Friday, July 14, 2017

More Changes To The WCA CX Series

The Wisconsin Cycling Association has announced significant changes to its rules and daily schedule for the 2017 season, changes that create interesting opportunities for me even though I planned to focus less on cyclocross this season than I have in the past.

One of my greatest sources of dissatisfaction with the series was the seemingly impossible task of competing as a Cat 3 in a Masters race that scores 1s, 2s, and 3s together. When I upgraded from a 4 to a 3 before the 2015 season, I essentially upgraded to a 1. I have been pack fodder ever since. But this fall I will have a chance to compete on more equal footing in the new Masters Cat 3 race at the end of the day. Now, there will be guys as young as 34 in that race (racing age = 35), but I would rather go up against them than continue to pound my head against a wall of “old” Cat 1 & 2 racers. And the 3:33 p.m. start not only will satisfy my desire to race at the warmest time of day, but also will allow me to rest on Saturdays after my work shift ends at 7 a.m., then travel to the race.

The Masters 1/2/3 race isn’t going away, but it is changing. Instead of age groups of 35+, 45+ and 55+, there will be just two groups: 35+ and 50+. That makes me one of the younger 50+ guys instead of one of the older 45+ guys, but I don’t know how much that matters. Still, there might be one or two occasions on which I will be tempted to double up: Masters 1/2/3 at 1:16 p.m. and then the Masters Cat 3 race to end the day.

Also noteworthy is the Best 8 format that will decide the series champions. There are 18 dates on this year’s calendar. The WCA recognizes that almost no one can attend them all—in fact, the average number of races for a series participant is just 6. Thanks to racer indifference, we have slain the beast that was the SuperCup system that valued some races above others. SuperCup or no SuperCup, I certainly wasn’t planning to do all 18 dates, but I might do 8-10 of them. These dates look promising:

09/10 Sun - Humboldt Park Cyclocross @ Milwaukee
09/30 Sat - Flyover Silver Creek @ Manitowoc
10/08 Sun - Diablo River Cross @ Kimberly
10/21 Sat - GP Jo Vanderaffe @ Milwaukee
10/22 Sun - Battle Of Waterloo @ Waterloo
11/04 Sat - Estabrook Park @ Milwaukee
11/05 Sun - CamRock Cross @ Cambridge
11/11 Sat - Sijan Cross @ Milwaukee
11/12 Sun - FatKats CX @ Sheboygan Falls
11/18 Sat - Sunnyview Cross @ Oshkosh

I will miss the season opener (Cross-Shooshko in Milwaukee on Sep. 9) and the closest race to West Bend (PumpkinCross in Grafton on Oct. 7) because they conflict with mountain bike races for which I already have registered.

There’s good news and bad news about race registration. For me, the good news is that the Masters Cat 3 race will be just $25 pre-registered, $5 less than the Masters 1/2/3 fee. The bad news is that the day-of surcharge has increased to $10, turning that $25 race into a $35 race if I don’t pre-register. And pre-registration itself will be more of a gamble: the window closes on Wednesdays this year, not on Thursdays. Let’s hope for accurate weather forecasts. I’m not into the mud & snow thing, and I’m pretty likely to forfeit the $25 if bad weather arrives unexpectedly.

So, I’m now more interested in the upcoming season than I was before. That has to be a good thing, right?

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