USA Cycling Implements New System for Start Order at Nationals

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USA Cycling Cyclocross
USA Cycling has tried different methods for establishing start orders for National Championships the past few years. While Elite racers have a UCI point system that makes ranking and positioning easy, non-UCI and age-based racers first endured the “race to registration” – whereby the front row was determined by the previous year’s results, but everyone else got their spot on the grid based on when they signed up online – then for 2010 had a time trial the day before the main event determine lineup.

USAC has talked about implementing a point system for non-UCI races for a while now, but it’s not an easy system to implement; different regions treat age splits and categories differently, making it tough to compare apples.

Hot off the presses, USAC now has a solution. The question many have is how racers in non-USA Cycling areas like Colorado, Oregon and the Bay Area in California will fare in such a system? Have an opinion? Drop a comment below.

From USAC:

Start order for Cyclo-cross Nationals to be determined by revamped USA Cycling Rankings System

Start order for all non-UCI categories at the 2012 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships will be determined by rider ranking using the organization’s new, improved rankings system to debut Sept.1.

Cyclo-cross will be the first USA Cycling National Championship to use the remodeled rankings system to resolve call-up order for all race divisions other than junior 17-18 and elite. Following member feedback, this method of seeding aims to offer the most equitable and concise call-up procedure possible and does signify a departure from the previous approach of utilizing time trials, random drawings or based on when a rider registered online for Cyclo-cross National Championships.

USA Cycling’s new rankings system is set for public launch September 1, 2011. The rankings system will use an innovative algorithm to rank riders based on their results compared to other competitors rather than using an arbitrary event value. The new system will allow riders to achieve a ranking, based more on how well they race rather than how often. Rider rankings will be derived from an individual’s average of his/her top three results within a rolling 12 month period. More details on the revamped rankings program will be released in the coming weeks prior to the debut of the new system.

To ensure as fair and accurate a process as possible, USA Cycling is requesting all cyclo-cross race directors to submit results to USA Cycling in an accurate and timely fashion.

Basic instructions for submitting race results are available on the Race Directors page of usacycling.org.

 

 

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20 comments
huttondh
huttondh

You could do heats of this....http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/434g

But seriously, as a rider that had to race with the elite men's national championships and faced the same problems, I placed well year round in local and regional races and never started higher than 100th in the elite men's race. There is no ideal system for such large settings and you can't say "I think the way world is doing it" is a bad approach to take with this. Worlds is already working with a slimmed down group of riders to make selections from through these heats. Not hundreds upon hundreds of riders. Besides, doing heats isn't possible in the states. Most riders don't have the time or energy to race that much in a week, and if they do they are probably qualifying and placing well anyway.

Also, to do the regional thing is just silly. For the past few years travel has been much easier because nationals was in the central/western US. Of course more individuals from Colorado and Oregon go to nationals when they are in Kansas (one state away from Colorado) and Oregon (the state those people live in). Trust me, travel wasn't easy from Southeast Tennessee to Kansas... Furthermore Oregon and Colorado have two of the largest cycling cultures in the country (likely the largest). It doesn't matter what process they go through for nationals, the people in those regions will continue to get placings in nationals because their local scenes are handling results correctly. Not to mention if these people are dominating at nationals with crappy starting positions its completely irrelevant where they start. If I recall, the last year Nationals was in Kansas one of the masters winners started last row in his race....talent is talent.

As for the comparison between ACA and USAC, one question, what is the largest rider registration event they handle. I'm pretty sure that the capacity to handle registration/organization/coordination with everyone is something USAC has been doing since... oh I don't know 1920... or if you want to get "technical" 1975 when it became the official federation.

We aren't Europe, and we shouldn't handle processes the way they do. It's how the UCI and ASO issues arise. It spreads talent, interest and causes frustration along all areas.

Again, Just my thoughts.

rockdude
rockdude

The real meat of nationals are the racers from CO and OR. Take a look, the riders from the ACA dominated nationals. No other region had as many 1st place finishes or podiums. Even our male and female elite champions were from CO. If you took away all the riders from the non USAC regions, the level of competition would be dramatically decreased. What this does, is put some of the best riders in the nation at a disadvantage, lowers the quality of the fields and is a discouragement to the growth of Cyclocross. I think the way world is doing it with heats is the best of all solutions. It doesn't pit USAC against other organizations and allows everyone a fair change to ride and be seated.

miller.climb
miller.climb

I'm confused....it seems like this will work great for 35+ master's doing a few USGP races. But what about 30-34 master's? I see it is weighted, but does that mean weighted with respect to the quality of the competition or just the number of races?

ddobrozsi
ddobrozsi

My guess is this is a based on crossresults.com or some modification thereof, anyone know?

RevBigRing
RevBigRing

Unreal. That really screws over the people who live in states where cross is not sanctioned by USAC. Also i seriously doubt anyone at USAC even know what an algorithm is much less how to use one.

ringcycles
ringcycles

@rockdude Not true. I did a quick count of titles and podiums from the past 6 CX nationals, and yes, in 2010 Colorado racers had a banner year with 9 championships, but counting the full 5 places, the Mid Atlantic had 18 podiums to Colorado's 15, and New England had 14. In prior years, New England had 9 titles in both 2006 and 2007 when Colorado had 4 and 5 respectively. Oregon never had more than 5 titles and 13 podiums in any year. The Mid Atlantic states had greater number of podiums even in the years that nationals was in Oregon. Infact New England took more podiums 4 of the 6 years and equal or more titles 3 of the 6 years as Colorado. The comparison gets a little tricky at the elite level though, since should you count Amy Dombroski as a Vermont/New England racer (where she grew up and started racing) or a Colorado racer since she resides there now. Same dilemna with Todd & Troy Wells (NY) and Katie Compton (PA). For the record I counted the Wells and Compton as CO racers. Ultimatley, the whole debate about regions is stupid. At the national level we should all be trying to improve the sport for every region. The ultimate goal is to produce champions that can race at the international level. Regional rivalries do not help that goal in my view. I'll cheer for Zach McDonald and Danny Summerhill just as much as Jeff Bahnson and the Keogh brothers in world cups.

cyclocross
cyclocross moderator

@miller.climb really good point. we don't know many 30+ races. @crossafterdark 's StarCrossed race used to have a 30+ race, but beyond that? What about 40+, 50+? A lot of areas have 35+ and 45+. We'll see what we can find out.

ringcycles
ringcycles

@RevBigRing Since its USAC's party, I do not see why they should make extra accomodations for racers who do not compete in USAC events. Yes, it sucks for people in CO and OR, but this start order scheme is probably the best one. Since the ranking is going to be based on 3 results, instead of 7 or 10, it should be possible for the top racers in those states to travel for a few USAC events each year. Most of those top guys already do so anyway.

rockdude
rockdude

@ringcycles @rockdude I see you used a little fussy math. Not that I am going to get in a pissing match over this but CO had something like 27-28 top 3 finishes last year. That is a healthy margin over mid-Atlantic's 18 top 5 finishes. In 2009 the results were similar.

http://303cycling.com/2010-colorado-cyclocross-nationals-coverage. I stand by my what I said, that the majority of top races in the country are at a unfair disadvantage under the new system USAC has implemented. Is this a wise way to promote the sport, I think not. This is all about one thing, USAC trying to strong arm other organizations to fold to their wishes. Who gets hurt, the riders, some of which are our nations best. You can not have a real event and call it Nationals if you disenfranchise the majority of your best riders. If an event is to be designated as Nationals it should be fair and equal to all rides regardless of what organization they race under.

miller.climb
miller.climb

@cyclocross I think the system makes sense...on the surface it just seems easier for people who race categories that are represented at USGP or similar big races...especially since only 3 races count. It might even be easier to race SS and head to some USGP races then to try and figure out a good strategy at a 30+, 40+, or similar 'nat' category....right now it is either ride in the middle or back in the elites at USGP and get no points. Or race for top10 or podium in the cat 2s (I assume this would be considerably less points...but then again, what else is there?).

RevBigRing
RevBigRing

@ringcycles @RevBigRing This is just USAC trying to strong arm OR,CO,No Cal and UT into the fold. All of these place have thriving cross scenes without USAC. Cross Nats is USAC annual money grab where they take credit for a huge scene and growth segment that they had nothing to do with and do nothing to support.

ringcycles
ringcycles

@rockdude @ringcycles Um, no fuzzy math. Nationals has held a 5 deep podium in each championship category for atleast a decade. As to you assertion that the majority of top racers in cyclocross are from Colorado and therefore will be at a disadvantage, also not so. If you actually count the number of championships and podiums between Colorado and New England over the last 6 years, the numbers are pretty equal. Colorado certainly does not have more championships and podiums than every other region combined, i.e a majority. The only way to get to 28 podiums for CO in 2010 is to count 5 deep of every race, including the non-championship events (which I would not). Regarding your central point, that a 3 USAC race average is unfair to CO racers, the CO elites all race UCI races around the the country, so for them its a non issue. The top juniors and masters women are either in small fields or also racing around the country at UCI/USAC events, so again non issue. The one group it might truly effect is masters men between age 35-55+. The truly top masters racers, like Pete Weber, Brandon Dwight, Jonathan Baker, are also racing around the country at UCI/USAC events, so for them again non issue. Guys who think they are that good should likely hop over to Kansas for a weekend or drive to Iowa for Jingle Rock and get their 3 races done. Or those guys could race the UCI events in Colorado, get their results, and see if they really are that good. The only group then it might negatively effect is mid pack 35-59 year old men like me, but racing exclusively in CO or OR. This group may have to start at the back rather than 6th row. I see nothing in this rule that will keep Danny Summerhill or Jon Carriveau, or Matt Pacocha from getting the start position that they deserve. So for the truly best masters racers in the country, this rule should actually improve things since they don't have to worry about aging up a category and losing top 10 status, or failing at a time trial 2 days before the championship, or a down server meaning they can't register fast enough. I can not imagine true national champion quality racers who will be hurt by this system, I just don't. Once again, if you do not like USAC, don't race events they permit, but then you can not complain that their national championships should somehow make accomodations for racers who contribute nothing to the organization the rest of the year.

cyclocross
cyclocross moderator

@miller.climb I guess we have to wait for the final detailed rules to know how non-exact age categories and lower category results count (if at all).

huttondh
huttondh

@cyclocross @ringcycles honestly, the end goal for USA cycling is Olympic status. The origin of USAC is to develop and focus on talent at the Olympic level. At least that's what it was founded to do (in their mission statement).

Being an individual who grew up in the Midwest and luckily had an awesome series in the OVCX, results were always reported to USAC. With that being said, I now live in the Southeast and not too much cyclocross happens down here and the reporting to USAC is poorly executed. Largely the problem a lot of people will have is that they are racing but the less than motivated race organizers will fail to report the results as they are expected to. A lot of the issue with cyclocross and USAC is the conflict between being organizing as a sport and trying to stay somewhat grassroots to keep the persona of the sport what it has been.

In short, race promoters have as much an impact on moving the sport forward as riders and USAC do.

cyclocross
cyclocross moderator

@ringcycles is making cyclocross an Olympic sport the end goal though? or can these orgs do good by developing local talent who should have a fair shot at a good start position at nats as well? good discussion going here, we don't have all the answers, just a lot of questions.

ringcycles
ringcycles

@RevBigRing Don't enter nationals if you don't like the rules. Thats how OBA and ACA started in the first place, right? Of course its the USAC playing their own hand, like I said, its their party. If they really wanted to "strong arm" any given region, they'd make it a ten race average. Ultimately, if an elite racer wants to go to World Cup, then they have to play by their national federations rules. If a masters or juniors racer want to wear a national champions jersey likewise. Sorry if you don't like USAC, but they are the national federation. If you are content with or prefer your own regional organization fine. ACA and OBA can sponsor their own championships as they like. But don't then moan about how the lack of affiliation with the national body is a disadvantage. USAC does plenty to support cyclocross in New England, the Mid Atlantic, and SoCal. I'm sure they would support any other region likewise. They let UCI races get permitted in Oregon and Colorado without requiring the amatuer and masters races be USAC affiliated as well. How is OBA or ACA helping to make cyclocross an olympic sport and therefore entitled to national funding support by refusing to affiliate with the UCI?

RevBigRing
RevBigRing

@flahute @ringcycles The real reason they got rid of the time trial is paying 2 timing crews cut into the profit of the event they do nothing to support but take all the credit for.

flahute
flahute

@RevBigRing @ringcycles USAC really does nothing to support CX in the USA; this is best evidenced by the fact that they make riders "chosen" to represent the USA at the World Championships pay their own way there and expenses.

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