sure, laughing is pretty bad. I punched a teammate that told me a joke. I would’ve rather been tickled!

  7. shano92107

    busted ribs – could be worse. My dad just OTB’ed on his road bike and he’s 83. One of the ribs punctured his lung and filled with blood. If my sister hadnt gotten him to the emergency room quickly it would have been curtains. Y’all be careful out there

  8. zeke

    I’ve seen officials do this at so many cross races, not just Nationals. Obviously the practice is condoned by USAC, but it just isn’t fair to the riders. The race is put on FOR the riders, not as an exercise in officiating. The officials (and promoters) should do absolutely everything possible to ensure that the riders have every opportunity to complete their respective races (barring safety issues), unless the rider chooses to withdraw of their own volition. I understand they are trying accommodate as many riders as possible within a short time frame, but sufficient time should be built into the schedule to allow ALL riders in a given race to complete the course.

  9. JR

    I find myself agreeing with you re: pulling, specifically since I was rider 33. Funnily, it was a very nice mid-atlantic official I have spoken with a number of times over the years doing the pulling at the 55+ race at Natz. I say funnily b/c this official very kindly listened to my rant when I was pulled while in 8th place in the 55+ category at a mid-atlantic UCI race earlier this year (she was not the official who pulled me). At a later race, I understood that this local official then let a newly-minted national champion, a prior MABRA series jersey winner and I race an extra lap at ed sander when the three of us were really laying down the smack. That really was the best race of the year, and I am very thankful that this official allowed us to race that last lap.

    That said I was not happy about being pulled at Natz b/c a prior MABRA series jersey winner was within view and I wanted to try to chase him. But on the other hand, I did not have my “A” game, was where I was in the Natz race, and was thankful for being allowed an extra lap earlier in the year. So, from an overall karmic perspective, I really don’t have a complaint about being pulled at CX Natz. This, however, does not apply to other racers.

    On the course front, it was a great course, since it was principally dry. If it does get wet, things will get out of hand, on both the hilly and flat sections. Also, and on the course front, I find myself thinking that no matter the course, it is the riders that make the course. However, and perhaps it is a function of my getting older, but I don’t really go for the woohoo stuff, and find myself thinking I will move to other things and not race CX if woohoo stuff starts to appear at every CX venue. FWIW, I think there are two woohoo sections on the current Natz course, the descent where you wrecked and the descent immediately prior to that (though that one perhaps less so then the descent you wrecked on – but a wreck on this descent could be much worse than the descent you wrecked on). The sweeping off-camber right hand turn coming off heckle hill and the switch backs off bonk breaker hill are, IMO, well within reason.


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