Believe it or not, it is almost time to turn the page on 2017. To close out the year, we are taking a look back at 13 of the stories that shaped the year. This list is by no means comprehensive and is loosely intended to be in chronological order, starting with the 2017 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford.
Popular opinion can be a fickle thing, even in the world of cyclocross. One needs to look no further than the often hot-button issue of December vs. January Nationals to see how the (cold) (*cough* Madison, Hartford) winds can change.
Cyclocross Magazine has been covering the topic since this publication’s inception. Back in 2009, we asked readers their thoughts on moving Nationals to December, and a plurality said it was a decision they supported.
In part based on listening to their cycling constituents, USA Cycling made the decision to move to January Nationals starting in January 2012. This left the 2010 Bend Nationals as the last held in December. At least for a while.
USAC’s reasons for moving Nationals to January arguably made sense.
- A 2009 survey of USA Cycling members supported the move
- To “better align the event with the international calendar”
- To “better support the U.S. athletes who are training to compete in the world championships slated for Louisville, KY later in January”
After the excitement of the 2013 Louisville Worlds faded and both Elite and amateur riders had to deal with training through December into January, popular opinion started to change. Admittedly, the topic did make for easy interview fodder and many people seemed to have strong opinions about the topic, which was not bad for business around these parts!
Changes in Opinion
When we conducted a poll on the topic in early 2016, you did not have to be Nate Silver to see a December event gaining in popularity. Although no one response had a majority, the responses were 45 to 30 percent in favor of December over January.
The bid process for the two host cities after Reno provided USA Cycling with an opportunity to revisit the issue of when Nationals are held. Publically they conducted a survey, and USAC Vice President of Events Micah Rice said many constituent groups were consulted with behind the scenes:
“We have, based on a lot of things, with the survey being one piece of the puzzle, [had] many other discussions internally, externally, within the [USA Cycling Cyclocross] Committee, even reaching out a little stronger to some under-represented groups here at USA Cycling, like the industry and things like that.”
For what it’s worth, USA Cycling’s survey found overwhelming support for the move to December with 77% of respondents voting in favor of the move.
The people had spoken. Would USA Cycling be able to square their desires with the needs of other interested groups?
Back to December
In March of this year, USA Cycling made it official: U.S. Cyclocross Nationals are moving back to December. The great January Nationals experiment is over.
The first new (old?) December Nationals will take place at Joe Creason Park in Louisville in 2018. We already got a sneak peek at the venue during the 2017 Pan-American Championships in November. The December 2019 racing will take place Steilacoom Park near Tacoma, Washington.
The people of cyclocross have spoken. The Reno Nationals will mark the end of a January era, and when we all head to Louisville at the end of 2018, we will see if popular opinion begins to change yet again.