Monday, November 14, 2005

Q&A - Barriers and UCI

Jessica asks:

I did the USGP in Gloucester a few weeks ago- the chilly saturday race-- and there was only one set of barriers in the race-- this surprised me- is that all that is needed for the course to be "official"?


Not only is that all that is NEEDED, one set of man-made barriers is all that is ALLOWED per the UCI rules. Many promoters and racers think this rule is lame, and I tend to agree. The UCI rules do state that "the course may include no more than six obstacles" - obstacles are defined as a "part of the course which is likely to require riders to dismount". But only one set of barriers is allowed, so the rest of the obstacles have to be part of the landscape. The problem with this is that courses like GGP, a relatively flat area with few natural obstacles - may only have one get-off per lap. Watsonville, on the other hand, has plenty of short, steep uphills that will require most riders to dismount even in the absence of barriers.

Either way, both races should be excellent races and fun for the whole family. GGP will definitely have some tricky corners and sections that will force riders to dismount or even fall down. It's not gonna be a dirt crit for sure...

For a full explanation of UCI Cyclocross races and rules, see the following link:

Note that UCI rules only need to be followed for UCI-classified races, so in non-UCI races you will often see as many barriers as the promoter thinks he/she can get away with...



Anonymous Brij Lunine said...

Thanks for this question and good explanation. What do you think the rationale is for having only one set of barriers? It seems extremely lame.


5:55 PM  
Blogger funkdaddy said...

I cannot fathom what the rationale behind this rule is. Dismounts have become a staple in cyclocross and the one major technique that separates it from MTB and/or Road Racing. Bear in mind these are the same luddites that declared disk brakes illegal. Talk about a no-brainer...

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The barriers keep getting left behind at the races due to over indulgence at the beer tents.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Steven Woo said...

Funny you should complain about them changing the sport, then call them luddites for not changing the sport to your liking. Anyways for a thorough explanation of cyclocross course design and what rules should be strictly enforced and those for which exceptions can be obtained:

8:54 AM  
Blogger Dave Carr said...

Here's my rant on the subject: What's up with the Euro' thing?

9:10 AM  
Blogger funkdaddy said...

There's nothing innovative about UCI rules concerning barriers, why would that stop me from calling them luddites?

11:45 AM  
Blogger Steven Woo said...

Bunnyhopping was a feature back then but I watched a bunch of world cups and world championships from 2002 and after and there is *not* a lot of bunny hopping going on as referenced in your 2000 post, Dave. An update is in order!

Back on barriers, the rule was put in place in the year 2002 and USCF rules were updated to match them, the only reason there is any confusion is that a.) cross races here in northern CA have mostly not been USCF until recently b.) either the courses available are not amenable to cross as described in the rules so leniency is shown or officials are ignorant of the rules for courses or the chief referee doesn't feel like enforcing them. I already had this discussion in 2002.

One can always promote a race under whatever banner one desires and make the course whatever one likes and call it cyclocross or use your dollars and only go to the cyclocross races with courses one likes.

11:55 AM  
Blogger EricN said...

One set of barriers, or 3 sets it's still a cross race. It all comes down to course design and the barriers are only one part of the big picture. Super slow down corners, technical sections, hammer your ass of flats, and greasy sweepers will take care of the rest.

Cross is way more about navigating the course smoothly at a high intensity than what's on the course in my opinion.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous howie/Blackmarket Racing said...

Now, now. Getting a little warm in here don't you think? Doesn't anyone remember the real reason UCI started changing it's ways around the barriers? When Adri Van Der Poel finally retired, he vowed to change cross for the better, and thus became one of the UCI technical directors for cross. Being a very traditional cross man himself, one of his biggest complaints was about the barriers- being rideable, and possibly too many. He felt that if you failed to get a fantastic start, you were immediately doomed as the riders on the front would be over the barriers and sprinting away, ever increasing their gap, and you would still be dismounting for the barrier. If you look closely at the races after Van Der Poel started at the UCI, the courses DO have incredible "features" that test your power and skill far greater than any set of barriers. Deep, deep sand pits, barely rideable steeps, and treacherously slick off-cambers are some of the features of the 'new' cross courses. After all, these types of features also separate the riders by their skill levels, but you (hopefully) get to stay on your bike to do it. You may also in part, thank Adri for making the two-way pit a normal race feature nowadays, and that is only a good thing for all the racers.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous mhernandez said...



11:14 AM  
Anonymous leatherlungs666 said...

Less barriers = more living trees and healthier forests! Those things are made of wood, and a tree had to die just so we can play our little game. Don't you all think it's time to end the madness? Think about that next time you're doing you're little prancy -poo over the planks.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Cyclocross Bikes said...

The more barriers the better in my opinion. I'm too slow to win, but put a bunch of obstacles in the way and I can blast past lots of folks. :)

8:54 PM  

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