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.