In attempt to accommodate the growth of cyclocross and encourage both elite and beginner racer development, Adam Myerson and the organizers of the Verge New England Championship Cyclocross Series (NECCS) have made changes to categories and start times of the races.
The most significant change is a greater emphasis on USA Cycling categorization, consistent with the new start order formula planned for the 2009 Cyclocross National Championships in Bend, Oregon. Compared to the 2008 series, the NECCS adds a new Master 4 category race, makes the “B” race just for Cat 3 racers, and moves all Elite Cat 2 racers to the “A” race, making it a Pro/1/2 race as seen on the road. The Masters 35+ (Cat 1-3) now have the course to themselves, as the 45+ and 55+ categories are run at the same time but are open to all categories. The older juniors are now racing at the same time as the smaller Cat 3 racers, and the 3/4 Women only have the younger juniors on the course.
The result of all those changes is that there’s an extra race and earlier start time and end time, but still multiple options for older racers. Only now instead of chosing from two different category racers (say a Cat 3 racing Masters 3/4 or Masters 1/2/3), he’ll have to chose either an age group or category race.
Here’s the 2009 NECCS schedule:
1. 8:00: 4 Men, 30 min
2. 8:45: 4 Masters, 30 min
3. 9:30: 3/4 Women, Junior Men/Women 10-14, 30 min
4. 10:30: Open 45+ Masters, 55+ Masters, 45 min
5. 11:30: 1/2/3 35+ Masters, 45 min
6: 12:30: 3 Men, Junior Men 15-18, 45 min
7. 2:00: Elite Women (1/2/3), 45 min
8. 3:00: Elite Men (Pro/1/2), 60 min
The changes are consistent with Myerson’s attitude that it’s worth tinkering with rules and schedules already in place in attempt to improve the racing and sport. “It’s only bike racing,” Myerson told a group of promoters in Kansas City at a UCI promoters’ meeting. And when presenting the new NECCS schedule, Myerson emphasized that “none of these changes are fatal” and can be reversed.
Myerson and the series organizers have shown they are willing to revert back when changes do not work out as planned. One such example of this was their brief move of the “B” race to end the race day, with “A” racers taking the course at noon (as is currently followed by series such as the Bay Area Super Prestige Series). But the standard formula of saving the best for last is back, and it keeps the crowds around.
What do you think of the changes? How does it compare to your local schedule and categories? Drop us a comment below.