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The guys at CX Magazine contacted me about using my post on pulling guys at Jingle Cross.  I guess they had a few friends that had the same issues with the start and the 80% rule.  Lots of guys did.

So CX Magazine posted an article with this title –


Catchy title, but technically inaccurate.  It is really harmless, but I wanted to clarify if there is any misunderstanding.

The title to my post that they ran was –

Hey USAC – This is Problem

I wasn’t suggesting that Jingle Cross was to blame.  I was posting on my observations from all over the country that the officials, at many cyclocross races, don’t know how to apply correctly the 80% rule.  It isn’t exclusively a Jingle Cross problem, it is a systemic problem that our sport has throughout the nation.

I’ve been going to Jingle Cross nearly since its inception.  It should be an example to what all cyclocross races aspire to achieve.  John Meehan, personally, has carried the torch for this event, along with a ton of help from his posse, so that this event is a go-to race for any serious cross enthusiast.

It is really unbelievable that he has taken his race from a loop around a cross country field in Iowas City, to World Cup level with so much success.  It is the best cyclocross in the US, in my opinion.

Okay, there were a bunch of disgruntled Masters this year in Iowa.  And the race suffers because of that.  Questionable officiating reflects badly on the promoters of sporting events. John understands this, but I have to give him a personal pass.  He was beyond super busy, burning the candle on both ends, trying to juggle all the tasks needed to put on a successful World Cup.  He didn’t ignore the masters, they kind of fell through the cracks.

One thing that this whole mess accomplished is that maybe, just maybe it will bring on change on how they score cyclocross races.  The sport was fine before the 80% rule.  The rule is detrimental to the growth of the sport and needs to be addressed to by USAC.  And this is going to happen, I think.

Both John and USAC responded to the CX Magazine guys –

Update #1: Promoter John Meehan was not aware the 80% rule would be implemented at his event on Friday or Sunday, and told Cyclocross Magazine “We don’t like the 80% rule. It puts officials in a difficult spot, especially with multiple fields on the course, and takes away the fun and competition from the [amateur] participants.” Meehan emphasized he understands that Masters racers are critical to the event’s success, and that with the services and camera of One to Go timing services, accurate results can be achieved without pulling racers, and that will be the goal moving forward.

Update #2: USA Cycling has responded as well, saying, “We understand and appreciate our ’cross community’s concerns regarding the 80% rule. We are reviewing the application of the rule and, in particular, when and how it is implemented. We will have recommendations shortly to address these concerns.

At least the issue is recognized.  I can’t believe it continued from last season to this season.  Or worse, from the Nationals in Bend, years ago, to Austin and Asheville.  It seems many small voices become a big enough voice, that the big voices have to take notice.  That is a good thing in most aspects of society.

The Grinch huge cross fan.  He is out on the course cheering, heckling and dancing.  The Grinch doesn’t steal cross from anyone.  The Grinch is an integral part of US cyclocross.  Let’s not give him a bad rap, it isn’t right.






8 thoughts on “Grinchness

  1. CXM

    Good point! The Grinch (in Iowa, John Meehan) didn’t do the pulling and wasn’t aware the rule would be used. The “Grinch” was being used as in the Seuss character Grinch who steals joy – thought that was appropriate. Sorry for any confusion.

  2. Spartacus

    USA CYCLING- Please get out of the stone age.

    Make timing chips and Frame/seatpost numbers standard like the rest of the modern, and even not so modern cycling world. Then, We can also get rid of the “Make sure you put a huge number on your right/left shoulder”, so you can cover up all your club/team sponsors….

    Its time and its been time.

    That is all.

  3. Luigi

    Steve – thanks for articulating this so well and getting the attention it deserves. As highly committed but talented-limited pack filler, I am happy that you got their attention. At Nats the last two years, they might as well have just lined up the top 5 in crossresults points in most of the masters categories and just asked the rest of us to hand over the cash. No successful business can crap on its client base for long and succeed.

  4. Ducky

    Steve thanks again for the post on the topic of the 80% rule and pulling riders. No one should be pulled in amateur racing in my opinion.

    Thanks also for clearing Meehans name. I agree that he and his crew have one of the very best events in the country.

    I did not get pulled this year so take my following glowing report of this years event with a grain of salt. This years event was simply fantastic. As always the race organization and the army of volunteers were top notch. The two courses were excellent and the weather was in our favor. The weather is the only great thing that happened by chance. Everything else was beautifully thought out and executed.

    By far the highlight was rubbing shoulders with Sven and the top stars of the sport. We simply do not get that opportunity every day, actually we have never got it. Cross Vegas is for the industry insiders, Jingle Cross is for the masses. And the masses drive the sport in the USA. The cherry on top was getting to race on the World Cup course on Sunday, and it was the main reason I chose to attend. At 52 years old, and always pack filler, I finally got the chance to ride the pro line…and it ripped!

    Thx John and Iowa City, you guys rock!!!

  5. RadRenner

    Great follow-up, Steve. I have not yet read the CX Magazine article, but any implication that John Meehan or the Jingle Cross crew is at fault for decisions made by USAC officials is wholly unwarranted. Like many US cyclocross racers, Jingle Cross is a highpoint of the cross season. JCX combines everything we like about cross into a 3-day festival: an awesome course, great competition, the best national and international racers to watch in the elite races, top-notch vendors, industry support from SRAM and Shimano. It’s a veritable cross-a-palooza and everyone loves it. Even if it’s cold, or rainy, or muddy as hell, we all LOVE Jingle Cross – because it is so much FUN. And even though I was one of the affected masters racers that was pulled early, I don’t harbor any grudges against the USAC officials that made the decision. It’s obviously tough to score that many racers (maybe 150+?) on the course at the same time. I don’t know what the solution is (fewer racers or groups of racers on the course as the same time?, chip timing?), but I think John and the JCX crew will find a solution that will keep everyone happy.

  6. Brian

    Jingle Cross has known this has been an issue before this year’s WorldCup edition of Jingle Cross…this has happened for years at Jingle Cross as it became a larger event. Each time people have complained to officials and promotion staff, the issue was ignored. It’s funny how both USAC and the promoter sound as if it’s the first they’ve heard of it!

  7. steevo

    A friend just told me that only 25 masters finished on the lead lap at KMC in new england. That sucks. Also elite entries were 80 bucks

  8. Here we go again

    Did the rest of the field get pulled or get lapped… totally different scenarios.
    In the latter they just weren’t as fast as the top guys
    If it was the former they got hosed by the 80% rule


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