What's the deal with NEBRA?

I must preface this entry with the disclaimer that I am a mountain biker, and thus my "governing body" is NORBA for most of the year. As cyclocross seems to be derived from road cycling (at least around here), I am generally unfamiliar with the "culture" of the scene I invade for a few months each fall. So I may be miles out of line here.

There seems to be a governing body for New England cyclocross, known as NEBRA. I know this because occasionally there are races labeled "part of the NEBRA series" and somewhere on my USA Cycling page it says my regional affiliation is with NEBRA.

So let's investigate this "NEBRA cyclocross" thing. Their website lists a cross schedule with 13 events on it. So far we've had 4 NEBRA races this season (who knew!) - Sucker Brook, Downeast, and Gloucester x2. This weekend is a 5th Nebra race, Canton, which goes so far as to list themselves as a NEBRA race on bikereg.

Interestingly, here's something from the NEBRA race requirements --

# The race announcer shall call up the top rider in each of the ranking system categories listed on the NEBRA website at the start of each race.

Since Canton is a NEBRA race, the top rider from the ranking system categories gets called up. That's pretty sweet, although I guess it sucks to be #2. I guess they could call up the top 10 or something, Verge-style.

Given this rule, it's pretty interesting to see what the NEBRA rankings look like. I've done 3 of the 4 races so far so I might have a decent rank... heck maybe I could even get a callup at Cantom based on my 4th at Downeast. So lets check this NEBRA-Ranking site... hmm...

Cross Ranking System is on for this year! Races below. Updates coming soon!

Wait, what? The only link goes to last year's rankings. Apparently they haven't tabulated anything. No one can get called up at Canton because there's no rankings. It's been over a month since Sucker Brook...

Well, at least I can bask in my glory from last year. I had some respectable Cat 4 results. Let's look at last year's results:

Reuter Colin 85

Apparently I did exactly one NEBRA race last year, Plymouth. For some reason my Southington, UNH and Putney results never happened. Huh, that's great. I have a feeling I'm probably not the only person that was basically nonexistent on the NEBRA rankings last year.

So let's review:

1) A rule that stipulates callups based on NEBRA rankings, except...
2) There are no rankings done yet this year, but even if they were...
3) They were incredibly error-prone last year.

As far as I can tell, NEBRA CX is a complete sham. I can only assume that the reason no one points this out is because a) it's been this way forever or b) no one cares.

Like I said before, I'm no roadie, so I don't have much experience with the NEBRA world. Maybe NEBRA is really a road thing that pays lip service to CX; maybe NEBRA is all about logistics and does great work in the background and just doesn't really care about rankings; seriously, correct me if I'm wrong on this one. More like NEBRA is just horribly overworked and has no time for rankings.

Anyway, if you read this blog regularly, you might be able to figure out that I have a few possible ideas for how to improve this.

That is, if anyone cares. Do you?


TJN said…
I care because I enjoy looking at the results and stats, it keeps the season exciting during the work week. I'm guessing Nebra folks just aren't as web/programming savvy and motivated as you. But I hope Nebra is aware of CrossResults.com and its awesomeness. Perhaps some sort of deal can be worked out? You've certainly done the results work for them. At the very least they could pay your web hosting fees ;-)
Big Bikes said…
I don't care so much, but my nemesis "Thorn Parsons" does. But he doesn't race much, he only did the Slick Willy 'Cross race last season. He's not my nemesis so much as my dark half, the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll, he actually wants you to change all of my results to his name and vanquish the identity of Thom Parsons forever.
solobreak said…
NEBRA is one of several regional governing bodies designated by the USCF to provide local control over the racing scene. It is staffed by volunteer officers. It is funded by a small percentage of licensing revenues which are channeled to it by the USCF.

Race promotion under the USCF is largely free market. Promoters only need to meet very minimal standards to obtain a permit. One of the things the volunteers at NEBRA have tried to do is to create series for road and cx. To be included in a series, the promoter must pledge to meet certain criteria, such as x portajohns per entrant, and doing things like the callups you mention. This is not a sham, it is a good faith effort by hard working people who love cycling, trying to improve things.

The NEBRA rankings are handled by another volunteer. As you have noted, the timeliness of the updates has not been so great. I'm sure the hard working, cycling loving folks at NEBRA would welcome constructive input and help if offered. Or we could just STFU and enjoy the excellent racing scene we have here in New England.
Colin R said…
This is not a sham, it is a good faith effort by hard working people who love cycling, trying to improve things.

That's basically all I wanted confirmation of.

I'm sure the hard working, cycling loving folks at NEBRA would welcome constructive input and help if offered.

I'll find out.
Anonymous said…
the other trouble with the NEBRA series is that they don't announce the series list until after they've started! there's a rule in the NEBRA Cyclocross Race Criteria Guidelines that says that "NEBRA" must be advertised on the race flyer, the on-line registration website, etc, so that series riders can plan accordingly, but this is rarely followed. no such advertising for Sucker Brook, Downeast, Gloucester, Northampton, Plymouth North, Putney, Easthampton . . . If I wanted to do a post-hoc series I'd just use crossresults.com!

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