This is picking up off a facebook conversation I began which you can find here.
I’m still baffled as to why anyone thinks it is a good idea to have 2 (truly, 3) USA Cycling cyclocross racing national calendars. It has been explained that it is so USAC can keep their event qualifying process straight (CXNC first before attaining UCI status) and to market the PRO CX calendar as a product.
The PRO CX calendar is just the UCI calendar. (with a bunch of races left out)
Elites (pro and amateur) chasing points reference the UCI calendar and have an international ranking based on those points. Non-elites are not the target audience for the PRO CX calendar. So why does it exist? The UCI calendar supersedes it. The USAC PRO CX calendar points/rankings only mean anything to themself. The PRO CX races are all UCI races so, even if you are leading the PRO CX but behind riders in UCI points, your call-up for the PRO CX events are based on your UCI points. Another thing that is confusing to consumers is that there exists a separate USAC points ranking of non-UCI, USAC sanctioned races that don’t appear to have a calendar even though those very vital points count towards rider start position at USAC races and USAC national championship races, (which in my opinion is the most important audience we should be cultivating to grow the sport) they do not appear to have any USAC promotion. The one good thing for elites is, the $20k purse attached to the PRO CX calendar. Equal payout, 20 deep. Kudos USAC there. That is for the series overall and is in addition to the UCI payout schedule at each event. And hell that is fantastic for mid-field amateur elite women, the top 5 is a hard nut to crack in elite women’s cyclocross, now you can post up middling results, race enough races and get $200 for your 19th overall PRO CX result, regardless of how many UCI points you do or do not get. Seriously, women just outside of the top 10 get a nice little bump at the end of the year. But don’t kid yourself that most of the women riding outside the top ten have near enough $ to travel to all (or most) of the PRO CX calendar. It is too big of a travel calendar for all but the very well supported paid professionals. (who just race as many UCI races as makes sense) So it’s less of a focus for the vast majority of riders and more of a; “oh hey all those UCI races happened to be on the USAC PRO CX calendar too” for elite riders across the nation. I would say something like “the USAC PRO CX calendar does not matter” but, there is $40k sitting there saying it does.
These are just some of the questions I’m asked. (and I loathe that I have to justify my statements/questions on the internet with: I don’t think USAC is the enemy, I don’t suspect shady business in the background (heh heh though I should) and I don’t hate the east coast. (hell I’m FROM the east coast) All I want to see is growth and a healthy thriving cx sport. For many of you entrenched in the system, this may all seem apparent and questioning the way things are sounds imbecilic. But from the questions and concerns I hear from riders across the United States, our great Nation, many are just confused and often just default to focusing on regional events (USAC or not) while picking and choosing the UCI races they can afford to travel too. From amateur elites, to professional riders I know: all look at the UCI calendar first when planning a season of travel. We should be streamlining calendars and focusing on our core participants. Not creating a 2nd faux-pro calendar that is a mirror image of the International calendar (sans a bunch of races). My thought is: Put that $40k purse towards promoting a December age-group National CX Champs. The Professionals don’t need the $ or the incentive to race those UCI races on the PRO CX: they are going to race them anyways as they are already on the UCI calendar. Focus on keep our core of non-professional racers engaged and stop wearing out our amateur racers with offensive national travel schedules and a season that for most amateurs or age-group racers is 6 weeks too long.
(a note from twitter here) Myerson is correct; the event-qualifying step of being on (and the whole point of) the CX National Calendar first, gets overlooked or bypassed for National Championship events.
We all saw where that landed us with the 2015 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships this year in Austin.