Yesterday, our own assistant editor, Josh Patterson, was riding a disc-brake equipped Salsa La Cruz to the park, getting ready to put it through another beat-down for an upcoming bike review for the magazine. On the way, he was urgently stopped by an older Italian gentleman. The man started asking him about his racing background and aspirations, and soon Josh revealed his ambitions of mixing it up with the pros this year in a few UCI races. Big mistake. After hearing this the gentleman disclosed he was a vacationing UCI official, and that Josh was now banned from any UCI races because he was caught training on a cyclocross bike with disc brakes.

Huh?

Training with disc brakes is illegal?

Who knew?

Well, now Josh and I both know.

Seems ridiculous, and it is. And no, this didn’t really happen. But it could. Can you imagine? Now instead of flying to Mexico (or telling UCI officials that’s where you are) or some other remote area to escape potential out-of-competition drug tests, we’ll have to ride our disc-brake equipped bikes in remote places, at night, alone, and in secret to avoid the out-of-competition bike inspections.

To be sure, Josh and anyone else with UCI racing aspirations are supposed to know the rules, and have the responsibility of reading and knowing each one. But we didn’t find out about them until the other day, when Leonard Zinn at Velonews.com wrote an interesting follow-up piece to his last week’s column about the next “big thing” in road bikes. Although he’s a tall guy, he wasn’t writing about big bikes, but rather predictions of the next big trends with road bikes (suspension, disc brakes). Buried deep in the article was the shocking UCI rule regarding disc brakes:

“Disc brakes are forbidden in cyclo-cross training and competition.”

It’s rule #1.3.025, and you can find it here on the top of page 67 in the massive 81-page UCI rule book titled Part I: General organisation of cycling as a sport.

While I knew that disc brakes were not allowed in UCI cyclocross races, I had no idea that training with these bikes was illegal. Thankfully, my mountain bikes are quite old and still run rim brakes, and my ‘cross bikes, although one is equipped with tabs for discs, still sport cantis. But I did jump on my buddy Steve’s 29er with disc brakes the other week. I guess I got the heart rate up a bit. And cx is my main sport too, even though I’m not battling with the pros, unless you consider getting lapped by Barry Wicks when I race my singlespeed. But someone could consider that brief ride “training.” Am I in violation? After getting frustrated by drug offenders that protest their innocence and then finally come clean, should I practice what I preach and proactively confess to the UCI of my single violation?

Well, I’m not sure I’m going to do that quite yet. But I am determined to familiarize myself with all the UCI rules so I can avoid future violations. Stay tuned as in a later piece I’ll present the CliffsNotes of UCI cyclocross rules for your convenience.

Think this rule makes sense? Is crap? Drop a comment below.