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Throw the baby out with the bath water.

mtnbmx

Chimp
Jan 4, 2008
11
0
5280 Colorado
Nationally and locally in 2009 USA Cycling has chosen to eliminate all gated classes for kids 18 and under in DS and 4X disciplines. It’s just amazing that USA Cycling will not provide any more support for the future of gated gravity riders in the USA. :crazy:
Presently Kelli Lusk with USA Cycling has avoided making any comments regarding these changes. If you think kids should have a place to participate in gated gravity MTB racing please send her an email @ klusk@usacycling.org and let her know.

Regarding the Rocky Mountain racing scene we are waiting to see what the Mountain States Cup will do for 2009 regarding the Groms. We are hoping Keith Darner and the MSC crew will continue to step it up for the under 18 crowd. Last year they made some great efforts and changes to better serve the kids. :clue:

Leaving the best news for last Crankworks is in the know and will continue to welcome the groms for both of there venues (Winterpark, Colorado & Whistler BC). The Cranksworks promoters are truly making a place for (kids) the future of the support and they should be truly commended. :biggrin:
 

ska todd

Turbo Monkey
Oct 10, 2001
1,777
0
Lawnguyland, New F'in Yawk
Sorry but this info is not quite correct. The rule has been around for a while in relation to National Championship jerseys in the "Expert" category being "18 and under". It is spelled out under 6B1 (page 40). There are no National Championship jerseys for non-"Expert" categories, only Pros and Experts.

Promoters have (and do!) reserve the right to make age groupings as they deem fit for their event based on the course, field size, local market, etc. This is commonly done in other disciplines, especially in XC.

Kelli Lusk is one of the biggest allies this sport has! She is essentially the go-between for USAC, the event promoters, teams, athletes, and everyone else. Kelli has done invaluable work for OUR sport and OUR gravity community over the past couple years!

-ska todd
 

General Lee

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2003
2,867
0
The 802
Do that many people even care about gated racing anymore? It was supposed to be the 'next big thing' almost 10 years ago but has never really devilvered. Even at many of the WC rounds it seems 4x is an afterthought and a bit of a side show.

The 2 exceptions being Crankworx and Bromont; but neither of those came without substantial investment.

Here in New England 4x/slalom racing has quietly disappeared and no one has seemed to notice or care. when someone does hold an event very few people show up.
 

manimal

Ociffer Tackleberry
Feb 27, 2002
7,214
14
Blindly running into cactus
thanks for clearing that up ska todd, i was about to flip a switch and go nuts.
as far as gated racing goes....we had an excellent year of it here in the south with a huge grom contingent.

this thread is borin w/out pics of groms racing ;)




 
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DiRt DeViL

Monkey
Feb 6, 2005
347
0
CNY
Some pics of my grom in action







Back to the topic, we had to lobby in order to convince our governing body to allow kids under 18 to race. We eventually got the green light but the class is "open", that means that's 17 and under; mine is 12 and finished 3rd overall this season.
 

TheInedibleHulk

Turbo Monkey
May 26, 2004
1,890
0
Colorado
if you want kids to be good at 4x they should just be racing bmx anyway. Which is fine because wanting your kids to be good at 4X is about like wanting them to be a world champion cup stacker.
 

bobsten

Monkey
Oct 23, 2008
240
0
rain rain go away
if you want kids to be good at 4x they should just be racing bmx anyway. Which is fine because wanting your kids to be good at 4X is about like wanting them to be a world champion cup stacker.
I will never understand all the haterade directed towards 4X and DS; those races (pro) are a lot more intense and entertaining to watch than DH.
 

General Lee

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2003
2,867
0
The 802
I will never understand all the haterade directed towards 4X and DS; those races (pro) are a lot more intense and entertaining to watch than DH.
It's not hate. 4x, like dual before it, and ds before that has never lived up to all the hype of it being the next bing thing or the 'future of the sport.' truth be told it continues to be a sideshow even at the biggest events (crankworx being really the only exception). don't mistake a dose of reality for hate just because you don't want to believe it.

i have nothing against gated racing. but it's had its collective head up is backside since the late 90's while trying to reinvent itself every few years. and with BMX now in the olympics it makes 4x seem even more peculiar.
 
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BC VAN

Monkey
May 4, 2005
624
0
It's not hate. 4x, like dual before it, and ds before that has never lived up to all the hype of it being the next bing thing or the 'future of the sport.' truth be told it continues to be a sideshow even at the biggest events (crankworx being really the only exception). don't mistake a dose of reality for hate just because you don't want to believe it.

i have nothing against gated racing. but it's had its collective head up is backside since the late 90's while trying to reinvent itself every few years. and with BMX now in the olympics it makes 4x seem even more peculiar.
i have said it before and i still believe it is the best vehicle for outside exposure as relative to a DH race it is cheap to film and put together television coverage....
your point about BMX in the Oly's is good ...it's why i think all 4x courses should be built so riders use suspension and shifting....all bike parts that separate MTB;'s from BMX
as far as 4X goes you can look to the promoters that have watered down a product that had big potential.....it is understandable though, they had to water it down as it cost a small fortune to build gated racing courses that appeal to spectators from a WOW factor point of view......now even a lot of slalom courses are watered down for the same reason.
but if you don't think head to head Dual Slalom racing is exciting when two fast guys are battling for the win then your crazy.....

the funny thing about the side show you speak of here is it has been a gateway for a lot of top racers to get into MTB racing....i'm sure that riders like Cully/Lopes/King/ and myself wouldn't have done as well in the sport had it not been for Dual Slalom.....which gets us back on topic.

kids either from BMX or else where who have developed skills can compete in gated racing and win titles and championships that boost confidence and hopefully potential sponsorship....it would be a shame if USA Cycling didn't recognize these guys....but it doesn't sound like that's the case
 

General Lee

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2003
2,867
0
The 802
i have said it before and i still believe it is the best vehicle for outside exposure as relative to a DH race it is cheap to film and put together television coverage....
your point about BMX in the Oly's is good ...it's why i think all 4x courses should be built so riders use suspension and shifting....all bike parts that separate MTB;'s from BMX
as far as 4X goes you can look to the promoters that have watered down a product that had big potential.....it is understandable though, they had to water it down as it cost a small fortune to build gated racing courses that appeal to spectators from a WOW factor point of view......now even a lot of slalom courses are watered down for the same reason.
but if you don't think head to head Dual Slalom racing is exciting when two fast guys are battling for the win then your crazy.....

the funny thing about the side show you speak of here is it has been a gateway for a lot of top racers to get into MTB racing....i'm sure that riders like Cully/Lopes/King/ and myself wouldn't have done as well in the sport had it not been for Dual Slalom.....which gets us back on topic.

kids either from BMX or else where who have developed skills can compete in gated racing and win titles and championships that boost confidence and hopefully potential sponsorship....it would be a shame if USA Cycling didn't recognize these guys....but it doesn't sound like that's the case
True, but only if we are talking about 1992. In recent memory, what top racer has transitioned into MTB by way of 4x and been successful in any other discipline?

I love gated racing. Racing dual slalom way back in '93 sewed the seeds for me quitting xc racing a few years later and eventually got me hooked on racing DH. and i can recall seeing some kick-a** racing on some first rate courses back then too. it could still be an awesome event for all the reasons you mentioned, but it's also extremely prohibitive for all the reasons you mentioned. When done well it's fantastic, but so many promoters throw together a substandard course real quick and all anyone has to say about it is "well it made for good racing." Of course $$ is needed for good tracks (Bromont/Crankworx) to attract sponsors and spectators, but without big sponsors there's no $$ for building the tracks; definitely makes it hard to move things forward.
 
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Metal Dude

Turbo Monkey
Apr 7, 2006
1,140
0
Smackdonough, GA
It always made me laugh- when Slalom was called a side show, especially before 4x set us back 10yrs.
DS may have been "treated" like a sideshow! But, had 10 times more fans show up to watch us than any other Mtb sport of the weekend at a National!
My first Pro main in Big Bear in 2000 had 150 pro qualifiers and like 8 thousand fans for the main!
All going nuts and cheering us on! USAC killed it when MTX became the so called "Savior"
which sucked because they never invested in it! Or 4x could have been cool.
Slalom is back and will thrive again like the late 90's with some good courses.
I abandoned ship on USAC with many others. I won't support another dumb decision after seeing like- a hundred!
Gated racing is alive and well "General Lee" just not supported as a real sport by USAC anymore. The attendance for usac races is down all together not just slalom. That's why there probably won't even be a national series this year.
It will rebuild itself one way or another though, which I think is good. Which has already began with some grassroots races that are better than some of the Nats.
Also bigger race series and events are putting on their own races sans Norba.
I'm thinking insurance to run your own event is cheaper than paying USAC a sh!t ton of money to call
it a National! Then they make you run your "Nat" the same weekend as a World Cup and another big USAC race on the same weekend. And so on and so on and so on and so on!
Is USAC ran by the government? It would seem so huh?
WE THE RIDERS NEED A BAILOUT!
 
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ska todd

Turbo Monkey
Oct 10, 2001
1,777
0
Lawnguyland, New F'in Yawk
Ok, I'll help clear up some of your HUGE misconceptions here...this is perception vs reality; stone cold reality.

It always made me laugh- when Slalom was called a side show, especially before 4x set us back 10yrs.
DS may have been "treated" like a sideshow! But, had 10 times more fans show up to watch us than any other Mtb sport of the weekend at a National!
My first Pro main in Big Bear in 2000 had 150 pro qualifiers and like 8 thousand fans for the main!
Comparing today to ten years ago is pretty much an apple & oranges point. Stop looking backward and start looking forward if you want to go anywhere. The money was there from a couple corporate sponsors hopping on "the next big thing". As soon as they took their money to the next, next big thing the combination of the industry, USAC, and most importantly event promoters could not justify the related expenses and subsidization of these handful of large events. Norba virtually went bankrupt subsidizing these "National" races back then. If it weren't for the deep pockets of the road side they probably would have.

Another critical issue is in relation to the specialization of cycling disciplines in general. 10 years back we might race DH and slalom on the same bike or XC and slalom on the same bike. That's not the case anymore. This has meant people choose to focus on one vs the other, further making a slalom a "sideshow" vs the main event.

The expectation of what makes a good course has also changed a lot. A promoter can't just stick some bamboo poles on a grassy bunny slope anymore. It costs a bit of money to make a dual slalom course. It costs a fair bit more to make a 4X track. Often mountains in the US lack enough dirt on-site to construct a track and are forced to buy it to make one. The cost of good dirt and for moving it is not cheap. There are also environmental and water runoff regs in many places that are big barriers to creating a permanent 4X or DS track, even if on private lands.

All going nuts and cheering us on! USAC killed it when MTX became the so called "Savior"
which sucked because they never invested in it! Or 4x could have been cool.
Slalom is back and will thrive again like the late 90's with some good courses.
4X/MTX was mandated by the UCI. The US is virtually the only country where any type of sanctioned dual slalom racing exists. Even the Crankworx folks had to "figure out" this form of racing in 07. USAC has not "invested" in 4X (or downhill or slalom) simply because there has not been a financial impetus from the USOC to really do so. Even then, it's not like the funded endurance programs are lavished in any sort of way. There is a podium program, a U23 program, and some funded jr slots for Worlds but it's not like some of us on the gravity side think is happening.

I abandoned ship on USAC with many others. I won't support another dumb decision after seeing like- a hundred!
Sure, there were some dumb decisions in the past but by my reckoning the bulk of the decisions made in the past few years have been smart, financially sound, and developmentally minded. It is easy to cast stones and be frustrated if you do not know a lot of the facts of a situation.

Gated racing is alive and well "General Lee" just not supported as a real sport by USAC anymore. The attendance for usac races is down all together not just slalom.
Actually, USAC (and Kelli in particular!) has helped push promoters for the inclusion of MORE slalom races at their events. She was instrumental in having a separate 4X National Championship held last year at the request of athletes and the UCI. USAC also changed the equipment rules for slalom/4X to allow for use of singlespeed dirt jump bikes to encourage more youth participation.

Overall, attendance at USAC events is not down, it's actually up! The road & collegiate side is where the numbers have spiked percentage wise but over the past couple years there has been growth on the mtb side in membership, permitted events, and race starts. Are we at 1998 levels? Nope, but we are more stable as a sport now overall to be honest. The attention has largely shifted to local and regional events vs big traveling circus deals.

That's why there probably won't even be a national series this year.
Ha! The failure of the NCS/NMBS had nothing to do with slalom or 4X. Being centrally promoted, sole sponsorship supported, and poorly managed is what did it in. There are many individuals working hard to piece together a "pro tour" style National Calendar to take it's place. Let the "Norba Nationals" rest in peace!

It will rebuild itself one way or another though, which I think is good. Which has already began with some grassroots races that are better than some of the Nats.
I will reiterate, the USAC "owned" Nationals are dead and buried. They have been for several years. The NMBS events were privately owned, operated, and promoted. This focus was the catalyst for the Calendar format of events being used on the road side for years, rolled out for mtb in 08, and having a greater importance for 09.

Also bigger race series and events are putting on their own races sans Norba.
I'm thinking insurance to run your own event is cheaper than paying USAC a sh!t ton of money to call it a National! Then they make you run your "Nat" the same weekend as a World Cup and another big USAC race on the same weekend. And so on and so on and so on and so on!
Ok, this is a two-parter here that needs to be addressed.

1. USAC insurance - The reason USAC insurance fees are sometimes higher than other rates that some promoters quote is due to the fact that USAC's coverage is for medical AND liability. These other events are usually only covered for liability. Under the USOC charter and the Ted Stevens Act, USAC is obliged to provide both as the National Governing Body. This isn't to say that if you shouldn't have medical insurance but, this covers your butt if your private coverage isn't that great or tops out at a lower amount. With that said, do you know that you can source personal medical insurance through USAC? Yep, indeed you can and without a professional athlete exclusion that many plans have in the fine print!

2. The fees you describe collected by USAC are actually those that were being charged by the NMBS event promoters to host their event. If they chose to host it on a World Cup (or other major domestic) race weekend that was not USAC's call.

Fees charged by USAC are actually not that large if you tally them up; fee to be a club to promote races, $3/head insurance, official charge (depending on size of event). To have your race part of the calendar carries extra stipulations for prize purse but, then again these should if they are to be considered our sport's premier events. UCI fees are a whole other ball of wax. Those are mandated by the UCI and there's not much to be done about those.

Is USAC ran by the government? It would seem so huh? WE THE RIDERS NEED A BAILOUT!
Like the gov't, not much can change unless individuals step-up and pitch in themselves!

-ska todd
 

manimal

Ociffer Tackleberry
Feb 27, 2002
7,214
14
Blindly running into cactus
#183 Wide open!
i think he just turned 12. Eric Vest...keep an eye on him :thumb: There was a whole grip of super fast and talented yutes this season. I had a blast watching them compete against each other at several different venues; definitely the future of the sport. The cool thing is how they've taken my son under their wing and kind of "hang" with him at the races. my boy loves to go "session" some of the features on the course with them after the race :thumb:
 

vtminuteman

Monkey
Nov 29, 2004
166
0
Sharon VT
Like the gov't, not much can change unless individuals step-up and pitch in themselves!

-ska todd[/QUOTE]

Amen! Build the sport back up at the local level.

That said I don't like mountain cross in its current form. I wonder if Mountain cross would do better to have 12 racers in a heat. Racing would go faster and be more exciting. Tracks would have to be longer and wider. But they could be simpler, with flat turns and more natural terrain. The final 12 could race twice and the racer with the best combined finish, wins, like motocross. What would you rather see, four riders jumping and pumping smoothly down a manicured track. Or 12 riders in a wide, ruff, flat corner trying to out turn each other banging bars, getting wild. If the tracks are rough and more natural, no need to have a second race bike just use your DH bike. So with the same bike a rider can choose to race the clock on a narrow, long track or race heads up against 11 other riders on a wide, short track. And having just one race bike for two evens would help junior riders, and bring it closer to what it was in the 90's. Where racers would complete in ds, xc, and dh with one bike in one weekend.
 

NY_Star

Turbo Monkey
Here is my 2 cents. If you build a proper 4x track for Mt bikes such as the Vigo track from 07 then it is not bad. If you build one like every place else it blows chunks. It is the same with DS, a well build DS course such as the FluidRide Cup one looks to be fun as Hell and great to watch too.
 

ChrisKring

Turbo Monkey
Jan 30, 2002
2,399
6
Grand Haven, MI
Todd, you know that sticking poles in the ground is way more fun than a half a$$ built 4x course. I'll say it again, the only two 4x courses that were built to impress were the 2001 Mount Snow (awesome work EC) and 2002 Wisconsin. I stilll think that many of the people that think it is limp never tried it.

Kelli: she was awesome to work with when I was promoting events.
 

mtnbmx

Chimp
Jan 4, 2008
11
0
5280 Colorado
Glad to see somebody else out there is watching out for the groms. We have a great racing environment here in Colorado. The promoters really understand kids are the future of the sport. With BMX feeding the gravity scene great changes were made locally to meet those needs.






After being repeatedly ignored by the USA Cycling staff in emails and phone calls :banghead:I started this thread to bring a lot of attention towards USA Cycling and there present stance towards gravity racing for kids nationally. As the National sanctioning body I would hope USA Cycling could take the lead. There is a National coming to our home mountain and presently there will not be any age groups or categories for the kids 18 and under in the DS or 4X events. To expect a 9,10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18 year olds all to race together 4X or DS is just frigin stupid.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,376
947
My own world inside my head
yeah, it's near impossible to get that boy to keep his shirt on when it's above 90. :rolleyes:
Its all good, he will learn the hard way then just like the rest of us. Probably have a cool story to go with the bitchen scar he has someday. I know I have my share of ground meet bareskin scars.



Best part is, he is having agood time, and his Dad is involved with it
 

DiRt DeViL

Monkey
Feb 6, 2005
347
0
CNY
Any plans on doing gravity events on the south east? for us in the Caribbean could be a good excuse for a trip.
 

jbogner

Monkey
May 8, 2006
315
0
Fort Collins, CO
To expect a 9,10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18 year olds all to race together 4X or DS is just frigin stupid.
I'm sure most of us would love to see fields large enough to support age breakdowns like that but last year at Mt. Snow, there were (14) Junior Ex dual racers, (8) Junior sport, (4) 14 & under beginners and (4) 15-18 beginners. Split those into smaller age classes and you'll have no competition at all. In that junior ex cat, there was a 15 year old on the podium with two 18 year olds, which proves in some way that the increased level of competition in the junior ex ranks is actually helping to turn out better US racers.

I don't think the solution to getting more racers involved in gated racing is a structural change at the national champs.The solution is strong local grassroots programs and fun racing at local and regional events.
 

olddogbmxer

Monkey
Aug 9, 2007
143
0
Just to let everyone know GES 2009 is planning to include DS in the series.
At the moment it looks like we could have a six race series with races held the same weekend as DH.There is also a chance that we could have 1 or 2 stand alone races.This will also be a USAC regional championship series.