If you watched the BRAC upgrade points (or were one of the lucky ones to get caught up...) you saw that anyone with enough upgrade points for the "new and Improved" 2013 upgrade criteria were bumped up a category in the last weeks. Cat 4, Cat3, no one escaped "The Purge".
Some sniffing about revealed that outside of the points-driven purge, the Cat 4 purge of the sandbaggers with (gasp) more than 10 whole races in the 4's are quite likely to see that same "congratulations!" E-Mail soon. This would of course include those slackers who never came close to seeing the front 1/2 of a cat 4 field in that long, sandbagging, 10 race cat 4 career.
Is upgrading on points good? Yes. Is preventing sandbagging good? Yes. Is it noble to want to challenge yourself against the best available competition? Yes. Is it a BAD thing to make Cyclocross Cat 4 a "true" beginner group? No. Is it right to force a back of the pack 4 into the 3s? Hmmm..
Is it going to motivate those new riders, JUST starting to REALLY get "into" racing, where they might start to see the potential to see that front half of a race, to taste even the potential of some small racing success, get them REALLY hooked on this thing, and then toss them into a big field of Cat 3s? Probably not.
You may not agree with my ranting about what the "powers that be" that rule competitive cycling like Assad rules Syria, decide for this sport. You may not agree with my endless whining about the back of the pack viewpoint, but I am not alone. The slightly off base dudes at DrunkCyclist seem to share some of my love of the Colorado Springs Mafia. (See #3 in that link)
(graphic stolen directly from said Blog....)
Sometimes I just do not GET what the hell some of these things are supposed to be "fixing". I just get frustrated by the complete lack of understanding for "Recreational Racing", just racing for fun at a accessible level. A level that takes maybe less commitment to training, to a "bike racer" lifestyle, yes, maybe an "easier" level. Can (and will??) many people get that satisfaction out of always racing to avoid DFL? Sure, but seems like a LOT more people might enjoy being even remotely "competitive" in results.
I just do not see why catering a bit to that kind of rider would do anything but bring many more into the sport. Not everyone likes to get their hind end handed to them week after week, then get the "well just train more/get faster, and you can play" treatment. The more people you get, and keep in the bottom of the system, the better chance to get more of those elite riders the USAC caters so exclusively to.
Am I maybe over blowing this stuff (Again..)? Maybe. (Probably..)
Will the Sport Survive (if not thrive..)? Most Likely.
Might I be out of touch? Likely.
Might I be completely wrong? Also Likely.
Rant off. Enjoy your New Year. Watch/Go to Louisville for worlds. Celebrate that "little accomplishment" for US Cyclocross. THAT is a pretty cool thing.