The long-awaited announcement from USA Cycling is here on the future of the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships after the 2018 Reno event. Cyclocross Magazine spoke with USA Cycling’s Micah Rice for nearly an hour on Thursday about this announcement—read that interview here.
Below are details on the two National Championships after Reno, followed by the official press release from USA Cycling.
Decembers to Remember
It’s official. USA Cycling is bringing Cyclocross National Championship back to December, as cyclocross racers were resolute in their preference in the organization’s survey, and USA Cycling did not hear compelling arguments to prevent it from giving the people what they want.
Yes, 2018 will have two National Championships due to the December move. After six years of January racing, USA Cycling is moving the event to December, citing “feedback from our cyclocross community” as an influence.
Racing age does not change with the move, as it will remain based on the year the World Championships is held.
Returning to Championship Cities with Louisville and Tacoma Nationals
Where will we be going for the December 2018 and 2019 Cyclocross National Championships? After Reno’s January 2018 event, and Louisville will host Nationals round two in December, followed by Tacoma, Washington in 2019.
Our CXM “in-house odds-makers” may have been close enough for government work when they guessed Louisville and Ogden, but once again, our reader poll very well could have been a crystal ball, selecting Louisville and Tacoma as preferences, after predicting the December move late last year.
Where would you like to see the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships after Reno?
2018 December Nationals Lands in Joe Creason Park, Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is a fantastic ’cross host, and has been home to countless races, including the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships, 2012 and 2013 Masters World Championships, the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Derby City Cup, SSCXWC and the list goes on.
“Louisville has a long history in cyclocross,” said Rice. “That sports commission is amazing. They are just unbelievably supportive of cycling and the cyclocross community. They really do everything they can to move our sport forward, by dedicating a park in Eva Bandman towards cyclocross, and spending the money on the World Championships to bring that for the first time to the United States. We want to reward cities like that.”
Of course, Louisville and Eva Bandman Park are also internationally famous because of the disastrous flooding during the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships, resulting in all the races being held on Saturday, and 90% of the course sitting under water on Sunday.
The December 2018 Nationals, typically a six-day-long event will not be returning to the permanent cyclocross park at Eva Bandman. USA Cycling’s Micah Rice, VP of National Events, told Cyclocross Magazine the Louisville Sports Commission selected Joe Creason Park as the venue for its winning bid for the 2018 December Nationals.
“Louisville came to us with a new venue, it wasn’t something we pushed,” Rice said. “I can say that Joe Creason is going to be a really good venue and has some strengths that Eva Bandman does not. We’ve got a lot more ability to make some tougher hills and climbs, and there’s kind of a bowl that we can come in and out of on both sides of the lap that will really make for a hard course. It will be easy to make people hurt, and there’s good infrastructure there.”
USA Cycling and Louisville will likely work with Cadence Sports to put on the December 2018 event.
We don’t want to jinx the event as we might have in April 2012 before Worlds, but Joe Creason Park is not immune to flooding, either. April 2015 saw Joe Creason underwater, when Louisville saw even more rainfall than in 2013.
We’ll keep our fingers crossed that Louisville has a drier (but not too dry) season in 2018, and will see many of you there.
This fall, the 2017 Pan American Continental Cyclocross Championships will be held at Joe Creason Park, providing a test event although not at the same time of year.
Steilacoom Park, Lakewood (Tacoma), Washington
The greater Seattle, Washington area was once the dominant locale for the Cyclocross National Championships, landing four out of ten years from 1987-1996, with the last event in 1996 won by Frank McCormack and Shari Kain.
Twenty three years later, the championships is finally heading back, as leaked yesterday by MFG Cyclocross. (Update: Now live here on mfgcyclocross.com)
“The big thing with Tacoma, first of all the Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission with Dean Burke…he’s a big cyclist, he races the MFG Series, and happens to be the president of the sports commission. Our contract is with him.”
Burke is not only a cyclocross racer but also a stand-up paddler, orca whisperer and TedX speaker. In putting together Tacoma’s bid, Burke worked worked with the experienced team of Zac Daab and Terry Buchanan of Seattle’s MFG Cyclocross Series. Buchanan has promoted Seattle’s Star Crossed UCI race for many years.
Local Washington racers already worried about lining up at the back of their local Nationals due to a lack of USA Cycling points can rest a bit easier knowing that there will be potential a path to a front-row call-up. “The biggest worry we have with putting on a race in the Pacific Northwest is all of our members that are up there in Washington and Oregon don’t have USA Cycling races to race to get their seeding better,” Rice admits. However, there will be local racing as USA Cycling has made inroads into this scene starting this fall.
“I’ll give credit to Zac [Daab] and Terry [Buchanan],” Rice explained. “They have really kind of rallied the race directors in the Washington area to work on a USA Cycling-sanctioned series to start this fall that will be a number of races that are all USA Cycling sanctioned [and] that will offer results and rankings points for seeding for National Championships.”
“…Beginning in Fall of 2017 and continuing into 2018 and 2019, our region will see a newly added USA Cycling sanctioned cyclocross race series produced by a collective group of local cyclocross promoters,” MFG Cyclocross stated on Thursday, while stating that it is keeping its usual races outside the USA Cycling umbrella.
Steilacoom is notorious for its brutal 80-meter run-up used in the past events, and when paired with drizzly Seattle weather, we’re (maybe not so) secretly hoping for a slopfest of epic proportions, though who knows with the weather anymore? By 2019 it could be dry and dusty.
Stay tuned for our lengthy interview with Micah Rice that covers the National Championship decisions, Hartford and more. Full press release from USA Cycling below.
Hannah Caproon and Andrew Yee contributed to this report.
USA Cycling Announces 2018 and 2019 Cyclocross National Championships
Nationals Moving Back to December
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Mar. 10, 2017) – USA Cycling announced today that Louisville, Ky., and Tacoma, Wash., have been awarded the 2018 and 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships, respectively. After engaging the Cyclocross community, USA Cycling will move the National Championships back to December.
“The Cyclocross National Championships are one of our most prestigious and well attended events and we are excited to partner with two very strong cycling communities,” said Micah Rice, USA Cycling Vice President of National Events. “Both areas are hotbeds for cyclocross and have the passionate grassroots racing community, proven event promoters and supportive civic leadership to ensure strong, successful events.”
Joe Creason Park, a new cyclocross venue for Louisville, will play host to the 2018 National Championships. “Louisville is a vibrant and welcoming community for both recreational and competitive cyclists” said Karl Schmitt, president and CEO of the Louisville Sports Commission. “We’ve successfully hosted numerous, championship-level cycling competitions over the past twenty years, including the UCI Elite and Masters Cyclocross World Championships, and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to host the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.
The competition then moves to the northwest in 2019 to Steilacoom Park just south of the Seattle-Tacoma International airport. “Alongside all of our state and regional cyclocross partners, we have been preparing for this for a long time,” said Dean Burke, Executive Director, Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission. “The City of Lakewood has been a star for openly embracing cyclocross the way they have. Without the right venues, agencies like ours cannot do our job and Lakewood’s Fort Steilacoom Park stands as an iconic venue for the sport in the Pacific Northwest.”
After six years in January, the event returns to its traditional mid-December timeframe. “We solicited feedback from our cyclocross community including athletes, parents, race directors and our advisory Cyclocross Committee and there was overwhelming support to return to December,” said Rice. “We believe this is very positive move and will work closely with any affected December races to ensure their continued success.”
Given the move back to December, 2018 will have two National Championships in one calendar year. The first is scheduled for Reno, Nev., next January and was originally awarded in January 2015. Louisville and Tacoma will be the 45th and 46th installments of the annual championships.