Who Cares About Upgrades: The Update
Getting involved in any kind of advocacy can leave you jaded - doing it in the sport of cycling is no exception. Change comes at a glacial pace, if at all, it seems. But not so this time around!
Last week, we published an article highlighting the issues local women face in bike racing when it comes to finding races that offer realistic opportunities to earn upgrades, especially in the sport of cyclocross. We proposed a couple of potential solutions, including the relaxing of USAC's rules with regard to determining upgrade points, and in the alternative, asking race promoters to offer separate scoring for Cat 4 and 3 riders.
I'm thrilled to report that within the span of a week, all of the major cyclocross race series along the east coast now offer separate scoring or separate fields for Category 3 and 4 women!
I'm thrilled to report that within the span of a week, all of the major cyclocross race series along the east coast, from the Mid Atlantic region up through the NYC metro area and beyond, now offer separate scoring or separate fields for Category 3 and 4 women! These racers have trained just as hard and spent the same amount of time and money as their male counterparts to travel to races. Now they have the same opportunity to be scored against their category peers and earn recognition for their efforts. (Revised race series: Bikereg Super Series, PACX, NJCX, MAC)
I was hopeful that the article would reach enough people, or the right people, to bring about change, but did not expect it to come so soon. It was heartening to see the momentum build. One by one, race promoters, Local Association board members, and friends, bought in, took ownership of this problem in their locality, and did a lot of work figuring out solutions that fit within their region.
What we have now is a patchwork of different approaches: combined fields with separate scoring for each category, separate category fields with staggered starts, and in the case of some races in Pennsylvania, even retroactive reporting of results for separate categories! While this is a fantastic interim solution, we're still hopeful that a USAC rule change will come, or at the very least, guidance to officially give Local Associations the discretion to apply the rules in a way that makes sense given the circumstances in their jurisdiction.
I am floored by the enthusiasm and empathy that still exists within the community, and am thankful to all of the people (too many to call out here) who made this possible.
I am floored by the enthusiasm and empathy that still exists within the community, and am thankful to all of the people (too many to call out here) who made this possible. These are the same people who have all along, and continue to, make bike racing possible and better for the rest of us. Oftentimes, their only payment is our thanks. So with that in mind, please be sure to thank your local race promoter, local association rep, upgrade coordinator, USAC official, and fellow racer... you know, the one who makes the most noise on behalf of the rest of us. Thank you, and see you at the races.