21 December 2005

'Crossing categories

As much as I may not like the idea of 'cross categories, I'll obviously be abiding by the USA Cycling rules next season. And honestly, by introducing upgrading to 'cross, it may make the racing that much more interesting to watch -- at the very least, it will weed out some of the sandbaggers in the Bs who should be racing in the A category already. At least I'll have a 3-season head start on them!

Anyway, one of the things that struck me as a bit odd was that I am a Cat. 1 in Cyclocross. While I'm honored to have this distinction, I'm not entirely sure it's fair. Any look at the results of local Chicago and Wisconsin 'cross races will tell you -- there are about 15 regular racers, and I'm probably only about 8th or 9th best out of them. On a great day with a super-small field, I have won (twice); and on the best 'cross day of my life I was battling for a podium; but for the most part, I'm just hammering away, hoping not to get lapped before the bell for the final lap.

And the Chicago Cup and WCA have nothing on the depth in the hotbeds of 'cross on the East and West Coasts. (OK, that's not entirely true. We have Matt Kelly, Kurt Refsnider, Jim Holmes, Bobby Williamson and a few others.) So in the grand scheme of the domestic 'cross scene, I'm a nobody. But I'm a Cat. 1.

So what to do? I think USA Cycling should have done this a bit differently. At the top level of the sport, anyone with UCI points or high placings in the National Championships should be Cat. 1s. The rest of us -- the NORBA Experts, the USCF road Cat. 1s and 2s -- should start off as Cat. 2s, and battle for Cat. 1 status. Run all the Cat. 1s and 2s together in the same race -- including the Championships -- and score us appropriately based on the upgrade points system. (Heck, you could even score us separately within the same race if you wanted to ensure parity.) I think this would make the racing just that much more exciting, and would reserve the Cat. 1 status for the elite of the elite, the way it should be.

I suppose ultimately it doesn't matter, as the 1s and 2s will all be racing together, at least for the foreseeable future. But won't it be cool if we get such huge fields that it has to be split? At that point, can I really say I'm on the same level is Tree Farm, or Gulli, or Matt Kelly?



Anonymous said...

seperating the categories is the fairest way to do it, to all, which means that the Brian Conant's of the cross scene will actually have to "compete", and not sandbag in the "B" races like he has done for the past years.

Chris said...

OK, this is the second time someone has come down on Brian in the space of this blog. Once I can let slide, but twice is too much: I don't mind opinions and free conversation, but don't hide behind "anonymous." If you don't like the way Brian does things, deal with it in a more constructive and stand-up manner.

And yes, categories are the fairest way to do it, I just think the USA Cycling "algorythm" is a bit wacked is all.

Steve Driscoll said...

Chris, havent reviewed your blog in a while, when you said you like to "write" you were not kidding! I am officially on my way to being non-fat for next year, still have the broken left tibia, and found out last friday that I have broken one of the screws in my left tibia, at the ankle! Pretty cool huh??? Looking forward to 06, and I'll complete my blog one of these days as well stevendriscoll.blogspot.com