Two years ago I SO wanted to race Cross Vegas. I would be at Interbike and so I figured might as well sweat to the Elvis at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex.
I missed out on the Wheelers and Dealers race as the field was already full so the only other way to race would be to hit up the USAC Men’s race. Turns out that race was for USA Cycling Cat 1-3 riders.
As a Cat 4, I figured I better get upgraded to a Cat 3 to race in the event. Prior to that season I had won a Cat 4 CX race (Black Cat) and I had several top 5 finishes in So Cal Cross “B” races.
Based on this Chart of Awesomeness, I figured I’d be able to upgrade to Cat 3.
I sent in my results to USA Cycling and I got the following reply.
Well shoot. You see, the only results that USA Cycling cared about were the results I obtained in races actually sanctioned by USA Cycling. That was probably about 3 races out of about 15-20 I had done up to that point.
The Top 5 finishes in B races? Like they never even happened.
I felt kind of like a student who took 2 years at Community College then transferred to a traditional 4-year school, only to find out I would have to start all over again from the beginning because my credits wouldn’t transfer.
But where does that leave us, the common, everyday, cyclocross enthusiast? I still wanna race my cross bike, but it would be nice to be able to race against like-minded competition.
When I found out that this season’s Cyclocross Nationals would be in Austin, TX, I was beyond stoked. Austin is an awesome city with great food, music, and BBQ (I guess that’s still falls under “food”). I have tons of family in Texas so there would be plenty to do, plenty of peeps to hang out with, and childcare. Because kids.
But the whole points thing reared it’s ugly head again. I technically COULD race Master’s 30-34 (didn’t think I could race Masters this early in life!?!) but I would have to once again, try to become a Cat 3. The Master’s race is for Cat 1-3.
So it was on for a chase for points. I had to find out where I could race USA Cycling races early enough in the season to get my upgrade.
Thank goodness for the West Sacramento GP CX race. This race was awesome. Great venue by the American River. Pretty sweet, swoopy course. Early enough in the season and USAC sanctioned to try and get some points.
So as a Cat 4, I raced Cat 4/5. Turns out I won. Now check out the email I got from USA Cycling right after the event!
The same body who turned down my upgrade request was now in effect saying “You’re a sandbagger. You better upgrade.” Well yeah! I wanted to earlier but you folks said No!
This is one of the unintended consequences of not having points carry over from one governing body to another. People end up racing against others of different ability. It ends up being a little unfair to everyone all around.
Later in the season, we did end up having another CX series down here in SoCal that was USAC sanctioned and with a couple more points I WAS able to get my upgrade to Cat 3.
So to all the promoters out there. Thank you for what you do. You really do make the sport happen for us enthusiasts. And to the governing bodies. Isn’t there some way we can all get along? Make points transferable. That seems like it would be an easy step. If you want to have some special formula or algorithm to modify the points, well I guess that would be a start. Otherwise you’ll get riders who are getting podiums in “A” elite races, gunning against Cat 4/5 riders during a USA Cycling event. Something to think about.
Nevertheless, I’m super stoked on getting the chance to race in Nationals and represent the peeps who support me. Check ’em out here.
I’ll be posting more frequently from Austin so stay tuned for pics and prose from the Lone Star State.
Thanks for reading.