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I am curious as to what cyclocross people think about the prospect of moving Nationals to January with the rest of the world.

I remember reading somewhere that Steve Johnson said there aren't enough cyclists that focus on cyclocross to make it worthwhile at this point, that most crossers are just mountain bikers or road racers (I think I saw this in CX Magazine actually).

Is it possible that there aren't those who are focusing on cross because it requires going to Europe after nationals and that if our national season was longer we would see a sudden surge in cross as a focus discipline here in the US?

Tags: Cyclocross, Nationals

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Another 4 weeks of cross? Yeah I'll be down with that.
I am all in favor of a longer cross season - in fact here in Colorado we have Cult Cross in January to keep us going a bit longer. But I think the December timing of Nationals is advantageous for a couple of reasons. One - it allows riders who will be likely selections for World's to get some solid time in Europe if they wish over the Christmas-Cross bonanza. Two - It is timed to give serious international racers an opportunity to come back to the States to compete without destroying the rest of their season. Three - in theory it could give jersey winners time to sport their new attire and take advantage of their winning form while wearing said stars and bars.

A longer cross season in the US would be better served by continuing to have top-flight events (say USGP and/or NACT) that continue over December and January. This would provide a number of benefits to racers - allowing them to race as national champions with the form that won them the title rather than whatever form they come up with a year later; keeping US racers competitive for worlds or other international events in January and February. Cyclocross is the only national title that is won at the very end of the season - road, track, mtb, etc. - host their events so that there are prime opportunities for newly-crowned champions to make the most of their win.

And, of course, as mentioned by the original poster it would allow more racers to specialize and concentrate on cross season, as well as bringing more money into this fastest-growing segment of cyclesport. To be honest, I see no way that anyone looses here...
I wonder just how many US-based racers this would affect, who could actually AFFORD to take advantadge of another 4 weeks of racing. How many people who go to nationals actually go on to race in Europe? Are there enough big-time racers to catch the attention of advertisers whose money helps to support the activity? If I were a marketing director for a sponsoring company that supports 'cross, I'd certainly want to see those numbers.
My idea was more in line with a longer US Cross season would possibly see more racers focus on cross solely and then they would have money left over from the road and/or mtb racing they weren't doing in order to focus on cross

Would it be the case if we had a longer season either by moving nationals to January along with the rest of the world (except Canada) or by having high profile UCI events like the USGP's and NACT's in January that we would see the switch to pure cross racers in the US that isn't happening at the moment.

Lance - I like your proposal a lot. Don't change when Nationals is, but rather add more USGP's to the schedule after nationals and NACT's to make our season longer. There are already a number of late season cross races around the country (NC, AZ, TX) but none of them are big events or UCI events which probably limits participation for non-locals in the elite categories.
I also like this idea of extending the USGP series without moving Nats. It gives racers the option as to where and HOW they wish to extend their season. It also takes into account the statistical reality that winter weather tends to degrade more throughout much of the northern US in January, making travel more difficult for many racers. Perhaps we could add a couple more USGP races in the southern tier in December, as a way to give racers' legs a bit of a climate break before the big push to Worlds (for those who qualify).
I like Lance's idea.

As to the question on who can afford cross for another 4 weeks? Well people would just shift their spending. Instead of doing a full road/mtb season, they would start later (since they are still racing cross till jan) and end earlier (to take a break) before hitting the cross season. People won't really be spending any more money. Like for me, I'm going to skip out on buying a new road bike since road season no longer is my main focus. I can get by on what I have and rather spend that money on cross stuff.
Don't be surprised if you see us put some real effort behind the longer season in years to come. I personally, and my company by extension, are very dedicated to cyclocross and have been working on building some partnerships to see the Hüdz-Subaru team grow for next year, and to see cyclocross in general really booms over the next couple years and settles into a sustainable growth curve. As a sponsorship-driven sport the longer season will be a double-edged sword: we can promote your company longer and in more places, but it also costs more to race the longer schedule. The big benefit is that more races (and of course more high-profile races) can only help get this sport into the American gestalt.

It looks like I'm going to be heading to Bend for nationals, and if that happens we'll definitely be getting a group of rabble-rousers together to plot and scheme how to keep things growing and how to build out the season more. Heck why settle for just more races in December and January?...
Lance that sounds great for sure. I would not be surprised if there were not interested parties at my tean, Pioneer Racing, that would want to be part of that group of rabble rousers at Bend!
We are working on putting together a working group to get this sorted if you have a representative from your team or you know a race director who would like to participate let me know.

lance@grabthehudz.com
Why not? If it assures that EVERY race will take place on black ice, I'm all for it. The only problem with Bend (aside from being impossible get to, that is), was that the damn near impossible conditions were only there for like one solid day. Then they shoveled dirt and rocks onto the tacky mud corners on Saturday! Love it!

I say nats in January, only in places SIX hours from an international airport, and ONLY when they make the first 180 after a road starting straight TWO bikes wide, rather than THREE. Man, we're all getting soft.
Impossible to get to Bend??? Direct connections from Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake CIty, San Francisco.

Having driven the Portland- Bend route more than 30 times usually takes 3.5 hours and maybe 5 hours max in the middle of the worst stormy winter day.

Finally, I say it was almost unanimous that Bend was a better event than Kansas City, unless one was from there I suppose.

No course will please everyone, but for those whose like it 'tough', I don't think it was 'easy' on any day. Just ask Jeremy Powers who lost his lead (and race) on the slippery off camber strait.

Yes, let's keep racing in January, Nat or otherwise!!!
As the promoter of a January race in a warm climate (lonestarcyclocross.com), this would be huge for me. With the prospect of Worlds in Louisville in 2013, it seems to only make sense that we extend our domestic season to correspond.

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