“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Just because I put on an unsanctioned race, I don't want to give you the impression that I am some radical anarchist. I'm 45, wear a suit to work and I don't own a Guy Fawkes mask. Sure, I lean a bit left when it comes to personal freedoms, but i think my beliefs lie closer to enjoying a dash of baileys in my coffee as I attend the thanksgiving day parade than they do with lobbing a molitov cocktails into a group of riot police.
You see rules are fine, necessary in fact, provided they make sense. A good rule is well intentioned, clearly written, and correctly enforced with alignment to the original intention.
For example, the rule on disallowing triathlon style aero bars for mass start criteriums is a perfect example of good rule that is well intentioned to protect riders from a potentially dangerous situation (ie, triathletes riding in crits), well written, clear to enforce and effective. Without this rule, every corner would be a bloodbath...kind of like Cat5!
I have a friend in law enforcement. We've had conversations about how the red solo cup is more of a social contract between citizen and civil servant than is is a beverage receptacle. You see, the cop is required by oath to enforce the laws. If he sees me with a post race barley-pop in my hand, he can pinch me for Open Intoxicant, I pay a fine, and probably go on a sex-offenders list for the rest of my life because I tipped a pumpkin stout within 5,000 yards of a schoolyard. (Thank you, Nancy Regan!) But, If I opt to keep my brew in a solo cup, and (this is the important part) am not acting like a shithead, Mr. police officer is not obligated to inquire as to what I am drinking. Could be milk, could be pepsi, who knows.
But this is an example where the intention is good. No one wants to expose kids to a drunk. Unfortunately "zero tolerance" laws have taken context and discretion out of the situation. Thank fully, selective enforcement has made the situation right. Which is why we race in Detroit...Selective enforcement
Let me say, I have nothing against USA Cycling officials. They have a job to do, and they do it well. This year they have been very cool in a "just don't let me see it " kind of way. I respect that. I respect them.
When we first created this race, our intention was to poke fun at the rules of cyclocross, especially the arbitrary rules by pushing them just beyond their limits. Kind of the way a child tests their limits. It has become part of our charm. Kind of like your red headed nephew that you describe as "precocious". For example:
USA Cycling rule # 4A9 (d) Obstacles:
The course may include a maximum of 6 artificial obstacles.
We have seven.
Why seven? Because n+1! Because, like Nigel Tufnel's Marshall amplifier, this race "Goes to eleven"! Because arbitrary limits stink! And, I had a ton of spare paneling left over from remodling my upstairs.
The following is a list of USA Cycling rules that are blatantly ignored at the Detroit Invitational Cyclocross. Please note, this list is not comprehensive. To obtain a comprehensive list, please obtain a current copy of the USAC rule book, and ignore the thing altogether:
USA Cycling rule # 8A5(g)This is a precautionary measure so that I may accept those gracious donations that I find in my hand each year. This year, USA Cycling modified the above rule with:
Person with official responsibilities at race consuming alcoholic beverages or other intoxicants, is prohibited.
USA Cycling rule # 1N13:Is there anything more annoying than when the voice of the people is heard and a state law abolished, only to be undermined by lesser regulations
“other intoxicants” added to alcohol as something not to be consumed by people in positions of responsibility at bike races. Acknowledges some recent legal changes in Colorado and Washington.
USA Cycling rule #8A5(h)How did you think I pay for this thing without charging entrance fees?
Person with official responsibilities at race laying a wager on outcome
of race is prohibited.
USA Cycling rule #8A2(b) Competing without valid entry into race or fraudulent entry into race, or identity fraud.Now, I will admit that I am the asshole who once registered for Mad Anthony as "Lloyd Flandis". My only regret is that I did not register as "Bom Toonen", which is a far better name. (Seriously, my apologies to the Mad Anthony crew) If you are not fond of your name and are far more comfortable with "Carlos Danger" I totally get it. However as race promoter, I will have to add the following caveats:
1) If you are going to use the name of a pro racer, you better show up in character, in an authentic team kit or reasonable homemade facsimile thereof.
1A) If you register as Emily Batty, in addition to the team kit and be prepared to man the kissing booth for an hour following the race.
2) If more than one of you show up as the same pro, each racer will be asked to contribute a minor amount of money ($1 or $5), which will be held by a race official and presented to the fastest competitor assuming that name, including the honor of being know as "the Real ______" for the remainder of the day.
One of my favorite discoveries in the rule book is:
USA Cycling rule 4A13.This rule is the driving force on why the tequila shot shortcut is not the "Keg Stand cut through"
No acrobatics on the part of the riders shall be required to overcome obstacles.
Ok, that's not true... but it does open a world of possibilities of how can we require the riders to perform "acrobatics"to overcome obstacles. I will tell Mike Belanger, the course designer, to get on that.
Surprisingly, the rule that we are most affiliated with violating, is not being broken. This was a bit of discovery for me as well that technically, Hand offs are not explicitly banned.
Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you "The Hand off rule"
USA Cycling rule 4A15:"Feeding is generally not permitted unless specifically authorized by the Chief Referee. If authorized, there is normally no feeding in the first two and final two laps of the race, and a temperature of at least 68 degrees is recommended. All feeding takes place in the pit lane, unless the Chief Referee specifies otherwise."
For those of you that don't speak legalese. Whether or not hand-ups are allowed at a given race is entirely to the discretion of the Chief Referee. So It is possible for the chief Official to make a ruling and allow hand ups for a given race. Cat-4 men for example?
Alcohol is mentioned 11 times in the current rule book, but mostly in reference to providing it to a minor or use by an official on race day. "Excessive use" is mentioned in the code of conduct, but handing a beer, to a rider, is not explicitly prohibited.
Maybe we should ask nicely at the next USAC race.
The Cx Czar.