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Final day of cyclocross nationals postponed due to mud

Published January 12, 2015
Competition on Saturday. Photo: Eddie Clark Media via USA Cycling.

AUSTIN, Texas (BRAIN) — The final races of USA Cycling's cyclocross national championships, including the marquee elite men and elite women events, were rescheduled for Monday, after local officials said the course at Zilker Park was becoming too heavily damaged by muddy conditions to hold the races Sunday.

A statement from USA Cycling put the responsibility for the schedule change firmly on the shoulders of the local officials. "The Austin Parks and Recreation Department postponed Sunday's competition due to excess rain and park grounds deterioration," the statement read. A local group, the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation, had complained that event was endangering trees that are 2oo-300 years old. 

The race schedule was halted suddenly Saturday afternoon and Austin police asked participants to leave the venue that afternoon.

Assuming that the rain does not continue, seven events are scheduled to run Monday, the first going off at 12:30 pm CST. 

More than two inches of rain fell in 48 hours. The combined with four days of racing by amateur and age group categories "threatened the health of the park's landscape and created an unsafe situation for riders," according to the release. 

On Sunday USA Cycling also apologized for the delay on Facebook.

"We have heard all of your concerns and completely empathize with the situation of not only losing a day of competition, but also having a day sprung on riders and families who were not planning for it. The reality is that the final day was to be canceled by the Parks Department and would not be able to be rescheduled for 48 hours to let the grounds settle, meaning it would be cancelled altogether. This was an absolute decision by the PARD as of about 7:30 a.m. (Sunday) morning. At that time, police on site were instructed by PARD to communicate to all arriving vehicles that the event was canceled and to leave the premises. USA Cycling was also instructed to relay this same information immediately. By 10 a.m Austin police began threatening arrests of those who remained in the closed park, forcing USAC to strongly urge participants to disperse and make the cancelation announcement. After more discussions, we were able to meet a compromise with the Parks Department to have the event tomorrow, which we are thankful for. Unfortunately, the prior decision had already been announced, causing confusion and the departure of many to head home.

"We wish the timeline of these events would have gone differently and did not intend to misinform during this very fluid series of events, during which we had no indication that the decision to cancel would be overturned. Our goal all day was to ensure as many riders as possible were able to compete. The only way we can do this is to follow the Parks Department’s guidelines and let the park dry for 24 hours while we lay mulch and treat the grounds. This, unfortunately, means it falls on a Monday, which we know is not ideal either. 

"We again apologize for any inconvenience today’s events have caused. We hope you understand that this was a precarious situation and in no way intended to inconvenience all of you who worked so hard to get here."

 

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