You win Nationals. You place top 10 in a World Cup. You work all season. You make the US Worlds team.
But now, unless you’re Katie Compton, or you have a team that is willing to foot the bill for a flight to Europe, including bike fees, you need to—very quickly, since the Worlds team was announced on January 13, less than two weeks before you would need to head to Europe—come up with the money to fly to Brussels, Belgium, and if you’re a discretionary team pick, you also need to find $800 to pay for the service fee for room, board, clothing and other race essentials. This can be an expensive undertaking, especially if you’re a Junior like Peter Goguen, who won Nationals on last year’s bike with canti brakes and blacked out non-sponsor specific wheels. Some Juniors are fundraising right now for the trip, but with only two weeks between making the team and needing to leave for Europe, it’s hard to believe that they’ll raise the money in time.
Some of the bigger teams, like Cal-Giant, have the funds to at least help racers get to Europe for Worlds. But for those who weren’t expecting the Worlds team spot, like Nationals standout Allen Krughoff, the money wasn’t in the team budget, and since the goal is to run the money out by the end of the season, the coffers are unfortunately fairly low.
Should USAC be doing more for the Worlds team? Arguably, Katie Compton, the one rider qualified for Level 1 funding, is the only one who potentially could win Worlds. So should USAC be paying for other racers who most likely won’t make it into the top five?
Ex-pro ’crosser Mark McCormack is upset with the funding situation for Juniors, and explained in a blog post, “When I went to Junior worlds in 1988, USCF paid for my plane ticket, hotel, food, local transport. Clark Natwick was the Amateur men’s participant that USAC also paid for. Clark also acted as the team manager and took care of helping me once I landed in Switzerland.”
Right now, only Level 1 Funding racers will get the same treatment that McCormack got, and the only racer who meets those qualifications (being on the podium at least year’s World Championships and demonstrating excellence throughout the season) is 10-time National Champion Katie Compton.
Of course, this all is part of a larger question: How should USAC be funding cyclocross? Does USA Cycling spend enough money on cyclocross, and should the money they do spend be focused on funding a Worlds team over there, or should they spend more money on expanding the sport from a participation and junior development standpoint?