In a move designed to offer more riders the chance to earn the right to be called National Champion, including the very youngest cyclocross racers, USA Cycling announced today additional championship categories for the 2017 Cyclocross National Championships.
Riders competing in the Under-9 age group, the industry race and even the donut race, which was staged for the first time this year, will all be competing for national titles in Hartford, Connecticut.
“Looking back over the week’s racing in Asheville, North Carolina, we felt that there was an opportunity to give more riders a chance to earn the Stars and Stripes jersey and take the title of National Champion to their local scenes for the following season,” said USA Cycling’s CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall.
“Sadly, it’s also a reflection of the fact that we saw irregularities in these races that we feel should be set straight. Like in the Under-9 race–things like improperly staked courses leading to less-scrupulous riders circumnavigating barriers, and in the donut race–where there were questions about both the number of donuts consumed and the fairness in type of donut eaten,” Bouchard-Hall added.
“I had my eye on that donut race in Hartford and don’t need another stars and stripes jersey.” -Steve Tilford
Proposing regulations for Under-9 races and competitions that partially involve eating fried dough seems absurd to many, like USA Cycling’s plans for the regulation of gravel races that came last year. “I just don’t get it. I mean, I do. USA Cycling sees this as a way to make more money, and in the process they are taking the fun out of the few races that still are fun,” said long-time cyclocross legend Steve Tilford. “I didn’t race in Asheville, but I had my eye on that donut race in Hartford and don’t need another stars and stripes jersey.”
Others though feel like the standardization of at least the Under-9 race makes good sense when looking to the future. “Look. If the US is going to produce riders that can compete on the biggest cyclocross stages in the World, our riders have to start earlier and face courses that push them to the limits. I’m behind the effort to promote ‘real’ kids’ racing as early as possible. It can still be fun,” said the mother of one young rider we spoke with.
Similarly, standardization across the donut race seems to some like a good idea. “Everyone should be eating the same quality of donut. This isn’t like tread choice. Someone going gluten free as opposed to chocolate-covered glazed could have a real advantage late in the race due to less bloating, and that’s not right,” remarked Reid Beloni, who was confident he had won the donut race in Asheville.
As for the industry race, Bouchard-Hall was pragmatic when asked why make this race a championship event. “We get it. Not every Elite racer who works in the industry wants to take on the Elite race, but many still want to race for the title. So we’re going to give them the chance to do so. They’re the backbone of the industry and the racing community. They deserve a title race.”
“The spirit was great, but there was too much chaos, and too much controversy due to the informal rules and license requirements. We’ll clean that up for 2017” -USA Cycling’s CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall on the new titles and rules coming for 2017
“Setting qualifications for these races, especially for the industry race, will take some work, but we’ve already begun,” said Bouchard-Hall, before adding “We’re confident that this is the direction our membership wants to go. I got a real keen sense for that fact when I participated in the donut race in Asheville. The spirit was great, but there was too much chaos, and too much controversy due to the informal rules and license requirements. We’ll clean that up for 2017.”
Stay tuned for further developments with this story.
This post was published on April 1, 2016.