Back on September 13, BMX News published the first half of the 2020 USA BMX national Schedule. The sanction has been pretty reliable, getting the balance of the dates and places posted before the Grands. Sure enough, the dates are out for the balance of 2020.
Being an Olympic Year, the 2020 UCI BMX World Championships are shifted from late July to late May. The Worlds will be in Houston, TX at the Rockstar Energy Bike Park. That is obviously not a USA BMX race, but its place on the schedule, and the physical location of the event directly impact how the USA BMX schedule is architected.
For example, there are FOUR worlds qualifiers in the first part of the season (Winter Nationals, Lone Star Nationals, Spring Nationals and Carolina Nationals). This will give US riders full opportunity to qualify, as was the case in 2017, in Rock Hill. Surely, you remember the gigantic gatefold cover from Pull Magazine, with the 1000+ Team USA riders all in one place, at one time.
Prior to the Worlds, the Pro/Elite races are jointly UCI/USA BMX Pro, and still offering last-chance nations points for those still in the hunt. Same for athlete points in their respective nations. There are five races to get in those final points before the worlds (Winter, Gator, Lone Star and Dixieland). AFTER the worlds, something interesting happens: The USA BMX series continues without the UCU designation. No surprise, really, since Olympic qualifying is finito after the Worlds, and will be until the Fall of 2022, when it comes back for Paris. We are looking forward to seeing if we go back to “ABA-style” pro racing (three mains, USA BMX #1 plates in effect, etc).
A few other observations:
– In all, there are 64 national race days, plus The Grands in the US (18, plus Grands in Canada).
– In the US, there are 12 three-day national weekends (four in Canada).
– USA Cycling Collegiate returns to the schedule in 2020, this time as part of the Great Northwest nationals on April 3-5.
– The Blue Ridge Nationals and Hub City Nationals are new races this year, in Lexington, VA and Aberdeen, SD, respectively). Lexington was the site of the 2008 NBL Christmas Classic, and Aberdeen was well known for their big pro-am every summer (which was ended, after being “criticized to death,” in 2014).
– July 31 is medal day for BMX Racing at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Riders at the Maple Leaf nationals in Milton, ON Canada will be racing with the Olympic news as a backdrop to their day.
– First time we’ll get to see our returning Olympians will be at the Derby City Nationals in Louisville on September 4.
– As noted in our story on the first half of the schedule, this is the first time in a while that there is no big race on Memorial Day weekend, due to the proximity of the Worlds. So, accept those family BBQ invitations now, since you won’t be home for the other ones.
So, bank-up that vacation time, get your side hustle going, and hit the road in the new year for some of the familiar places, and some not-as-familiar. Break out of the normal routine, and hit some races you haven’t hit. Plan to arrive a couple days early and see the town, while you’re at it. We don’t do enough of that, do we?