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New England, a hot-spot for UCI cyclocross but not all champions

November 30, 2012
Maxx Chance bunny-hopping stairs; is 'cross racing age is 17.

Maxx Chance bunny-hopping stairs; his ‘cross racing age is 17.

If cyclo-cross started in Europe as a way to maintain fitness during a cold, wet winter when riding on the road could be miserable and even dangerous, then it follows that New England would be a ‘cross hot spot given its similar winter weather.

A look at the U.S. races on the 2013 UCI cyclo-cross calendar reinforces New England’s stature in the discipline*.

2013 UCI cyclo-cross calendar USA races

region races
NorthEast 20
SouthEast 7
MidWest 11
West 11

UCI sanctioned cyclo-cross races are considered the crème de la crème of ‘cross events. When it’s within their means, elite amateur riders will travel to UCI races with the goal of placing high enough to earn UCI points. The prestige of a UCI ranking as well as a good starting position at U.S. national championships drives this “race-chase.” After the defending champion, the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships call-up rules for riders in elite level and men’s junior 17–18 categories begin with UCI ranking and then continue based on USA Cycling ranking.

It might also follow that, with more UCI races in their neck of the woods, New England or NorthEast-based riders would gather more UCI points and thus with better starting positions place higher at nationals than their counterparts from other regions. It’s hard to defend this theory in the elite categories since pro riders for the most part get funded to travel outside of their regions to events. A look at the past three years’ nationals results for the men’s junior 17–18 category doesn’t support the theory either.

Residence of 2009, 2010, & 2012 USA Cyclo-cross Nationals men’s junior 17-18 top 3

region top 3
NorthEast 0
SouthEast 4
MidWest 0
West 5

Of course factors other than starting position determine a race’s outcome and it’s tough to draw conclusions from limited data. But perhaps despite New England’s cyclo-cross depth, a rider doesn’t have to call that region home to do well at nationals.

2013 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships take place in Madison, Wisconsin, from January 9 to 13.

*NorthEast region includes Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The last three account for 7 races. SouthEast region includes Kentucky, North Carolina, and Maryland. MidWest region includes Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. West region includes California, Nevada, Colorado, and Oregon. USA nationals event excluded from UCI race count.

[With thanks to Russell Harding for certain details; his Road to Cat 1 site is a must-read for bike racers who want to move up in category.]

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From → Cyclocross

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