Catching up with Lance Panigutti of WithoutLimits.co about the plans he has for 2013 racing season. One thing is for sure after talking with Lance is 2013 will NOT be the same 2012 and the new Confederation Cup is just the start!
What's on tap for road season? We're coming back with the full staple of events like Louisville Criterium, Koppenberg, Mike Horgan Hill Climb, and Superior Morgul, with the addition of a new criterium in Firestone. The Firestone 88 race is a simple, affordable, and fast course that's easy to get to for the Denver, Ft. Collins, and Boulder populations. The big changes we have are with Koppenberg and Superior Morgul when it comes to timing. For those who raced our cyclocross series this past season you know what's in store. Koppenberg will feature chip timing (through our partner Race Rite), that will provide lap splits, instant TV display results, and live results online. Superior will take it to a new level as the same system is used for the Time-Trial and Morgul Bismark. For 2013 athletes will not only get their lap splits for the Morgul, but their WALL splits as well. We all know about the horrific timing situation of 2012, a situation we took full responsibility for as we split from the ACA timing system post Morgul. When it comes to Superior Morgul we hope to regain the athletes trust once again. Omnium results will also be greatly improved. At our cyclocross series championship we produced race day results and series omnium within 10min of every category finish, Superior Morgul athletes can expect the same.
The Confederation Cup is new. What are the history and goals behind it? History: Some might remember that in 2012 Doug Williams put together the Spring Classics Cup that was a combination of our spring events, Mead Roubaix, Deer Trail, and Hugo. It came together at the last minute, but Doug did a great job rounding up prizes and printing custom winner's jerseys from Curve. When he approached me in 2013 we had the idea to rebrand, and keep it in house. In the past we've had joint series between different race directors and it never truly worked out. Goals: I've always had very strong opinions that a true series shouldn't be less than 3 races and no more than 8 or you start losing interest. When it came to the Confederation Cup we want to reward the best overall cyclist, not just the fastest sprinter or best climber. The four events take place over 2.5 months and encompass six days of racing, a perfect breakdown of a hill climb, road race, dirt road race, time-trial, and two criteriums. With each race weighted equally and points awarded 10 deep (best four scores count) it gets a lot of people in on the action, and brings excitement to the Spring season. The overall design was to keep things simple, yet truly reward the best all around cyclist.
Some would view the Confederation Cup as an assault to the Rocky Mountain Road Cup, what's your take? The Confederation Cup operates within the larger scope of the Rocky Mountain Cup. In our opinion you lose attention and interest when a series is spread out over 5 months. Take baseball vs. the NFL; long season vs. short condensed action, niche following vs. appealing to the masses. The Rocky Mountain Road Cup has its place for the purists and teams. What we're trying to do is look at the spring season, which I feel has the most exciting races, in a new light.
If it's not an assault is it a step towards independence: It's a step to build a strong brand and connection among our races. We control the level of production for each Confederation Cup event and that's the top priority for any series we choose to participate in. Does that make it a step towards independence? No, but we're also not afraid to pursue independence if a governing body or local association over steps it bounds, and damages what we feel is the rider experience, or our ability to produce a high caliber event. It's a step we've taken with some of our triathlons with great success in 2012.
You've seen the posts about a lack of road races on 303 Cycling, do you agree?; I agree that the season is not as robust as any cyclist would like to see when it comes to road races. However, we need to look at the overall picture. I grew up in New England and our marquee road races where held in June, July, and Aug. In Colorado the majority happen to be held in the Spring; Boulder Roubaix (2012/14'), Koppenberg, Morgul Bismark, Deer Trail. I see both sides (racer and promoter) as most events are club productions where the goal is to function as a fundraiser. If fundraising is the objective the system is set up to reward criterium style events. That's not anyone's fault, just a function of the environment and rules.
Based on your comments what would you suggest as a possible solution: My solutions won't be popular with a lot of people, but in my opinion they'd be a step in the right direction. We're in the unique position of working with 3x different governing bodies (USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, USA Track & Field). Each system of governance has its pro's and con's and while USAT has is host of inefficiencies they do operate as a more free market system when it comes to the operations of race directors. There's no date selection, or extraneous per/rider surcharge. What it comes down to is the races doing things right get better and the weaker ones die off, leaving the system stronger as a whole year to year. Yes, the BRAC board and staff do a wonderful and hard working job organizing and managing the local scene. However, when it comes to road races it's a financial game. As I said before it's in a club or promoter's best interest to produce a criterium as a fundraiser or business Endeavour. Our solution would be to ELIMINATE the per/rider BRAC fee for road races, DROP the fee to $1 for circuits over 5 miles, and RAISE the fee to $3.50 for criteriums. What happens? promoters are incentivized on the bottom line to take a risk on a road race that naturally have higher costs, while some of the lower tier criteriums would die away due to natural attrition. The net effect might results in lower gross revenue to BRAC. However, BRAC is still operating as the governing body of 2011 and has to fully transition to the smaller role of local association. Change is never popular, but needed at a time when cyclists are looking for other activities come June; whether that's mountain biking, camping, triathlon, or a mud run.
Rumor is you have something big in the works for cyclocross season: Rumor would be true! In the past, triathlon season has always kicked our ass, our staff's ass, and been pushed to the back burner. There's been so many thing we've wanted to do that simply had to wait a few seasons. Last year the big upgrade was the live chip timing system with splits and TV displays. For 2013 in short, yes we have some exciting things to announce over the next few months.
Just saw the Pre Season Cyclocross Race on your website. What are these all about and what's going on with the NON-USAC/BRAC sanctioning?; We couldn't be more excited about the format. It's something that's been in the works for 2 years now, we've just been holding off for the right time. In terms of the independent sanctioning, that might be best left for another interview at another time. In short we're charging $17, a fee that wouldn't be possible under the current USAC/BRAC system.