In 2017 I sent my 6 year old off to try to qualify for a Worlds team. In retrospect, that sentence seems odd. Who in their right mind would send a kindergartener to wear Team USA on their back? ::Raises hand:: The day at Rock Hill was long - and freaking scary. I was terrified for him. Less than a year before, I could still hold his tire in the starting gate. I survived - err, HE survived and flourished - in the experience. We've elected to skip the last two years of Worlds racing, I only regret missing Baku. Now we find ourselves a day short of the 2020 Worlds process, again racing the globe's best on American soil.
I set out mid 2019 to start a Worlds Guide, like the BMX National Parent Guide. I was met with some resistance, surprisingly, from some of the sources I contacted - thanks for never getting back to me, Houston PD - and frankly my heart changed along the way. I lost my desire to research and write about something I had become less passionate about. I’m not as excited about the prospect of Worlds racing now. Honestly, my husband and kid still haven’t decided on going for rainbow stripe glory. We might be cheering from home.
As such, for now I’m going to give some tips and a lot of opinions versus a handbook.
So You Want (Your Kid) to Qualify for Worlds?
Where do you start? Here’s a handy flowchart to asses if your rider is ready for such a task.
The biggest takeaways: Worlds is expensive. Your kid has to be able to function by themself on the biggest race day of their life. You and your rider must be prepared for UCI rules (even at qualifiers). It is taboo to race a qualifier if you do not intend to go to the Worlds event regardless of result. If it can't be fun, don't do it.
To help you help yourself, here’s some links regarding Worlds, the qualifying races, and what happens after the fact.
https://www.usabmx.com/site/sections/262 — this is your most important link with ALL information you need.
https://www.usabmx.com/site/sections/270 — USA BMX FAQs