Free The Zip Tie.

On September 25, 2015 by Christian

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The FBRA board has voted to allow riders using ZipTies for Single Speed race to accumulate points for the FLCX Season Series. This means you can take the battery out of your DI2 bike, or zip-tie your SRAM bike. If you have Shimano mechanincal, you must demonstrate to the official that your bike is completely incapable of shifting, whether you actually only have one cog on the back. All bikes in the single speed race are subject to inspection by the official.

Do not make us regret this decision. Do not be sneaky gear changers. Don’t be the guy that makes us take away the zip tie privilege. The points series is based on your best 9 finishes. There are still a ton of chances to get in there and make it count. Maybe we’ll even have double points at one of the events for all riders with zip ties. Who can say what the future will hold?

PS I’m totally kidding about the double points, don’t start freaking out legit single speed bike owners.

EDIT: Riders at all FLCX Single speed races starting tomorrow are eligible. Yes, this is happening in the middle of the season, except it’s only two weekends into the season. No, we will not be back-dating results from the first two weekends. This decision was made to attempt to bring Florida in line with several other regions of the country that have much higher participation numbers. We want more of you having more fun, and if a zip tie or lack of battery will get you there, then perfect.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or Graham Partain.

2015 FLCX PreSeason Power Rankings:

On September 4, 2015 by Christian

It’s that time of year again, time to see who’s been training and who’s been eating cheesy bacon conch fritters. This weekend’s Veterans Memorial Park Cyclocross in lovely Hudson, FL is the first race of the 2015 FLCX season, meaing it’s time for us to take a look at the movers and the shakers and the bakers and the farmer and his daughters. I sort of got lost halfway through that sentence, it’s been a while since I wrote anything, it might take a bit to work through the cobwebs, sorry.

Anyway, it being the first week of racing, and it being before Labor Day, we have precious few ways to truly divine who is hot and who is not. I mean, we could guess, based on USA Cycling/Cross-Results.com race predictors, but as I understand it the jury is still out on statistics and data. So we will be basing our predictions this week based upon who has been facebooking the hardest this summer. And by “our” I mean “mine”, since Tim Hayes is too busy making The Slow Ride Podcast to help me with the Power Rankings this week.

You are probably asking “How does one facebook harder than another person, Carlqvist?” and the answer to that should be plain once the list is revealed, which it will in another paragraph or two.

These rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong. If you are angry that you weren’t mentioned, or angry that you were mentioned, we suggest that you take a deep breath and remember that we’re totally kidding about pretty much everything we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you. As always, please, no wagering.

1. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | Pro1/2, SS | Last Rank: 1

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Ryan will be wearing the US National Champion’s jersey in all the master’s races he does this year, I think, so he automatically is number one in this listing, and number one in our hearts. Maybe he’ll get to wear it in Pro12, too, but I don’t determine when he gets to wear it, so don’t hassle me if I’m wrong. In anycase, Ryan has been facebooking pretty hard this summer, posting pictures of his swole ass neck and also some cows and a couple of fancy new CX bikes.

2. Mattheu Pourbaix (Trek Travel / PRCX) | Cat 4? | Last Rank: NA

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Beardo has been KILLING Facebook this summer with completely ridiculous photographs of himself climbing all of the classic Euro climbs. He is the breathing definition of living the cyclist’s dream. If he doesn’t tear everyone’s legs off once he actually shows up to race, I will be hugely disappointed in him. Don’t let me down, Pourbaix.

3. Graham Partain (Swift Cycles) | Masters35, Cat 3 | Last Rank: NA

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Every single one of you needs to say “Thank You for all your hard work, Graham”. While you were training or drinking or playing with your kids or walking your dog, Graham was doing all of the behind the scenes stuff that has to get done to make FLCX happen. Races and point series just don’t happen in a vacuum, someone has to orgainize that stuff and for the past couple of years, that person has been Graham. In addition, CrossCopter.com.

4. Jonathan Bicycle (South Florida Internet Warriors) | Cat 3 | Last Rank: NA

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Jonathan has posted a picture that looks a lot like this at least 36 times this summer, meaning he is going to go faster than hell in a straight line this season. He will probably still not be able to turn, however, so he will suffer mightily anytime there are more turns than straightaways, so course designers, you know what to do. Jonathan has also been just about the most active person on the entire FLCX facebook, and for that he gets his recognition.

TIE 5. Pete Miner (Swift Cycles) | Masters45 / SS | Last Rank: NA
TIE 5. Pendulum JoAn (Swift Cycles) | Women’s Cat 4 | Last Rank: NA

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These two. In addition to being disgustingly happily in love with each other, they have been riding their bikes a ton this summer, at least according to their facebooks. Both on the road as well as around Gainesville, they’ve been all kissy-faced with each other off the bike and shredding the gnar on the bike. And they are such great people you can’t even really get mad at them.

7. John Will Tenney (KBS/Brew Club of Seminole County) | Cat 4/5 / MTB | Last Rank: NA

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John will be the first one to tell you he’s not the fastest guy on his bike, and I will be the second, because it’s fun to needle the people who have fun needling you. John’s internet game has been strong this summer, however, brewing beer and cider and cheering on the rabble rousers both politically and in the FLCX group. We’d be nowhere as a nation and as a Facebook group without dissent, and John is an expert at walking up to the line and not crossing over it.

8. Rotive Xela (Colavita S Florida) | Masters | Last Rank: NA

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I don’t think anyone has traveled as much as Vitor has this year, but something tells me he’ll still be faster than most of us. The above pic is from Portugal, and if I’m reading his FB right, he’s in Bangalore right now. Do they have CX in India?

9. Kate Adams (RND Racing / Liv) | W123 | Last Rank: NA

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Kate has been doing a bunch of women’s clinics and training camps, in addition to her various farming duties:

Glenna S. Roberts pssssttt boy ducks have a penis. you can look in the vent,

Kate Adams I know it’s in there somewhere but I don’t really want to go looking for it.

With that said, look for some serious crushing this year both on the internets and on her CX bike.

10. Alex Hutchinson (One Cog Warrior) | SS M4/5 | Last Rank: NA

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Alex is rocking the internet so hard that he has his own website to keep track of all his rocking. Check it out! Go ahead, I’ll wait, and we’re almost done here. Alex came on the scene last year, and has steadily progressed into one of our more consistent chroniclers of our silly antics. His trademark ponytail provides him with power, in much the same way my huge beard helped me out last season.

We See You: Rich Dybdahl, Josh Thornton, Zach Fout, Ted Hollander, Kristin Apotsos, all the parents of all the juniors

We’ll be back next week with a race recap and the first REAL power rankings of the season based on actual racing, not just me sitting here drinking Not Your Father’s Root Beer and making stuff up.

Have fun, race hard, stay hydrated, and don’t take it too serious.

Ripped from the pages of MYFBRA.COM

On September 26, 2014 by Christian

FLORIDA CYCLOCROSS SEASON IS IN FULL SWING!

The Florida Bicycle Racing Association, as the recognized local association of USA Cycling in Florida, is proud to announce the 2014/15 Florida Ranking System for Cyclocross.

****Updated to add 11/1-2 Tally CX in Tallahassee****

Upcoming Races:

For complete calendar of races and more information on Florida cycloscross races visit the cyclocross page on FBRA.org


There are a few changes for the 2014/15 season. Junior age categories have changed to 9-11, 12-14, 15-18. FRS-CX awards will be 3 deep for individuals and 1 deep the overall team across all categories. The number of races that count for an individual is set at 8 and for a team 10.

For more information on categories, race requirements and points system click here.

TOTALLY NOT THE PRE-SEASON POWER RANKINGS*

On August 29, 2014 by Christian

*except totally the end of August Power Rankings.

As always, these rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong. If you are angry that you weren’t mentioned, or angry that you were mentioned, we suggest that you take a deep breath and remember that we’re totally kidding about pretty much everything we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you. As always, please, no wagering.

1. Josh Thornton (Giant USA/FLCX BADASS) – P12 – Pretty much nuff’ said. He’s promoting a series of WICKED AWESOME races this year, increasing his rating even higher. You want to get ranked higher than him? Promote a race, and then beat him on the bike. The most powerful man in Florida Cyclocross. Just try to unseat him. Good luck.

2. Laura Parsons (Infinity) – P123 Women – She is already claiming she’s injured, but as the most dominant woman in FLCX history, it’s virtually impossible to count her out. She will win at least 6 races this year. She is the reigning queen, best of luck to you if you plan to unseat her.

3. Zoltan Tisza (??) -Masters – We don’t know much, but his name is Zoltan and if that doesn’t scream “I’m faster than you” than I don’t know what does.

4. Vitor Alexandre (Colavita South) – Masters – Was untouchable last year in the masters 45, and damn competitive in the masters 35’s as well. Engaged in some epic duels with Steve Noble (Infinity), and ultimately emerged triumphant the vast majority of the time. So strong, so fit, so many expectations for 2014, and already claiming that he’s coming into the season undertrained. Yep, sound like an elite Master’s rider to me.

5. Tic Bowen (B3 Cafe) – Strava king of the Greater Orlando area. Man of mystery, be afraid 35+ dudes. Two words describe him. FA. Ast.

6. Dan Sullivan (West Coast Wheelman). No stranger to the FLCX Power Rankings, the 55+ champion figures to continue his reign. The silent killer, he doesn’t talk a lot, but he’s always at the front of the race at the 45 minute mark, when it counts.

7. Ryan Woodall (The Pro’s Closet/Felt/Top Gear Cycles/Chris Kyle) NO WOODALLZ ALLOWED*

8. Ava Sykes (Outspoken?) Ava had an amazing summer, standing on the top step of the podium at the National Crit Championships, and on the lower steps of the podium of the road race, and the time trial. How did your summer go? That 15th at the industrial park training crit highlight suddenly doesn’t feel so special, does it?

9. Keith Richards (Swift Cycling) Won the single speed category based on showing up. MEH.

10. Rich Dybdahl (Pure Cycles) The single most enthusiastic CX supporter in the entire state of Florida. Rich backed up his entirely lackluster race results in 2013 with an undying commitment to the bringing new friends to the sport of Cyclocross. Seriously, love you Rich, don’t ever quit.

11. Mother Effing Beardo (All City/Ritte Racing/Puerto Rico) Dude showed up one weekend and owned it. Even though he finished near to last against the elite FLCX category 4 field, he still managed to podium in nearly every PRCX event he entered. Weird. Love that dude, hope we see more of him this year.

Dis-Honourable Sandbagger Pre-Season Award: Michael Cedeno is so much faster than all of us on pavement, and yet he’s yet to enter the 60 minute event. Being funny on the internet is all well and good, but stealing candy from the kids in the cat 3 race is just mean. See also: Alexander Gil and his world class track sprinter thighs.

On the cusp:

John Paul Russo – This year has got to be his year. Right? Right? COME ON!

Jennifer Kratz Hoyle – Garneau – Killed it in the 4 women, has a tougher row to hoe in the big girl’s race.

Erica Richards – Orange State – When she’s not sueing people, she’s dropping them on her bike. A full season may be just what she needs to get to the top. Recently spent time in Colorado altitude doping- look out.

Brian Davis – Village Idiots – Anyone who drinks as much Duvel as Brian does post race deserves mention.

John Kingham – Swift Cycles – John was one of the best cat 4’s last year- how will he handle his step up to the big kids in the 3’s?

Michael Mace – First Place Racing – Junior National Champion on the MTB has got to count for something on the CX bike.

Kristin Apotsos – Infinity – The only woman to beat Laura Parsons last year is now Laura’s teammate- it should be intriguing to see how team orders play out.

How do I do the Cyclocross: Early-Mid August Edition

On August 14, 2014 by Christian

No. 3 of several in a series hyping up the 2014-2015 FLCX Cyclocross series

Ok, we’ve already discussed getting a bike for a reasonable price, and then we talked about some best practices for CX race promoters. Let’s talk about getting into shape, and what exactly kind of shape you need to get into to race CX.

First of all, if you are the type of person who wants/needs/desires structure and planning in your workouts, there are some great coaches in FLCX. Off the top of my head, I can think of, in no particular order, Josh Thornton, Ben Smith, Zach Fout, Vitor Alexandre, Eric Stubbs, Drew Edsal Jeb Stewart, Zoltan Tisza, and Vincent Cook. If I’m forgetting anyone else, it’s purely unintentional and if you contact me I’ll be happy to add you to the list. There are a lot of current and previous state champions in this list. These guys will make you faster than you currently are, as long as you take their advice to heart and eat right. They can teach you how to eat, train, sleep, and ride like a champion bike racer, and help you with technique and even make sure your bike fits you properly. It’s a relatively small investment to gain a vast amount of knowledge, and if you take your cycling seriously, it makes sense to hire one of these guys.

For the rest of us, who are perfectly happy to finish in the latter half of the standings after we take multiple marshmallow and Fat Tire Amber Ale handups, here’s what you really need to do to get ready for CX season.

First of all, you need to build some base fitness. This requires little more than time and the determination to follow a general plan. It helps if you have at least a small amount of current fitness, like the ability to hang on to a group ride for 30 or 40 miles, but this isn’t an absolute requirement.

To build a base for CX, you should probably start today, if you haven’t started already. If you wait another week, it will probably be too late, and you’ll end up with a palmares like that of Tim Hayes circa 2013. (Yes, I KNOW you beat me the one time we raced head to head last year, TIM.) So, to build base fitness, you need a road bike, or road tires for your CX bike, and you need to ride for 2-4 hours at a time at least twice a week.

Currently, I have Thursday and Sundays off, so my weeks look like:

Monday: 1.5-2 hrs (25-30 miles) recovery ride, easy but steady pace.
Tuesday 1-1.5 hrs (15-20 miles) informal efforts ride- moderate pace with accelerations or CX Skills Practice.
Wednesday: Rest day or easy spin
Thursday: 3-4 hours (50-70 miles) steady pace at the edge of discomfort- look for 19-21 mph on your computer as much as possible
Friday: Rest day or easy spin
Saturday : Easy spin or group ride, 1-2 hours, (15-30 miles), or CX Skills Practice
Sunday: 3-4 hours (50-70 miles) steady pace at the edge of discomfort- look for 19-21 mph on your computer as much as possible.

This is just me, customize it to fit your schedule, and obviously with all the rain we’ve been having it won’t always work out. If you have to miss a day, that’s ok. If you’re tired, skip a day, or cut back the time/distance. You’re an adult, presumably, so listen to your body. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is probably more important than hitting a mileage goal, make sure you’re getting as much as you can. Recovery rides are equally important. Beat yourself up when you feel good. Give yourself a break when you’re exhausted. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Often, your brain (my brain) will feel like drinking beer and playing video games, and try to fool your body into feeling tired. You (I) should try to tell your (my) body that it can play all the video games it wants after the CX season ends.

I will follow this schedule through the end of August. Once we hit September, I’ll start to dial back the long days, and start to do a little more intensity, maybe even some intervals. Ugggh, intervals. They hurt, but they do so much good. But you need a fitness base before you can take advantage of the physiological benefits of intervals, so you have to put in the saddle time first.

So my weeks in September will look more like:

Monday: 1.5-2 hrs (25-30 miles) recovery ride, easy but steady pace, on pavement.
Tuesday: 1-1.5 hrs (10-15 miles) CX Skills Practice with shorter intense intervals, preferably on a CX bike on grass or dirt.
Wednesday: Rest day or easy spin on pavement.
Thursday: 2-2.5 hours (30-40 miles) fast-ish road ride. A group ride is fine, if you get out in the wind. Sitting in at 18mph does very little for your fitness.
Friday: Rest day or easy spin on pavement.
Saturday: 1-1.5 hours fast group ride, at the front, in the wind.
Sunday: CX Practice Race/ simulation. Find some local guys, and go out and beat on each other for 45 minutes, or two 20 minute sessions, or whatever you all agree on. Warm up properly before hand, and make sure to practice barriers and running steps both before and during the practice race.

CX intervals come in a wide variety. They range from the “sprint out of the saddle out of every corner interval” to the full on 20 minute “Oh my god I want to die because there’s 18 minutes to go interval”. One I’ve always “enjoyed” was finding a 1-2 mile circuit with regularly spaced street lights, and sprinting from one streetlight to the next, then resting til the next, then sprinting again, basically until you want to throw up. Hopefully, this will be after more than 3 sprints. Shoot for a whole lap of this misery, then take a lap off to recover. Then, if you feel like it, do another lap of intervals, or just call it a night. Longer intervals are necessarily less intense, but they hurt more because they last longer. You should rest longer after long intervals than you should after short ones. There’s a whole internet out there with opinions and advice on intervals, so if you want more detail, let me google that for you. Remember, CX is what you make it, and the harder you train now, the more you can slack off once the season starts and you can rely on races to keep you fit.

Some of you are saying, “Christian, surely you can’t be as slow as you have historically been if you are actually doing all of these workouts, and to those of you who are saying this, I can only say that you are very mean-spirited and unkind, and probably correct. But while I feel I corner and handle most of the technical sections as well as most people, I really struggle at the whole pedalling really hard parts of CX, and that’s where I watch people ride away from me.

Also, you should probably keep an eye on what you eat, cutting out a lot of the fat and junk sugar, and adding as many fruits and vegetables as you can stomach, but hey, you’re riding your bike a lot, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Remember, as long as you can zip up your skinsuit and/or jersey past your belly, then it still fits you fine.

Follow these most of these steps between now and the first races at the end of September, and I promise that you’ll be at least as mediocre as Tim and Rich Dybdahl and I.

The next volume in this series will contain advice on what a proper CX skills workout should consist of. Look for it this weekend!

How Do I Promote the Florida Cyclocross Event?

On August 5, 2014 by Christian

For the 2014/2015 Florida Cyclocross (FLCX) Season, there is no longer an actual FLCX points series. There is the Florida Bike Racing Association (FBRA) FRS-CX points series, which will award points to racers at each CX race in the state. So anyone who wants to promote a USA Cycling Cyclocross race in the state is now part of the points series. As far as I’m aware, the final race of the season will be State Championships in Tampa around the second weekend in December, at which time I presume all FBRA Season Series prizes will be awarded.

We’d like to provide some simple guidelines for all promoters to use to make their events as successful as they can be, as well as to provide a certain level of quality for each event, to ensure a consistent level of excellence during the race day experience, to continue to move the sport forward, to increase participation, to make sure each event is first and foremost, fun, but also safe, profitable, and not a giant ball of suck for the promoter and his staff. You can use as much of our recommendations as you wish, or you can completely ignore us and do it the way you want to do it, there’s no one way to promote a CX race. We’re not setting out a mandate or demanding that you follow anything we say, specifically. These are simply the steps we learned through trial and error, to be the best, the easiest, the most profitable.

Do’s and Don’ts:

Do

beg, borrow, or steal a laptop. Download Cross Mgr. Practice using it, then find 2 or 3 volunteers to run it during your race. It is the same FREEEEEEEE timing software that Jason Guillen used in past seasons. It makes your entire race day experience go exponentially smoother than relying on a USA Cycling official to do the results by hand. We had USA Cycling officials doing results by hand at Tampa and at the State Championships in 2013, and results at both of these events were a complete mess, in the sense that it took the official 30-45 minutes between each race to tabulate the results by hand, before they could be announced after an event with 15 or 20 racers. I’m not saying this to insult anyone. I don’t think anyone could or would dispute this assessment. Don’t make your race a mess. Use the software, or pay a timing company to run timing at your event. Don’t trust the USA Cycling officials to do it themselves. They aren’t equipped for it, they’re there to make sure your event is run safely and disputes are handled fairly and no one is giving beer to juniors.

(Jason Guillen wants out of the timing business for next season, so he can actually focus on his own racing. You can ask him for advice, but as far as I know he won’t be running timing at many or even any events.)

Do

make the schedule of your race pretty close to the schedule of everyone else’s race, because you’re gonna get a better turnout if you do. We have several years of data that suggests that the best schedule is something pretty close to this:

Wave 1: Masters 35/45/55 – 45 minutes
Wave 2: Pro 1/2/3 Men – 60 minutes
Wave 3: Pro 1/2/3 Women/ Mens 3/4 – 45 Minutes
Wave 4: Men 4/5 – Women 4 – Juniors – 30 minutes
Wave 5: Kids race – 10 minutes (or so)
Wave 6: SS Open – 30 Minutes

Put 15 or so minutes between waves. Each wave technically ends when the last finisher crosses the line.

You can always do whatever schedule your little heart desires as promoter, but you should at least keep the wave structures intact, for FBRA points series purposes. As we get more and more racers in FLCX, we will have to add waves so we don’t have 200 people on the course at the same time, but we’re still several years away from this problem, so we won’t concern ourselves with it at the moment. A six wave schedule like the one above will take about 5 hours from start to finish, meaning if you start your first race at 10:00am, you’re last race is done by 3pm, so you can be heading home before 6pm, which is pretty good for a promoter.

Do

use pre-registration. Either use the USA Cycling system, or BikeReg, or FirstPlaceRacing, but definitely one of the three, and definitely not Active.com, because no one has time for all of the emails Active.com sends you. But use pre-reg, and encourage it’s use by charging a $5 day of registration fee. What should you charge for your race? $25-30 for a first race, and $10 for each additional race each day is pretty reasonable. If your venue is truly spectacular, or you really want to do an event t-shirt, then you can charge a little more, but if it’s more you better be certain that the event will be worth it.

Do

understand the economics involved. Last year, FLCX averaged roughly 60 racers on Saturdays, and 110 racers on Sundays for races in central Florida. 60 x $30 = 1800, 110 x $30 = $3300. $5100 is a lot of money, but almost $1000 of that is going back to USA Cycling, and another $500 to $1000 or so to rent the park and pay the permits. You should probably pay at least $249 to both the Pro men and the Pro women each day (The USA Cycling fees go up if your prizes are over $500). You might need porta potties, that’s $2-300. Prizes/Trophies are another consideration. You’ll need to make some barriers, and acquire some stakes, maybe dump a couple of truckloads of playground sand. Stakes are expensive, try to borrow or at least rent them- Jordan at Velo Champ has a bunch of wooden stakes, Dan Milstead at Little Everglades has even more plastic stakes, and I believe John Hovius at AAA Tri Camp has a bunch of them too. If you have to buy them, well, that’s going to cost a lot. You’ll need a generator and a PA system and a couple of ten x ten ez-up tents for registration and scoring to stand under. You’ll need a PA system for your announcer to talk on. Luckily, if you hire me to announce, I work for entry fees, so that at least won’t cost you much. You need a few tables and some chairs, pens and safety pins and race numbers and prizes for the kids race and water jugs and coffee and breakfast for your volunteers and it just never ends.

Notice, I still haven’t mentioned t shirts, pint glasses, or other promotional tchotchkes. Because they cost even more money, and unless you have a buddy that owns a tchotchkes company, you’re gonna have to pay for them, too. And that $5100 is getting pretty close to being spent.

Bottom line, you’re not going to get rich doing this. If you want to get rich, promote a color run.

Don’t

offer pay-outs to any fields other than P123 and W123, unless you have a bunch of sponsorship dollars burning a hole in your pocket. Otherwise, you won’t really draw too many extra riders, and you will lose money.

Get unique trophies/plaques/medals made. I still have trophies from industrial park criteriums I won back in the 90’s. I don’t have a dime of any of the prize money I won. People are buying memories out there, give them something to remember. Paying Master’s racers is almost as foolish as dropping $1500 on Tshirts for a first year event. Masters will show up either way, as long as they know they aren’t going to break a hip.

Do

Go out and get sponsors. Got a local brewery or brew-pub or bar? Yes, you probably do. Ask them for a few cases for the winners, or a keg for the after party. Food truck/Restaurants/bars near your venue? Don’t be scared to ask them for bar tabs or gift certificates. Then hit up local bike shops. All of them, even one’s you don’t normally shop at. At the one’s you do shop at, ask them if they can hit up any of their suppliers. Garneau, Cannondale, Specialized, SRAM, and Specialized have all contributed at the least course tape in the past, and will most likely do so in the future. Sponsorship takes effort, but it can literally pay for your race, making all the entry fees profit. Think about it. Be creative. Be professional, come up with a package you can email to people describing what you want their money and or product for. The package needs only a cover letter describing the race, the demographics of most cyclists (upscale, eat a lot, like beer), and the numbers you think you’ll attract (approx 100-150 racers, and an equal number of spectators, more if it’s a central location). Mention the comradery of CX, the fun, the disposable income in the parking lot of your event, the spectator friendliness of being able to walk right up to the tape and hand a racer a twizzler or a strip of bacon.

Do

follow these basic guidelines in choosing a location for your event.

1. Pay as little for it as you can get away with. Free is best. Cheap is almost as good. Parks in cities like Orlando, Tampa or Miami are expensive, unless you know someone. It’s good to know someone. Parks in towns like Winter Garden, Alachua, or Ocala are cheaper. Private land can be expensive or cheap. Remember, you’re going to have to send a big chunk of money back to USA Cycling. Spending much more than $500 or $600 on your venue and the associated permits to go with it will make your profits slim.

2. Your course needs to be 8-10 feet wide and roughly a mile and a half in length. There can be a couple of choke points, where the course narrows to one rider’s width, but they better be far from the start, and there better not be too many of them. This doesn’t mean that a section that narrows because one foot of it is solid ground and the other 9 feet are mud isn’t kosher, but you can’t make that your entire course, unless there is a weird weather rain for-three-days-beforehand-thing, but we rarely have those during the FLCX calender. The ideal lap time for the Men 4/5 wave is about eight to nine minutes. They are the slowest wave, and since they only race for 30 minutes, it’s nice to get them 3 to 4 laps. You don’t want your pro men doing 5 minute laps, however, because 12 laps (60 minute race) is a lot, so you have to find a balance. Watch videos of other CX races around the country to give you some ideas.

3. Use any elevation change you can find. Ditches, mole hills, sand dunes, stair cases, handicap ramps, and cliffs. Anything that goes up or down. Off-camber sections are excellent. Sand Volleyball courts are almost a must, if available- I can think of three or four courses last year that had vollyball courts we used off the top of my head.) There is a line between challenging and stupid, and by and large we’ve stayed on the challenging side of the line on our courses. Remember, we have 10 year old kids and 60 year old grandparents out there racing, and while we want to challenge the 33 year olds, we don’t want to kill anybody, or include course features that will damage equipment.

4. Don’t be scared to make people run. They will hate you for it on race day, but they’ll love you for it when they’re telling their friends about the race later. The run-up at Josh’s Dade City course was as perfect as it gets, as was the first run-up off the beach at Key Biscayne a couple of years ago, and the sand steps section at State’s right before the line was pretty perfect too. Force people to dismount at least once per race, and preferably more than that. Two or three times a lap really isn’t out of hand, especially on an otherwise non-technical course. CX isn’t supposed to be easy. The only races in Belgium that don’t force the PRO’s to dismount for barriers are so friggin’ technical that there are running sections anyway.

5. Get the fastest racer you know, and the slowest racer you know, and have them consult and advise you on your course design. Listen to both of them.

Don’t

put a damn pinwheel of death on your course. It’s so lazy, and so 2011.

Do

recruit as many people as you can to help you promote your event. Find a local graphics student to make your flyer and facebook page. Find a couple local go-getters to find local sponsors for you. This includes race day volunteers. You should have a couple people patrolling the course all day repairing course tape and broken stakes, a couple people doing registration, and at least a couple people scoring your event, as well. This is in addition to USAC officials.

Do

make your pits as close as you can to the start/finish area, and also make the pits with at least two entrances. This means your course has to be shaped something like an 8, with the start finish and pits near the intersection of the two circles. The pits have a lot of interest for spectators, but so does start/finish. Keep them within a few minutes walk of each other. Use Jordan at Velo Champ for neutral support, he works for beer and maybe dinner. Good dood.

Do

remember that CX is a spectator sport, too. Make as much of your course visible from start-finish as possible. The Ocala Race, Josh Thornton’s race in Dade City, and Dan’s State’s course, and Dybdhal’s brilliant Mt. Dora course were all fantastic examples of a spectator friendly course. Make sure your spectators are behaving themselves, as much as you can. As race promoter, you’re something of a den-mother to everyone out there, so you can growl at some naughty cub scouts if they get out of line.

Do

follow the Zach Fout promotional method and promote the shit out of your event. Take a flyer to every bike shop in town that will post it. Repost the event info 6 times a day. Rent out the side of a bus or two. I’m not busting balls here, Zach promotes his events as hard as you possibly can, and his high registration numbers are a reflection of that.

Do

Ask other promoters and racers and all of us at flcx.org for help if you need it. We all want to see the sport get bigger. We all want all the races to be awesome. We’re here for your assistance.

These are the basic ideas that we’ve found to be effective. There are certainly a lot more ideas out there, I’m sure people will contribute them on the facebook thread I will add when I publish this, and I can steal the best ones to add to this page. This is a living document, I want it to be of use to every promoter of a race in Florida.

I am not an FBRA or USACycling officer or official, these are not rules, they are guidelines. In case anyone feels that I am demanding you promote a race they way we’re prescribing, let me be the first to assure you that anything I say is completely unofficial. All that said, it is researched and considered. Use it or ignore it as you choose.

Nine FLCX Series Races Highlight Expanded Florida Cyclocross Calendar For 2013/14 Season!

On September 10, 2013 by Christian

GAINESVILLE, FL – The 2013/14 Florida CX season promises to be the biggest and best in the history of Florida cycling. The season calendar features the return of eight races held in 2012/13 and the addition of an all new race in Dunedin and the highly anticipated return of racing in Winter Garden. In all, the ten weekends of racing make for many opportunities for cyclists of all skill levels to try their hand at the fastest growing discipline of cycling.

With an expanded calendar starting earlier than ever means that there are some exciting changes in the race for the FLCX Series Overall title. The biggest change is that only one race per weekend will count for the FLCX. Eight of the FLCX point races fall on Sundays with the season finale on Saturday January 18th before the State Championships the next day at the legendary Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City.

The 2013/14 Florida CX season kicks with the all new Edinburgh CX Challenge in Dunedin on September 22nd. The new course will be a great warm-up prior to the start of the FLCX Point Series that begins just two weeks later at the newly expanded Tampa Riverfront CX on October 12th and 13th. The all new course at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park promises to be one of the best venues in the series as racing is just steps from Downtown Tampa. Highlighting the Tampa Riverfront CX race is equal prize money for both the Women and Men’s Category ½ fields. The start of the FLCX Series in Tampa also means the return of neutral support of VeloChamp. Every FLCX Series race will have VeloChamp’s neutral service to help keep you on a bike and in the race regardless of what kind of luck you have.

Anticipation for the first Halloween cyclocross race in Florida history is building as the FLCX Series returns to Winter Garden for the first time in two years on October 27th. The races promises to feature the twisty turns and treacherous sand pits that the race was known for before taking a brief hiatus. This race will surely be known for both the quality of racing and the costumes of the racers.

Miami returns to the Florida Cyclocross series with Tropical Cyclocross for the sixth time in as many years on November 2nd and 3rd. The course at Virginia Key features one of the best run-ups in all of Florida and the local Miami racers will surely bring their best heckles. Make sure you bring the sunscreen as this course brings you to the beach and will leave you shouting, “ooooOOOOOOOooooooOOOOOO,” on every lap.

The gang at Infinity Racing have decided to go all in with two days of racing at the BMX track in Melbourne on November 9th and 10th. This race is well known for having the first flyover in Florida CX and the BMX track features some of the best opportunities to show off your bike handling skills. With five race weekends completed and four FLCX events in the books the newly expanded two-day Ocala CX weekend on November 23rd and 24th provides a great half-way mark for the 2013/14 season. The promoters are promising an all new course and an even bigger event as they make their first appearance on the FLCX Series Calendar.

Change is in store for the next two race weekends in Tallahasse and Gainesville. The December 7th and 8th weekend of Tally CX promises to be the coldest race on the calendar and the new course will feature some amazing run-ups and lots of the off-camber switchbacks that course designer, Jim Smart is known. The next weekend the racing shifts to Gainesville for the fourth edition of Swamp Cross with an all-new course on tap for December 14th and 15th.

With just one race weekend to go before the season finale at the Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City on January 18th and 19th racing once again descends upon the National Training Center in Clermont on January 4th and 5th. The Clermont course is easily the most difficult course on the calendar with an amazing amount of climbing and a run-up that will have you asking for help just a few laps in. With only one more day left to score FLCX Series points the racing will be fast and furious.

As cyclocross continues to grow in Florida the promoters of FLCX and the Florida Bike Racing Association (FBRA) have been working hard to ensure a great racing experience and a clearinghouse of information. In addition, the FBRA has created an all-new ranking system for the 2013/14 season dubbed the FRS-CX. This ranking series is another way to see how you compare to other cyclocross racers in Florida.

For up to the date information about Florida Cyclocross or the FLCX please visit: www.flcx.org
For up to the date information about Florida Bike Racing and the FBRA please visit: www.myfbra.org

Cat 1/2 Preview: Can Slack Reign Supreme?

On October 9, 2012 by Super Rookie

There are a lot of fast cyclocross racers in Florida. On any given week anyone can win the 1/2s and prove to be among the fastest in the state. With cyclocross being so new in Florida there are a lot of people trying it out and the legions of roadies and mountain bikers that have legacy upgrades courtesy of USA Cycling have been known to show up from time to time in the cat1/2s. This makes the racing faster and faster every week, but in the overall series competition consistency is key and a few riders have proven to have what it takes to be near the top when the series winds down in early January.

Slack-Bagger

The top cyclocross racer in Florida last season was Chris Slack (Infinity Bike Shop). How good was he? He only raced in the cat1/2s on eight occasions – winning at Winter Garden, Hobe Sound and both days in Orlando – and he still came away with the series overall title. Why did he only race the second half of the season in the 1/2s? Because he was busy racing in the cat3s for the first few races of the year, including a win at Tropical Cyclocross, before getting the courage to upgrade where he put on a clinic week in and week out.

Chris Slack finished on top in 2011. Can he repeat? (Photo: Michelle Blake)

Slack has spent his off-season training hard in Sarasota and has been seen at several road events rocking it on his cross bike – cantilever brakes and all. One has to surmise that Slack will be faster than ever this year and if all the wildcard 1/2s continue to show up sporadically the consistency of Slack will reign supreme and he will continue atop the podium as the best cyclocross racer in the Sunshine State.

He’s heard it all before

Keith Richards (352 Racing) fell just two points shy from taking the overall title in the Cat 1/2s in 2011/12. Taking the lead after Tally Cross and holding on all the way to the final day in Orlando when Slack had to rely on the assistance of his teammate, Jack Rich (Infinity) to score the necessary points to keep Richards from taking the coveted 1st Place Cowbell. Richards has been a man on a mission for the past few months with some lofty goals focused on consistently finishing on the podium to score the much needed points to secure the win in the 1/2s.

Richards is hoping to avoid a late season crash in the standings. (Photo: Best Photographer Ever)

As for the heckling and the name calling. He has heard it all before. No matter what you come up with you can’t phase KMFR. In fact, he listens to Wild Horses on repeat before every race just to get psyched up.

Stubbs and Renkema

Eric Stubbs (352 Racing) and Ben Renkema (Global Bike) have been all over the internet discussing their desire to race a full FLCX season this coming year. Both are insanely fast on the road who routinely place among the best in the state when racing on the asphalt. When they have dabbled in cyclocross they have put on shows and performed extremely well.

Renkema took two wins in 2011, both at Swamp Cross in Gainesville and he had two second place finishes to Josh Thornton at Kelby CX in Tampa and the second day of Tally Cross. Stubbs was unable to secure a win this past season, but he did manage two seconds and two thirds. Couple this with a win at the Southeast Cyclocross Single Speed Championships (SESSCXC) and it isn’t a stretch to think that Stubbs will feature in several races this upcoming season.

Stubbs claims he will be in it to win it this year. (Photo: Amy Horstmeyer)

Yet, in the end, will these two racers show up and put on a show? Or, will they lurk on the sidelines hoping for bigger prize money, or take some much needed rest?

The Mountain Bike Pros

Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt) and Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles) are nationally known mountain bikers. They are among the fastest in the county when they are on the dirt and when they race cyclocross they put on quite the show. Edsall took two wins this past season, both in dominating fashion at the two day Tally Cross in the far reaches of the state.

It is hard to say what people would rather see at FLCX in 2012: Woodall or Woodall’s Stache (Photo: Michelle Blake)

Woodall raced just once in 2011 at Swamp Cross, but he seems to have caught the bug watching some of his fellow mountain bikers at Cross Vegas in September. If either of these two show up for some cyclocross races in 2012/13 it will surely be a race for second, or help us all, third.

Southern Charmer

If you ask anyone involved with Florida Cyclocross who we are most indebted to there would be one universal answer, Jason Guillen (Gearlink). The Southern Charmer is responsible for promoting and officiating several races and has served on the FRCA Board of Directors representing cyclocross for the past year. When he isn’t doing this he is busy ripping your legs off. Guillen is coming off a strong off-season where he has logged thousands of miles and recently won the 3 Gap Race in northern Georgia where he logged some record times. Guillen finished in third place overall last year and should be near the top again.

He will beat you. Then he will relegate you. (Photo: Michelle Blake)

Thorton-Mania

The defending category 1/2 champion, Josh Thorton (St. Pete Bike & Fitness) is busy racing a national calendar and the schedule he posted on Facebook does not mention any appearances at Florida Cyclocross races, save for the Lakeland race. Despite this, if Thorton were to show up at a race he could walk away with a victory. If we can take anything from last year’s State Championship at Little Everglades it is that Edsall and Stubbs are the only ones that can stay with Thorton.

New Upgrades In Category 1/2s

Congratulations are in order for the category 3 racers that have taken the plunge to upgrade to category 1/2. While they may not compete for the top step right away it won’t take long for Rick Buning (352 Racing), Greg Buker (Florida State University) and Christian Ahrens (352 Racing) to feature and make things complicated for the above mentioned racers. Buning won the Cat3 FLCX Series title in a very close fight with Ahrens that came down to the last day of racing in Orlando. Buker is your 2011/12 FL State Champion in the cat3s and he took the win both days at Swamp Cross in Gainesville.

Ahrens (L) and Buning (C) have both moved up and are looking to make some waves. (Photo: Michelle Blake)

35+ Category Preview: Rich Is Man To Beat.

On October 8, 2012 by Super Rookie

Damn. Those old guys are fast.

The Masters 35+ field is among the most competitive across the board in Florida Cyclocross. While one racer was able to walk away with the overall series title last season, there were quite a few competitors who showed up and had to fight tooth and nail for their spot on the podium. Often the 35+ category racers find themselves in the hunt for the overall win in the 60 minute “A” race as they are coupled with the Category 1/2s. In short, these guys are among the fastest in the state.

Domination.

That is how one can best describe the 2011/12 FLCX Season of Jack Rich (Infinity Bike Shop). In ten starts last season Rich took the top step seven times. These victories were often by a margin of one minute or more over the second place finisher and he also found himself in the hunt for the overall race podium with the 1/2s on several occasions. To further illustrate his domination, Rich was able to forgo the last race of the season and compete as a cat1/2 to help his teammate Chris Slack (Infinity) secure the cat1/2 FLCX Series Championship.

Jack Rich takes a bottle on his way to victory in the 35+ last year in Orlando. (Photo: Michelle Blake)

Will Timonere Show?

Only one racer was able to top Rich more than once last season and that was Tony Timonere (Top Gear Bicycles). A fixture on the mountain bike scene where he often places among the top in solo competitions, as well as, in co-ed events with his partner, Tracey Wallace (Top Gear Bicycles). Timonere was able to beat Rich at Kelby CX in Tampa and on the second day of Swamp Cross in Gainesville. Timonere opted to go for the State Championships in the cat3s last season and came up just short with a second place finish. This totals up to three races entered and two firsts and a second for the effort.

Timonere has been on Twitter and Facebook discussing his desire to do more races this upcoming season, and if this is the case we may see a real tight battle for the 35+ series title in 2012/13.

352 Racing Sandwich.

Week in and week out two of the most consistent racers in the 35+ category were Ben Smith and Graham Partain of 352 Racing. Smith capitalized on absences of Rich to take wins twice last season on Day 2 of Tally Cross and the season finale in Orlando. Both wins showed the speed and capability of Smith, a former NORBA National Mountain Bike Pro, who returned to racing last year after almost 10 years off the bike. While Smith was able to taste victory in 2011/12, Partain managed to deploy his diesel engine to feature on several occasions and was often times biting at the heels of Smith. If the 352 Racing Old Timers are able to keep it up for this season we could see a real challenge to Rich’s superiority in the 35+ category.

Will the final podium shuffle in 2012/13? (Photo: Michelle Blake)

Atkins and Company

The efforts of Scott Atkins (Gearlink) should not go unnoticed. Just a year shy of entering the 45+ Category, Atkins managed to pull of a strong 4th place finish in the series last season, just 10pts shy of the podium. A fixture at almost every race last season Atkins will be a huge contributor for Gearlink in the team trophy competition.

You may notice that Jack Rich lost three times in 2011/12. Timonere beat him twice, but who managed to top Rich at the State Championships? Kevin Hofmann (unattached) was the man and he is very well known in local mountain bike circles as one of the strongest around. If Hofmann decides to show up for some races this season, who knows what is going to happen.

2012/13 FLCX Season Preview Video

On September 18, 2012 by Super Rookie

Graham Partain (352 Racing) checks in with his latest masterpiece previewing the upcoming FLCX season.

Someone call up Spielberg. This man is a genius!

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