I'm so confused: a Northwest Kermesse FAQ
We are now less than 4 weeks out from the NW Kermesse season opener the Sumner Buckley Kermesse on June 21st. Many have expressed both a desire and fear of trying this unique style of racing. To help push you off that fence here is a handy FAQ to reduce and/or increase your anxieties:
Question: I'm so confused. Is this a road race or a cross race?
Answer: A defining feature of NW Kermesse races is that they run on short, non-technical circuits so that transition between road and ribinou (dirt) happen quickly. The field usually splits into smaller groups early. The main challenge of a NW Kermesse race becomes finding the right group and managing your effort. As a result racing stays dynamic for everyone as each placing is hotly contested. Drafting and pacing make a bigger difference than in cyclocross and riders are almost always better riding in a group. NW Kermesses are unique in that it is extremely common for riders to move *forward* by jumping one group to the next. So while it's neither a road or a cross race it has what we consider the best traits of both.
Question: I'm only 78 points away from my Cat 1 upgrade and need points. Is it technically a road or cross race?
Answer: #SBK is sanctioned as a road race so upgrade points count for road.
Question: Do these races meet the minimum length for upgrade points?
Answer: The Cat 4/5 and Cat 1/2/3 races meet the minimum length for upgrades from Cat 5 to Cat 4 and Cat 4 to Cat 3. Sadly, Andrew Martin cannot use these to upgrade to Cat 1*.
Question: What about field size requirements?
Answer: That's dependent on you guys but the Kermesse fields at #MNK and Ronde Ohop have met the minimums for Cat 5 to Cat 4 and Cat 4 to Cat 3 the last three years. Again, Andrew Martin is out of luck for his Cat 1 upgrade*.
For the rules around upgrades go here: http://www.usacycling.org/road-category-upgrade-guidelines.htm
Answer: I'm not sure there was an actual question in there (unless you really want to know if I have been checking out your quads? No I have not. But if I was I'd tell you they look nice). Bottom line a bomb is going to go off in the field within the first two laps. The dirt section isn't technical -- it's pretty much a straight line from the entrance to exit. That said, you'll probably be at a slight disadvantage to the cross riders since you won't be used to the feel of riding dirt. But the good news is the dirt section is short and then you'll be back onto more familiar territory and can either work with the group you're in or take a chance at bridging up to those cross guys who are now at your mercy.
Question: Wait. I'm a cross guy and now I'm worried. I was planning on just dropping all the soft roadies in the dirt (it's officially called ribinou now - ed) but I did Ronde Van Palouse/Gorge Roubaix/Ronde Matt Hill Roubaix Strada and got dropped on the road sections.
Answer: Those are great races. But they have much larger circuits. The big difference between a Roubaix or Ronde and a NW Kermesse is that the shorter circuits mean riders who struggle on the road will find themselves back on the ribionou quickly. And vice versa.
Question: I just realized you didn't really answer my question about whether it's a road race or a cyclocross race.
Answer: I know. You ask too many questions. Just register and ride the darn thing: https://www.usacycling.org/events/flyer.php?permit=2014-1781
Want to stay up to date on the NW Kermesse schedule? Regular updates will be cross posted at the NWKermesse Facebook page and right here at the extremely old and over-rated PruDogBlog
Update: Andrew Martin would like to make it clear he is a Cat 1 already. PruDogBlog would apologize except it can't accept that Andrew is a Cat 1 when PruDog is only a Cat 2.