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: 


Nice work, Jon

All of these developments are a positive for CX in Colorado. Well done, Jon, to listen to the racers and come up with workable solutions which will make the racing experience better and safer for everyone.

Jon is da 'man' Can ACA

Jon is da 'man'

Can ACA members see the proposed solutions to 45+, SW Open and breaking up the 35+4s before they are instituted? I am sure those involved would like to offer input. Perhaps a few representatives from these categories could be chosen. Just throwing out ideas.

2011 Objectives

I wish I were "da man"...If that were the case the I wouldn't be leaving this winter:)

A clarification:

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

...are all the current focal points for revising the 2011 schedule. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to add daylight in the coming weeks. Changing the schedule right now to separate combined course times would involve taking course time from other racers.

Luckily, cross expectations for categories are pretty clear for making these changes. Everyone wants a clear course and to have between 50-80 racers on the course in any given time frame. Achieving this by squeezing more groups into an already full late fall day is the big dilemma. Perhaps for the 2011 Cross Cup it will take a two day format that is structured to allow people to race both days with only one in their specialized category??? (i.e. a SM55+ would race SM55+ one day and with the SM45+ the other)

Don't split

Nice work addressing the warm up issue. I'm usually suspect of dramatic change in response to a highly publicized event, but these changes are for the better and thought clearly went into the ultimate decision.

As to next year, I don't think "splitting" fields is the answer. If you look at the typical combined number of entrants in 35+4 and 35+ open, its a good number of people for two fields. It's not a problem of not enough fields, it's a problem of distribution. The answer is to even out the distriubion by moving more people out of 35+4. And I think the solution is pretty easy. Under the current policy, in a race with eleven riders, upgrade points are awarded 4 deep (i.e.,. the top 1/3rd of the field), with 4 points to the winner. In a race with 100 riders, points are awarded 6 deep with 7 points to the winner. Award more and go far deeper in big races (which most 35+4 races are), and far more riders will be moved through to 35+open (or senior 3, which also has space). Go 15 deep in a field of 100, and that's still only the top 15% earning upgrade points.

One caveat though - if something like this is done, I think most mandatory upgrades should not kick in until the end of the year (it maybe have to be different the first year, just to relieve the pressure). Someone who busts their ass training for a year to have a good Cross Cup campaign should be able to enjoy the reward for the season, instead of being forced up after 3 5th place finishes.

Just Upgrade

I'm glad at least one of the commentators recognizes that the field sizes in the 35+ cat 4 races isn't just due to the amount of riders at the back of the field. Plenty of riders at the front of the field need to be moving into another category.

The cat 4 category used to be a developmental category. As soon as riders were successful in this field, they either were automatically upgraded or recognized that a respectful finish in the cat 3 field was more impressive that a podium finish in the 4s.

Unfortunately, there aren't great incentives to upgrade for the 35+ cat 4s.

The BCR competition needs to be eliminated for this field. There is no glory in being the series champion for a cat 4 field. In addition, the cat 3 and regular cat 4 start times need to be moved up in the day. Both of these fields were about half the size of the 35+ cat 4 field at Blue Sky and both will offer higher levels of competition. However, I completely understand the disinterest in waiting around all day to jump into one of these races. If these fields returned to their start times from a few years ago, the sizes would likely increase. I'm still not sure why this was changed. It seems like the powers that be were fixing something that wasn't broken.

On a final note, if you are racing in a cat 4 field, any cat 4 field, with carbon tubular wheels, you need to upgrade. Period. It's your punishment for having more dollars than sense.

I like the first part but not the second

while I could race 35+/4, I choose to race mens 4 for a few reasons. First, they're faster - or at least it seems like it. Secondly, the field sizes are easily 2/3's the size of the 35/4's. This makes it considerably more fun to race (less crowded), I feel safer and there are far fewer "know it all" d-bags.

The times were changed due to more masters racers having kids racing (they race early) than those in the "regular" 3's / 4's.

forgot to mention

the fact that 4's (or other cats) race with carbon tubular rims really has little bearing on a necessity to upgrade. I'm a fairly (maybe?) successful dude with 2 kids. Cycling is my escape from the stress of my job, family and the rest of the world. So even though I can put down a couple Ben Franklins on a nice wheelset, I shouldn't because I'm a cat 4 (and probably always will be without time to train properly/efficiently)? That makes a bunch of sense

I just want to compete and have FUN.

When you guys figure this all out, let me know the outcome. I'll be there, in some class, riding around in circles and suffering, and loving it. Don't matter to me what you come up with. I'm not the greatest rider out there as far as placement goes or natural ability, but I win every week on the fun podium....this entire discussion started because someone got hurt, not because the fields were too big, reel it all back in, close the course to warming up during races, and fight the good fight.

We all want to have fun

But it tends to be less fun when you're stuck starting at the back of a field of 110, there's a 45 second traffic jam at the first funnel, and you spend the first three laps picking your way through a jammed field. When one field typically has 100 riders, and the upgrade field typically has 40, there's a pretty obvious way to help more people have more fun.