Sunday, July 31, 2011

That seemed to hit a button

69 posts in 3 days.

That's how may comments were posted on 303 Cycling in response to the "leak" of the 2011 Colorado Cross Cup Policy from the ACA in 3 or 4 days. Normally, you might expect that a new racing policy would be announced by the ACA, but since the Frites & Mayo boys published it first and 303 then picked it up, both WELL before any actual announcement from the ACA happened, I have to go with "leak". It's almost like someone in the ACA is trying to NOT let people know about the changes. I KNOW this is not true, from talking to them, but the lack of clear communication of new policies is puzzling at best.

The basic changes are modifications to the race day schedule, addition of a 35+ cat 3 race on course with the 35+ open, and call up changes. ONE of these things generated MOST of the comments. You may be surprised which one it is.

The schedule:
The pro/1/2 women get the course MOSTLY to themselves, starting in front of the 35+ women, instead of behind the 45+ men. This is GREAT, and was desperately needed. Also showcases the women on their own much better. All good changes.

Swapped around some groups, pushing the beer drinking dads (35+ cat4) back to ~ 9:30, helping to silence the large "damn cat 4's should race early in the morning!" crowd, and helping with a REAL problem, that of bonehead beer-drinking-dads warming up with the 35+ ex-pros, which was never a good mix.

45+ now alone on course. Also good given the HUGE growth there last year.

Day got a bit longer (hate to be a cat 3 post daylight savings, they might need lights....) and a "warm up" was added before the 35+ 4s. Probably a good idea, as the huge and not that observant bunch there probably needs that time alone to stumble about the course. The old guy cat 4s, women 4's and 55+ went to 40 minutes, and the Cat 3s went up 5 minutes. All these are small tweaks, and make sense.

New 35+ cat 3 field
Added 35+ cat 3, racing on the course 30 seconds behind the 35+ Open. I am sure this was in direct response to a trend everyone observed that a LOT of people upgraded out of 35+ cat 4, then either raced with the "punk kid" cat 3s, or just seemed to disappear after one or two 35+ open races. There was a lot of thought that the jump from cat 4 old guy to ex national champion near elite race speed that is the 35+ open race was just too big. This is the attempt to give that intermediate step.

Strange, it was THIS change that seemed to generate the most whining on the 303 comments. Mostly the "watering down" and "medals for everyone!" thoughts. Don't really understand why there was SO much flack raised by this change. I guess anytime the ACA caters to it's obvious base (35-45 year old recreational racers...), a lot of people don't like it.

Of course, my personal hot button. Once again, I feel that the changes here are not for the better. The changes are to call up the top 24 from Colorado cross cup points at cup races, and 24 from rankings for NON-Cup races. My issue is with only calling up 24 riders. Calling up only the top 20 for races with 20 deep points only seems to "lock out" those on the bubble of getting into that top 2o. With "random number" call-ups after the top 24, those in 21st and close to that may one week be called into the 30s or maybe at the back. Seems like you would want to retain the 40 or so from last years policy, and that calling up at least 2X the points places makes more sense.

Then something interesting happened. I E-Mailed the ACA, asking what the reasoning behind only 24 places deep for the call-ups. Was told that mine was the second question on that part of the new call up policy, and that they would check into changing it. 2 days later, they let me know the policy had gone back to calling up the top 40 for each race. Victory is Mine!

Really, it was just a demonstration that the ACA does seem genuinely interested in feedback and ideas. Was thanked for my input and ideas, with lots of open and honest communication. So, my suggestion is that if yo are not too happy (or if you are happy.…), do let the ACA board & staff know. They are enthusiastic, open, and very interested in the feedback from the membership.

A final props to the Frites guys for not only pulling the new policy out of the ether, but also reformatting a calendar version on ONE page you can print out & keep. Wish there had always been a one pager you can put up and refer too. Brilliant!

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