(with thanks to Craig Law, onetime cyclocross novice)
When and where are the races?
The race schedule will appear on the home page of cyclocross.org. As the events are run, they disappear from the page. You can see the locations of earlier events by checking the results.
The start times for each of the three races held each week is available here.
What’s the race format?
Each of the three races combine entrants from several race categories. Races begin with a mass start and stretch out into a circuit. This circuit is typically 3 to 5 kilometres long and includes grass, pavement, dirt and occasionally sand.
The course is marked with flags and tape. With the flags, keep the red/pink ones on your right. Each lap you ride will be tracked by the timers and they will signal the final lap by ringing a bell at the finish line. You may not hear this bell as it is based on the leader and you may be passed by the leader in their last lap. Ride at your own pace. Faster riders will pass you when they are safely able to do so. You don’t have to pull over for them, just maintain a consistent line. There will be barriers on the course where you will have to get off your bike and carry your bike over them before remounting. You must run over the barriers, you are not allowed to bunnyhop them.
How long is a race?
It varies by category, with the longest lasting one hour. What that means is that the number of laps is determined mid-race based on lap times to that point. Once the race winner has completed his/her final lap, everyone behind him/her will finish regardless of their lap count. Cyclocross racers are based on the leaders, not a specific time or distance.
On race day, when should I get there?
There is no on-site, race day registration. After the in-person registration day, all registration for all races must be done online through CCN.ca. Single day entrants who are pre-registered must pick up their race number well before the start of their race, before the first race or between races, not during a race. Season entrants will only pick up their numbers once and use them for the complete season. After that, season riders simply have to show up for the start of their races.
Both day entrants and season riders must show a valid UCI licence or OCA Citizens Permit in order to obtain their numbers. We will have a record of riders who have purchased a single day license.
While there is no check-in for series entrants, it’s never a bad idea to pre-ride the course. Please note, however, that warm up rides are only permitted when other races are fully completed.
What happens if I can’t finish the race?
You must go to the finish line and tell the time keepers that you are quitting. This will help them with compiling the results and will make them aware of any issues that occurred during the race.
Do I need to ride a cross bike to race?
No, you don’t. There are often people riding mountain bikes in the series. However there is something said for having the proper tool for a job. Whatever bike you choose, ensure it is in good working condition and you must wear an approved helmet to race or warm up.
Where can I leave spare wheels or spare bikes?
We will mark a pit area with a sign each week. Do not leave them near the finish line as it can create confusion for the timekeepers. If you have a mechanical problem, you cannot go backwards to retrieve spares. You must complete the lap in the race direction, even if that means running the entire distance or riding on a flat tire.
I’ve registered for the season in one category but I’d prefer to ride in the other race. Can I switch? We’d prefer that you race in the category for which you’re registered. But given our goal of being a friendly series that encourages participation, we can sometimes be flexible. Check with Bob Woods, the race director, well in advance to confirm that this is possible. Of course, you will not gather any points for races outside of your regular category.
What’s this ‘Madison’ thing all about?
The Madison is a fun two-person relay race. We ask that a faster rider team up with a slower rider with the intention of balancing the field. It’s supposed to be fun, so don’t sandbag. It is best if you find a partner in advance. But, if not, on the morning of the race let a race director or a helper know, and he or she will find you a partner. Teams can be of any combination and we often have parent/child, spouses, friends, young/older riders, experienced rider with a newbie. Just don’t make it two fast riders.
What about the points system?
Points are awarded for each race completed according to your finishing position within your category (20 points for first, 18 for second, 16 for third down to one point for finishing the race). The points are accumulated over the season. To keep things competitive and to encourage participation, only the best 6 out of 10 races form the final total. At the end of the season at the Awards Event, trophies are presented for the top three finishers in each race category.
Tell me about the Awards Event at the end of the season.
Whether you raced once or in all of our events, you are welcome to come out to the year end awards event. It’s a casual affair where we eat some snacks, drink a few beverages and hand out various awards and prizes based on the season’s results. This includes presenting medals to those who do all 10 races in the series. The Awards Event usually takes place a week following the last race. There are lots of draw prizes given out!