Archive for February, 2007

The KC ’07 Nationals committee voted to add a women’s B race. Kudos for them. I’ve heard some comments (including Erik V.below) wondering why there should be B races at Nationals. As I see it there are more than a couple reasons:

  • Economics. B racers generate revenue. The promoters are already spending $$$ and it makes financial sense to add a couple races at low extra expense to earn more money. The promoters aren’t getting rich on hosting Nationals so extra income is meaningful.
  • Two race weekend. Many of the non-elite age groupers like to schedule an extra race over the weekend. Making the trip for two races rather than just one might be an incentive to travel.
  • Local participation. Allowing for locals to race at Nationals gets more local buy-in and “ownership.”

The big deal about no women’s B race was that there were offerings for men in that category but not for women. Thankfully, that has been rectified.

The Kansas City ’07 Nationals organizers don’t have a women’s B race on their schedule whereas they have three men’s B races offered. I found this a bit inequitable. I sent the following email to the promoters:

The published schedule indicates that you won’t be offering a race for women who don’t qualify for the age group (juniors, masters) or elite races. I understand that the primary focus of Nationals is to crown national champions and inclusion of non-championship races is at the discretion of the promoters. However, you are sending a bad message when you offer three non-championship races for the men (regardless of how lucrative those races may be) and not a single one for the women. This is especially egregious given that you have extended the event schedule by a day.

Please reconsider and offer the women a non-championship race too.

I got a response from one of the promoters:

Thanks for your thoughts and opinions. We will take all things into consideration. The end result is that each promoter determines all Non-Championship Categories. We will look into this as a committee at our next meeting.

I’d encourage you to write them with your concerns as well. Here’s the email address: Remember to be courteous in your correspondence.

I read this piece at and found that it mirrored a lot of the ideas I had about the development of domestic cross. Adam has been racing cross for almost 20 years so he knows what he’s talking about. He’s certainly more knowledgeable than I am. Read it … it’s a great article.

I’m working on a long opinion piece about the direction of US cross vis-a-vie the proposed World Cup race in Providence. But in the meantime, here’s a micro rant concerning the Seattle vs. Portland ego wars.

The big Seattle SCC series schedules their races on Sundays. The Portland Cross Crusade series schedules their races on Sundays. So here we have two very successful race series about three to four hours drive from one another and never the twain shall meet. Sure, the odd open date means that there can be some cross pollination (forgive the pun). But this scheduling impasse doesn’t serve NW racers well.

While neither series is hurting for participation, it would be great for racers from each city to be able to add double race weekends to their calendar. Increased participation, especially at the A (1/2), junior and masters levels, would mean stronger competition. Stronger competition always brings out the best in racers and should be fostered.

I’m not suggesting that one series or the other switch to Saturdays. How about if each series ran two of their races on a Saturday. That would allow four potential double weekends of big races in the Pac NW. So lets drop some of the swagger and find some coordination and compromise.

Last week, I blogged about the Cross Vegas race that was set to coincide with Interbike. Well, their web press release is gone as is their web race flyer. Perhaps the reality of September weather in Vegas coupled with the WC race so soon after has the promotors rethinking their strategy.

EDIT: The race flyer is back up and this race is alive and kicking. Sorry to have added to the rumor mill …

Richard Groenendaal won’t be riding for Rabo next year. Rabo offered him a lot less money and made it plain there wasn’t room in their organization for him when he finally retired from competition. Expect to see him in a new kit come next season. Groenendaal always seemed to be a pretty good guy and someone with good business sense (see Dugast story). It’s surprising that Rabo wouldn’t want to keep him on.

Link to story here.

Nice article here.

This is not particularly fresh news but it looks like the US World Cup race is really happening and it will be held in Providence, RI. reported it in their cross roundup. Sven Nijs is going to charter a jet and bring over the top 25 guys to race.

Wellens Redux

Okay, I was reminded that Wellens attempted to kick an unruly (Nijs) fan last year. I’m beginning to see a pattern but I’m not 100% ready to write him off as a prick. He certainly is a hot head. On the other hand, I’m not above passing on some amusing verses at Bart’s expense. The following was inspired by Ron Artest jumping into the crowd to fight a fan (recal that Ron released a rap album) …

Yo! Bart Wellens Raps…

Well my name is Bart and i’m here to say
I ride bikes so fast you best get outta my way

If you cheer for Rabobank and or Jonathan Page
you’ll get kicked in the chest with my Ka-ra-tay!

You Cat Fours say i ain’t got respect
i’m coming to the states to bunny hop ya neck

I’ll slag Sven and Vervecken too
cross me up and Fidea will sue


By CrossWorkOrange

Right after the race, Bart Wellens had some pretty harsh things to say about the men on the podium:

His arch rival Wellens found it more difficult to deal with the loss. “Even though I had the best legs of the season I couldn’t do much more than what I did. The jersey went to the wrong person, he shouldn’t have won it even though he’s a teammate. He deserves to be on the podium but the other guys don’t,” Wellens said. He described the crash as inevitable and said how he felt afterwards. “The quad touched that block, and I couldn’t get away anymore. Afterwards I had a lot of pain in my neck and couldn’t throw my bike,” Wellens explained.

Wellens’ comments have brought down some severe criticism around the net (Cyclocross Babble, Patrick O’Grady, etc). First, if, during the second lap, a camera toting 4-wheeler strikes an unweighted plastic traffic barrier and sends it into your path and causes you to crash and break your wrist during the friggin worlds and then you chase back to fourth place, you might have an argument that you were the fastest guy out there that day. Second, if some journalists were asking you for your comments about said events moments after you got off your bike, you might still be a little miffed and say something less than charitable.

So give the guy a break, mkay?

Oh yeah, don’t forget that Wellens was amost taken out later in the race when fans pressing against the course barreirs caused it to collapse right in front of him. He managed to keep rubber side down that time though.

Here’s the linky. The link goes to Nathan Spear’s cross videos page. When you get to the page, be a dear and right click save as the vid instead of firing up the video from the link. It’s compelling viewing even if you know the outcome. There are some great efforts including Vervecken, Page, Franzoi, Groenendaal, and Wellens (coming from almost a minute down with a broken wrist).

Watch how the riders take the little hill that all the crashes happen on. The fast line looks to be far right at the bottom then coming across left at the top. Some guys just nail it and sail through the hill. Other guys don’t and struggle up. That’s the hill where Page loses the race. Don’t get me wrong, Page had an awsome race and Vervecken is a strong sprinter so there is no guarantee that Page could have held him off until the line but he had no chance to shut down the gap that formed.