Anything but Fair

I would be lying if I said I agreed with the current way in which the cyclocross nationals and the up coming Master World Championships qualifying is being handled.  Below is a quote from Bruce Fina the race director for the Master World Championships.  -Note my opinions and views are not directed solely towards him but  more so at those running USA Cycling and the UCI.  Bruce and his wife do an amazing job with what they have to work with.

The UCI and USA Cycling have been working diligently to establish fair and clear guidelines for the 2012 and 2013 Masters Worlds, said race director Bruce Fina. This is an entirely new animal. With ever-growing Masters fields in the U.S., all involved realize that these events will pose unique challenges that the races have not faced in Europe in terms of field sizes and eligibility. The UCI is rightfully concerned with protecting the integrity of the world championship jersey and title and its technical execution. All parties agree these qualification and eligibility guidelines are the best way to be fair to racers from the U.S. and across the world while still recognizing that this is a world championship event and affording it a degree of respect and recognition for the competition that sets it apart from most mass participatory events.

My thoughts on this:

“My two cents says the qualifying procedure is a joke.  USA Cycling must be blind if they’re just realizing these events will pose unique challenges, as field sizes have been stressed for years.   There will probably be 200+  riders vying for the 80 slots in the 30-34 age range alone.  Even if you’re the fastest rider in the country, you could get a last row call up and possibly never make the top five in a three lap heat.  How does that represent the best we have to offer and protect the integrity of world championship jersey?  The chances of these races being decided on skill and not shit luck are slim at best.  It’s high time USA Cycling steps up and creates a working points/qualifying structure for CX where races like the world championships and nationals can be raced by the best in the country and world based on a seasons worth of results and not by the luck of the draw as they are doing now.

The Elite, U-23 and Junior World Championships all have a qualifying system loosely based on points or multiple performances over the course of the year.  Why should the Master World Championships be any different.  Are they any less deserving than the Elites?

Personally I’d love to race this race but am I going to spend a fortune to get myself and my bike(s) there only to not get to race because I’m one of a few hundred who are vying for one of 80 spots?  No Sir!  I’ll be the first to admit even on a great day I might not be fast enough, so qualifying is not a real concern.  This doesn’t change my thoughts on the matter.   I won’t support a cause that is not working in CX’s best interest for the future.  Give me and others the chance to earn our spot over the course of a season and only then will you be protecting the integrity of the World Championships” -Scatman

I know their are major challenges in creating a fair points system as some areas of the country either have larger numbers of racers than others (which leads to them attracting UCI points races) or some are not part of USA Cycling.  I’m sure there are many more barriers to overcome than these.   A points/qualifying system would need to be designed, put in place, points awarded, sent in, tracked, and complied.  No easy task but a worthy one in determining who the best riders are so that in the end those who should be selected for one of the 80 spots are the best candidates.

Adding qualifiers to the schedule adds travel days for participants and those running the race.  This means more time away from work and lost vacation time/wages.  It also betters the chance a competitor could get hurt a day or even hours before his/her main event.  As we saw last year in Bend, OR the qualifying course had to be altered resulting in an inconsistency of those qualifying.  Fair?  The answers are out there.  I’m not saying I have them but the current system is not the answer and does not protect the best interests of any of us in my opinion.

USA Cycling in my opinion isn’t looking out for everyone’s interests.  They care more about Elite racers than the rest of us and I feel their hurting our sport.  Look at what happened to mountain biking.  Do you really think they didn’t have a hand it is demise?  I can not be the only person out there who thinks they could be doing things differently.  Can I?

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Scatman
Get out there!

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4 Comments

  1. Byron Dl says:

    Well, to your points then, races that aren’t licensed via USCF don’t provide call-up points either. Just had a similar discussion about why in the fuck, USA Cycling ran Natz in Jan in Wisconsin? Because they’re charter is developing Elite athletes to send to Worlds and not growing the sport. That’s your simple answer.

  2. Scatman says:

    Bryon,
    Don’t you know that riders racing USCF races pay fees for “benefits” and those who choose to race non USCF races don’t deserves call ups or points since they are not paying for the “benefit” to race races like the nationals? (note the heavy sarcasm. That’s not word for word but close to what USA Cycling said in an article.)

  3. Byron Dl says:

    And? Yes USA Cycling doesn’t feed you into their system if you don’t participate and you can trace that back to the split, OBRA, and so on. What’s the issue? As I just said on Twitter, It’s cause this Worlds is about Elite athletes and not an imaginary Worlds where drunk party racers race in costumes. USCF is not in charge of growing the sport, that’s on the promoters.

  4. Scatman says:

    and promoters have tons of time and money to do that.