CX categoriesThis discussion has an associated proposal. View Proposal Details here.
Comments about this discussion:
Present rulebook states:
"Separating categories depends on the course. If the course is not favoring any type of unicycle, no separate categories should be made. If the course is favoring big wheels and geared unicycles, the recommended categories are:
• Limited: Ungeared unicycles up to and including 29 Class wheels. No restrictions on cranks arm lengths or pedal types.
• Unlimited: Ungeared unicycles greater than 29 Class and geared unicycles. No restrictions on cranks arm lengths or pedal types."
Unlimited category in fact is limited by wheel size or gearing. The name does not correspond here.
Categories are recommended if course is favouring big wheels and geared unicycles. Why then, is not allowed to use smaller wheels if it is deemed unfavoured?
My suggestions is to change definition of Unlimited category to : No restrictions to unicycle.
Yeah, the category labels are not perfect. Limited A and Limited B would be more accurate, but not very descriptive. Does anybody have better names for the categories?
I'm not so sure about making Unlimited in fact unlimited. What would be the benefit? Why would a limited rider not want to ride in the limited category? OK, one reason would be that there are usually much less competitors with big/geared wheels. Having some limited riders join the unlimited riders could make the start lists more even.
Let's hear more opinions on this one!
I think the reason that incorrect label of Unlimited has been used, is that the intent is longer courses, where wheels below 29" might take too long to finish. Also this was probably implemented before there were 27.5" wheels, which are now popular. The problem with the above is that some people will be slow on any size wheel, so creating such an arbitrary cut-off is pointless.
If the label is "Unlimited" it should really be unlimited. Or that label can be used with qualifiers. For example, in Road racing, we might want to "discourage" 20" wheels in a 100k race. In Road racing, the wheel size is a more concrete way to estimate peoples' time to finish a course. If you wanted to allow geared wheels but only 29" or greater ungeared wheels, you could call it something like "Geared or 29+". As long as it includes a description to go with it, so everyone understands. (I originally wrote that as "Unlimited or 29+", then realized it had the same problem. If it has limits, you can't call it Unlimited)
Any use of the word Unlimited should mean no limitations, maximums or minimums, of anything, including crank length.
I agree with Maksym's core idea, so we need to figure out better labels. For the two classes in the example above, the first should be called Ungeared or Ungeared Only. Any reason not to allow wheels larger than 29"? I guess it depends on the course. If you have a Muni course that favors 36" wheels, it's probably not a great Muni course (not that 36" Muni riding can't be great).
For the other class up there, it could be called "Geared or 29+". Short, simple name, with a following description so everybody understands what that means.
I agree that the labels are confusing. I'll keep thinking about other titles.
As far as the idea of smaller wheels having the choice to ride in with the bigger wheels, I am not in favor. I think one of the best parts of CX is the strategy and maneuvering and certainly for the spectators it is super exciting to watch the order people come in. I could see many courses where having a smaller wheel is an advantage (I think most good CX courses favor 26-27.5" wheels) and so if they compete with the big wheels it would actually be unfair. I think we should keep them with the option to be separate (as the rule is currently written) but just come up with better names.
For combining smaller wheels with big, I'm of the opinion that if there is a "top" event, determining an overall champion for Cyclocross, that should be open to all sizes/riders. But if there will be multiple "equal" categories, they can be restrictive.
The main issue is geared v ungeared for me within Muni, not size limiting. The majority of the time for XC, the geared unicycle has a distinct advantage due to the changing terrain. They have in effect 2 sizes wheels in one. So I think should be separated out.
Although for Hill Climb and downhill the difference can be considerably smaller (for hill climb the gearbox can actually be a disadvantage). So should it be separated out?
Wheel size restrictions for XC. I do not think it should be separated out. I ride ungeared 24, 26, 29, 36" off road depends on where I ride. Each has a different advantage at different times. On almost every ride I wish I had a different size for a certain stretch.
For CX, having a restricted standard category is a good thing as it created a levelling effect on equipment. The main point then is how good the rider is only, not what equipment they have.
I think we should also consider that there is only one commercial gearbox available, it is expensive and currently very exclusive.
CX: I agree with Roger, that it is a good thing to have the restricted standard category, because of the levelling effect on the equipment. The best rider wins and it is not necessary to have a very expensive unicycle.
XC: I think you all know that I am an advocate for separating the geared unicycles in XC. Everything to this theme is discussed two years ago. Also I would prefer a wheel size restriction up to 29. Like John says "If you have a Muni course that favors 36" wheels, it's probably not a great Muni course (not that 36" Muni riding can't be great)". Up to 29 could be the standard category.
Some ideas for titles of the categories:
now "Standard": "29" "ungeared" "norm29" "29/ungeared" "general" "common"
now "unlimited": "geared" "exceptional" "geared/29+" "special" or maybe "freaky" because it is bigger, faster, shifted and extraordinary. That would fit to the people who wants to have the specific unicycle, not the normed or restricted one. And the category would be open also for smaller ones and for every new developments in future.
In the end my English is to bad to creat really good titles.
We have to be careful with the term "29+" for the current unlimited category. In my interpretation, it would mean that 29" would be included. That is not the case with the current definition of the unlimited category. 32+ would be better I think.
In any case, something like "Geared/32+" would be accurate, but does not sound good in my opinion, especially if the other category has a simple name like "Limited" or "Standard". It would be more consistent if the current limited category would then be called "29 and smaller".
Or maybe simply: small wheels - big wheels (big wheel as in big virtual wheel - including geared unicycles)
There is another issue related to CX categories I would like to bring up. The rulebook tells us
"Separating categories depends on the course. If the course is not favoring any type of unicycle, no separate categories should be made."
A course that does not favor any type of unicycle is typically one with lots of obstacles. Since it is hard to maintain a high obstacle density over long courses, such a course is typically on the short side.
The problem is that CX as a discipline is very popular and if there is only one category, there will be tons of riders in the same category. On a short course with lots of obstacles, this is a problem. It will be way too crowded, riders will be lapped very often, there will be bottlenecks, which create queues... as seen in Spain.
I think it could be worth considering the option of having Advanced / Elite categories in this situation. The Elite competition could last 45 min, the Advanced 30 min. This would group riders of similar ability together and lead to less traffic on the course.
This is an interesting idea. I think that short courses with lots of obstacles are generally much more exciting, both for the riders and the spectators. Having a longer competition would naturally weed out people because they are not going to want to race for 15 more minutes unless they have trained for it and are hoping to place high. This could be one of those rules that has the "At Unicon, or other large competitions..." caveat at the start of it so that there wouldn't always need to be Advanced/Elite categories. For example, at NAUCC this would not be necessary, but at ECU it might be.
If we did this, then there would be no real need to have wheel size categories at all. I am in favor of this. In the US we often see that the under 29" wheel has tons of riders and the over 29" category has next to none. At Unicon, too, we see the smaller wheel categories draw many more people and often more intense competition.
"Courses should be filled with many obstacles and designed such that the course does not favor any type of unicycle."
I also like Ben's idea of (optionally) offering an Elite category. If the participation is high enough, you could also add a Novice category. This would be more a function of the quantity of riders in relation to the size of the course. The "big" heat in the Spain CX was pretty crowded. While this made it more fun to watch as a spectator, it was frustrating for many of the riders.
So how to calculate whether you need to split your groups or not? On a long, spacious course you could fit a great many more riders than on a smaller, tighter course. So I don't know that there's an easy way to offer a calculation of what would be considered too crowded with a need to break up groups.
Another option might be to do starting in waves, but I think you would have to have chip timing for that, and visual tracking of laps (the manual counting for backup) might be impossible. It was only semi-possible at the Spain CX "big" heat, according to Jacquie.
The overall goal, IMHO, is to avoid both overcrowding and undercrowding. I found the Spain CX to be a very fun race to be in (the "big" heat), but I opted out of the CX at NAUCC last summer because the course was so un-crowded, everybody was basically riding alone. And it was hot. And it was mostly on grass. :-P
I am for Beginners/Intermediate/Elite categories with significantly extended time for Elite. (Categories correspond to XC Muni)
Totally agree with Patricia: "Courses should be filled with many obstacles and designed such that the course does not favor any type of unicycle."
Which should not be a problem to achieve on any CX course with artificial obstacles. (Remember the 1.50 m wall in Ansan that efecitvely slowed down big wheelers)
I am totally against for gear specific categories that divide elite riders.
In the CX are mostly exceptionally a lot of participants. Nevertheless, this is miraculous first. The CX gives pleasure and everybody wants to be present. Now you think about setting more obstacles to unite the categories unlimited and standard, and to introduce a longer élite category. I would prefer to have the categories and distance lengths like they are, maybe think about several races one after the other, if the distance should be too narrow or be inexpedient for so many starters. Besides, with the Cx it is important to be a part of it, not only compeeting, and in addition everybody belongs, also "no-elite" rider. To start just in the same running as well as the top drivers, is the charm of the CX for many people. Everybody searches the direct possibility of comparison, even if the best is removed for many miles.
In Addition there are a lot of long races during the unicon. It isn´t necessary to ride longer than 30 min to have a real champion. And it is much more difficult for the host to create more obstacles and "better" courses.
Don´t make the distance longer and think about the ladys, please. For example XC in Ansan: Just 11 ladys go the elite distance, 3 unlimited!
The main subject of this discussion was to clear up definition of unlimited category (in which we agreed), but it has been driven away due to sense (nonsense) of creating categories.
Rulebook 2017 - "Separating categories depends on the course. If the course is not favoring any type of unicycle, no separate categories should be made."
Patricia: "I could see many courses where having a smaller wheel is an advantage (I think most good CX courses favor 26-27.5" wheels) and so if they compete with the big wheels it would actually be unfair"
I agree with Patricia that: "Courses should be filled with many obstacles and designed such that the course does not favor any type of unicycle."
(I felt sorry for all those 36 inch riders who had to carry it over a wall in Ansan. Also, I imagine 3 m high wall that can be climbed only with acces from giraffe unicycle, lol )
Bigger and geared wheels might bring benefits on longer stretches while being heavier brings disadvantage on carry on obstacles. The experience of race director should lead him to create a course that does not favor any kind of unicycles. I think that it's very vital at Unicons that best riders are not separated into two different categories, and by establishing regulations we should ensure this will not happen anymore.
Unlike any other Muni disciplines the artificial obstacles are established by organizer. If the course significantly favor bigger wheels than it's rather a failure from building the proper race track.
I agree with Roger that geared hubs bring virtually 2 wheels into competition.
In Cyclocross the speed doesn't matter that much. The CX discipline is not made on purpose for riding fast in offroad terrain (like in other Muni disciplines) but just to have challenging and fun competition. I would be more interested to ban geared unicycles at CX instead of making separate categories.
(In Muni and Road it's kind of natural and sporty to try riding fastest possible, and geared hubs helps with development of the sport. Riding fast geared is not only about equipment but also a skill. That is why I will always remain advocate for NOT separating geared hubs in Elite Muni XC)
I will bring few options to consider:
1* Delete categories in CX, Insert: "Courses should be filled with many obstacles and designed such that the course does not favor any type of unicycle."
2* Delete categories in CX, Ban geared unicycles.
3* Update definition of unlimited unicycle to unicycle without limits, create categories based on level: "Beginners/Intermediate/Elite", Make Elite as Champion award category without any subcategories based on equipment.
Thank you for summarizing, Maksym.
I am in favor of option 1 with option 3 written in as a choice for large competitions. This would give hosts the choice and leaves a solution for Unicon where there are many competitors and sometimes too many competitors on the course at one time. I would like all the best riders to be competing at once and this allows for that.
The only issue I see with option 3 is people choosing the correct category to truly have the best of the best in elite. Alternatively an option at large competitions would be to have prelims and finals. However, this is more time consuming as multiple rounds would need to be raced and the finals would need to take place at a different time to allow riders to recuperate. Finals could be determined by number of laps completed and time thereafter. The top 30 riders or so could make finals. Male and female finals could happen together and be scored separately. This would be exciting for spectators and fairest for competitors but adds time to the schedule.
I also am in favor of option 1 as the preferred option, with option 3 as a backup.
I would also favor a combination 1 and 3, however I only agree with the part "Courses should be designed such that the course does not favor any type of unicycle." I personally do not like the part "Courses should be filled with many obstacles". This implies that the course should always be made difficult by using lots of artificial obstacles. However, the course could also be challenging due to the terrain, for example with steep uphill sections that cannot be ridden and flat or downhill sections with deep sand or mud that requires riders to dismount (or at least ride in first gear). This would be closer to how bike CX race courses are designed. Of course, if the only option is to race in an urban environment or in a park, then lots of obstacles are needed to ensure that no unicycle category is favored. If more interesting terrain would be available (like at this year's NAUCC with a proper CX race track), I think that just a few aftificial obstacles are required.
Yes this is a good point. I mostly think that a huge piece of cyclocross is the mounting and dismounting. Courses that had mud or sand would also satisfy this.
Maksym, could you go forward and create a proposal? We can still iterate on it concerning the exact formulations.
Under Venue this needs to be deleted: (used by both classes)
If we're getting rid of classes then this information is unnessecary.
Under Race Configuration I feel as though we need to state times both if there are levels and if there are not. What about:
It is suggested that the race be close to 30 minutes in length. Using the time from the top rider’s first two laps, the referee will determine how many laps could be completed in the desired time limit (e.g. 30 minutes). From this point on, the number of remaining laps (for the leaders) will be displayed and this will be used to determine when finish of the race occurs. A bell will be rung with one lap to go. If a host decides to create categories (see 6B.2) time can be a way to differentiate the difficulty. For example, the Intermediate race could be close to 30 minutes while the Elite race could be close to 45 minutes.