Wednesday, March 20, 2013

’Cross: Stitched

What had been broken is made whole again.

It’s vain to quote myself, but every one of my blog posts is something of an exercise in vanity insofar as I expect you to be at least somewhat interested in the things I have to say.  So, from my Nov. 30, 2012 post:
I’m not sure I can live with being forced to upgrade from Cat 4 to Cat 3 in cyclocross next year, but that’s what I will have to do if USA Cycling doesn’t amend the new guidelines it announced earlier today.  I’ve done 15 cyclocross races as a Cat 4 and I’ve never come close to winning even one of them.  In fact, I’ve never been on the podium.  But the new guidelines demand that I upgrade to Cat 3 based on my experience, not my results.  The one good thing about being a Cat 3 would be racing later in the day when the weather is warmer.  The reality, however, is that I’m not very likely to race at all if I have to compete against riders whose abilities so far exceed mine that I have no realistic prospect for success.
Today USA Cycling reversed course, doing away with the experience-based mandatory upgrade and refining the results-based criteria on which upgrades are rightly predicated.  The decision allows me to stay in Cat 4 where I belong and—not to put too fine a point on it—probably saves my cyclocross season.

If I’m reading the mood of the online forums correctly, the decision also restores a larger feeling of goodwill and faith in USA Cycling.  The organization has been much maligned over the winter. It was widely criticized as a UCI bootlicker during the USADA v. Lance Armstrong affair, and more recently it has come under fire for seemingly arbitrary rules like the one that keeps top pros out of unsanctioned mountain bike events.

I’m glad I renewed my USA Cycling license last month without upgrading!

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