What the Heck is a Nat?

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I ran into YourGroupRide.com‘s own Dan Porter this morning at the donut shop, and had opportunity to ask him a few questions about a word that’s been popping up a lot on Facebook lately:

Some of my skinny friends have have been talking a lot about “nats” on facebook all week.  Whats up with that?

Right now, ‘Nats’ is referring to cyclocross nationals.  Cyclocross is the thing these days, all the cool kids are doing it. Even some of the not so cool kids are getting in on it. Jay Zorn for instance.
Where are Nats?

This year cross nats are in Asheville NC and from what I hear they’ve done an awesome job. Supposedly the best nats course ever and perhaps the best cross course in the US.

Are they always in the same place?

Nah, they move them every year. Last year was Austin and Boulder before that.  I believe they’re off to Reno (yeah, Reno NV) next year. [note from ed.: they’re in Hartford nexr year]

 

Steve Stefko at CX Nats
Steve Stefko at CX Nats

 

How come theres so many days of racing?   

You’re right, there is a TON of racing at CX nats.  They do some non championship races for some reason then a champ category for everyone. JRs, Elite, Masters, Single Speeders and everything is doubled up for men and women. Non stop racing from Tues -Sunday. I think I heard they’ll have over 2000 racers during the week.  I would guess that number is low. Cross is growing like crazy in the States so they keep adding cats and days.

Oh gotcha so how is NoCo doing so far?

We’re doing pretty well. Steve Stefko was 3rd in the 40-44 race. Kacey Campbell was 4th in the D2 collegiate race and Mike Bonenberger was 23rd in
the 45-49 race.

Kasey Campbell

Can anybody race nats?

Yep, anyone can race. Your start order is determined by your National ranking and in cross, that’s a big deal in cross. The rows are 8 riders wide and if you’re starting further back than the 3rd row, you’re already in a bad way.

Are there any locals racing this weekend that we should be rooting for?

Banking on strong showings from Brannan, Georgia and Kacey this weekend in the Elite races and Jeremy Norris in the junior race. Mike Bonenberger will also be racing the Industry Race on Sat.  That’s for people who work in the cycling industry.  I think he works for Training Peaks.

 

Are you racing nats?

Yeah, no.

Why the heck not?

I have lots of good excuses but the two best ones are money and motivation.  Our last race was way back on Dec 19th. Maintaining or even gaining fitness with 3 weeks of no racing and the holidays makes it pretty difficult.  Lots of people think they should move Nats back to Dec and I agree. They have it in Jan in an effort to get the US cross season to match up with the Euro season and to give US racers heading to Worlds in early Feb more racing. (like 10 riders).

porterweb
Last year at nats, Porter stayed upright but those other two guys coulda used FC Bikes’ winter bike safety course.

Whats so great about cyclocross anyway?

For me, it pairs well with having a job and family. The races are short, less than an hour.  That means my training is doesn’t take long. 2 short high intensity workouts during the week and one or two races on the weekend and I’m good to go.   Much better than the time it takes to be a good road racer in CO. Plus the fam can actually see me for almost the entire race, plus the venues are usually pretty family friendly and close by.  My wife likes the fact that I’m probably not going to kill myself racing or training for cross.  

 

Can we watch live streams somewhere?

Yep, Cyclocross Mag and maybe even YGR will have the Sunday races streaming. http://www.cxmagazine.com/live-video-2016-usa-cycling-cyclocross-national-championships-asheville

The fun starts at 11:30 a.m eastern time I believe.

 

last year at Nats, Porter kept it upright, but those other guys coulda used FC BIkes bike winter safety classes!