What’s up blawg?
You can’t front on the fact that Cyclocross in the US is getting HUGE for a relatively obscure sport. I think all cycling cultures embrace it in one way or another… we have “alleycross” from the urban crowd, and “ultracross” coming from the endurance MTB crowd. There are other spinoffs too from different walks of cyclists, but I bring these up for a reason with a specific gravity. These exist in a rare consistency in the South Eastern states. The South East has a lot of State CX races, but why don’t we have a regional series? How about something cohesive to develop our racers, a series that could develop into a future UCI series.
Down here we have a lot of enthusiasm for bike racing. We have professional teams, lots of criteriums, and a good chunk of the bike industry located here. There are some very well attended State CX series. These State series’ often share participants across state borders; why not share points from one race from each series to raise the level of competition here in the South East? Sure it’s great to win your category in your local series, but what do we have for those who want to be their categories best in the region? How can we get our region to the levels New England, the Mid West and the Pacific North west have gotten? NC will be hosting Nationals in 2016 after all. Lets step up to the plate.
www.http://nccyclocross.com/ let’s start here, my home state series. A high level of competition exists here in ALL categories, and we have a UCI c2 race. The UCI race is a great, professionally hosted event, sure it could use a little bit of new life breathed into it after these past few years but it still draws some big names and all the lower categories fill up.
http://www.msgcross.com/wordpress/ This series is a fun one, these races are in eastern Tennessee, draw a crowd from western NC and northern VA. These guys are developing some serious juniors right now. They have a mix of parks and rec and private venues for the beer induced heckling even though the series is clearly catered to a family oriented group of racers. MSG hosted a UCI cross race in Kingsport TN for a couple of years. I feel this race could return to the calendar with better participation from the region, I do not think the race’s regular participants were enough to justify the work and cost of UCI sanctioning.
Tennessee also has Knoxie Cross in the mid-state and Memphis TN hosts one of the longest running CX races in the USA: http://www.cxmagazine.com/memphis-celebrates-longest-running-cyclocross-race-nation
http://www.bamacross.com/ you may have seen these folk’s race series tee-shirt featured on www.allhailtheblackmarket.com because it is bad ass. The shirt alone lets you know they get it. A few of us from
Asheville made it down to Anniston AL for their Double Down race weekend, fricken awesome course. You guys know I HATE parks and rec races. They are typically watered down “make the most of it” courses because the parks can handle the crowd. This course had a little bit of everything that make a great cross course, long laps fun crowds, good competition and one of the two races was at night under the lights.
I could go on and on about the Anniston race, but they have an entire series.
http://flcx.org/ we are all aware that Florida has a lot LOT of cyclists, and it seems as if they are embracing cyclocross. This series seems to run a little later in the season than most do, which is RAD. I doubt any one would complain about heading to Florida in mid January for a race escaping the winter’s cold.
So, there are four states with healthy, sustaining cyclocross series’ that’s a start! That is enough for each series to dedicate one race to the South East CX series, perhaps crown a South East CX champion per category based on points? Just an idea…
Georgia has a great cycling scene road cyclists and mountain bikers are all across the state but notably Athens GA, a college town in the foot hills that is home for a lot of US pro cyclists and a good portion of bicycle industry employees.
South Carolina, also home to a lot of South East cyclists has hosted some high-quality cyclocross races but with minimal patrons. The courses I have raced in Spartanburg SC, as well as Greenville SC have been amongst my favorites.
I believe participation in a regional series attracting out of state racers could invigorate the locals to participate in greater numbers benefiting the promoters.
There is also Virginia, a state with strong ties to the world of cycling especially with Richmond VA hosting the 2015 Road Worlds. The question I have about VA is weather they are considered South East or Mid-Atlantic.
I truly believe we have the makings of a perfect storm down here in our redneck states between racers, races, bike industry and other sponsors. It’ll be up to us to make this real though. This is more work than one person can handle and would require a lot of communication, coordination and transparency between promoters.
I don’t always have the most time to give, but I believe in this and will be glad to help with getting people in contact with others.
Peace, Love, and Quality Embrocation.