I want to be up front and say that I really like racing cyclocross. There is something super fun about a crit on grass and turning yourself inside out for 45 minutes. Skinny tires on dirt, fast speeds, mud, snow, puke…it’s pure awesome. But I did my last cross race 7 years ago, and it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth.
It was perfect cross weather in upstate New York. It had rained for most of the day prior, and now it was starting to snow. I toe the line for the also-ran category in typical DC form. Still a little drunk from the night before, a singlespeed, and wearing a wifebeater. I was feeling frisky so I worked my way to the front to see if I could have some fun with the hole-shot. Just then, everybody’s favorite USA Cycling official tells me I’m not racing due to a rules violation. Confused I inquire: “Excuse me, sir. There is nothing in the rules that says I have to be sober. Besides this is cyclocross!” He then informs me the rules clearly state that I must have sleeves in order to race and my wifebeater doesn’t have any.
Jesustittyfuckingchrist! Are you kidding me? It’s not like I was wearing a sleevless jersey with arm warmers. Now that is a clear violation of every rule in the book. Fortunately, like any good friend would do, my buddy Schill whips the shirt off his back and throws me his base layer with about 10 seconds to spare before the start. I finish the race and go home swearing to never ride another USA Cycling event again. Too much serious. Too many rules.
I got an email from Bill Hairs the other day, and from the looks of it, not much has changed. In fact I would say that it’s even getting worse. There is now a war being waged on handups in the mid-Atlantic.
In a nutshell, we are not arguing whether handups are right or wrong under the rules, we are just saying they aren’t a crime, so stop treating them like they are. We’ve had guys at the back of the pack on the East Coast DQ’d for taking a sip of beer during a race. It seems silly. Most of us are out there for fun. Sometimes we take this bike racing thing way to seriously when in the end It’s beer league softball. Stop trying to make it just softball. At Crosshairs Cycling we have three rules: Have Fun, Race Hard, Don’t Be A Dick. Drink, heckle, rub some shoulders on the course and try like hell. But, have fun. Did I say that already?
#HANDUPSARENOTACRIME is our cause and This is our t-shirt
And this is our message:
Spread the word. Handups are not a crime!!!!by