ACA - Colorado Cyclocross Changes for 2010 and 2011

We just got this news release from the ACA about changes for this year and issues that will be addressed in 2011.

This fall has seen unprecedented growth in cyclocross here in Colorado. It is fantastic to see so many racer entering the sport and see many riders moving up through the ranks. This growth has also caused some issues as well. Brian Graves of Frites en Mayo and the ROL Neutral Mechanics program summed it up best this past weekend by stating, “Sadly, we are victims of our own success” As a result of this growth and it’s corresponding issues, ACA will be looking at some major changes to the structure of the cyclocross race weekend for 2011. The current primary goals for the 2011 season will be:

1. Subdivide the SM35+ Cat 4 in some fashion (frequently 100+ racers)
2. Separate the SM 45+ from SW Open
3. Allow for clear, distinct course inspection times

Additionally, starting this weekend, the officials at ACA races will be instituting some changes based on feedback from riders, officials and promoters. These changes are interpretations based on current rules and policies that can be found in the ACA Rulebook and Policy Manual and have been reviewed by the ACA Technical Committee.

First, in order to address the issue of warm ups and course previews:

"Based on rules and At the discretion of the Chief Referee, racers are permitted to preview the course at the following times:

1. When the leader finishes his/her race racers may preview by following the last rider on course until 5 min before the next scheduled race start.
2. After the final rider starts his/her race racer may preview following that last rider for 1-2 laps (see below)

This means riders previewing may only do so behind the last rider and in front of the race leader. The course will be closed to non-racers after 2 laps have been completed OR EARLIER BASED ON CHIEF REFEREE’S DISCRETION. If a rider is unsure about the course status they should check with officials at either the start or finish before entering the course. Racers who violate these procedures (including passing the last rider or previewing within sight of the race leader) will:

1. Be kindly asked to remove themselves from the course by an official or course marshal.
2. If a rider fails to exit the course after being asked to do so he/she will be sanctioned based on rule 14.3 which include disqualification and/or suspension"

Mechanics of enforcement: Riders will be allowed on course at the finish line after the lead rider finishes. Previewing riders will be held at the starting area beginning 5 min before the next race start. They will be released from the start 30-seconds to 1 min after the last racer exits the grid. After the first 2 laps of a race the course is closed (or earlier based on CR discretion). Anyone caught previewing will be subject to CR discipline.

Second, to better accommodate and score large groups or groups that have multiple categories racing at the same time:

Chief Referees have been advised to delay race starts if the first race of the day has lap times under 6 minutes. This delay will be in place until the promoting group(s) lengthens the course to be longer than 6 minutes. For Cross Cup races this time is suggested to be raised to 6.5 minutes per lap.

The ACA Board of Directors, Technical Committee and staff appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience as these items are implemented in the coming weeks.

Best of luck to all those racing and spectating this cyclocross season,

Jon Tarkington
ACA Executive Director

News Item: 


Manditory Upgrade points are Low

Place in the top 3 at a few races and you will be upgraded.
Good riders get moved up rather quickly with the current upgrade rules. No need to change them. You should have some experience before moving up to a 3.

Question is what happens to all the 35+ 4s after they upgrade? 35+ Open should be over flowing.

45+ 4s - Road side added that category a few years ago. At some Road Races, it the second biggest group...

They go to the three's or do

They go to the three's or do 2-3 races and quit. A few go to the 35+ and stick it out. If your bored, check results of racers that upgraded last year and you will see this trend. This is why some have advocated for 35+3. I think it takes a significant amount of work and training to get to the top of the 35+4s and success in 35+ takes a few years to build into. As Jon mentioned, adding cats is off the table.

Isn't it supposed to be hard?

Speaking as a 35+4 that moved up to 3s this year, I have finished in the bottom half or bottom third of the field at every race. While I would like to be finishing higher (after all, we race because we are competitive people), I have always worked under the assumption that upgrading was supposed to be hard. So, while my goal was a top 5 every weekend last year, this year my goal is to get stronger each week and enjoy racing against some really fast people. Next year, my goal will be the same and so on. It’s been said before but seems appropriate here: the joy of racing should be in the effort, not necessarily in the result (though I wouldn’t mind winning a race or two eventually). Maybe we should spend our efforts on something really useful like controlling the weather so that we could get some proper ‘cross conditions.

My Answer

I dont want to speak for Doug but for me when I moved up I tried both 3s and 35+. 35+ is faster than the 3s. I could be middle of the pack in the 3s or bottom third in the 35+. I felt like I was more competitive and actually racing in the 3s versus dangling off the back of the pack in the 35+.

Second that

My feeling is similar, I race 35+ because of schedule and I prefer racing against a faster field. I think the front end of both fields is pretty close to the same speed, but the 3's field has a greater range of speed. Even the back of the 35+ is pretty fast!

35+ vs SM3

For me it seemed like a more logical step considering a big chunk of the dudes finishing well in 35+ are either cat 1's or 2's (it has that retired ex-pro feel to it). In reading some of the other posts I found it interesting that people were saying that there is nowhere to go for the 35+ 4’s and that many drop out of racing after moving up. I’m wondering if most of those guys went straight to 35+ and found that dangling off the back was a bitter pill to swallow after leading or winning races in 35+ 4? If that's the case and winning races was the only part of the sport that they enjoyed, then I guess (for them) there is not much point in doing it any more.


That's a tough one. Eliminating the BCR/Cross Cup in 4s would help reduce sandbagging, but the competition also helps drive turnout and make things more interesting.


So, which group do you propose to cut from the day, or how does the day change to make it work? Don't just say what needs to be done, propose ideas on how it's to be done. I don't agree that it will make a difference in 35+ cat4 field sizes though.