Friday, October 28, 2011

Ohio Championships

Sorry for the delay but better late than never.

The Ohio State Cyclocross championships, dubbed "Two days in Dublin," this past weekend, was one of the most spectacular sandbagging events I have ever witnessed!

But before I go into my rants, I would like to thank everyone involved in running the event for a good weekend of racing. Andys and Amanda Burns, Kirk Albers, all the officials (Mitch, Dave, Andrew, Alan), the cute girls at registration, all the setup and tear down crew, food vendors, the sponsors, and anyone else I missed. Also my #1 Hater was there doing the announcing. Well I gotta hand it to you Scot, you know how to work a mic. I know this thanking is kind of going against my MO, but I gotta support my state and its races.

Now back to what you all came here to read about...

The first race of the weekend was the non-championship Category 3/4 race. The Category 3 or 3/4 race is often considered the breeding ground for sandbaggers (in all disciplines of cycling, not just cross) and boy did it not disappoint. The star of this race was Chris Metzler, or Noah's brother as some may call him. Joe Hall took the holeshot and lead for the first lap or two until Chris got up to his wheel, then was never seen again. He did the same the previous week at Big Run. And to add to the sandbagging, he didn't even race on Sunday! Must be to avoid that auto-upgrade.

Another big sandbagger in the 3/4 race is the 5th place finisher Trevor Miller. At Big Run in the C race, from start to finish, it was the Trevor Miller show. At Dublin, it was the same deal. He kept up well with the other sandbaggers in the 3/4 race and on Sunday, he just dominated the Championship 4 race. A quick look at his results this year shows two wins, 4, two 5's, 6. Not too shabby on the road either. I hope he will be getting an upgrade, on his own accord or by forced upgrade. Oh yeah, I guess 4's can't be auto-upgraded, something USA Cycling needs to fix for this year (and add a Cat 5 men's category.)

I gripe I do have about this race was the lack of categories in the Masters races. All Masters races were category 1-4. Look at the OVCX, there is Elite, Cat 3 and Cat 4 Masters Category. How is one supposed to win their age group in if you are a Cat 3 or 4 if you have Elite racers in your age group!!!

All this sandbagger talk is making me a little sandy so I'll end here.

It is Halloween this weekend and 5, count it 5 races going on this weekend. Uncle Steve's, two days of Chagrin River CX, Lion of the Den and Storm the Greens. Send me your best costume pictures and sandbagger reports!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Response from Doug Green

Looks like I got a counter response from someone I called out, Doug Green. I would like to first preface this post by saying thank you to Doug for A: responding and voicing his opinion and B: being the upgrade guy and taking shit from people like me and people who have been denied upgrades. I've held a similar position and well it's not all the fun but someone has to do it.

Posted below is Doug's email to me about his position. Read it and voice what you think. It is nice seeing someone taking the time to rebut my posts. 

So before I paste his email, I have a few things to pick at. Doug, you say that you take it to the book and give upgrades solely based on points. Cool that is fine, that is the way you want to do it. But then you also say that you don't like to give out automatic upgrades. Wait a minute! You said you give out upgrades straight to the book. If you were to go straight to the book, then you would give out auto-upgrades. 

Read the email, see what you think and please comment.

There is no further commentary from me below.

I can’t seem to post a comment on the blog so I thought I would email it to you instead.  You can post this if you like, let me know if you have additional questions.

Not sure this is the best forum for the discussion but I’ll respond.  It’s a thankless and unpaid job being the upgrade coordinator and I am sure there are some that are not happy regarding their upgrade requests being denied.  I have heard from quite a few already.  All I can say is that I try to be fair to everyone and I am simply following the requirements set out in the rules, it’s not personal.  Upgrade requests are handled through the user’s accounts on the USAC website to maintain the integrity of the system.  The first step is always up to the rider so I would encourage every rider to take a look at the following links so that they have a better understanding of the requirements.  If they have additional questions regarding their requests being denied then they can send me an email and I will be more than happy to discuss it further.  I tend to be brief with the initial responses but generally try to give the basic reason for the denial.  Riders get an email from me after I respond to their upgrade request.   We try to avoid automatic upgrades especially in circumstances that would prevent the rider from winning an overall series.

I am not sure how my presence at CX races would improve the upgrade process.  In my view the upgrade point system, while not perfect, is pretty straightforward.  The rules state the number of points or races required, the rules do not say “almost” X points or beat the field by X minutes.  These are subjective measures and simply impossible to apply consistently.  Again, the idea is to be fair to everyone.

USAC Rules: (upgrades start on page 11)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quote of the Week

Photo Daniel Newhart

Overheard this while at John Bryan:

"Hey Cleveland! He's sandbagging you harder than you are sandbagging the rest of the field!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cross Rage!

Sorry ahead of time, but this post is going to be a bit opposite of my norm.

I've heard a lot of people say they like racing cross because it is more laid back and there is less Roadie Rage commonly found in road racing. However lately, I have been seeing as this sport grow, that Roadie Rage is starting to creep into cyclocross. I am starting to see more hostility toward "Sandbaggers."

I do take some responsibility for stirring up the pot and calling out sandbaggers. But my intention for this blog is to be satirical in nature and not to be a witch hunt website. I witnessed this weekend people outright disrespecting others in their face about sandbagging. I do not condone such actions. If you are going to heckle people, heckle them while they are racing. Don't pull them aside after the race and spit in their face. What is that going to accomplish?

You will always have people who are passing through categories and appear to be sandbaggers. Unfortunately we will all heckle them on the race course for being in the incorrect category, but those racers don't have a whole lot of choice. They have to play by the rules, get their race experience and points, then upgrade.

Another problem is the strict enforcement of categories. While the OVCX categories have made it so it is less sandbaggy this year, there are still no mixed 3/4 category. 4's who have grown out of their category cannot race up in the 3's unless they get an upgrade. The officials will not do on site upgrades and won't let people race up. Blame the system.

Also I rarely see the local upgrade coordinators at cross races. In fact, I have never seen Ohio's upgrade guy, Doug Green, at a cross race, let alone many road events. I see more of Curtis Tolson (especially with his Roadhouse team kicking my ass on the road), but only occasionally at cross races. How are these upgrade guys able to handout automatic 2-win upgrades if they are not present at these races? Sure they can look at results posted days later (though props to OVCX getting out results very quickly), but on paper, first place is first, second place is second, etc. It doesn't show dominant sandbagging performances definitely evident when you are out there watching the race.

I also heard from lots of people, that they were getting denied upgrades. They were short a point or two and just shut down. Like I said in the previous paragraph, on paper, 1st is 1st, 2nd is 2nd. It does not show that the top three put 2 minutes on the 4th place person, etc. Again, showing the need for some of these upgrade people to make it out to the race and check things out.

Ok there is my rant, a little off character but it needed to be said. But to get back on track, with these new revised "waves", I see less dominating sandbagging. I would say the top 5 of the Cat 4 race is sandbag worthy but most likely those individuals are just passing through. We'll see next week and if they are still racing 4's, they'll definitely get called out by name.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dayton Double Header

The Dayton Double Header is this weekend. A new event GearFest and a racer favorite, John Bryan (though not a state championship event this year.)

Double header weekends are great. You get to hang out with your racing buddies for two days heckling the SANDBAGGERS!

Who should we all be on the lookout for? Will we see people upgrade under their own will or get forced up by the local reps?

If you use twitter, please use the hashtag #OHsandbagger, pun intended.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sandbagger Alert!

Oh no, we have a new sandbagger developing!

Let me direct you to Mr. Michael Clevidence. Mr. Clevidence kicked off the season at Lionhearts CX in the Beginner category and placed second. He then raced the next race, C's, and won.

Fast forward a week and we see Mr. Clevidence at NEOCX Wendy park. Once again racing C's and guess what, he won that race too! Two wins and a second place.


In fact, when I chatted with him, he said many people were yelling at him that he was a sandbagger. When I asked him on his thoughts of upgrading, he blatantly said no and he does not feel like he can be very competitive in the B's/3's.

I check the registration for this week's Gearfest/ John Bryan double header and sure enough he is still registered as a 4. So what are you going to do Mr. Clevidence, just going to keep bullying the true 4's and keep stealing their lunch money?

Unfortunately USA Cycling does not have the 2 wins Auto-upgrade policy for 4 -> 3 upgrade. So the best we can do is to ridicule him as a sandbagger until he upgrades

Monday, September 12, 2011

Any Sandbagger news?

We had Huber's Apple Cross, Lionhearts CX, and NEOCX #2 this past weekend.

I need your sandbagger tips! All emails are anonymous unless you want me to release your name. Send me the scoop at Thanks to all who have already submitted

Saturday, August 27, 2011

OVCX Director Warns Sandbaggers

Sandbaggers beware! Besides getting ridiculed on this blog, Mitch Graham, the OVCX director, is giving out a warning to OVCX racers. Don't sandbag and if you win two races, you WILL be automatically upgraded. Glad to see the series promoter is doing his part in the fight against sandbaggers.

Well obviously if you don't win two races, but consistently "come in" 2nd or 3rd, you won't be upgraded automatically in the eyes of USAC. These guys are the real sandbaggers, avoiding wins by blatatly letting others win, or accidentally going off course so they get passed.

If you haven't seen the email, here is the entire OVCX 2011 FAQ Mitch sent out.

Dear OVCX Racers~
Lots of excitement is brewing with the start of cyclocross season less than 4 weeks away.   There are many questions about the Ohio Valley Cyclocross Series for this upcoming season - so I wanted to take a moment to try and tackle some of the more FAQ to hopefully help to make your goal-setting and fun-planning easier for the upcoming fall/winter.  This may be a lengthy message, so I'll put the more "important" FAQ's towards the beginning in case you get bored and stop reading.  Here we go:
Why the OVCX Series?
Each regional "scene" - Louisville, Indy, Dayton, Lexington, Cincinnati is awesome and strong.  But all together, we are much stronger.  The larger our  collective scene gets, the cooler and more competitive it gets.  We have over 10,000,000 million people within our collective region.  The strength and growth of our womens, juniors, and mens categories hinge on all of our commitments to each other's respective scenes.  Everybody has worked really hard to grow their cx scene - let's support each other's events.
What is the 2011 OVCX schedule?
There are 10 events that qualify for points in this year's OVCX Series.  Here's the schedule.  Due to a new rule handed down from the UCI, our largest event weekends, the Cincy3 and USGP Louisville, are not allowed to be scored events in the 2011 OVCX Series.  
Where can I find general series info, categories, prize money, etc?
How many races count for the overall?
Your best 7 OVCX finishes.
Is there a Zipp raffle?
Yes.  It will be seriously mongo this year. The Zipp raffle will work like in previous years - you compete in 10 events and you get in the raffle (racing twice in one event does not count as two events).  The Cincy3 and Louisville USGP count this year (in addition to the 10 OVCX events) in the raffle.   So if you compete in the minimum of 10 out of the 15 events - you are in the raffle.  Last year nearly 80 raffle prizes went out.  We will destroy that this year.
Is the final OVCX event worth double points like in the past?
No, the finale at Kings CX in Cincinnati will NOT be worth double points this year,  but you do need to be in attendance at the raffle to win.
What's this "Zipp Sponsored OVCX Athlete of the Week" I just read about?
(NEW)  This is a brand new program we pitched to OVCX title sponsor Zipp that we're pretty stoked about.  After each OVCX race weekend, we will award one male and one female racer the honor of "Zipp OVCX Athlete of the Week."  Each male and female Zipp OVCX Athlete of the Week will be provided one set of Zipp 303 tubulars to race on at the next OVCX event.  For the Zipp OVCX Athletes of the Week we are not necessarily looking at the winners .... but the most-improved, hardest working, loyal and good-spirited OVCX racers - those sorts of qualities.  We'll have consultants from each scene - Louisville, Lexington, Dayton, Indy, and Cincinnati help us make the call each week.  
What about chip timing?
Last year about one-half of the OVCX promoters ponied up and hiring a chip timing service to time the riders.  We have a contract for  every OVCX event to be chip-timed in 2011.   The timing chips are custom and yours to keep; it goes up on top of your helmet and you will use it all season long at every race.  If you lose yours, you will need to pay $10 for a new one.  So don't lose it.  Chip timing will be used for lap splits and as back up for finish results - we will use our officials for finish results.
How do these new categories work?
First, here are the new category arrangements.   Take a look at them before reading on.
Now, let's explain why we combined categories. We combined categories of similar ability for two primary reasons:
First, we did it to even out the number of riders racing at one time. Under the old system, there'd be 80 riders racing in one time slot and 15 in another. The new system should even that out to approximately 40-50 per time slot (wave).
Second, we combined categories to increase competition and fun. Racing more people of similar ability is more fun. But you really have to be racing them, not just racing on the course at the same time with staggered starts. So we had to figure out a way to accomplish that and yet maintain each individual race category.
The solution was to drop staggered starts (for the most part at least) and award OVCX Series points by wave, not category. This means that everyone that goes off the starting line together in a "wave" (regardless of category) races each other for the OVCX Series points available to that wave. And because staging/call ups are based on OVCX Series points, everyone in a wave is racing everyone else in the wave for next week's call up.
Yes, you will still be scored in your own category for daily results/awards and for daily podiums and for OVCX overall scoring. Here's how that will work.
Let's say you are an Elite Women Cat 3.  At Fisherman's, you would start in the 1:46 wave along with the Elite Women 1/2, Elite Women 35+, and the U19 Elite Girls. Let's say you finish in 6th in the wave and are the first Cat 3 Elite finisher. You would get 6th-place series points and be called up sixth in the wave the next week in Indy. But because you were the first Elite Cat 3 on the day, you won your category and would get the first-place prize for the category and a podium for the day. Your 6th-place series points would also put you in first place overall in your category. This would work the same in every wave with combined categories.
So if you're a 10-year-old junior girl, you'd start in a wave of 10-14 boys and girls at OVCX #1. Let's say you finished 15th in the wave and were the third 10-12 girl.  You'd earn 15th-place series points and be called up 15th in the wave the next week. And because you were the 3rd placed 10-12 girl, you'd get the 3rd-place prize for that category on the day and a podium. Your 15th-place series points would also put you in third place overall in your category, which means you'd get called up 15th in your wave next week.
Of course at OVCX #1 there will be no series' points to stage each wave with. Therefore, staging (call ups) at OVCX #1 are by order of registration WITHIN EACH WAVE NOT BY CATEGORY. So, depending on how they registered, an Elite U19 Girl might line up next to an Elite 35+ woman, and so on. A 10-year-old girl might line up next to a 14-year-old boy. For OVCX #2 and beyond, the top 25 ranked from EACH WAVE will be staged together in order. After the top 25 are staged, staging will be by order of registration within the wave.  This system will work for all combined categories going off the starting line at the same time.  Again, each category will get scored separately as well, and get a podium celebration each day as well as OVCX series points for their category.
Is something going to be done about sandbagging this year?
This is oftentimes a touchy situation - some of our best friends can be sandbaggers and it's difficult to have that talk to set them straight.   What we can say is this - be careful how you set your goals for this upcoming cyclocross year...if you set them too low you might find yourself getting automatically upgraded into the next category and having to revisit your goals again rather quickly.   Rules for upgrades can be  FOUND HERE.  Two wins is an automatic upgrade.  Count on automatic upgrades being given out after 2 wins.  If you are upgraded to a Cat 2, you will not be able to race in Cat 3 unless you request and are granted a downgrade.

If I upgrade categories, do my points carry up like in previous years?
Do I have to race the category on my license?
YES, this was the case at many races last year and count on this being even more strict this year.  If you pre-reg for a race in Cat 3, drive 3 hours, and show up showing the nice registration folks a license with a Cat 4 on it, you most likely will not be able to race.  Get your upgrade requests in NOW.  
What awards go out for the OVCX Series?
The top 3 finishers for each scored OVCX category will be recognized and awarded a trophy after the final race at Kings CX in Cincinnati.
How do I get involved in helping out at these events?
Thank you for asking!  Contact your local race promoter through their race's BikeReg link - all of them can use volunteers!  
That's about it.  If you have any other questions I've posted this message to BikeClicks please reply below the post.   I'll start a FAQ page on the OVCX website and add more popular questions as we go.  
See you in about 3 weeks at Fishsticks! 

Mitch Graham
OVCX Series Director
(513) 861-2453

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I AM BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry I went into hibernation but calling out sandbaggers during road season is very hard without informants. You are typically racing concurrently with other categories and by the time you are done, you really don't want to chit chat, but rather pack up and go home, bummed out that you were one out of the money.

But before I completely cross over to cross, I do want to point out a few SANDBAGGERS!!

Mr. Joe Hall: If you are a Cat 3 and raced in Ohio, I'm pretty sure you have heard the name. He is consistently in the Top 5 and has not upgraded yet! I am sure he is in the realm of having enough points of upgrading, but not enough for the auto-upgrade. Joe shares the top spot in the USAC Ohio Cat3 crit rankings with Scott Spees (another sandbagger) and the number 2 spot in road racing, just 4 points behind.

Now that Road and Crit season is pretty much over, it is time for cross!!! Cross is much easier to spot sandbaggers IMHO. Though big props to Mitch and the OVCX for making the races a bit more anti-sandbagging and for chip timing. 

So in the coming weeks, who will we see mentioned on this blog??? If you have and info, send me email to Your emails will remain anonymous unless you specify otherwise.