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CX race Promotion FAQ's....(5 posts)

CX race Promotion FAQ's....unclefuzzy_ss
Nov 19, 2003 2:15 PM
I know that this has been asked before, but it may be good to have something permanent that we can click on for this topic. Seems to come up pretty regularly.

On to my question: I've promoted MTb races before and would like to do a CX race. What are the specific rules that I'd need to abide by(if any)? Any suggestions from experienced promoters out there?
re: CX race Promotion FAQ's....richpierce
Nov 19, 2003 3:47 PM
ummm, these are not rules just my preferences, designed to keep the homies happy. You can go to USA Cyclings site and see the regs. I too have promoted many MTB races, a couple road events, and am putting on some cross races now. here's my machine gun of do's and don'ts:

Make the course about 3k in length and keep as much of it visible to spectators as possible. Avoid all singletrack if possible and never use more than 50 yards at a stretch. Start on pavement and give a turn or two before the first barrier to allow the pack to string out. Place the barriers on false flats or flats on the grass or in a rolly section. It's too painful to grind to a stop on a hill, dismount, and "hop" over a barrier. No rocks or loose gravel, nothing to cause flats. No artificial or unnecessary mud. No running on pavement. Make the course loop back on itself so the racers can see their competition. If possible have the pit stop accessible twice in a lap. Don't use barriers that can be knocked down, nor barriers taller than 16" (40 cm) and place them at least 12 feet apart. Score everyone and don't pull lapped riders. Tape or flag the entire course, no arrows at all. Clearly announce when there is 2 laps or 1 lap left, etc.
Some Good Advice. Other SuggestionsDoc Hollywood
Nov 19, 2003 7:01 PM
My advice having put on several cross races:
*Instead of Course Length of about 3km, make the course length so that fast elite/pro riders will complete a lap in 6 minutes. This gives 10 laps/hour in a 60 minute race. A 45 minute race will be 6 or 7 laps, and a 30 minute races 4 laps. Remember a 30 minute race generally will have the slower riders completing a lap in roughly 7 to 8 miutes on average. Adding turns can make a "short course" run longer.
*The start does not have to be on pavement and does not have to be where the finish is. Make the start as wide as possible. If you can select an area that can get >10 riders abreast, that is ideal. I have been to too many races that have only 5 riders abreast and 15 rows deep. A guaranteed crash in the start and the race is basically over for all but the first few riders.
*The start should have a decent length of relatively straight terrain before any turn or obstacle. This allows the field to "string out" before having to slow down and avoids major bottlenecks. I can't stand having the first turn or barrier less than 300 feet from the start.
*Select locations for barriers that make sense. One does not necessarily have to put a barrier at the bottom of a hill. On a hill without a barrier, some riders will try to ride it, while others will opt to run it. Make them choose, not force them. I like to put barriers just after a set of turns while the riders are going slow, sometimes a far apart set on a longer, faster stretch so that some riders may elect to bunny hop, while others dismount. Sometimes I put a barrier at the bottom of a small hill between two fast areas to make the riders go through a transition.
*The finish should be in apart of the course that allows a decent sprint (200 ft straight)
*Incoporate some off-camber stuff on grass. This separates those with good bike handling skills.
*Some single-track is ok, but keep as much of the course as possible at least 10 feet wide; even the turns. Riders should be able to pass in almost every section of the course.
*Keep the MTB terrain to a minimum. Some MINOR rough stuff is okay, but rooty and rocky courses IMO is not in the spirit of cross.
*Riding/running through sand is always fun. Keep the length of the "Sandbox" to no longer than 40 feet though.
*A good course design has various sections; fast/flat, elevation change, and technical. Technical can be a bunch of twisty turns on a flat section of grass/field.
*Make sure the officials calculate the number of laps in a race based on the time of the first COMPLETE lap. If the riders start at a different location than the finish, have the Officials start the lap time as the riders cross the finish for the 1st time and end as the riders cross it the second time. The number of laps is then Race Length/lap time. For example 30 minute race and 7 minute laps equals 4 laps. The extra two minutes or so is the time it takes to get from the start to the finish. Don't forget, the lead riders will finish near 30 minutes, but the remainder of the field could cross the line up to another 7 minutes later.
*Have enough time between each race to allow the "stragglers" to finish, allow the officials to determine the placings of the just finished race, warm-up time for the next race, and the officials time to ready for the next race. I recommend at least 20 minutes between each race, a minimum of 15 minutes.

Good Luck and Have Fun.

Excellent advice, and moretriangleforge
Nov 20, 2003 7:41 AM
In addition to the great info above, be sure to check out the NECCS Technical Guide link at:

It's a great primer on both the UCI regs for 'cross courses (which are good guidlines, even if you're not putting on a UCI race), and design philosophy, which you'll find echos much of the advice you've gotten in this thread.

Thanks a tons guys....unclefuzzy_ss
Nov 20, 2003 10:55 AM
I'll put all this to good use. HOpe I'll have time next year to do this!