May 14, 2021
There is a new cyclocross series coming to the United States in Fall 2021 - the USCX 2021 cyclocross series. USCX was co-founded by John Meehan (Jingle Cross) and Scott Page (Rochester Cyclocross) and will feature 8 pro races, 9 amateur races, with the goal of tracking the top riders in the United States.
This is incredibly exciting news, not just because of a new series, but because there are signs of life that cyclocross will return in full force this Fall. I can't wait to get to the races to participate and watch.
It's no secret that the 2020 cyclocross season in the USA was basically lost to promoters, race directors, athletes, and fans. Yes, there were a few small pockets of racing - but COVID-19 largely wiped out our domestic cyclocross scene. The vast majority of races were cancelled, including everything from your local series to the USA Cycling national championship. Some Elite-level riders headed to Europe, where some races still took place under strict COVID-19 protocols, but others threw in the towel on the entire season and elected not to travel either internationally or domestically.
As we start to emerge from the pandemic, demand for active sports events is expected to be at an all-time high, so the time is ripe for a new nationwide cyclocross series to capitalize on fan and athlete interest. USCX, more than 2 years in the making, is emerging at just the right time. Let's take a look at the USCX event lineup:
The 2021 USCX series consists of 4 weekends, each of which offers at least one UCI C1 race and one UCI C2 race day:
One of those C1's - Jingle Cross - is also a UCI World Cup this year as well, so the finest athletes in the world will be there to raise the level even further.
Registration for all events is expected on BikeReg.com on/before June 15, 2021.
USCX has announced a new partnership with GCN (see my review of GCN's subscription live streaming service) to broadcast all 8 USCX events this Fall on the GCN+ (formerly Race Pass) service. This is huge for American cyclocross! I enjoy watching European 'cross, but opportunities to have USA cyclocross events broadcast on a world state have been few and far between. That changes with the new GCN agreement.
The United States has been missing a single, nationwide series for a few years. There have been attempts - most recently, Ryan Trebon's US Cup, which lasted a single season, and prior to that, the USGP, which enjoyed tremendous success, but has been gone for almost a decade.
USA Cycling's Pro CX calendar, while important, isn't really a series. It awards points at all of the UCI cyclocross races in the United States, but only for pros, leaving amateurs lacking a way to experience the thrill of high-stakes racing with a season title on the line.
Unlike some other series, the new USCX races will track standings across a variety of categories, not just for Elite level riders. This should encourage enthusiast amateurs to visit as many of the 4 race weekends as possible, in search of overall rankings and titles.
At the Elite level, categories are: UCI Elite Men, UCI Elite Women, UCI Jr 17-18 Men & UCI Jr 17-18 Women
For amateurs, categories are: Men Cat 3 / Women Cat 3 / Men MASTER 40+ / Women MASTER 40+ / Men MASTER 50+ / Women MASTER 50+ / Men MASTER 60+ / Women MASTER 60+ / Men OPEN S.S. / Women OPEN S.S. / Jr Boys 13-14 / Jr Girls 13-14 / Jr Boys 15-16 / Jr Girls 15-16
You'll note that some categories, like 4, and 5, don't appear on that list. You'll still find those events offered at each individual series stop, there just won't be an overall title awarded for those categories.
USA Cycling's Pro CX calendar is essentially a list of every UCI-level cyclocross race in the United States (10 race weekends), and awards an overall series title for Elite Men and Women's categories. It doesn't offer or track amateur participation, however.
Details of the new USCX series are still emerging. I've got an interview coming up with John Meehan, one of the USCX co-founders and race director of Jingle Cross, coming up in the next few weeks. Look for that interview on the Inside Cyclocross podcast and on the RideCX YouTube channel mid-June, 2021.
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