Pro Tip: Why You Should Promote A Cyclocross Race

On December 19, 2014 by Super Rookie

(David Lavenhagen takes a Todd Leedy handup at Swamp Cross 2012. Photo: Matt Staras)

So, you want to be a cyclocross promoter? Well, Todd Leedy, FLCX’s resident long-haired, frisbee throwing, college professor, has the reasons why you should do it and it does not disappoint. Easily one of the best write-ups we have seen in Florida Cyclocross and it should be shared across the internet. Plus, #1 is very true. There were several rude gestures from yours truly towards Todd come race day this past December in Gainesville.

-Tim

Earlier this year, FLCX Number One Ginger provided a column on how you might put on a CX race: http://flcx.org/how-do-i-promote-the-florida-cyclocross-event/

As a complement to that piece, here are some thoughts on why you might put on a CX race.

1) Design a course – This is a real creative process. Coming up with a course that you feel your fellow CXers will enjoy (i.e. suffer through) on the limited piece of land to which you have access is a challenge and quite a bit of fun. You will have to work with what you are given but there is space to place your own stamp on a course. Someone will always say it was too technical or not technical enough or too much pavement or too easy for mountain bikes. Don’t worry, not every course in Belgium requires the exact same skillset either. But if racers are making rude gestures at the Crosscopter then you’ve probably done it about right.

2) Experience “promoter legs” – A documented physiological condition (unless you are Josh Thornton) resulting from the 2-3 days of serious manual labor you put in right before the event to set up a great course, e.g. shoveling, mowing, raking, staking, taping, etc. etc. Add insufficient sleep as you handle pre-registrations, prizes, and on it goes. And then, if lucky, you commence to racing on the weekend with perhaps 20% of your normal warmup. Oh yes, it feels so so good.

3) Build your team/club – You cannot do it all on your own so you either need volunteers (or you need to pay for assistance, see #6). Done right, putting on a race is a great team building exercise and you will find out skills you didn’t know people possessed and learn how much others are committed to the same goals. People will impress you with their generosity and that should make you happy.

4) Spend time with your family – If you have done most any race in FLCX then you know that they are usually a family affair. Spouses, partners, kids, parents – you need them all out there backing you up. Not only is it more fun, stuff gets done.

5) Become a better planner – Professors tell students “Don’t ever go into debt to get a PhD in the humanities or social sciences.” Well, don’t ever go into debt to put on a CX race either. And you shouldn’t have to if you budget and plan properly. Do this early, as in before you even announce you are holding a race, and certainly before you pull a permit. If the numbers don’t work, don’t say a thing to anyone about wanting to put on a race. Just keep calm and and keep racing. It’s all according to plan.

6) Don’t make any money – OK, you might make some money but you cannot put on a race because of this need/desire. Success is breaking even, anything more is 100% into the bonus. This isn’t your livelihood, although for a few brief days a year you might wish it was, so you do it only because you love the sport and want others to love it as much or more. Still, someone will say the second races are too expensive or the on-site fee is too high or USAC shouldn’t charge for processing online entries. So if you do make some money then you did it the old fashioned way – you earned it.

7) Become “FLCX famous” – Short of winning every weekend or doing sand angels or breaking your teeth on a barrier crash or flying a drone or growing a tremendous red beard or continually ruining the sport, it is hard to get more recognition in our small community than by putting on a good (or, gulp, bad) race. So If you like knowing FLCX people and none of those other options sound attractive or even possible, you might consider an occasional dalliance as an amateur race promoter.

8) Become a better person – As hard as we train, as many hours as we put in on the bike, it is pretty easy to just show up and race. Whether it is your first season or you’ve done a ton of bike races, until you have put on a race yourself, the planning and labor that goes into a smooth event is a mystery. You might moan about why this wasn’t that way or why that wasn’t this way. There’s almost always a reason, and usually the race director will be happy to explain it – at some point when they aren’t also trying to run the event! After putting on your own event, you will most likely become one less person complaining about races in a Facebook group. And that’s a bonus for everyone. But hey, that’s just like, you know, my opinion man.

—-

As always we welcome submissions to FLCX! Email thesuperrookie@gmail.com or gob4522@yahoo.com!

FLCX and MTB’s. The last word.

On November 10, 2014 by Christian

You can ride your mountain bike in any FRS-CX/Florida Cyclocross event, with tires as wide as you like, as long as you don’t have forward facing barends. Fact.


pics courtesy Vital MTB / Cyclocross Magazine

If it is a UCI race, you can not ride a tire wider than 34c, and you must have drop bars (same with a national championship, or national calendar cyclocross race).

Each race promoter decides if he or she wants to include a separate category/class/race for mountain bikes in FLCX. Not one promoter has ever specifically said MTB’s are not allowed that I’m aware of.

There are many CX aficionados who feel that riding MTB’s is against the spirit of CX racing, and they aren’t wrong, but their feelings are just that, their feelings. Those feelings belong to them and do not affect you in the slightest. Even if they say something shitty to you, it’s still them being shitty; those words have no official weight.

With that said, if you have never even tried to race CX on a CX bike, you are cheating yourself of half the fun of CX, the fun of trying to control a skinny tired bike through off camber corners and sharp climbs and descents. Yes, of course it’s easier on a mountain bike. The point is that CX isn’t supposed to be easy. That’s a lot of the fun of it.

No one who is trying the sport of CX for the first time, or indeed even the first season, should feel bad, or allow someone else to make them feel bad, about riding an MTB in a CX race. Bikes are expensive, and spending $1000 or more on a bike to try out CX before you’re certain you’re going to like CX is just plain foolish. So all you beginners out there, don’t take any crap, just run what you brung and have a blast.

If you decide you want to keep racing, then, by all means, I encourage you to borrow a real CX bike and race it a couple of times, and if you decide it’s for you, go down to your local shop and buy a CX bike. They are super-rad, and they’ll make you a better rider on all of your bikes.

If you decide the CX bike scares the dickens out of you, and you just want to keep riding your mountain bike, that’s fine, too. But you shouldn’t feel that any CX promoter is obligated to schedule a specific MTB race- it is a CX race, after all. There are many MTB races on the calender, and I doubt that any of them offer a separate CX bike category. Nor should they, it’s an MTB race.

I hope that once and for all we can move past this topic and move on to more important ones, such as “how can I sucker more of my friends into coming out to race CX” and “who can grow the weirdest beard for CX States”?

That last one is a trick question, y’all. I’ve got that one in the bag.

Rat Pack Race Report: Wicked Awesome Racing No. 1

On October 1, 2014 by Professor Collins

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Rat Pack Race Report. Our focus here is on the men and women at the back of the pack. This report is about the first Wicked Awesome Racing (WAR) event in Dade City the weekend of Sept. 20-21, which was both wicked and awesome. A special thanks to promoters Kaleigh and Josh Thornton and all their sponsors.

Rider of the Week: Mark Schwab. A traditional back-of-the-packer, Mark made Saturday’s mountain bike podium in third place. Making Mark’s accomplishment more impressive are two important facts. 1. He completed the Cat 4/5 race moments before starting the mountain bike race. 2. He rode “Frankenstein,” a single speed contraption of his own making. Mark also distinguished himself as MC. He’s no Christian Carlqvist but who is?

Newcomers of the Week: Michelle Toth, Robert Fenderson, and Liz Hardy Addams. All three completed their first CX races this weekend and did so in style. Already a mainstay at CX races as Michael Toth’s pit chief and moral support, it was nice to see Michelle join the fun on the other side of the tape. Addams distinguished herself on Saturday by asking me if I was in fact racing (that stung a little because I was) as she passed me just before the run up on the first lap. On Sunday, Fenderson held off a furious charge by yours truly to take 25th place and the final point in the FRS-CX series standings.

Shenanigan of the Week: That would go to yours truly. Shenanigan No. 1: I didn’t realize when I decided to double up and race both Cat 4/5 and mountain bike on Saturday that the only thing separating these two races was the kids race. Shenanigan No. 2: I was still sitting in a comfy chair when I realized the race had just started. Kudos to Josh Thornton for holding the race tape above his head (which it turns out isn’t that high) so I could sneak under and join the race.

We say goodbye to: Nicole Carson and Rebecca Laborde. We’ve enjoyed racing with these ladies while they were Cat 4’s, but their respective bags called to say they wanted their sand back. As such, both ladies are moving up this weekend. They were always too fast to be members of the Rat Pack, but we enjoyed getting passed (and occasionally lapped) by them.

We have our eye on: John LaManna and Carlos Iglesias. Sandwiched between Stuart Poe and Mark Schwab in the FRS-CX rankings, these two guys have serious Rat Pack potential.

State Championship Racer Data

On January 16, 2013 by Super Rookie

Yes, we are a bunch of nerds, but we love looking at cool stuff.

This past weekend 124 total racers showed up to the Florida State Cyclocross Championships. This got us thinking about how the largest race of the year in the Sunshine State compares to those across the country. We then decided to scour the internet and seek out the total number of racers at the other State Championships across the country.

Naturally, some parts of the country take their State Championships very seriously and these races are among the best attended in their respective series. Minnesota is an example of this as the participation at their event is head and shoulders above the rest in their series. Florida is also an example of this. We then have some states in which the State Championships don’t seem to be a very big deal. An example of this is the New England Regional Championships of Mass., NH, ME and RI. The combined total for that race is far below what you see at some of the larger regional races, such as, The Gran Prix of Gloucester.

Super Rookie took time away from his calculations to pose for a picture. (Photo: Google Search)

These numbers were mostly pulled from USA Cycling Sanctioned events, but we did have to venture to the “dark side” and get the numbers for the Oregon race from the OBRA website (we assure USA Cycling that we have since washed our hands multiple times). There’s also that weird situation in California of two championships and one being combined with Nevada.

There were a few states that didn’t host State Championships and that is reflected below. There were also a few states that don’t have the results from their State Championships anywhere remotely rational for someone to look on the internet. How hard is it people? Seriously.

In addition, these numbers are calculated using the ‘Total Racers’ method. This is not ‘unique racers’ so these numbers include racers that doubled up. This was due to the fact that we didn’t want to look at results for riders that doubled up. It should also be noted that we decided to combine the totals of a few races that had age-group and category racing on the same weekend, but on different days.

We are fairly confident in the numbers provided below as we pulled it from crossresults.com because that site is amazing. For those states that refuse to get with the 90s and submit their results to crossresults we went to USA Cycling to get it (this required a calculator, uggh).

The numbers out of Wisconsin seemed a little fishy using the USA Cycling website as they seem to have multiple championships for the same category–both a Wisconsin and a Regional championship. For this we went with the Wisconsin Cycling Association championships held on Saturday and not the “Midwest Regional Championships” held on

Finally, the best flyer for a State Championship goes to the folks from Montana that provided this gem: HOT CHEETOS AND TAKIS CYCLOCROSS

State Championships Total Racers:

Nebraska: 39
Montana: 41
Arkansas: 43
Oklahoma: 55
South Carolina: 69 (two days combined)
New Mexico: 75
Arizona: 92
Idaho: 107
Tennessee: 113
Missouri: 122
Florida: 124
Virginia: 126
West Virginia: 126
Michigan: 143
Kansas: 144
Indiana: 154
Southern California District: 162
Pennsylvania: 164
Georgia: 183
Iowa: 183
Texas: 208
Utah: 209
Vermont: 211
Connecticut: 226
Northern California District: 229
New Jersey: 233
Oregon (OBRA): 233
Ohio: 244 (two days combined – age/category)
New York: 280
Maryland/Delaware/DC: 299 (MABRA Championships)
Wisconsin: 315* (See notes above)
Mass/Maine/NH/RI: 372
North Carolina: 382
Washington: 395
Minnesota: 400 (two days combined – age/category)
Wisconsin: 563* (two days combined)
Colorado: 632
Illinois: 681

Data Unavailable:

Alabama
Hawaii

State Championship Unknown:

Kentucky

No State Championship Held:

Alaska
Louisiana
Mississippi
Nevada (Held in conjuntion with Northern California)
North Dakota
South Dakota
Wyoming

2012/13 FLCX Power Rankings: Semi-Final Pre-Season Rankings

On October 23, 2012 by Super Rookie

A good book takes a little while to understand. You have to read it twice to really get a grasp on things. The Power Rankings are no different and with the first race of the season in the books we have another chance to see how things stand before the start of the FLCX season in Miami in two weeks. The upcoming race weekend in Savannah will also provide a glimpse into seeing who is hot and who is not. Then, and only then can we determine who’s on top of the heap for the beginning of the year.

Let’s take a look at where things stand two weeks before the FLCX Series opener:

2012/13 FLCX Power Rankings: Pre-Season Pt. 2

1. Josh Thornton (Dunedin Cyclery) | Cat1/2 | Last Week: #3

  • When you lap everyone except for the #2 on the power rankings you deserve the top spot.
  • A win is a win. Lakeland is a small race, but Thornton turned the result immediately into success at the Downeast CX in Maine

2. Jack Rich (Infinity Bike Shop) | 35+ | Last Week #1

  • A victim of circumstance. The only reason Rich falls a spot is because Thornton showed up to Lakeland.
  • Stellar performance in Lakeland shows that Rich is the man to beat in the 35+ this season. And he got a new bike for this year.

3. Chris Slack (Infinity Bike Shop) | Cat1/2 | Last Week #2

  • Slack was a no show at Lakeland, but rumor has it that he lost 5lbs off of his 120lb weight.
  • That has to count for something, right?
  • He actually upgraded to category 2!

4. Zach Fout (Gearlink) | Cat1/2 | Last Week #UR

  • Where the heck did this guy come from?
  • Already upgraded to cat1/2 and finished with a strong 3rd at Lakeland.
  • Just welcomed a new child into the world, so who knows how often he will be able to come play.
5. Ben Smith (352 Racing p/b Bikes and More) | 35+ | Last Week #UR
  • Crushing dreams in Seattle for the first few races this season.
  • Best hope for taking Jack Rich down a step this season?

6. Taylor Norton (Orange State Cycling) | Cat3 and Single Speed | Last Week #9

  • Don’t understand how you can move up without racing? We don’t either.
  • On a mission to bring the pain to the front of the field, and to lap the back of the field with impunity
  • Taylor is now the man to beat in the cat3s, unless Greg Buker (FSU) still hasn’t upgraded.

7. Zoe Mullins (Colavita) | Women 1/2/3 | Last Week #4

  • Didn’t race at Lakeland + Training with John-Paul = Drop in the rankings.
  • #LULZ. #YOLO #SWEETPUPPYPICS.TUMBLR.COM
8. Todd Frobish (U/A) | Cat4 | Last Week #UR
  • While in the process of winning easily in Lakeland the whispers started.
  • What were they saying?
  • #CAPTAINSANDBAG
9. Chase Tennyson (352 Racing p/b Bikes and More ) |Cat3 | Last Week #UR
  • Took a strong second place to Zach Fout in the cat3s at Lakeland.
  • A podium in the cat3 FLCX Series seems to be in the making for Tennyson in 2012/13.

10. Tony Timonere (Top Gear Cyclces) | 35+ | Last Week #UR

  • First race of the season and Timonere scores a strong fourth place.
  • Just think if he actually knew what he was doing out there!

Falling Off: Dario Perez (Miami Velo), Steve Noble (Infinity Bike Shop), Jackson Mehr (U/A), Keith Richards (352 Racing), John Hovius (Orlando Road Club), Brook Rich (Infinity Bike Shop)

Josh Thornton Checks In Post Lakeland

On October 16, 2012 by Super Rookie

Josh Thornton (Dunedin Cyclery) checks in with a little interview after the mud-filled madness at Lakeland this past weekend. Let’s us know his thoughts about clearing the mud, tire pressure and other little tips on how to rock a course full of mud.

2012/13 FLCX Power Rankings: Pre-season

On October 10, 2012 by Super Rookie

Be honest.

You have often wondered who the strongest racer in Florida Cyclocross is regardless of category. Okay, you probably haven’t wondered about this, but just in case you have, we have gone ahead and done the work for you. Think of it as a gift, or even better, an unofficial pound for pound ranking of FLCX racers. Naturally, these rankings should be taken 100% seriously.

How are the power rankings created? A few of us go into the lab (Subaru Outback) and we look at all the statistics. We then argue for about 45minutes trying to figure out who deserves to be mentioned and where they should rank. Then we come up with a few snarky comments about the racers skills and personality. A very scientific process:

Proof of the science used to determine power rankings. (Photo: Tim Hayes)

Don’t see your name on the rankings? Well, you have some work to do.

2012/13 FLCX Power Rankings: Pre-Season

1. Jack Rich (Infinity Bike Shop) | 35+

  • Regardless of category Jack Rich was the most dominate rider in Florida Cyclocross during the 2011/12 season.
  • Can he continue his domination in the increasingly competitive 35+ field?

2. Chris Slack (Infinity Bike Shop) | Cat1/2

  • Slack Bagger is fast and consistent.
  • The favorite for the cat1/2 overall title this season.
  • Rumor has it that he still hasn’t put in for his upgrade from cat3. Seriously. What a bag of sand this guy is.
  • UPDATE: We have received word from Chris Slack that his request has been approved. Good work, big guy.

3. Josh Thorton (St. Pete Bike and Fitness) | Cat1/2

  • Defending Florida State Champion.
  • Has had a good start on the National Calendar despite starting races near the back row. May not enter many Florida races, but deserves a mention for flying our flag proudly on the National Circuit.

4. Zoe Mullins (Colavita) | Women 1/2/3

  • Zoe ran away with the Women4 title last season. With the upgrade to cat3 she should be considered a favorite for the series win.
  • Um, what else is there to say about Zoe?
  • #YOLO #BIEBERFEVER #BESTIES #GOSSIPGIRL

5. Dario Perez (Miami Velo) | 45+ and Single Speed

  • If Dario is able to show up to race he will more than likely win the 45+ category and place in the Single Speeds.
  • Heckling tip? Lawyer jokes.

6. Steve Noble (Infinity Bike Shop) | 45+/55+/Single Speed

  • Old enough to be your grandpa. Fast enough to destroy you.
  • Drives all over the state to score points, and from time to time gets in the money when enters the 1/2 field.

7. Jackson Mehr (U/A) | Junior 10-14

  • Winner of the ultra-competitive Junior 10-14 category in 2011/12.
  • Will his parents continue to drive him all over the state? We hope so.

8. Keith Richards (352 Racing p/b Bikes and More) | Cat1/2

  • Fastest racer over the barriers in Florida.
  • Your mom has had a crush on this man for years.

9. Taylor Norton (Orange State Cycling) | Cat3 and Single Speed

  • Lots of pressure on Taylor to fill the void left by Pete Young’s departure to Tennessee.
  • FLCX asks the Magic 8-Ball,  “Can Taylor finish a race without a mechanical?” Magic 8-Ball responds, “Who is Taylor Norton?”

10.(tie) John Hovius (Orlando Road Club) | Everything

  • This man is a beast.
  • If you don’t know who John Hovius is just look for the guy that enters every race on race day.
  • John is responsible for bringing several of our junior racers into the fold through his triathlon connections.

10*.(tie) Brooke Rich (Infinity Bike Shop, Destroyer of Souls) | Women 1,2

  • Brooke not only won her category almost every time she raced last year, despite coming off an injury, she usually beat everyone in the rest of the categories in her wave.
  • After Brooke won her category, she would feed her husband while he was racing, as well as chase her adorable toddler around.
  • In a training race, she let me ride away from her, then bridged back up to me, then heckled me ruthlessly, and then dropped me. Hard.
  • She is one of the most cheerful people in FLCX, which somehow makes the ass-kickings she hands out even worse.

Other Notables: JP* (Colavita), Ben Smith (352 Racing p/b Bikes and More)
*Added by Christian.

Cyclocrossers: A Bande à Part

On October 2, 2012 by Super Rookie

We are a bande à part. 

We enjoy racing bicycles as much as the next person, but we are also very different from the roadies that focus on results, gear and prize-money. We want to do well at our races, but we also know that it isn’t the end of the world when we have a mishap, or we get out sprinted by the enemy. We strive to make fun of our peers in ways that many are uncomfortable with at first. In short, we have fun.

We also have a sense of humor and a sense of humbleness about what we do on weekends every Fall and Winter.

Our current National Champion is Jeremy Powers (Rapha/Focus) is no different. He is one of the top ranked racers in the world and has a great shot at a top five placing at the World Championships in Louisville this February. This past weekend he won the first day of the GP Gloucester in Massachusetts, considered by many to be the biggest and best race of them all.

Along the way he had a date with the ground:

J-Pow Hits The Deck At Gloucester (Photo: Eric Silverberg)

When the picture began to float around the internet Powers was quick to chime in and point out that this wasn’t the best crash photo of his that he has seen. He directed the world to this:

J-Pow Crash Sequence (Photo: Steve Z)

The best cyclocross racer in the country is still willing to poke fun at himself. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we would see many roadies willing to do the same. This is because cyclocross is different from every kind of bicycle racing out there and it is taking the country over.

We exist outside of the realm of the usual.

In case you were wondering what CX is about

On October 1, 2012 by Christian

Here’s yet another example.


Tweet by @cosmocatalano: What you missed Sunday at GP Gloucester. (@davechiu photo, @ryantkelly to @resultsboy on the feed) Image source

Of course, from the mighty Gloucester CX.

Closer to home, a small group of us rode Picnic Island last night. They’ve got a frisbee golf course out there now, so there’s some new trails cut into the grass that add a little climbing. Fun stuff. We also got the chance to use local celebrity Mike Barry as a course marker.

There was an MTB race in Gainesville this weekend, apparently lots of people crashed and or mechanicaled.

Jason Guillen won the 50 mile 3 Gap in Georgia by recording the fastest time, the Strava KOM, and all of the attendant accolades. He averaged 19+mph for the adventure, including the 7 mile Hogpen gap climb. SICK WATTS.