Series Rules and FAQs
Riders earn points for placing 1st through 30th place. The series winner for each category is the rider who collects the greatest number of points using the scoring system below. All races count towards overall series results but you must race in half the races in the series to win the overall competition. There is a 15 minute protest period after the officials post results for each category in which riders may contest the results for that race. Results are considered final after this protest period has ended with no exceptions. If you feel your result is incorrect please see the USAC Chief Judge at the race to make your claim. Combined categories may take a little longer to score at some races, so if you want to earn points towards the overall series you must stick around and confirm your placing is correct. Better yet, contact your USAC officials, become an official, and volunteer to help out!
The series winner for each category will be declared on the day of the Illinois Cyclocross State Championships (or as soon as possible) after the final results for each category have been posted. In the case of a tie, the finishing placing at the last race of the series will be the tie breaker. Riders must possess an unsuspended annual USAC license (for categories that require them, i.e. not Cat 4′s) as of the last race in the series to win the overall title. All overall series awards will be awarded at the end of season dinner/party. Watch the main page for details as the season progresses.
Riders upgrading mid-season take half of their points with them to the higher category, but only if they upgrade before the race which is 1/3 + one race through the season. For instance, for a 12 race series riders must upgrade before the 5th race to take their points with them. Otherwise all points earned in the lower category are forfeited. This rule only applies to Women Category 4, Men Category 3, and Men Category 4A riders (4B’s too if you have never raced 4A). After a racer upgrades his/her points in the lower category are no longer counted as part of that category’s competition. The upgrade/point rule only applies to category racers and NOT age group racers. Masters categories can NOT transfer points to another category. Your Cyclocross age is your age on 12/31 of the year in which CX Worlds are held (the calendar year after the CCC season finishes).
The CCC awards one Team Competition winner. The top five individual point earners from each team across all categories will have their individual Cup points count towards the team competition on an ongoing basis (i.e. NOT per race). In this way both quality and quantity will help teams score points. Team points are tallied after each CCC race, after individual Cup standings are determined. For riders racing in more than one category, only their highest point total counts towards the team competition. Teams have the same eligibility requirements as individuals. Racers who officially join or change a club mid season will have their points applied as of the date they joined their new team. Previous points earned will still apply to a rider’s individual CCC points, but not to their new team for the team competition.
State Championship jerseys will be awarded to the winner of the State Championship race. Medals will be provided for first, second and third places for Illinois racers.
- Order of staging is by CCC Series Points, then by UCI points/rank, then by CrossResults.com points, then by order of registration.
- UCI & CrossResults.com points are only applied to pre-reg’d riders. If you do NOT have CCC overall points AND you do NOT pre-reg you will be staged at the back of the field.
- If you have CCC overall points and register Day-Of you will still be staged according to your CCC overall points for that category. That being said, please pre-reg as it saves you and the reg desk volunteers lots of time, not to mention saving you a few cash dollars as well.
- Since the CCC uploads all races to CrossResults.com, most if not all riders will have at least some points. Please visit CrossResults.com to check on your points and report any errors (to them please, not us).
- Riders doubling up and racing back to back races may have their staging spot held for them by their friendly teammate/peer/etc. However it is the rider’s responsibility to alert the staging volunteers/officials/CCC directors ahead of time. In the event a “double upper” does not arrive before their staging position is called for their 2nd race they will be staged at that time (i.e. likely at the back).
- While not common, the CCC and promoters reserve the right to assign special call-ups at their discretion (think Halloween).
First Race of the series
- All riders are staged by UCI points/rank, then by CrossResults.com points, then by order of registration.
- While not common, the CCC and promoter reserve the right to assign special call-ups at their discretion (think Relay CX Cat 4 winners in the CCC Cat 3 field)
State Championship (usually last race of the season)
- Follow the regular season protocol above.
- If a rider has NOT raced in a category during the regular season (and they pre-register) they will be staged by their CrossResults.com points ahead of riders with CCC Series Points but lower CrossResults.com points. However if a rider has started a category (yes DNFs count, essentially a fraction of a series point) during the regular season they will be staged by those points or by CrossResults.com points if they did not earn CCC Series Points.
- If Rider A has never raced the Masters 30+ category during the regular season and has CrossResults.com points of 409.99, they will be staged ahead of all riders with CrossResults.com points of 410 or higher, regardless of whether those riders have CCC Series Points.
- If Rider A raced the Masters 30+ category once during the regular season but did NOT earn CCC Series Points and has CrossResults.com points of 409.99, they will be staged behind all riders with CCC Series Points but ahead of all riders with CrossResults.com points of 410 or higher.
- If Rider A raced the Masters 30+ category once during the regular season and earned 15 CCC Series Point (16th place) and has CrossResults.com points of 409.99, they will be staged behind all riders with more than 16 CCC Series Points.
- No more than 10 minutes before the scheduled race start time of each race all riders must report to staging. An announcement will be made over the PA. Please make sure you are at staging at least 10 minutes before your scheduled race start time. If your name is called and you are not present your spot will be given to the next rider and when you do arrive you will be staged at that point in the grid. Please be on time.
- The staging volunteer will call out names & bib numbers one at a time from the staging sheet until they get to the end of the list.
- When your name & bib # is called enter the starting grid and choose one of the eight 75cm wide starting lanes lining up directly behind the rider in front of you (if you are not in the front row of course). No overlapping wheels.
- After brief CCC announcements the USAC Chief Referee will give the entire field their starting instructions. Please listen to these instructions.
- Whistle blows… race starts… everyone’s happy… bacon.
- Single Speeds will be staged directly behind the Masters 30+ field.
- Masters 50+ will be staged directly behind the Women 1/2/3 field.
- Junior 15-18 will be staged directly behind the Women 4 field.
- Junior 10-14 will be staged directly behind the Junior 15-18 field.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is cyclocross?
A: Cyclocross is the fastest growing segment in the bicycle-racing world, particularly in the U.S. It’s a cycling activity that started in Europe as a way for road cyclists to stay in shape during the off-season. The courses generally offer a mix of terrain including grass, pavement, hills, dirt, and barricade portions to force riders into a partial run each lap. The race is extremely viewer friendly, as competitors ride around a closed circuit exclusively on park property (no road closures are required).
Q: What category should I race?
A: If you are a new racer, then your CX category will start as a Cat 5. Just as in road and track events, you can upgrade by earning points in CX races. Note that Cross Cup Overall standings points are NOT the same as USAC CX upgrade points.
If you have a current and valid USAC Road license then you were also issued a CX category. Since road categories are often not indicative of CX ability (either way) if you feel that your USAC CX category is not your appropriate CX category, you may request a category change online or directly through your USAC state technical director.
Q: What’s the difference between “Category 3″ and “Category 1/2/3″ – they both have a “3″?
A: The cat 3 race is limited to only Category 3 racers. Since there aren’t that many Cat 1′s and 2′s we open that race up to the Cat 3′s that want to get a little more experience and to race against the really fast guys, and so the field size is a little larger.
Q: What is a sandbagger?
A: Sandbaggers are NON Pro/Cat 1 racers who win by enormous margins over their fellow competitors but aren’t man/woman enough to upgrade and challenge themselves and race at a higher level. If its your first ever CX race and you destroy the field, okay… you’re a monster and we forgive you… but apply for that upgrade now. If not, you know what you should have done last season. The CCC does NOT issue upgrades and we do NOT force riders to upgrade. We believe that people are innately good at heart and every rider will upgrade when they time is right for them. However, when we notice egregious sandbagging with no action taken we will always pull the rider aside and have a quick chat. Also, note that for 2013 USA Cycling has updated the rulebook language regarding mandatory upgrades (rule 1.D.4):
Cat 5 to Cat 4: Experience in 10 qualifying races is a mandatory upgrade.
Cat 4 to Cat 3: Voluntary upgrade with 10 points. Fifteen points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade. *
Cat 3 to Cat 2: Voluntary upgrade with 15 points. Twenty points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade. *
Cat 2 to Cat 1: Voluntary upgrade with 20 points. Twenty-five points or two wins if the field had at least 40 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.
* Juniors are exempt from this mandatory upgrade
Note that Rule 1E1(c) does NOT apply to the CCC because the series is NOT covered by a single permit nor one race director.
Q: What is heckling?
A: We’ll leave that one to the pros… see here.
Q: Cat 4, Cat 4/5… what’s the difference?
A: Essentially, Cat 4 is for racing and upgrading to Cat 3. Cat 4/5 is more for fun and earning experience.
Q: Does the CCC send race results to USA Cycling for upgrades? Are CCC categories different than the USAC categories? Do I have to start in Category 5 and move up in categories?
A: All CCC races are USAC sanctioned and we upload all results into the USAC database… so yes, all CCC races will earn you starts and points towards upgrading. CCC categories are the same as USAC. Guys (and gals) that have been around for a season or more should race the 4′s and NOT the 4/5′s.
Q: Do I have to start in Category 5 and move up in categories?
A: You should begin racing CX at your equivalent USAC road or mountain biking category. Don’t know what that means? Then you are in all likelihood a Cat 5. No worries, thanks for racing and welcome to the party. It should be immediately clear if you are in the correct CX category. Upgrades and downgrades (only to Cat 4) are possible via the USAC upgrade coordinator. Note also that if you upgrade before the designated race (1/3 of the way through the season) half of your CCC points (different from USAC upgrade points) follow you to the next category. This is done as to not penalize riders who quickly move through the ranks.
Q: Do I need a license to race?
A: Yes. If you are category 5 and you do NOT carry an annual USAC, you need a one day license (available at the race site for $10). Masters, Juniors, & Single Speed are not categorized and may race on one day licenses. If your category is above Cat 5 (Cat 4 for women) you must purchase an annual USAC Road or Mountain Bike license. Annual licenses will also be on sale for $60 ($30 for Juniors), but please purchase online to expedite the process. Licenses purchases after Decemeber 1 are also good for the next racing year. All USAC races required approved helmets… so protect your noggin.
Q: How much does a race cost?
A: Entry fees are $30 for Category 1,2,3, Cat 3, Women 1/2/3, and Masters racers, FREE for Juniors (ages 10-18) and $25 for Women and Men Category 4 & 5 racers (beginners). $10 for a second race. Day-of Registration costs $5 more. You must be logged into your BikeReg.com rider account and reg for both races at the same time to receive the 2nd race discount online.
Q: Can I pre-register?
A: Absolutely! Pre-registration is available and encouraged on BikeReg.com. Pre-registering saves you and the promoter time, hassles, and money. Plus it means you won’t have to fill out a rider release form. Just show up, show the registration volunteer your license, sign your name, get your number, and go race! Day-of Registration costs $5 more.
Q: What forms will I need to fill out?
A: As with all races, there is a release form to fill out. If you are registering the day of the race you can save yourself and the promoter time by filling out this Rider Release Form so we don’t have to translate your handwriting hieroglyphics. If you’re registering online you will not have to fill out a release form… we’ll have it ready for you.
Q: When should I show up to race?
A: Generally about 1.5 to 2 hours before your race time to register, stretch, and warm up. The Cat 4 & Cat 5 fields fill up and registration will close 30 minutes before the race. If you have not picked up your race number before registration closes for your race your number will be given away to someone else. USAC has strict rules about how many riders can be on the course at one time, so we will NOT allow extra riders to jump in who show up late. Get to the start line 10 minutes before your start time for staging and instructions.
Q: Is parking readily available?
A: Yes! All Chicago Cross Cup courses are held in parks with ample parking. However, please remember we are all guest at these parks and it is not our ‘right’ to have a CX race there… so please respect each park, its facilities, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Some venues in the city have metered parking for a nominal fee.
Q: I have kids I need to watch but I still want to race. Can anyone help?
A: Two entrepreneurial young ladies whose parents race have started Cyclo-Cross Sitters to watch you children (infants to teens). Contact them here.
Q: Are cross bikes different than road bikes?
A: A cyclocross bike looks very similar to a road bike, except cross bikes use cantilever brakes and have extra frame clearance for knobby tires. All Chicago Cross Cup races are held under USAC permit and accordingly we follow USAC rules for bicycle regulations.
Q: Can I use a mountain bike?
A: Sure thing, just leave those bar-ends at home… they’re not allowed.
Q: How about a tandem?
A: Come on now… wasn’t the mountain bike enough?
Q: Single Speed?
A: You can always race a Single Speed in any category you want. However, starting in the 2012 season the CCC will have a dedicated SS field.
Q: Can I use any size tire? I heard the UCI has a width limit.
A: In CCC amateur races you can race the tire that works best for you. If you are a pro your mechanic should have it figured out for you.
Q: What is a typical race like?
A: Races last 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the category. There are races for each level of rider from first-timer to old pro. Expect to word hard and have a ton of fun. The best part about cross is definitely the friendly and casual atmosphere found at each race as well as the ability to see nearly the entire course from one spot. Most riders show up early and stay long after their race, even in the cold, to watch and cheer on their fellow teammates and other competitors. Just make sure to bring your cow bell!
Q: How do you win a CX race if two racers do the same number of laps?
A: A CX race is just like any other race… the first person across the finish line wins. CX races are more of a time minimum than a time limit. The first person to cross the finish line after the time length wins. So most riders will do the same number of laps, but they still finish in an order.
Q: What is a call up/staging? What does this mean? If I register for a race am I guaranteed to be able to start?
A: If you register (at least in the correct category) and show up on time then you are guaranteed to race. Call ups determine the order that racers are staged and line up on the start line. Since a CX course is only so wide (3m) not everyone can be on the front line of the start line at the same time at the start. In all CCC races we stage all riders based first on CCC overall series points, then by UCI points/rank, then by CrossResults.com points, and then order of registration. We also do special call-ups from time to time. The staging grid is 8 lanes wide (75cm each) and long enough to accommodate every rider (about 65m). See staging order and procedure above.