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My ramblings and some well thought out controversial issues

I am not one to place blame and ramble on about one thing or another, but, if you find yourself reading my post you might be looking at my post looking to see if i have added any comment about some pet peve you have about cross and how it is run here in the states. I have only raced cross for one season, but in that one season i have come to realize that so much has changed in the sport of cycling as a whole. i have noticed that cross races aside from the big UCI races have become more or less grass track races with a few steep hills and some sand here and there. There are so many rules and regulations within the sport of cross itself that it leads me to wonder how long it will be before its not called cyclocross anymore. but more of "Cross country riding through some grass" not the catchiest title but thats what it has come to. i raced races here in my own state and the state of Rhode Island to the east where there were 2 count em 2 100 foot beach runs along with the barriers up hill in 3 inches of snow at 19 degrees out... now that is cross. these races where you can actually read all the title sponsors on the winners jearsy tells me that they are just the fastest guy through some grass and sharp turns. i'm not complaining about the way cross is run... but what i am trying to say is that i feel as though the meaning of "Cross is Boss" needs to be more closely examined and beefed up a bit. anyone can ride through their backyard, but it takes some skill to navigate a sharp downhill in 3 inches of snow. does anyone see what i mean?
lemme know
Ian

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Brilliant post man, truly!
A few years ago UCI/USCF limited the number of barriers on the course At the time I will admit i was pretty bummed out, part of the lure of cross was the barriers. The end result I have to admit, in our region (the midatlantic) has forced promoters to be more creative, and use their venues to create interesting and challenging courses. In the end, I believe this rule made courses better not worse. As much fun as a six pack of barriers was, riding off camber, or having venues that have their own unique character is way better than showing up at a number of different soccer fields and just running through barriers.

I don't get out of the region more than once or twice a year, and usually are for larger events, I say that not to be a dick, but to say that other regions at least where I have gone have done a nice job with courses as well. I love Look park. The Ohio 3 day all had fun courses... Okay I didn't love sunday, but it was still very well done. But I digress.

I also believe that if a course is not fun, not interesting, long term people won't come, and the race won't survive. The competion for race dates gets tougher every year. A bad course, bad event just won't be able to compete or be viable as other races, as the level of cross continues to grow in regions.

best to you.

respect
fatmarc
www.fatmarc.com
I'm lucky enough to travel to different series around the midwest throughout the season and I've found that without going too far you'll find that 'cross courses are all very regionally influenced - and dramatically different. We have two series just in my area alone that offer significantly different flavors of cross: one is mountain bike/jungle cross oriented, with creek crossing and crawling over downed trees and bunny-hopping logs, while the other that is classic cross with fast grass, pavement, sand, run-ups and traditional double-barriers. Next to a the promoter's preference in course design MOTHER NATURE, terrain, and the natural surface decides what's what. Don't like grass crits? Don't pout my dear friend. If you like it so slow that getting off and walking is faster than riding come to Michigan near the end of the year and we'll give you deep gooey mud, snow, ice, and rain, all in the same race. That's the beauty of the sport, isn't it? It changes, but then it really doesn't ...
While I do agree that the design of the course will determine the true "cross personality", I think your post puts too much emphasis on the elements to make it true cross course. I am in Southern California and the closest thing to mud is when the regional park leaves the sprinklers on too long. We have two outstanding cross series put on by very passionate people that race in every event they put on and they make the racing special (and very different from the road scene which can be a bit overwhelming around here). We do pray for rain but the reality is that our cross season goes from early september through late January (bummer huh). The real weather doesnt come till Feb. Not traditional but you dont see too many SO CAls complaining.
"...the reality is that our cross season goes from early September through late January (bummer huh)."

I agree 100%.

In the Midwest the real "painful" 'cross weather generally hits just as the season is ending. Personally, I would like to see the 'cross season start and finish later than it does now, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

I think mine is the minority opinion: When we did our 2008 national winner's interviews, one of the questions we asked racers was what their thoughts were on having CX Nats later in the season. Many racers I interviewed were against it.
Cross only racers probably would love a longer season but they are the vast minority of cross racers. As it is racing into December doesn't leave a lot of time to recover and build up for a road season that starts in early March at the latest.

Besides, it's about racing the conditions you're given. If 2/3 or 3/4 of the season is bone dry, so be it. If our season opener was today, it would be a mudbath.
There are a lot of cyclocross flavors. In our neck of the woods, we do have a substantial number of folks that are primarily cyclocross focused....and consequently we have a successful and lengthy season (Sept to Jan) that mirrors the European schedule. We get about every type of course, from mild to technical, bone dry and hot, to frigid and snow covered.
Some very twisty turny, some very open, some with wicked runs and off camber, some closer to grass crits. They kind of blur togeter for me after a bit....they're all challenging in their own way and I would hate to say some are more orthodox than the others. In fact in the heartland of the sport, Belgium, I've seen similar variety....races with single track sections that seem to contradict the UCI rules on course width as well as venues that seem to have 2KM of pavement.
You guys have like 200 races in the NE each fall. You can't find something you like in there?
I race in Georgia and I found the courses to be much more "technical" and less rolling through grass than I anticipated. We have great race organziers who really know how to make good courses so I guess we are lucky. Just wish our season was longer.

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