2011 Colorado cyclocross promoter meeting minutes

Thanks to the ACA for sharing the meeting minutes from the recent ACA promoters meeting. Decisions here will effect the 2011 Cyclocross season so read carefully

2011 Cross Promoters Meeting
February 26, 2011
Golden Visitors Center

Minutes by Chris McGee

Chris McGee introduced himself as the new Executive Director and welcomed promoters to the meeting. He
noted the growth and quality of Colorado cross in the last years, with racer numbers over 9,000 for 2010 and
nearly 30 medals at Cross Nationals awarded to Colorado racers of all ages and categories.

As part of the effort to encourage promoters to use the services of local on-line registration providers, Alan
Enos from Madsync and Lucas McCain of PreRace described their online pre-registration services to cross
promoters. The services of Clint & Clark at SignUp365 were also noted. Promoters, please look at our local
providers when creating your online registration.

Bill Barr recognized Jon Tarkington’s role in the ACA’s recent success and financial stability.

Jon Tarkington took over as chair for the meeting, and began by asking all promoters to introduce themselves
and give their opinion as to why Colorado cyclocross racers are finding so much success at the national (and
international) level. Answers included (in no particular order):

  • ACA has 40-50 teams that provide support for many skill levels and are committed to junior and
    development programs.
  • Our good weather and altitude contribute to excellent training.
  • The diversity of hard, quality courses gives racers the opportunity to experience a variety of cross
  • Full length races help our athletes prepare for shorter races in other settings.
  • Many Colorado racers focus on Nationals for their season.
  • Top end talent for local racing provides pressure for our racers to get better. Colorado a magnet for high
    end cycling talent.
  • Cross attracts road, mountain, and tri athletes – brings lots of talent together.
  • Back to back racing most weekends (for juniors too) lets racers improve quickly.
  • Colorado’s cycling culture brings passion and commitment to the sport.
  • The Boulder cross training rides help riders of all levels to improve.

Lots of new, fast faces keep the fields growing and getting faster.
Lots of support between clubs on race day, including help in the pits.

Jon urged the promoters to keep these ideas in mind as we proceeded with the meeting. Jon’s view is that
cyclocross in Colorado is at a crossroads. The growth of the sport is forcing field sizes to be very large, this
causes difficulties for officials and impacts the racer experience. Do we allow 200+ field sizes? Do we limit
field sizes to 80 or 100? Where do we go and how do we shape cross in Colorado?

Jon suggested going to a 2-day schedule for Cross Cup events (as was the model for 2010 State
Championships). Many racers (66% of survey respondents) choose to race only 1 day per weekend, so a 2-day
schedule would not impact race participation numbers. Fields could be given their own time on the schedule
without combining. Officials and many racers would benefit. While the benefits of the 2-day schedule were
not seriously debated, there was very little interest from the promoters in promoting such a schedule given the
additional work and cost involved, and the inability to secure most venues for 2 days. The 2-day schedule did
not pass.

Brian Hludzinski made comments regarding the importance of holding Cross Cup promoters to the published
Cross Cup standards, especially regarding course width to 3 meters, the use of big venues, course length to a
minimum of 7 minutes, perhaps go to 8.5 minute laps, and make sure there is a separate start grid. Cross Cup
races are supposed to be the best events on the schedule and promoters have a responsibility to ensure this is the

The separate start grid is very important for our cross race day schedule, as it allows staging while other racers
are finishing. This allows promoters/officals to start the next race on schedule while allowing riders to finish.
This solution is better than the USAC/UCI policy of pulling riders from the field (which is antithetical to a
grassroots organization).

Lynn Taylor asked – could we use a standardized number schedule for Cross Cup races (ie, SM P,1 2 always
wear 1-125, SM 3 always 150 – 300, etc). Promoters liked this suggestion and would like to use it for all cross
races (except those with radically different schedules). Brian Hludzinski has generated and used a number
system that will be reviewed by the Board’s Technical Committee and then implemented for 2011.

The season calendar was finalized based on promoters’ first choices and an impressive level of cooperation
during the meeting. It is important to note that the two promoters that put in for State Championships came to
an agreement in which DBC Events withdrew, providing Alpha Bicycle Company with the opportunity to
promote the championship race.

The ACA cross season will run from the Sept 10th weekend thru December 18th (and perhaps through December
31st). No Cross Cup races will be allowed before Oct 1.

The difficulty of call-ups was discussed. Brian Hludzinski suggested that we use the free services of
www.crossresults.com, a website that tracks cross results. Jon agreed that this system would work well, as
many races in other parts of the country are using it. Pending approval from the new Cross Committee, we will
use crossresults.com for non-Cross Cup races. The call-ups for the first Cross Cup race in 2011 will be based
on 2010 Cross Cup results.

Bill spoke about the new timing system. As with the rollout of any new technology and system, this system will
require patience and determination on the part of the ACA staff, promoters, officials and racers. Cross
promoters should be able to learn from the example set by road promoters earlier in the season, especially how
to deal with rental and one-day chips. For 2011, chips are required for Cross Cup races. Brian Hludzinski
noted that his use of the chips at a race in the fall of 2010 was very good (His actual quote was “It’s awesome.”)

Many observations were noted:

  • The growth of the singlespeed category and its likelihood to continue growing.
  • Race fields are biggest between 9 and Noon.
  • Boulder-based racing is significant in comparison to the rest of the state. At most events, half of the
    participants are from Boulder. Cross Cup races in 2010 tended to draw larger fields outside of Boulder
    than non-Cross Cup fields outside of Boulder.
  • SM 35+ Cat 4 is the largest category.
  • The rule that forbids pre-riding was very effective at reducing course clutter and bad interactions.
  • Cross Cup 2011 will likely be 6 races.
  • How do we upgrade sandbaggers out of 35+ Cat 4?
  • Events after State Championships do not draw many racers. Hard to promote with less revenue. This is
    in conflict with our desire/need to have a longer schedule that includes races before US National
    Championships (Jan 4-8, 2012 in Madison, Wisconsin – be ready for cold and ice!)
  • Perhaps we could have three defined race day schedules:
    - Longest race day schedule before time change
    - Medium race day schedule after time change
    - Short race day schedules after States so promoters could run a half day (smaller combined
  • The suggestion was raised – are we ready for two races on one day? The consensus was not until we
    can draw 800 – 1000 people to a single event.
  • Dual-permitted (both USAC and ACA) days are very difficult. The best system created thus far is the
    race day schedule used by Chris Grealish at the Boulder Cup. The suggestion was made that other dual-
    permitted events should use this schedule.

    Jon mentioned specific areas that need to be addressed:

  • Different skill levels within the same field or combined fields.
  • The race day schedule needs retooling.
  • How to structure the race day for women.
  • Make sure the proposed call-up process will work.

To make 2011 work more smoothly, a Cross Committee was established to work on these issues. Members of
this committee are: Tony Panigutti, Bill Teasdale, Melissa Marts, Brian Hludzinski, Chris Grealish, Tim
Madden, Lynn Taylor, Frank Harney and Chris McGee. Chris will contact members and organize the meeting.

Discussion was ended and meeting adjourned at 3:35.

Attendees: Cade Bickmore, Lynn Bush , Galen Classen, Alan Enos, Zak Grabowski, Brian Graves, Chris
Grealish, Frank Harney, Brian Hludzinski, Cory Kramer, Glenn Light, Tim Madden, Melissa Marts, Lucas
McCain, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Miller , Davin Neubacher , Rob Noble, Tony Panigutti, Dale Riley, Doug
Robinson , Adam Rachubinski, Doug Richard, Tim Sandell, Brad Schneider , Tim Shea, Bill Teasdale, Jason
Trujillo, Rich Visscher, Talitha Vogt, Lee Waldman

ACA Board Members Present: Bill Barr, Clint Bickmore, Timothy Lynch, Lynn Taylor, Kayla Thomason

ACA Staff: Chris McGee, Yvonne van Gent, Jon Tarkington, Bruce Whitesel

News Item: 


Cross Cup Races.

I am firmly opposed to having only 6 Cross Cup races and do not see the point of limiting the number from last year. With around 15 weeks of racing we should see at least 10 races. One big issue is that limiting the number of races will prevent the cream from rising to the top. If the top rider in a given Cat. misses a race due to illness or has a mechanical during a race, there is a good chance he/she might finish the season outside the top 8 places in the Cross Cup. The Cross Cup is to established the best riders, so we need ample number of races to prevent one race from dramatical changing the overall results.

In addition, Cross Cup races are better attended. The goal of cross in our state is to promote more and better races with higher attendance. The 6 Cross Cup races with be the highest attended races while many of the non Cross Cup races with have low attendance. Having more races is better for the racers and the promoters.

I'm curious how the ACA will

I'm curious how the ACA will deal with DNFs in the Crossresults system. We've never kept track of them and reported DNFs to the Website or ours. Without including them wouldn't some people just quit if they mechanical or flat? In the past you would see people running their bikes and finishing 20-30 places behind where they should have finished. This wouldn't make a lot of sense when a DNF would be better than getting a score well above your average. Not all of us have an extra bike in the pit.

2nd. Wouldn't Crossresults cause other call-up problems? Say a racer becomes very focused in training and on skills in the off season. If they come out flying they may spend half the season strapped to the poor scores from the previous year. Though they would deserve a 1st row call-up, they may not get one at all until November depending on how many races they did.

3rd. Sometimes it takes weeks for ACA results to post on Crossresults. By using this system we would require officials to download the most current lists and print them. The data will certainly be outdated on consecutive racing days.

BTW, I'm not a hater. I love crossresults.com and I have spent hours on it and I bought a tee shirt from Colin to support the site. I just have some concerns and questions that I hope can be answered.

Dnf's matter

Regarding DNF's and Crossresults.com, the ACA will just have to report DNF's. Crossresults does factor them in. If we did this last year the problem would have been distinguishing DNS's for people who pre-register and don't show from real DNF's. However this year with transponders that distinction should be easy.

Lastly Crossresults does weight the most recent results more heavily than older results.

Cross Cup races

Only 6 Cross Cup races for the season. That's lame. Why even have a Cross Cup when only 6 races qualify? I think 10 or 12 Cup races would make more sense. How bout 12 Cross Cup races and throw out a riders worst two performances? - 10 races used for score. Or 10 Cup races and throw out the worst two? 6 races is not enough.

Cross Cup & Call ups

If there are to only be 6 Cross Cup races then I think there needs to be a different call-up system designed where the results from non-CC races have some influence, both in the CC races but especially outside of the CC races. If a promoter has a series, they do their own call up system if it's not a CC race but many are 1-day promoters. Otherwise, you have only 6 races influencing where a rider starts. Referencing the words of an earlier post, if one is sick or has a mechanical or two then they are practically pigeon-holed in the start grid no matter how well they do thereafter.

I am a big fan of the non-CC results contributing something like half the points/weight for overall standings and therefore having some influence over call-ups. This is something that was proposed last year to give some bearing/influence to one's results. This is even more essential if there will be only 6 CC races and just because you dont make all the CC races, doesnt mean you're a chump and neither are the non-CC promoters.

Cross Cup needs more races

I agree that 6 Cross Cup races aren't enough. One of the reason I like Cross Cup races is those are the events that the strong riders in my class show up for. Those are the riders that I want to compete against. If we are going to have more and more events that's great but there could be lots of weaker fields or days when the people you like racing against don't show. I liked having 10 or so key events last year where I knew there would be strong competition. I appreciate having important events to look forward to and I also like the lesser races and having a balance between them. This plan unbalances that situation with more unimportant races and only a few big one. I'm in favor of 8-10 CC races and dropping 1-2 worst results. The question is do we really have 10 big races. Some of last years CC events didn't meet the criteria in my opinion.

50% of weekends isn't enough?

Cross Cup races are not allowed before October. There are 11 race weekends this year in Oct, Nov, and Dec not including States. 2 of these weekends will include the USGP and the big Boulder Cup weekend. 6 Cup races is over 50% of the race weekends for the period they are allowed. One, I don't think it is appropriate to have 2 cup races in one weekend. Two, I don't think the cup should be an attendance contest. It's awesome that the posters here want to race more, but not everyone can pull off racing every single weekend in October and November. UCI World Cup is 8 races over 4 months. I would argue that 6 races is plenty of time for the cream to rise to the top. Part of racing cross is equipment choice, so some mechanicals are self-induced, and staying upright is also part of the game.

"I don't think the cup

"I don't think the cup should be an attendance contest." This drum is beaten year in, year out and it looks like you may have finally won out. I don't fully disagree, however, attendance should count for something and I personally like having a full load of races that count. The Boulder Racing series was 5 races last year, what would make the Cup more important than BR? Bigger trophy? Remember that there are racers in Colorado who just race (or care about) cyclocross and the ACA series. Traditionally a long points series in cross has been successful and very fun for most people. Why change it? Is there an effort to limit BAR/BAT to just a few races?

Better courses please

The course in the office park near (Erie? Superior?) last season was a joke. How much more un-inspiring could a bike race be? That was a VERY short track, 80% of which was on wet grass, 15% on sidewalks - super lame - not really a cyclocross course at all. It actually discouraged me from racing in any other Colorado races - which is sad.

Please - make more of an effort to come up with more interesting courses that are not surrounded by high rises and highways. Colorado has no shortage of open spaces, parks and farms - let's have races in these places instead. You might not only see an increase in participation, but spectators as well.

Veteran CX Racer, New to Colorado