Friday, December 29, 2006

I've been wondering ...


What guidelines or rules cyclocross course designers use when they think up courses. Around here (including KS and IA) it seems the view of 'cross is truly that of some sort of hybrid road/mtb thing as evidenced by the inclusion of single-track and course parts less than the minimum 3 meters in width specified by the USCF rulebook (p. 96). There also seems to have been some liberty taken with the "course shall be rideable in all conditions" rule. For example, riding down that steep hill at Jingle Cross would have been even more sketchy had it been muddy. What do you all think? Do we have our own style of 'cross going on around here which is along the lines of "do you think they can ride this with those bikes...." (cowboy cross) mindset, are course designers just unaware of the rules, or what? Moreover, if you were to design your ideal cross course, what would it include/omit?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dig Lefflers Pioneers course.

rules are made to be broken...

Anonymous said...

I officiated cyclocross races on three courses this year - Bellevue, Lincoln and Kansas City.

All three courses met the minimum standards width - three meters - as well as the "90 percent rideable" requirement, meaning that you should be able to ride your bike on at least 90 percent of the course in normal conditions.


However, what is "certified" as a course is always up to the officials (the chief referee, in particular).

You'll find that even on the national championship level, some things just aren't as they should be according to the rulebook.

And that's fine. If it's "certified," it's certified. As a rider, I always relished the courses that were unusual and challenging - even if they weren't always to the letter of the law.

At the national championship road race in Milwaukee in the mid-90s, they even had the race go on part of a bike path!

It was far less than the seven meters width that is required for a road course.

Your question also conjured up a memory from a race at Branched Oak a few years back.

A racer came up to me before the start and asked me to get a broom and sweep some of the corners.

I looked at him (probably incredulously) and said, "It's a ROAD RACE."

Anyway, can you imagine what it would be like to "Americanize" a course like Paris-Roubaix, which features more than a dozen stretches of cobblestones?

Anyway, that's my two cents. Thanks for asking!

-- Sean Weide

sydney_b said...

+1 3p0. I also liked the Jingle Cross course, esp the second day with the murderous run-up. The routes through the barns were fun too.

Anonymous said...

Ideal cross course...would be a mtb course with barriers. Omit courses with no flow, ie: courses with 90degree corners directly before barrier sections should be outlawed. I love it when I can flow through a barrier section without losing any speed. Hills and corners are what its all about.

DG

Anonymous said...

Cross bikes are for cross courses. Mtn bikes for so called mtn bike course around here. Even paris roubaix bikes aren't typical road bikes.

Let's think of rider safety instead of some crowd spectacle. This is amateur stuff.

Let's just start making up our own rules. I pay a part of my membership to the USCF for those rules. If you don't like it start another organization.

I hate helmets. I wear them cause it's the rules. Maybe I'll not wear a helmet and ask pretty please to look the other way now that I know that you can look the other way.

It's not that hard to follow a course design rules. Not many steps. It's actually really simple.