Well hey, I’d been toying with starting a blog for a while there. I even had a bunch of semi-relevant posts mentally queued up. Some were even positive. But then the new UCI calendar came out and was full of so much weirdness that I caved to Ryan Kelly’s demand to address it RIGHT FREAKING NOW.
Anyway, the important stuff: what’s changed, what’s weird, why should anybody care?
In case you missed the biggest news of the day, the first two stops of the 2015/16 World Cup season are going to be in North America. CrossVegas on September 16, then Montreal on September 19. Imagine how excited the Euros will be when they discover that North America is actually not like Europe at all, and that these two races, three days apart, are separated by nearly 3,000 miles (that’s 4800 kilometers for you metric folk).
World Cup logistics aside, there cannot be a C1 on the same date as a World Cup. So, Trek Cup, which has historically used that weekend, had to move. Totally fine, I’m from the East Coast and planned to race Charm City (Baltimore) that weekend. Except wait, no, Charm City has also moved, because while nobody was looking it became a C1 (which is awesome, and something the promoter has been seeking for a while – congrats to Kris). So, anyone not racing the World Cup (aka pretty much every cx racer in America) has no UCI race that weekend. But wait, where did the Trek Cup move to? Oh, just the following weekend, September 26. Date sound familiar? Perhaps because it’s also the same weekend as the East Coast’s most iconic race, GP Gloucester, and this little event called the Road World Championships, held in Richmond, VA this year. Wut?
Providence keeps its C1 status the following weekend, but mid-October’s Ellison Park race is back to being a C2. Once we get to the end of October, the real confusion begins. The four-week midwest stretch (Gateway – Cincy – Louisville – Iowa) that allowed (non-weekday job having) traveling racers to stay in the same part of the country (roughly) for a few weeks in a row is gone. Gateway is off the calendar, replaced by long-running but previously non-UCI DCCX on 10/25-26. The Cincy/Noho battle continues for another year on Halloween weekend, with Cincy retaining the C1. Louisville is also still a C1 and remains on the weekend after Cincy on 11/7-8, but Iowa is gone from the midwest stretch. Instead, the following weekend moves to Baltimore (not in the midwest) for Charm City Cross, is now a C1. At least the three-C1-in-a-row stretch is intact, I guess.
Wait, where did Iowa go? Only to the weekend of December 5, where it will compete with TWO other UCI events. New England’s long-running NBX Grand Prix, and where Bend used to be, there is now a Ruts and Guts race in Oklahoma with UCI status. While I wasn’t present at the promoters meeting, I can’t imagine what kind of conversation produced this particular setup. New midwest race competes with other, older, midwest race that’s also a C1 on the same weekend. So, Oklahoma was set up to fail? I had to consult a map to figure out how close Iowa and Oklahoma are to each other.
Turns out they’re not super close. BUT, how many mid-western UCI racers are there? Yea, I should probably be able to answer that question with, you know, numbers, but I can’t. My point is only that a new UCI race is put up against a C1 in the same region, on the same weekend, with a race also happening in New England. Oh, and there are ZERO UCI races happening the weekend before. Again, what went down at the promoter meeting that led to THREE races on one weekend and zero on the weekend immediately preceding it. But hey, I shouldn’t complain – split fields are great for scrub zone racers like me – more UCI points to go around. Maybe that was the purpose?
The Dallas race is back, competing with the North Carolina race this time on the weekend of December 12. Because, again, split fields.
Now, if I wanted to be really slick, I’d tie this into the million discussions about US Elite Nationals qualification criteria and the difficulty of obtaining UCI or ProCX points in different regions. OR how two super early season World Cups in North America is likely to have an impact on our ultimate Worlds team selection (externalities, my favorite). But that will have to wait for another day.
The cliff notes for people who don’t like to read a lot of words:
- There are fewer C1s this year. Boulder is out, Rochester is out. Charm City is in.
- North America is hosting two World Cups this year, which is awesome but created what appears to be scheduling disaster.
- A bunch of races moved dates and now exist on the same dates as the races that were there before. The promoter meeting was probably tense.
This year’s C1 races:
- Trek CX Cup 9/26
- KMC Cyclocross Festival 10/3
- Cincy 10/31
- Derby City 11/7
- Charm City 11/14
- Jingle Cross 12/5