Three Out-Of-The-Box Ideas You Will Probably Hate

I’m shooting from the hip, here. Some food for thought. Grist for the mill. Have your own out-of-the-box idea everyone will probably hate? Let me hear about it in the comments or on Twitter @cxhairs. Also, check out Cyclocross Radio, where we talk about this stuff all of the time. It’s on the Wide Angle Podium Network!

ONE: The U.S. should split off elite U.S. Cyclocross National Championships from amateur/age-graded National Championships. Not a new idea if we stop there. But here’s my twist: keep the amateur date the same in December but move the elite races to January AND hold elite U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Europe.

There is no rule that says U.S. Cyclocross Nationals has to take place in the U.S. and it’s always a burden for the elite racers to travel back and forth from Europe where they will all be racing from December on. This will save money, allow for quality training and racing in Europe, and give the opportunity for the U.S. top pros to grow and compete at the highest level.

Yes, it will mean no more 80 deep fields in the elite national championship races, and it will remove opportunities for UCI racers with no budgets and state-side obligations. But that may be what it takes to compete. There is an argument that these races should be reserved for the best of the best. Tougher eligibility and qualification requirements. Make it similar to Belgian CX Nats in which the fields are split between “pros with contracts” and pros without contracts. The “pros with contracts fields are regularly only 25 or fewer deep.

Finally, the “elites race CXNATS in Europe” approach may actually be easier to pay for. One of the hurdles for splitting elites from amateurs is that the race organizer doesn’t have the entry fee revenue from amateurs needed to hold the elite event. And getting a paying crowd in the U.S. is not a feasible revenue stream.

If you have U.S. CXNATS in Europe, there is an argument paying crowds will show up (1) because it’s another cyclocross race and (2) the spectacle of watching the American elites race their nationals in Belgium would be so bizarre people would have to go. So U.S. CXNATS at Loenhout. Who’s in?

TWO: Peter Sagan should follow through on his threat to quit road racing and go back to MTB. See this article from Canadian Cycling. Having Nino Schurter, Mathieu van der Poel and Peter Sagan racing XCO World Cups would blow up the sport. Give Sagan half a season and he will be competing near the front.

Then they all can race cyclocross in the “off-season.”

THREE: The Netherlands is not televising their Cyclocross National Championships. No Vos, Brand, Worst battle for us to enjoy. No MvdP dusting the field. Nothing. Take that into consideration the next time you feel compelled to complain about the coverage of the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships.

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11 thoughts on “Three Out-Of-The-Box Ideas You Will Probably Hate

  1. Only a slick attorney could find the loophole and make the case for a red-white-and-blue event to take place in a red-yellow-and-black country. Nice work, Bill. It would definitely be worth a one-off. Get the top ten in each the men’s and women’s fields to push for it, and the insane notion has a chance.

  2. The question for Sagan is whether he could make anything close to what he makes as a WorldTour road racer…don’t know if he cares about that, but at a currently salary of 3+ million(?) per year it is a part of the equation

  3. As an amateur, masters cx-er:
    #1 – Hate it. Having the opportunity and privilege to compete on the same playing field as the pro’s we admire is part of what makes CX so wonderful. That environment also fosters the dreams of our youngsters. In short, holding pro CX Nat’s in the U.S. helps grow the sport.

    #2 – I’d be ok with Sagan racing MTB! Last year I found quite a few World MTB XC races to watch and it was exciting!

    #3 – I don’t see an “idea”. You made a point, but it doesn’t advance anything. I don’t get the relevance.

    Love you any way, CXHairs!

  4. I understand the sentiment about wanting to see CXNATS live and in person, but I would argue there are more than 30 UCI races in the U.S. and plenty of opportunity to see the pros live and race on the courses they race. I would also argue that a kid dreaming about getting to race in Europe for CXNATS could also grow the sport. In my fantasy world, this Euro-US CXNATS is televised, so nobody is missing out on seeing it.

    For point number three, I guess you got me on a technicality. But try this “idea to hate” on for size: we take stock in that we have pretty good online coverage of nationals (especially for a niche sport) and don’t need to complain about everything that our federation does. There are several areas that need improvement but let’s take a second to be proud of the parts they get right. (That’s probably still a statement, but I’m sticking with it.) Love you, too, CXF.

  5. On #1, you’d have maybe 6-8 competitors in Elite Men, probably a few more Elite Women with a Belgie US Natz event. I suspect you’d have to lump all the women and men and juniors and U23s into one start time to have an okay sized field of US competitors. It’d be like a side show act, but at least people could bet on Compton vs. Hyde. And why not just have it at Diegem under the lights!

  6. You’re looking at this in a historic context rather than a future context. I’m thinking on a grander scale. That with this new paradigm there is an incentive for dozens of US elite riders to invade Europe to train and race. Similar to what we see on the road side. So if you have 20 per race, you’re right up there with Belgian CXNATS numbers. Look at the title: out of the box. It doesn’t work if you define it by what’s already in the box. There are problems with this pipe dream. DEFINITELY. Funding, travel, housing, etc. I get that. But it’s an idea that shouldn’t be limited by what’s been done in the past.

  7. On #1…i’d echo what mjc said..you’d have like 8 people racing per field and their pit crew would outnumber the spectators…all so they don’t have to travel
    agree aon #’s 2&3

  8. Interesting ideas indeed! We here in England had our nationals televised for the first time last year. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.
    Wrt to US nationals in Europe, who would televise it then?

  9. Merge the US nationals with the GB nationals – as it always should have been but for that Independence nonsense! It would solve the numbers issue and we are still just about in Europe!

  10. It just makes sense to peel off the Elite Nats from the Amateur Nats. There can still be a marquee Elite race for spectating purposes- it would also be a great vehicle for crowd sourcing to help underwrite the cost of the trip over to Europe for those who need it.
    Looking into the future, I am sure there are plenty BeNeLux promoters that would gladly setup a venue for this. Maybe the day before all the other Nationals?
    My question would be Worlds Team Selection. Typically we use Nats performances as a pretty heavily weighted criteria for selection. Would we continue to have Junior and U23 Nats here in the States for Nats- because, time away from school?

    If this idea is planned far enough in advance, then teams and riders can budget accordingly.

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