OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS – SPOOKY CROSS

On October 24, 2014 by Christian

As we enter the heart of the Florida Cyclocross season, we are starting to see some patterns developing, some riders emerging from the sweaty, tangled masses of also-rans and shoulda coulda wouldas. Still others are falling by the wayside, sad and sorrowful, licking their boo-boos and muttering about “jobs” or “family time” or “I gotta start training” or even “go-karts.” But the faithful, the devoted, the committed? They are present, soaking up attendance points and sneaking away to point series leads of surprisingly large margins.

The second of three Wicked Awesome Racing events last weekend was an off-camber masterpiece on a course that was arguably better than the first round. A shorter run up that was perfectly rideable if your named rhymes with “Food awl,” multiple hairpins on hillsides, and several completley rutted out corners made choosing the correct line crucial and deviating from it dangerous to maintaining flow and momentum.

That’s all well and good, because this weekend’s Second Annual Winter Garden Spooky Cross is going to be a slog through some nasty velcro grass. The grass is so thick, and there’s so much of it, that I don’t even think we’re going to use the sand pit, because I have a heart and I don’t want to kill anybody. Ok, I just don’t want to kill anybody. There, I said it. It is a power course, that much is certain. There are a couple of technical sections, but by and large it’s going to be more about watts than it is bike handling. Except for the fast sandy sections. Those will be tricky, and just get trickier as the day goes on, but dead flat.

With all this said, it’s time for the disclaimer:

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 negative we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you.

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


pic from facebook

Ryan maintains his Vice-Grip lock on the top spot with three wins and a second this past weekend. He was also riding up the run-up during the single speed race and at times carrying a sword around with him as well. Riding the run up was pretty bonkers, guys. Pro-1-2 this year has already been so great, we’ve never had two guys battling it out this hard, and now that Josh Thornton (Team Giant) has a few weekends to just race and shake off his #promoterlegs, we have the makings of some fantastic racing. And then there’s the utter demolition Ryan performed on the rest of the Single Speed field, we don’t even need to discuss that any further, it was comprehensive. A well deserved #1 for the man from Ocala.

2. Zoltan Tisza (Colavita South Florida) | Masters 45, P12 | Last Rank 4

Another strong weekend of racing (and winning) in Masters 45 immediately followed by third place in the Pro-1-2 moves Zoltan back into the 2 slot. Giving a free CX clinic before the Single Speed race on Sunday didn’t hurt him, either. Zoltan loves the sport and wants to grow it, and he does the whole walking the walk talking the talk thing. If you haven’t had a chance to talk to him, or at least study him racing- he is a magician on the bike, disappearing from the rest of the field, and an ambassador off it. We need more Zoltans.

3. Clint Gibbs M35 (Bike Works GNV) | Masters 35+ | Last Rank 2


pic from facebook

The only reason Clint fell to 3 is that Zoltan is killing it in masters and in the 60 minute race, while Clint is killing it in masters and then beating up the Cat 3’s. Trust me, it ain’t that hard to go faster than me, but it is tricky to keep the likes of Addison Zawada and Rolly Weaver in your rear-view. But for real, Clint is riding away with Masters 35, and if he keeps riding 3’s he’ll probably keep winning that, since there’s nobody on his level with any plans to do a lot of racing for the rest of the seasson.

4. Allison Linnell (all4cycling) | Women Pro-1-2-3 | Last Rank NA


pic from facebook

This one might start some controversy, but if you feel outraged, read the disclaimer again, and don’t hassle me. No less an authority than Kristin Apotsos told me that Allison hung out on her wheel comfortably for three laps and then rode away from Kristin, which is not easy to do, particularly once the officials start hanging out the lap cards. Were it not for terrible luck with tubeless tires (now where have I heard that before?) Allison would have had a dominating win on Sunday to match the dominating win she had at the last WAR event. I hope she’s able to overcome the mechanicals and race hard for the win for 45 minutes- she’s fun to watch out there.

5. Josh Thornton (Team Giant ) | P12 | Last Ranking: 9


pic from Hawkdancer via facebook.

Winning a Pro-1-2 race will move you up the Power Rankings. Being a perennial winner of FLCX races will help you as well, but the simple fact that Josh only has to show up this Sunday and race makes him the long shot gambling man’s choice to win the 60 minute race. Yes, Ryan Woodall has thus far dominated, but Josh managed to find a weakness on Day 1 of WAR # 2 Electric Boogaloo and exploit it. Can he do it at Spoopy CX? As I’ve mentioned, I think that it’s going to come down to WATTS this Sunday, so it should prove to be one of the more interesting races of the season.

6. Kristin Apotsos (Infinity) | Women Pro-1-2-3 | Last Rank NA


pic from Hawkdancer via facebook

Kristin lives the dream so hard that it’s a wonder we don’t all turn green from envy every time we see her in person. Beautiful kids, sparkling fitness, that bad-ass Airstream, the hunky husband, dominance in whatever sport strikes her fancy, and, of course, drinking slurpees as recovery fuel. Do I really need to type more words to convince you of her awesomeness? Now that we’ve hit the heart of the season, we should be in for quite a duel between her and Allison, and once Laura Parsons gets her legs back under her, look the eff out, we should have one of the most compelling battles in FLCX history.

7. Dan Sullivan (West Coast Cycling) | Masters 55+ | Last Ranking: 6

Dan maintains his “Silent Killer” persona and lead in the FRS-CX with yet another win on day 1 at WAR #2, but there are multiple guys knocking at his door, challenging his early dominance. Brian Davis (Treasure Coast Racing) won day #2 and is loving CX so much he bought a single speed bike, and Paul Schwartz (Orlando Road Club) is not going away either. Plus there’s the looming menace of the youngsters Steve Noble and Biron Keefer (both Infinity) to keep him honest.

8. Clayton Knight (Team Top Gear) | Junior 10 | Last Ranking: na


pic from Hawkdancer from facebook

Clayton and his older brother Harrison are so ridiculously good. I watched Clayton completely lock up his rear wheel and flat out drift the first off-camber 180 hairpin out of the finish line pavement area like he planned it, and even if he didn’t plan it (and he didn’t), it was so insanely smooth and so far beyond what skills any 10 year old has any right to have that I was honestly flabbergasted. The Knight brothers are going to go as far as they want to go in cycling. Great kids, great attitude, and great talent. And they were chasing Ryan Woodall around trying to give him a sword hand-up during the Single Speed race for some reason. Watch them race, it’s a treat.

9. Eric Ehrenberg (VeloBrew) | Men Cat 3 | Last Ranking: 7

How in the shit is Eric still winning cat 3 men? Seriously? I mean COME ON! In the actual races, I’m chasing him (but not catching him.) And I’m not fast. This is PRECISELY how I managed to podium for the season series last year. I guess I’m just pissed that he’s stealing my schtick, but then again, I COULDN’T CATCH HIM last week, even after I got a beautiful holeshot and stayed away from him for three laps or so. Eric is the picture of riding within himself and staying consistent, which is never going to win any races but will win a championship, or at least get him on the podium at year’s end. It’s smart riding, and it’s showing up every race, and it works. Take notes, if you have any designs on winning series honours. As much as I want to beat you, Eric, I doff my cycling cap to you. You’re DOING IT RIGHT.

10. Jason Davis (U/A) | Men Cat 4/5 | Last Ranking: NA

There’s like three Jason Davis with who I have mutual Facebook friends, so I have no idea which one is the one who has done three FLCX races this year and never finished lower than 2nd, but one of those three is my favourite to win in Winter Garden this weekend. Cat 4/5 is such a lottery on an average weekend, and there promises to be a massive field this coming Sunday, with 22 guys already pre-reged as of 10.26pm Friday night, so who exactly is going to stand on the podium is impossible to guess. Except my money is on one of the three Jason’s. I mean, just betting on the averages.

We See You:

Cat 4/5: John Vega (Gearlink p/b Roman & Gaynor Law)
W123: Diane Blake (Colavita Racing, Inc.)
W123: Rebecca Laborde
P12/SS: Tic Bowen
M35:Vitor Alexandre (Colavita Racing, Inc.) (Don’t call it a comeback?)
M35/M3: Scott Atkins (Gearlink p/b Roman & Gaynor Law)
M3 Joey Gilman (Locomotion)
W4: JoAn Weaver (Swift)
W4: Darla Woodal (Team TopGear/MuMu)

Sandbagger of the week: None! But we’re still looking out, so don’t try anything funny…

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.