I noticed that the # of registered riders for Bend is down this year. I don't remember seeing a drop in recent years - it just has been getting bigger and bigger. Wondering if you went last year and aren't this year? If so, can you share why?
Do people think it's too expensive, too long of a week, too many rules? Is it not the party it used to be? Or is it just the economy? Or people went last year, had fun but realized how far/cold it is?
I don't know anyone who travels a long distance to go to track, mtb, or road nationals to race if they don't have a chance at a title, or go just to watch. Cyclocross has been different in that sense - it's high-level racing but also a fun event to watch and participate in. Looks like that might be already shifting?
I'm curious to see how the Madison event will come together, especially with it being in January. But it's also just before Masters Worlds too, right?
Hmm, I would have thought the # of racers would go up with all the positive reactions Bend #1 got. I would think cat IV racers would still come and race the B race, but now that that's earlier maybe it's too long of a trip. Tire snob, are you going?
Steve, I honestly thought last year it was the same in terms of categories. I remember getting an upgrade to Cat 3 early in the year because of some announcement saying I needed to be one to race nats (but then I just did the B race anyway).
I would say it is a combination of everything vs. one thing as to the decline in numbers. I certainly noticed the registration price jump, extra day due to the TT, and there is also the negative attitude towards on non-contenders that has been expressed. My opinion on Nats is once you have done it a few times if you are not moving towards being a contender after a few years of been there done that a choice between Nats in Madison and a trip to somewhere warm...
I am also interested to see what happens in Madison as the USGP stop in Portland made a convienent stop on the way to nats for people. I am also interested to see what happens to the cross seasons with the move to as alot of the locals series finish up end of Nov. does it mean adding an extra month of series races? I think if anything your standard non-contenders will call it a season if the local series is done standard time and skip nats.
joe, that's a shame. dstudley - interesting points about madison. I've been wondering whether people will go to madison then louisville for masters worlds? is that a doable drive? I should map that out...I suppose I should be trying to do both the next year (to cover them) but that long away from a little baby seems quite hard.
i'm very curious whether masters worlds will try to draw the common racer with other events - those will be the ones who will spectate after all right?
Dstudley, your comments are right on. The convivial Nats we remember are likely gone forever due to the simple fact that the sport we love so much has grown exponentially in the last decade. As a long time race promoter I know how difficult it is to balance the needs of elite riders with those of non-elite riders at my events. I can't imagine how to do it, cost effectively, with an event the size of Nats. Given that it is, after all, a championship event, it follows that the balance has to favor those who are there with a chance to compete for the front. As one who likely will never wear the label of 'national level competitor' I doubt I'll attend another Nats as a competitor. On one level, that bums me out because those opportunities to be even a tiny piece of "the show" were pretty cool. On the other hand, I have to feel good about it because this is the fruit of the effort that all of us have invested in growing the sport.
As for race calendars for next year...here in the Kansas City area we already race through the second week of January. What started seven (...wow, that long ago?) years ago as a tune up for folks headed to Masters worlds has grown into a tidy, post state champs, second season of five races starting the day after Christmas. I suspect that savvy promoters are already planning how to leverage those extra weeks. While the numbers for those races tend to be smaller than for races during less harsh times of the season, those events have helped bond the core of our cross community into the solid and growing group that it is. It ilk be great to see that same dynamic play out in other areas.