I am pretty sure everyone that raced cyclocross in Cincinnati this weekend would agree with me when I say this was a great three day event. I cannot say anything bad about any of the races. Each course was unique and fun to ride. Yeah, sure, the first day was a complete mud fest, but this is cyclocross, so get used to it. The second day was a super fast course, but technical at the same time. Day three had a little bit of everything including a mud pit, a couple of sand pits, some great twisty stuff and a lot of climbing. All three days of racing were challenging in there own way and were all fabulous in my eyes.
Overall my race weekend went pretty well considering that I started in the fourth or fifth row every day. The first lap was crazy hard as I did everything possible to work my way towards the front of the race. Unfortunately, by the time I made it to the front, a fast group of 3-4 riders had slipped away each day. By lap two or three, it was just a matter of maintaining my position and trying to stay consistent. On day one, I was fourth overall in the elite master mudder event. I finished fifth at the Java Johnny's Race on day two and also finished fifth at the Harbin Park Race on day number three. One thing you can't say about me is that I am not consistent...ha.
So, if my racing went so well this weekend and the promoters did such a good job, one might be curious to know what was not so fabulous. The answer to this question is USA Cycling and their never ending ability to screw stuff up. This weekend, Saturday Night into Sunday Morning at 12:01am to be exact, USA Cycling decided to surprise the whole cyclocross racing community with an early opening of nationals registration with no advanced notification. According to the website used for registration, www.sportsbaseonline.com, as of 10/07/09, nationals registration was to start on 10/15/09. It sure was nice of USA Cycling to change registration without any advanced notice and move it to the weekend when many were racing and did not have access to computers, especially since it a determining factor on how close to the front one is staged.
Additionally, Cyclocrossmag.com reported earlier in the year that staging for nationals, would also be based on the rider's race category, with lower category riders being staged first. The online magazine post also reported that the top ten finishers from the previous year would receive call-ups. Since I finishing 9th last year (in the top ten), I did not see any reason to upgrade my cat 2 license to cat 1 because as a master rider categories never used to mean anything anyway. Looking back now, I should have started my upgrade process earlier because USA Cycling also changed/announced that call ups at nationals would be the top eight from last year instead of the top ten.
Well, seeing how I now went from having a possible call-up position for nationals to joining the rat race for an early registration time along with everyone else, I stayed up late on a race night to be one of the first registered riders. To ensure everything would be working right, I logged onto the website early, updated my credit card info and awaited the beginning of registration like it was the actual start of the race. At about 12:00am, I then got booted off the website and spent the next 30 minutes trying to log back onto the crashed site with no luck. In complete frustration, I went to bed only to awake later in the morning to discover the site must have started to work again early in the morning and that 55 riders had already registered for my age class. I probably should have registered at that time, but my frustration ran so deep with USA Cycling, I decided traveling to Oregon for at best a fifth row starting position was not worth my time. BTW, at the time of this posting, there are 161 riders registered in my category.
I have calmed down a bit since Sunday Morning and I may still register for nationals if I can get an upgrade to cat 1 soon, but chances are I will just hold out for next year. It is just amazing to me how local promoters can do such a great job with putting on an event, but USA Cycling makes a mess out registering for the nationals championships.
Well enough bitching about nationals. I did have a lot of fun racing this weekend and hanging with my travel buddy, steveo, for a few days. The next race in my radar is the Team Spin Cross My Heart and Hope to Die Race in Willoughby, OH this Saturday. With a name like that it has to be fabulous. Thank goodness I don't have to use a USA Cycling Website to register for it.
Happy Trails - Gerry
For more awesome photos created by Jeffrey Jakucyk, from the Cincinnati UCI-3 Races, please click here.