Mountain Bike and Barrier Controversies

When Raleigh hosted a cyclocross race on the gravely grounds of Dealer Camp out in Utah in July, controversy was quick to ensue. At the height of MTB season, it was Carl Decker who took the win over Jonathan Page… on his 650B mountain bike. Page challenged the win, saying that “I didn’t know you could race a mountain bike race in a cyclocross race. I have to ride these skinny tires, it’s a cyclocross race.” Page understandably may not be completely familiar with non-UCI event rules, as he spends most of his time racing in Europe, and typically only competes in UCI races when racing domestically.

Carl Decker was more than happy with his bike choice, and took the win. © Cathy Fegan-Kim
Carl Decker was more than happy with his bike choice, a MTB in an elite race, and took the win. © Cathy Fegan-Kim

The Raleigh Midsummer Night’s race is not a UCI-sanctioned event, nor an NRC event or National Championship. Decker checked with announcer, promoter and official-by-default Richard Fries at the start of the race if his mountain bike was fair game, and Fries assured Decker it was under the USA Cycling-sanctioned race. But with a USA Cycling race official missing from the event, confusion over the rules would impact the prize money distribution if not the final race result.

With a $1500 pay day at stake, it is understandable the stakes were high, and each rider wanted to take home the big prize. But with confusion of the rules, and the racers and organization hoping to end the day’s great racing and event on a positive note, a compromise was reached. Decker and Page would split the total prize money for first and second place, both going home with a handsome $1000, even though Decker stood atop the podium and got to hold the giant check. It was as happy of an ending you could expect for two very competitive athletes and a cyclocross-loving promoter group and sponsor.

Read the full story here and, now that the dust has long settled, let us know how you think it should have been handled.

Zach McDonald Opens Up a Gap

Given that the Raleigh race was in the offseason, it may not have been the biggest controversy of the season. Zach McDonald’s controversial line around the barriers at the Gateway Cross Cup in Saint Louis might win that award.

The issue clearly divided readers, with 54% of you thinking McDonald’s line was fair game and fair play, but the rest of you thinking it was unsportsmanlike and deserved penalty. Missed the controversy? Read the race report here and see the poll here.

Or watch the above-mentioned demonstration by Zach McDonald himself here (this was before the race):