SoCalCross promoter Dorothy Wong has been at the forefront of Southern California’s amazing growth in the popularity of cyclocross. She attended the USA Cycling Cyclocross Promoters’ Summit last weekend, and checked in with her personal thoughts on the state of cyclocross, the event and the cyclocross NRC. Part 2 of the conversation is below. Also see Part I of our conversation with Dorothy Wong.
This was USAC’s second springtime meeting for cyclocross promoters. Does the meeting or decisions at the meeting give you an indication that the USAC is making cyclocross a bigger priority? Investing more in it?
Yes, USAC has made the effort to get the nation’s leading cyclocross promoters together to network, dialogue and better understand the goals of USAC and how together we can deal with the sport’s booming popularity. It’s so amazing to see its growth from when I started racing cyclocross 14 years ago.
A bunch of UCI promoters couldn’t make the weekend – does this hinder progress? Is it difficult to fly out on your own dime?
Yes. Not having more promoters in the room was disappointing, but for the newer promoters like myself it was good for us to go and learn some tips from the promoters who have already been there.
Regarding travel costs, having it in USAC’s backyard was best for them, and I don’t disagree as they were able to offer us discounted hotel rates. The rental car was dirt cheap and we had free breakfast, they fed us two dinners and lunch, so some things were covered. We had hoped our local association would help out, but it’s like pulling teeth with them, so we’re not hopeful for reimbursement. National solidarity of promoters is hard to do since we mostly have our own agendas in our regions… though [getting past] sponsorship battles and [settling] tension about the race calendar to create a better system of date selection is imperative. The bidding process for next season’s UCI races will likely begin much sooner, before the cyclocross season begins…I think August.
Do you think the event should be open to media, like the meeting at Nationals in Bend?
As a promoter, I loved the intimate feel of the weekend and being able to network with our peers, USAC, the best athletes, teams and industry – though I wish more could make it out to talk about how we can grow the sport together.
Was the presence of cyclocross pros helpful? Did you learn anything from them?
Yes, I loved having the face time one on one. It was huge to understand what they need [in the US] to perform in Europe – more demanding courses – and hear about their travel schedules, their view on the 80% pull rule [for pulling riders], local races and C1 and C2 UCI races.
What should us cyclocrossers be excited about from the meeting?
Cyclocross is always exciting, and how we will grow it nationally is the question. Turning to a National Racing Calendar, a USAC ranking system, and fewer UCI events could be the solution. Though personally, I think the NRC and UCI events should be regional not national, with a few key events in our region. More national events hurts the regional grassroots racing, which is growing the sport. So at most we should travel to a couple of NRC events (in our region), then we all come together to battle it out at National Championships – which has been the “celebration” of our sport – not taxing further the participants who want to now spend their extra loot on the World Championships. [Most of us] cyclocrossers can afford one big trip and it should be to the “Big Party” and not to run around chasing points all season.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with CXM and our readers.