Monday, October 5, 2009


Throughout this summer there has been lots of talk of upgrades for cross. I was approached by a few people and asked what to do about "sandbaggers" and all I could think of was to add more payout/places in the open class and less in the 3/4 class.

I am hoping more people have ideas.

Last year was my first full season of cross. The year before I raced two days, partly because I was working 90 hour weeks and didn't have a car.

The fall of 2008 was a memorable one. I lined up to race my first 3/4 race and was smoked. I felt like crap and did the 4 race in topeka the next race and won it, then doubled up and took 6th in the 3/4. I felt really good and about the same thing happened at blvd. cup.

From then on I only raced 3/4 races, I was at my limit every race, eyes popping out of my head, blood in my mouth and hoping for top 10 results. My best was a 2nd place at Boss Cross #1.
See Here.

It felt really good getting a little cash to pay for gas/entry fees and it also kept me coming back for more.

Thanks to my good friend Marcus, I was able to race 13 times last season, without his transportation I probably only would have gotten to less than a handful.

Now it is 2009 and our CX community seems to be stuck as it was last year.

Thanks to Tilford and co. showing up to the open races, they are more of a spectacle with 20+ racers instead of 10 or so that we saw last year. It truly shows that the scene here in KC is progressing.

But I still here the words tossed around like "Sandbagger" in the 3 field. My good friend and Teammate Dan has already been given crap for racing 3's. Look at his results!

He hasn't raced barely a handful of times and he is already asked to upgrade to a 2! Wow!

I know, I know, must of us can probably name at least 10 dudes who have been getting podium finished in 3 races for a few years, they are comfortable there and not ready to commit to the big leagues. But after 5 or 6 races? There is still so much to learn and experience!

I wish we were big like portland. 100 beginner women toeing the line!

We have 3 categories. 4, 3, and open. The differences between 4 and 3 is not much, but 3 to open is a ton, please believe me.

I'm not saying I'm comfortable or confident, but sooner or later I will want to be there, so why not now, why not try and get faster now. Yes, I have to pay someone to be at the store, pay for gas, pay entry fees and leave empty handed with a smile on my face each weekend, but it is worth it! For me it is.

Just showing up, paying my entry fee, supporting local race organizers, being a part of the culture, that is good!

Please leave any thoughts you have after reading this.


  1. We need cat.2 or 2/3 races! See my response on my

  2. Yeah, 2/3 sounds like a good idea, jingle cross has it.

    If there was no payout for a 3/4 race, then have a 2/3 race.

    That means there is no stand alone 4 race or 3 race, just combined so 3's can have a choice, if they feel strong, race for the $$, if they are sick or have no legs that day, they race 3/4.

  3. I didn't even know there would be $$ at BC for the 3/4. Didn't expect it eiter. Yeah, no $$ for 3/4 and kick it over to 2/3- I like!

  4. I think people around here should focus more on their own racing and less on what others around them are doing. If Dan or someone else places well in any given race, isn't that the point?

    I'm only talking about a very select few people here, but there's a small but vocal group of people in the local cycling community who seem preoccupied with what other people on other teams are doing. With these people (you know who you are) you can't win either way. If you have several good finishes in a category, then you're told that you're a sandbagger. If you upgrade quickly and let's say your back wheel washes out on a sketchy turn and you fall in your first upgrade race, then these people obsess over that and then grouse about these young, inexperienced rubes who "upgrade too quickly" and "don't know how to ride."

    These are precisely the types of people I was warned about when I got into cycling. But anymore, this sandbagging discussion just goes in one ear and out the other. I'm too concerned with trying to improve my own results and cheering on the performances of my teammates to discern who bags sand and who does not.

  5. My only point is, Dan is not sandbagging. I really don't think I would be sandbagging if I went back to 3/4 races. I've never one a 3 race, neither has Dan, but there are quite a few who have won plenty.

    New Question: How can the KC cycling community enhance the experience of all its racers?

    Maybe the answer is to stop bitching!

  6. I think giving more payouts to open seems like the easiest way - get that by maybe downsizing whatever they give to 4 men and pay 3/4 a bit less. That way you still keep the # of races in check.
    In my first CX race this year (and ever) I took 3rd. Everything I've registered for since then was 3/4. I may do 1 or 2 more 4 only races.

    Having raced both 4 and 3/4 fields this season, it feels like there needs to be a big shift - many riders in the 4's need to just go 3 (this season myself included) and 3's go to open. I'd say I'm relatively fast in the 4's but I get my doors blown off in 3/4 by the lead riders.

  7. Britton,

    Here's what I would say to your second question.

    There are a lot of reasons why I started racing this year. Two big ones happened about a year ago from now. The first was when you invited me to come watch the 'cross races in Leavenworth a year ago, even though we didn't know each other that well at the time. It turned out that it was a really good time and it got me pretty stoked to start racing the following year. While I was there, I met several cool people. One person was Cameron Chambers, who was really positive and very encouraging that I get out and start riding more, join the community, get into racing, ect.

    The common thread in these two events was that I figured cycling in Kansas City was a very welcoming community. For people to reach out and encourage a relative stranger and a fence-sitter to get into it went a long ways into committing me to get involved in cycling — more so than you or Cameron could have imagined at the time.

    That being said, it has been disappointing to find that there is this minority in the community that seems to treat cycling in Kansas City like a good ol' boys club. When I'm reading these blogs and overhearing these really lame conversations about who does what and who shouldn't do that, I get this picture in my mind of Judge Smails in Caddyshack saying, "Some people just don't belong!" Of course, everyone knows Judge Smails was a despicable character in that movie, so why do people try and act just like him?

    The local cycling community would be enhanced by a inclusive, welcoming and encouraging atmosphere that rallies the participation of even those who are marginally interested. One of the best parts of cycling is the people you get to meet. The more people you meet, the better time you have. The cost, techniques and time constraints are barriers enough to getting new people involved — why do the self-proclaimed Godfathers of local cycling try to throw up additional barriers by being obnoxious and acting like people a fraction of their age?