Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The 2017 WCA Cyclocross Schedule

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

This morning the Wisconsin Cycling Association announced its 2017 cyclocross schedule and there are definitely some surprises. Here’s the schedule itself:

09/09 Sa - SuperCup: Cross-Shooshko, Milwaukee
09/10 Su - SuperCup: VeloCause CX, Milwaukee
09/30 Sa - Flyover Silver Creek CX, Manitowoc
10/01 Su - Cross Of The North, Wausau
10/07 Sa - SuperCup: PumpkinCross, Grafton
10/08 Su - Diablo River Cross, Kimberly
10/14 Sa - SuperCup: Fitchonia Cross Omnium, Dane County
10/15 Su - SuperCup: Fitchonia Cross Omnium, Dane County
10/21 Sa - SuperCup: GP Jo Vanderaffe, Milwaukee
10/22 Su - SuperCup: Battle Of Waterloo, Waterloo
10/28 Sa - SuperCup: Crossfire @ Angell Park, Sun Prairie
10/29 Su - SuperCup: Sun Prairie Cup @ Sheehan Park, Sun Prairie
11/04 Sa - SuperCup: Estabrook Park, Milwaukee
11/05 Su - SuperCup: CamRock CX, Cambridge-Rockdale
11/11 Sa - SuperCup: Sijan Cross, Milwaukee
11/12 Su - FatKats CX, Sheboygan
11/18 Sa - Sunnyview Cross, Oshkosh
12/02 Sa - SuperCup: State Championships, Waterloo

Surprise #1: So many Sundays! There is a faction within the WCA that wants to confine this series to Saturdays as much as possible, leaving Sundays open for the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series. Chicago races attract larger fields that include more top-quality racers, making them more valuable to elite Wisconsin racers looking to improve their USA Cycling rankings for nationals. I expected to see some movement away from Sundays this season, but that aspect of the schedule didn’t change.

Surprise #2: Cross Of The North is back. As a new event in 2016, it featured a great course … but dismal attendance due to its location. Wausau is simply too far away from the big population centers of Milwaukee and Madison. Those who do give this race a try will not be disappointed.

Surprise #3: With the GP Jo Vanderaffe, cyclocross will return to Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes. That’s where I did my first-ever cyclocross race back in 2011.

Surprise #4: No Halloween-themed race. It was a tradition at Washington Park in Milwaukee. Then a muddy race damaged the park in 2015 and the threat of rain prompted Milwaukee County to cancel the event in 2016. (OK, maybe this one isn’t that much of a surprise.)

Surprise #5: After a 1-year absence, Sheboygan returns to the schedule … under new management. The FatKats, better known as a mountain biking team, have stepped up to replace Sheboygan Bicycle Company.

And now here’s something that won’t surprise anyone who kept up with my 2016 cyclocross season: I’m going to miss most of these races.

This season my top competitive priority is mountain biking. I’m already registered for WEMS races on Sep. 9 and Oct. 7, dates that otherwise would belong to cyclocross. Cyclocross is still important but I'm not going to put as much pressure on myself as I have in recent years. For example, I have always wanted to do Patriot CX—Sep. 10 in Rantoul IL—but it has always conflicted with something else. And it does again this year, but why shouldn't I do it anyway? Also, as I demonstrated last season, I am reluctant to travel very far for a Saturday race, given the overnight work schedule that keeps me in the office until 7 a.m. on Saturdays. So, this might be the extent of my 2017 WCA schedule:

10/08 Su - Diablo River Cross
10/21 Sa - SuperCup: GP Jo Vanderaffe
10/22 Su - SuperCup: Battle Of Waterloo
11/04 Sa - SuperCup: Estabrook Park
11/05 Su - SuperCup: CamRock CX
11/11 Sa - SuperCup: Sijan Cross
11/12 Su - FatKats CX
11/18 Sa - Sunnyview Cross

Those 8 races plus Patriot CX plus Region Riot Cross in Crown Point IN on Nov. 26 would give me 10 for the year, which is the same number of cyclocross races I typically do. Let’s face it: I’m not competing for a series title or state championship. I should build a schedule that makes me happy.

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