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CX Nats. . .I want my money back(33 posts)

CX Nats. . .I want my money backJakob
Dec 16, 2002 9:01 AM
I am still angry about yesterday's B race.

3 laps in, riding around 40th place, I dropped my chain. About 10-15 guys went by me because the chain got all wrapped around the spider and stuff. Anyway, back on my bike, I start chasing down the guys I was riding with when, much to my surprise, they start pulling riders from the field because we're going to get lapped?! There's over 100 guys in the race, I'm in about 60th, and they pull us with two to go. So I figure the leaders must be right around the corner. Nope. It took at least 2-3 minutes for the leaders to get to where they pulled me off the course. Granted, I was one of the first guys to get pulled, but it really sucks that I paid $45 and didn't even get to finish. I understand pulling lapped riders in elite races, but it's only the B's! After a so-so start and the aforementioned dropped chain, I was doing pretty well and I really doubt I would have even gotten lapped. There were guys around me who had flown in from all over the country and didn't even get to finish.
Dec 16, 2002 10:04 AM
Yeah I got a really bad start, behind a crash on the line. I worked my way around people but I was just trying to finish. Yeah they pulled me pretty quick too.

Being an official I know how hard it is to pick people in cross, in the rain, at nationals, after riders are lapped. You don't want to make a mistake because people are so sensitive about their results. But...they had five highly qualified judges there, they could have left us in a little longer.

Basically I have to get good enough to win a cross series, and get called to the line. The start is just so important.
re: CX Nats. . .I want my money backclimbo
Dec 16, 2002 10:15 AM
money back? surely it was worth the trip.

This topic ALWAYS comes up at every level of race. I agree somewhat that it sucks to be pulled if the leaders were not right behind you, that is very unfair.

Also though, given the conditions, I imagine they pulled riders partly due to that. It's not really fair or "safe" to have the leaders have to pass backmarkers. Anything could happen, the leader could be taken down by a mistake or a crash by a lapped rider. The outcome of the race could be affected so there is some reasoning behind the decision I'm sure. You say it's only a B race and I agree with you there, but, many B racers take it VERY seriously so it's not just a fun event for them, they race hard and deserve to have a clear course at the front.

I think that riders should KNOW if they will be pulled before the race starts (for Nationals, before you register), and you should only be pulled as you are about to be lapped, not as you say, 2 minutes before the leaders came around again.

There have been lots of grumblings about how the races were run, how they combined certain groups etc. Hopefully these were minor and everyone enjoyed themselves. It sure looked like awesome fun from the pics !!
re: CX Nats. . .I want my money backJakob
Dec 16, 2002 10:30 AM
I totally agree that racers that are about to be lapped should be pulled. I take racing very seriously, too. That's what racing Nationals is all about for me. I want to get faster.

It was fun and worth the trip, but I think there is something to be said for the sense of accomplishment associated with finishing. Me and the racers around me didn't get to feel that I and I think that's really unfair.

They did tell us before the race that lapped riders were going to get pulled, but I didn't think I was close to being on the bubble.

As for the comment "That's bike racing.", I have NO problem with getting my butt kicked, being 60th, DNFing, getting pulled for being lapped, etc. But this is different. They were simply pulling racers too early.
re: CX Nats. . .I want my money backclimbo
Dec 16, 2002 10:40 AM
it sounds as though they pulled early because they were confused or unsure as to who was where? This seems pretty unreal in a B race where it is the only race on the course at that time. I heard that they pulled some women in a combined age group who were actually placing in their age group in the top 5, the riders complained, yelled at the officials and kept riding. That's a BIG blunder right there. Very different from Nats in Baltimore, from what I remember, there was very little confusion over lapped riders, no (or little) complaints.

Maybe it'll come back East next year (or in 2004 I should say) and it'll be better again.
"That's bike racing"rollo tommassi
Dec 16, 2002 10:18 AM
"That's bike racing"flyweight
Dec 16, 2002 10:51 AM
Mechnicals: yes.

Pulling people in the B's: NO. This is the only cross race (along with Presidio Nats in '99) where I've seen people pulled only halfway through the race. It's especially bad since there were some obvious sandbaggers in field.
"That's bike racing"adventurefind
Dec 16, 2002 11:35 AM
Yes, and I recognized many local A's in the B's. Sandbagging is wrong, and it happens all the time. We should have a special Sandbagger category for our last Toasted Head race.
"That's bike racing"flyweight
Dec 16, 2002 11:38 AM
I remember seeing a pic on the cyclocrossworld site of one of their guys wearing an old Brooklyn team jersey that had "SANDBAGGER" in place of the Brooklyn logo. Too funny and at least he was being honest!
he was the "B" Nationals winner in Baltimore nmclimbo
Dec 16, 2002 11:41 AM
"That's bike racing"heavylegs
Dec 17, 2002 9:31 AM
Now, there's an idea! I think he's kidding but I'm totally serious! How'd you like to race against Frischi? The only other option is to race B's, or get pulled from the elite event. So carefully pick your category realizing prepared to face the same situation in the Sea Otter in March as've now been told! At bigger events with lots and lots of good riders at the top level (Nationals), the lower categories will get much tougher as a result. Good luck and enjoy!
Glad... real glad I didn't go.eurochien
Dec 16, 2002 10:36 AM
Someone else posted on VeloNews that there was zero need to dismount, no runups, no barriers and laps were about 4 1/2 minutes. That sounds way too short for a cross race with 100 participants. I'd be pissed too if I'd paid all this money, time off work and get shafted like that. I remember people coming back from Presidio in 99 (?) with the same feelings.
Glad... real glad I didn't go.flyweight
Dec 16, 2002 10:49 AM
Zero need to dismount?!?! Not at the Nats this weekend! Mud was at least ankle deep and most people spent plenty of time with the bike on the shoulder. Also there were barriers.
No barriers on Satadventurefind
Dec 16, 2002 10:55 AM
There were no barriers on Saturday and the course was shorter. But yesterday is was much different.
Lots of shoulderingJakob
Dec 16, 2002 10:57 AM
I think they must have added the barriers for Sunday.

Admittedly, the race is a bit of a daze to me now, but I seem to remember running an awful lot. Running in the deep mud was super sketchy because there were a few visible baby head boulders in one of the areas, just enough of them to think that if I really trucked through I was going bring my ankle down on one and really screw myself up.

BTW, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was pissed off about yesterday.

I don't even want to get into the sandbaggers in the B race. Let's just say that I recognized a few local A racers.
The mud was soooo deep....flyweight
Dec 16, 2002 11:07 AM
The mud was so deep I saw 4 people endo right in front me and I actually wound up breaking off 2 teeth on my chainring when I sank into the mud and they hit a rock! I was real happy to be on my single speed except on that one paved climb which was a real grunter in a 44x18 gear.
Saturday vs. SundayBipedZed
Dec 16, 2002 11:04 AM
The rain was almost non-stop since I arrived Saturday morning. The course on Saturday had been reduced to about 1/3 of the original course and was very disappointing. Mostly pavement without a single need to dismount the entire lap. I did a practice lap in about 6 minutes. Right after my lap they changed the course for the last race on Sat (U23 Men) which ended up being the course for Sunday. The course was longer with extended dirt sections and one double barrier. With all the rain many of the dirt sections required running, especially with the all the other racers. The course on Sunday was so much better than the short Saturday course, even though weather conditions were no better and probably worse on Sunday.

With the large fields at Nationals the start is absolutely crucial. My race was lost before the race started when through lack of aggressiveness I was 10 rows back at the start. There was no place to stage before the race so you had to congregate on the sides of the barricaded start/finish straight. I was right at the front of the one of the "staging" groups with 2 other guys I know and one of us ended up in the 2nd row, I was in the 10th row, and the other guy was behind me. It was a little bit of luck and mostly aggressiveness that got you a good starting position.

There were no callups in the Mens Bs so kudos to the guys that got to the front, particularly Dean Dealy and his excellent 2nd place among the many As that were racing Bs at Nationals. I was very disappointed with my 29th placing, but I was in the last third after the first lap due to all the crashes so at least I was able to claw back into the top 30.

Personally, that may be my last Nationals unless I can get competitive in the Masters categories. The Mens B fields are too large and too random to spend all the time and money traveling to a Nats event.

Congrats to all that competed this weekend.
You can race Elite next year! nmtihipscrew
Dec 16, 2002 12:19 PM
Boycott Galeforceflyweight
Dec 16, 2002 11:05 AM
I'm with you. It took well over 3 minutes before the leaders passed me when I got pulled. Hell, it took them so long to come by that I even had time to wash my bike off before they came around!

Pulling people in B's isn't called for. For people who argue that it's not fair to the guys in the front all I have to say is IT'S THE B RACE! If you're *that* serious about racing you should be in the A's. Face it, winning the B Nationals is sort of like being the best hitter in the minor leagues. The majority of the B racers are out there for the love of the sport. The only competition they really care about is beating the guy in front of them or maybe making top 10.

The screw-up in the women's race is especially bad but it seems like the women always get the shaft in racing.

As for safety, the minimum course width regulations of the UCI/USCF exist for the purpose of allowing people to pass safely so that's not a legit argument.

Having seen how many people got pulled at Nats in '99 and then getting pulled myself this year I've decided I'll never do another Galeforce event again. Why give them my money if they won't let me finish?
but not Surf City, Central Coast, Napa Valley Velo, etc.flyweight
Dec 16, 2002 11:11 AM
However, I would definitely not skip any of the races put on by the smaller promoters. Dave Carr, who helped put on the Redline Cup the previous weekend, does a great job (despite the sunny, dry weather) as do the great people who do Surf City each year. I don't think I've ever seen anyone get pulled in any of those races.
It's not Galeforce...adventurefind
Dec 16, 2002 11:24 AM's the UCI judges. Galeforce is the marketing and promotional arm of the setup. The judges are the other story. The UCI is what needs to be boycotted, not Galeforce.

Without Galeforce, there wouldn't be a Sea Otter Classic, NORBA races around the country, and some of the World Cups in the Americas.
It's not Galeforce...flyweight
Dec 16, 2002 11:37 AM
I can gladly live without the cattle-call racing that is Sea Otter. I know it's not easy putting together a race but Galeforce always seems to try and cram too much racing into too little time and the result is always overcrowded fields, no time to preview the course (some of us couldn't come down on Friday), and riders not getting to officially finish.

I would definitely add the USCF to the list as well. They have a long history of screwing up racing (just ask Kent Bostick) and the rise of independent racing organizations is proof of this. I'll stick to smaller, independent races from now on.
re: CX Nats. . .It is all TRUE!!!!!cxfan
Dec 16, 2002 11:14 AM
We were there Friday...register-walk the course-ride the course. Go back to the hotel and clean up and get back SAT morning for the 30-34 race and find out that the course is half the size with no barriers. There was between 80-90 in this field (normal size for the CAT 4's races in CO), and that they will pull lapped riders, and there are crashes and falls and about 3 laps into the race they start pulling people in the pits (I was one of them...about 3 minutes later the leaders come through) and then close the pits except to the the top 30 (according to the results only 29 finished) What a joke......

Then Sunday's B race (the rain had stopped overnight) and the field is like 125 people. They state that they will pull lapped riders and that there are course changes again but no time to preview the course today (they let people do one lap before age category races on SAT) and off we go. People are everywhere at the start and onto the road and to the top of the hill. Look, there are barries up and the original course. With 2 laps to go, I get to the second pits and they are closed and they are pulling riders again. But no sign of the leaders. Around 3 minutes or so, here come the leaders. The second pit is about a 30 second ride from the start/finish area. There was plenty of time to make another lap.

So, the long and the short of it is: People that raced in Age Categories on SAT got really screwed by the shorter course and the AGE Categoris on Sunday were pushed to the longer course....Some National championship...nobody raced the same course so who know's how well any of us would have done.
Happened to me at SuperCup 2 years agogreg n
Dec 16, 2002 12:05 PM
I was closing in on a group that had about 10 seconds on me, and with 3 to go, I get pulled. If I remember correctly, that group finished in the top twenty-five.

I was pissed!
That was NOT a national caliber coursecycloscott
Dec 16, 2002 1:01 PM
4:30 laptimes on Saturday. No dismounts. That's not 'cross. It was moderately better on Sunday, but it still wasn't of national quality. Surf City puts on a better course.

I ran two sections on the first lap, and that was only to get around guys who stacked up in the mud. I was never off my bike for the rest of my race. I didn't even unclip a foot the rest of the way.

Even the original proposed barrier placements were weak. They were on an uphill, and after a downhill chicane. At best, you'd hit them at about jogging speed. Where were the high speed, running dismounts? Where were the run-ups? They weren't there because Sutton couldn't figure out how to incorporate them into a course that was designed for spectators and not racers.

I can sympathize, very slightly, with the officials. Yeah, 'cross can be a tough sport to score accurately. But Surf City is able to score lapped riders. Central Coast is able to do so. And they have fewer people picking at the line, and end up with racers 3 or 4 laps down by the finish. Hell, Bob Liebold is able to do it by himself, with smaller fields, by using a pad of paper.

What really torques me is that the pre-race instructions stated: "Lapped riders will be pulled." Fine, but 90% of the people pulled had never been lapped. I might have been caught about 3/4 through the final lap. But I wasn't given the opportunity because I was pulled with 2 to go (3 for me), and still a minute ahead of the leaders. I was turning 4:55 lap times, and still catching people.
European Point of view? Okay ...!phatlizard
Dec 16, 2002 2:36 PM
I just know I will get my butt kicked for that one but I say it anyway! I followed the US Nat. through the website and some on webradio and was amazed about the number of categories and riders you have. But then I thought - hm by Sunday the course must be crap!

UCI-sanctioned nationals usually have 8 categories:

Juniors 16-17
Juniors 14-15
Colts 12-13

Juniors 14-15
Juniors 16-18

Only those on a "National Level" compete! No Sandbagging as there is no Classes - just age-groups!

People who can barely survive a local cross-race (of which you have plenty wonderful ones!) should not compete in the Nationals which is supposed to be great event to be proud about and show the sponsors that the sport is worth of their support!

Thanks for listening


P.S.: yes I heard it all Euros always know it better ... blah... blah ... blah ... but I am sorry sometimes it helps to look outside the fence! We learned a lot about MTB Races from the US and love it!
So maybe there is something that the people on our side of the pond do right ...!?
RE: European Point of view? Okay ...!cycloscott
Dec 16, 2002 4:00 PM
No butt kicking from me. But I do have some questions for you.

Not sure about the national level for you, but I know that there are World's for age groupers. Well, for the men anyway. Not exactly equality in action, but Elite women have only had a World Championship for a few years. We're appropriately ahead of the times on that count. Do you -have- championships for masters catgories?

However, I do agree to a point about having a B and C race at Nat's. Back when we had a SuperCup series, they would have the B and C race, and Nat's would be for championships only. (Those included age groupers). The B field this Sunday had PLENTY of sandbagging A's in it. (and I never understood the logic of having a C race as part of a national series).

The course actually got much firmer on Sunday. Pre-riding and racing over Friday and Saturday chewed up a lot of soil. The heavy rains washed all of the loose stuff away. One section that was at least ankle deep mud on Saturday, became wet hardpack on Sunday. A beautiful groove was worn in on the downhill chicane by the time the Elite men raced. On Saturday it was pure slop.

Out of curiousity, how would you go about determining "Only those on a "National Level" ? USCF has rankings for athletes, but only if you race in one of their officially recognized events. Regional events, as strong as they can be (Surf City for example), don't count. That means a TON of travel for the unlucky competitors who don't live near the hotbeds of 'cross. Portland/Seattle, Santa Cruz, or Boston.
RE: European Point of view? Okay ...!atpjunkie
Dec 16, 2002 4:34 PM
have UCSF rated events at local races. If you place high enough in your local races you "qualify" for the bigger races. get UCSF points for finishing top 5 or whatever. also this would prevent sandbaggers as guys who've raced "A" would have "A" points and therefore be excluded from racing "B's". also age group stuff has to be standardized. some have 30-35, 35-39, 40-45,45-55, 55 and up others have 35-45, 45-55, 55 and up. and the last race I was in was 30-45 (that's big 15 year spread as 30 y.o.'s haven't started losing fast twitch like a 44 Y.O. highly unfair age grouping IMHO.
anyhow I'm a big fan of age grouping, would actually like to see size grouping or make light riders carry sacks of rocks. :)
The AtpJunkie is right ... !phatlizard
Dec 17, 2002 2:31 AM
Qualify on State level! States can send riders to the Nationals according how many riders with liscences compete in that State and how many races the State puts on.
That would make the State Championships much more interessting and raise its importance as not only 5 guys race for the podium but maybe 30 race for qualifying for the Nationals!
Why not having an extra day of competetion at the Nationals for the non-UCI categories, maybe on a different course but same venue! It is not that hard to come up with an extra lap of 2 miles for a Cross-Race ... we have "Open to all"-classes on state level only for non-license-holders! That is to promote the sport and bring Roadies or MTBers in.

Is there really something like a National-C-Class-Champion? I don't think that should be. I have competet in various sports in the USA and I know that you always try to make everybody win something but that doesnt work all the time!

So how about giving Masters and the other old farts an extra day?
And I sure support the extra weight put on the bike of those fit f'#§ers!! ;)

Here's the problem with USCF rankings.cycloscott
Dec 17, 2002 10:03 AM
There are still quite a few rogue cycling organizations. Unfortunately, the NCNCA is no longer one of them. This season, when we were still separate, there were no local races that were affiliated with the USCF. Hell, the California State Championships have been held in San Diego for as long as I can remember. About as far from the biggest races (Surf City in Santa Cruz) in California as they could get.

I'm not going to say that it was done intentionally as a slap in the face to the NCNCA, but... if it walks like a duck...

Oregon still has the vast majority of their races put on by a non-USCF organization. Do we really trust the USCF to treat them fairly when it comes to qualifying for Nat's?

I agree with doing away with the B and C races though. AND with some sort of ranking of individual riders. I've seen guys out here finish top-5 in the B series for 2-3 years in a row. Move up already sandbaggers.
Dec 17, 2002 11:01 AM
guten morgen von der "Front Range"

I lived in Hamburg / Eimsbuttel for some time, and raced a bit there. I've seen the local / club / regional structure in Europe and it is very comprehensive and understandable.

Unfortunately what the others are trying to say is that you cannot compare the EU clubs system to USA racing, because in the US there is no coherent regional / local structure at all. It is utter chaos due to a multitude of issues. Mainly because USA Cycling has been so ineffectual at grassroots racing promotions for the past two decades. They have done a number of things to try to solve this, but unfortunately every time they do, it seems that more "splinter" organizations break off and do their own thing. This has led to anarchy. It means that as a Cat 3 (Hobby) or Cat 1-2 (Elite) amateur racer, you may travel to a different region and your license will mean nothing to that out-of-region promoter. Couple this with very wide ranges of ability from region to region: someone who is a Cat 3 in California or Colorado could easily race Pro/1/2 in Iowa or Wisconsin, for example. This leads to a lot of issues, "sandbagging" not the least of them.

For example, my ACA (Colorado regional federation) Cat 3 license means nothing to the USCF - they don't recognize the ACA or their categorization, although some promoters and officials here in the West that run USCF events will (even more confusing, eh?). This means that if I decide to race at National Calendar events, such as Sea Otter or Tour de Toona, I must buy a 1-day license and race as a 4, even though as a Colorado 3 I'm probably as strong as many of the 2s in the Women's Open race. How is this fair to the "true" 4s in those events? I have seen many, many examples of this at NCS events, including well-known MTB pros racing in Cat 4. Often it's the big prize lists at these events that draws them out, and one cannot blame these racers for going for such low-hanging fruit. Let's see: shall I race against the UCI global trade teams like T-Mobile, Saturn and Rona in the Women's 1/2/3 or sandbag for a $5000 prize list in the 4s? For the promoter this is an endless dilemma: if they don't put up the prize list, no one shows up. If they do, they get all sorts of flak about sandbaggers.

For what it's worth, I agree that U.S. Senior Nationals 'Cross should be an Elite-only affair (Cat 1 only men, Cat 1-2 women, just like Road/Crit Sr. Nats). Masters and Juniors Nats to be held separately, just as it is with the other USCF events.

Also, if we had a better state / regionals recognition / points structure it would help significantly with things like ranking. There was some push a few years ago within the USCF to do "categorized" regional AND national rankings and events; unfortunately it died with the institution of the regional rep program, which even the USCF has admitted was an utter failure.

Does this help?
Dec 17, 2002 2:17 PM
Here's a thought...

USA Cycling has the rules for cyclocross course design here:

GaleForce did not meet those requirements in the Saturday races. Therefore, they did not uphold their end of the transaction of paying for the race fee. If you paid by credit card, dispute the charge. You paid for something that you did not receive. What the hell. It might work.
The AtpJunkie is right ... ! THANXatpjunkie
Dec 17, 2002 4:57 PM
but hell I'm a fit f*^er myself. just a fit 230+. I can maybe slimdown to 220 or so but I'm just a big dude. I haven't weighed 130 since I was 12. I was 6'3" 175lbs with 5% body fat at 15. 4 years of football, 3 of waterpolo and 2 rowing crew (and the muscle gained) and I'll never break 200 again unless I'm stricken. (knock on wood)