Handups Are Not A Crime

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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:

What if…?

Spread the word. Handups are not a crime!!!!

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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single women and single malt. Currently in Carbondale, CO Follow on Instagram @dirty_biker

25 Replies to “Handups Are Not A Crime”

  1. Wow, I rode without sleeves on Halloween and was drinking a beer while riding across the finish line winning my first cross race. I sure hope they don’t start cracking down in Colorado. It already sucks the entry fees are $40.

  2. The cyclocross scene is not for me. I dabbled a bit, but all it appeared to be was a bunch of roadies and hipsters trying vainly to show everyone how much fun they were having. Plus, the Chicross Cup is officially “discouraging” handups these days. lame.

    Tomorrow, I will be skipping the local cross race, heading up to Milwaukee with the wife to hit two breweries and a distillery, dinner, and then an evening at Ray’s Mtb. If that ain’t a Drunkcyclist-worthy day, I don’t know what is.

  3. Last time I checked, beer was not a performance enhancing beverage… Probably some AA tee totalling asshole with an agenda, beyond racing bikes, that has somehow infiltrated the ranks… Fuck-off and keep your personal beliefs to yourself.

  4. we have a bumper crop of cat 2 (i.e. dickhead) roadies racing cat 4 cross in NC..I’m old, I’m slow but fuck me if I like getting lapped on lap #2. Not to mention no hand ups, and a general atmosphere of roadie douche culture. I’m done with you fucks. thanks for screwing up my fun.

  5. Friends, beers, trails, and friendly competitions; no entry fees, no prizes. Only fun; whether many or one.

  6. You are wrong sir,sleeveless jerseys and arm warmers are acceptable to get into the Buffet bar in Tucson.

  7. A couple of years back, a friend and I line up wearing jerseys from a mutual buddies shop. The head official comes over and tells us either turn it inside out or change it. The reason given was because the shop owner hadn’t paid the USAC “official team” fee and therefore his jerseys could not be worn. We were the only two people threatened with disqualification for illegal clothing and believe me, there were plenty of other not racers wearing “not-official team jerseys” that day without repercussion. The guy was just being a dick because he had a personal issue with the shop owner. I went out to my car, changed into a shop t-shirt and lined up again. You could tell he was pissed but hey, not a damn thing in the rule book about team t-shirts.

  8. I’m not a crosser nor do I think I will be.

    Let the crossers cross and furthermore….


  9. …my god !!!…these people will make a mockery of professional cycling…

    …ohhh, wait…i guess pro cycling already did that to itself…party on, cx-ers…

    …& remember – if cx in your area is too subtle, come race a dfl race in sf where real men cross dress for cross races…

  10. @14, those dfl ‘races’ are the best. You race as many laps as you want, wear what you want and drink what you want. There is no lame offical to kill the buzz. The only time one really races at a dfl race is when you gotta run from the park ranger who shows up to lay down the law. Fuck, and one can race for free if they wear a hand-me down, nasty pink tutu.

  11. Next they’ll be requiring group prayer before the race.

    Fuck racing, fuck rules, fuck training, fuck Strava, fuck trying to prove you’re better than others you don’t even know by beating them at the art of going around in circles, yeah, fuck it all….


  12. “…HOLY FUCK ME !!!…” sez bgw…“…THIS NEW SHIT HAS ME YELLING OUT LOUD !!!…”

  13. I LOVE cross….and yes I am a Clydesdale. (Translation: 200+ pounds of beer swilling power).
    Come to the PNW. Join the Cross Crusade series. No, you can’t have handups but that’s about it. We have a “serious” series if you are serious about having fun. If you are a Cat 1 Pro, we have folks for you. If you enjoy being 187th in Master C, we have room for that too.

  14. In response to ‘Sandbagger’, every attempt is being made in NC to prevent roadie Cat 2’s from racing in the CX 4 races. Unfortunately, the registration staff has allowed this to happen and the CR does not always know every racer to know what their road category is. NC is also diligent about forcing CX 4’s to upgrade if they are destroying the rest of the field. There have been a number of mandatory upgrades issued in NC this CX season.

  15. so i just have to add my two cents. why are handups discouraged? as has been pointed out here before per the World Anti-Doping code ..”..ethanol is prohibited IN-COMPETITION [emphasis NOT added..jus’ sayin’} only, in the following sports…” “Aeronautic, Archery, Automobile, Karate, Motorcycling, Powerboating” So all you rule-followers — hand-ups are LEGAL per WADA code! You can be a drunkcyclist but not a drunkarcher. HA!


    Alcohol (ethanol) is prohibited In-Competition only, in the following sports. Detection will be conducted by analysis of breath and/or blood. The doping violation threshold (haematological values) is 0.10 g/L.
    • Aeronautic (FAI) • Archery (FITA) • Automobile (FIA)
    • Karate (WKF) • Motorcycling (FIM) • Powerboating (UIM)

  16. @official: “Unfortunately, the registration staff has allowed this to happen”

    Hey, your road category (and your CX category) is printed right there on the front of your license. So, you’re saying the registration staff can’t read?? Maybe they had too many handups??

    At one point, wasn’t there a rule saying that if you’re a road cat 2, the lowest you could be in any other discipline was a 3? So a cat2 couldn’t register for a cat4 race. Did USAC get rid of that?

  17. I would never race another USAC race again if I could avoid them. When I get some land, it’s gonna be backyard CX all year round.

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  20. We had a guy told the same thing at yesterday’s CX race. We was wearing an iron maiden cut off jean jacket. They wouldn’t let him race. He had to put a shirt on under it.

  21. Here in Belgium; aside from the big “prestige” events, we have loads and loads of races that are not UCI certified, that don’t give a shit about the UCI, where everybody can enter and UCI rules are not applicable. It’s called fun (and we handout beer to Nys, Alberts and all – and this got banned – UCI staff would burn at the stake).