Wednesday, August 4, 2010

To B or not to B

Ok, last night was a mini nightmare, and I mean MINI.

The twilight series transferred ownership for a day from the Baddlands club to Spokane Rocket Velo. First of all, thanks to BOTH of these clubs. Racing exists in this community largely from the efforts of these groups.

The course promised something I love, few hills. Rolling terrain was used many times in description. "Pat," I thought to myself, "this is something you would do pretty well at." (I know, I ended a sentence with a preposition, but heck, it's my inner voice...

So I drove out to the race, paid my thirteen bucks, and got ready to roll with the A pack.

Herein lies the first problem. The A pack. I'm coming back to cycling from a MULTIPLE year layoff. Fitness is coming, but not quite there yet. My teammates, RT in particular, were 'upgraded' to the A pack the day of my birthday. Did they/we win a lot of races, forcing us to move up? Nope. Sure, RT won some, but not in a dominating style. CL managed some placings, but at the expense of his complete energy reserves. B pack racing was fun, competitive, and I was able to participate in the action of the race.

Last night, not so much. I basically paid $2 for every mile I was in the pack. Yep. That's just over six miles. These guys were flying. It's as if we had all stolen something, and were being chased. My heart rate was anaerobic in the friggin' NEUTRAL start! After turning around (no way I was going to ride 23 miles alone in 90+ degree heat), I pedaled back to my car, packed up, and drove home in self produced shame. I probably looked like a kid who got picked last for dodgeball. I had thought about using the Pat Cam for the race, but thankfully didn't as the footage would have been basically of the Palouse countryside. No other racers in the picture...

The fitness is not there, yet, but I'm racing with my teammates. Sure wish there was a way to keep the team in the time machine of one month ago, at least for a few more weeks...sigh.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I know this is bike racing, and fitness must be earned.

I just wanna earn it faster, with very little effort on my part required.


  1. yup.
    granted, we expected this when we planned on voluntarily upgrading to the A pack....but I am concerned about the "automatic upgrade" process being practiced and how it affects local racing. Other than our own stupidity or ambitiousness THERE IS NO WAY WE(other than RT) BELONG IN THE A PACK. I have seen several racers upgrade to the A pack, get shelled and stop coming to races. It means less happy, competitive local racers and less money for the organizers..who deserve the revenue for the operations and work they do.
    Pat, you know we'll get there next year when we have an earlier start than April. Until then...we bite the bullet. I only lasted about 4 more minutes than you did.

  2. Chris, were you and Pat forced to move up?

  3. Definitely not "forced".
    Like I said, we had planned on going with Roger to the A pack. Our whole reason for getting back in the saddle was to race together so Pat and I both wanted to "try" out the A pack..however, when I went to sign in and upgrade myself they had already put me there so I didn't "hassle it".

    Trying not to get TOO deep into it:
    1. I was at every race. (1 pt per race)
    2. I was able to place 3rd twice and 5th once and got dropped on the only "challenging" course. (brutale)
    3. placed a distant 3rd in the 2nd series which.

    if you looked at my data you would know right away that my moderate results were a result of working my little heart out combined with racing "smart". In the B pack my maximum efforts were good enough for a couple 3rd's and a 5th.

    True, My teammates and I have a great deal of experience from the old days, work VERY well together and in combo with RT's ability to crank out the watts we "showed" very well at the races, however, our results speak for themselves.

    I don't intend to sound like I'm bitchin'. I can't say enough that Pat and I CHOSE to go up to A's. ..but I did have it hinted to me a few times that I belonged in the A pack when I surely do not have the fitness to compete and have fun with Shawn Howard, Gabe Varela, Dr. Andersen, Mike Gaertner, Kevin Bradford-Parish and several others...Hopefully next year but not this year. I would assume that this has happened to other racers and that is why I don't see them at the races anymore. IT's not as much fun to get shelled and ride alone as it is to play the game ride tactically do some shit and maybe get a top 3.

    in closing, if I ran the zoo, which I don't and I DO thank Baddlands cuz they ROCK!, I would automatically upgrade anyone who won 2 races and anyone who finished 10 points or more in front of the others in the series...and take into consideration how many races you showed up to. take a point off for each race i was at in series two and I'm just pack fodder. I STILL am.

    ..and I'm still having fun.

    Thanks for your response my friend!

  4. I would totally agree with Cris. I believe that the intent of our campaign (see prior posts) was 2 fold. One being that is what we knew. Secondly, hopefully diminish the volume of negative racing. Though some complained that the races were harder, i truly feel that teams had to work together to make things happen. It was fun. I was having fun too and it was NEVER my intent to win any of the races. It was about riding aggressively and mixing things up. As a result, we accomplished that and then were told that we needed to move up because there were some riders complaining in the B pack saying that it was too hard. If that is true, there is also a C pack :). Anyway, i have a lot of philosophical arguments with the process, but i also understand and respect what the inent was. We were easy targets because we were new, rode aggresssively, and placed "near" the front. I think it upset some of the complacency of a few riders whereas some looked at it as making it more fun and active. Bottom line, it's a training race always has been. If people are going to these to try and gain stardom, i really don't know what to say. If you are not busting your ass, taking chances, going may rethink the rationale for a training race. Okay, this is sounding like a soap box. Sorry about that. I am going to go for a ride now.

    All the best to all,