Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Wild and Wonderful?


One of the many times I should have kept my big mouth shut. For reasons undisclosed, I have become committed to determining whether it is appropriate for my club to promote a race in West Virginia. It would be about 2 to 2.5 hours from DC. There are two ways that this race could go:

1. One day a la Jeff Cup (I use that as an example because it both requires travel from DC and is thought of as a tough course) but with a more selective route (i.e. featuring a bigger climb than anything currently in a MABRA race).
2. Two day, either two or three stage race. Ridiculous climbing road stage, circuit race and TT. Don't we get enough crits around here? The TT might have to be nixed due to administrative overload.

The reasons for the location in WV are several, including but not limited to the fact that it is indeed wild and wonderful.

Either case would be limited fields. Figure Men's 3-4, Men's 1-2-3, Master's 35+/45+, Women's 1-2-3.

The questions are would you go (given those fields) and would option 1 or 2 make more sense for you?

Please reply either as comment or to dkri7358 at gmail dot com.

Thank you.

26 comments:

jim e said...

West Virginia is beautiful! Got some Bama boyz that might like to have a look at your team. Let me know if you get the race off the ground.
We once did an off road 24 hour deal in Snowshoe not too, too long ago.
Are you sure the climbs will be tough?

Jesse said...

Option 1...

No way I could swing a whole weekend of racing out in WV. I can barely get away to do the 7am on Saturday and the 8:30am on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

What about Hamburg hill, Harp hill(et al) in Frederick? I've heard that races used to go over some of those hills back in the days.

The Todd (bike Doctor)Bickling

bafouche said...

there was a wv road race series this year with some good climbs, and a stage race in wv, though probably 3-4 hours from d.c.

There are a ton of long 10-20 minute climbs in washington county and frederick county if you know where to look. (wolfsville, red hill rd, reno mtn, boonsboro mtn, ritchie rd to name a few)

le amateur said...

somebody promote a race that includes brickyard or anglers and not force us to drive 3 to 4 hours to do a climb in a race...

David Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

As I said, there are many reasons for my proposed race to be in WV.

Le Amateur - someone can be you. No one's forcing you to drive anywhere. Have fun with getting a permit to use Macarthur!

So far, sounds like a big fat no go.

Jen Cheng said...

The climbing will be tough, and the racing will be nothing like what we have in this area. I would consider traveling that far for the race, but I would recommend a Women's Open field rather than a 1/2/3 only. Maybe Shenandoah would be a closer and more feasible option (bring back the Tour of Shenandoah!)

Anonymous said...

Page Valley was hard enough... even Giro di Coppi hurt, I don't think I'd travel over 3 hours. Didn't one of the clubs in WVA or PA try to hold the VW/Trek Stage Race in WVA last year and not too many showed up?
If it was held during the spring or fall, I'd be much more willing to race in cooler weather. The heat killed me at Coppi and Page Valley.

Brandon - Route 1 Velo/Arrow Bicycle said...

I would totally be in for a 1 day race out there.

Drew Armstrong said...

Count me in. The rest of you fatties, lose some weight and get your climb on!

mrsmith said...

Count me in for any of those options.

It should probably start as a 1-day affair so you can convince the crit-weenies around here that riding in more than a circle can be fun. It would be twice as hard to convince them to do a climbing race plus an uphill TT.

Not sure what the riding's like around there, but what about putting the race start within 30 minutes of the end of I-66? That should lower the travel intimidation factor considerably, and you might get some good support from some people in Leesburg.

layzeesusan said...

Option 2 sounds great to me.

Parachute said...

I am with Brandon

tbone said...

The bigger the climb the better. If option 1, make it a super nasty course - something that people will come from miles around for to say they did it (like the Savage Man triathlon and "The Wall" there). Option 1 is my personal preference.

If option 2, skip the TT.

All in all, sounds like fun.

fabsroman said...

I would be up for it. I already drive 2 hours plus for short crits, and made the drive to Page Valley to be dropped within the first 8 miles, and would make that drive again to do that race. I'm all for racing that includes climbing, just give me some notice so I can do some training. LOL

Lorena said...

Yeah! We totally need a race with some real climbing in it. The roads in WV are sick! I'd love either option, as long as it didn't conflict with another major race.

Anonymous said...

I'm in for a WV climbing event.

Velogator said...

Sounds great, I live in WV and work in Reston so the commute isn't that tough. The Eastern WV panhandle has great roads and some nice climbs...and is just over the VA border from Loudoun County.

Wick said...

Thankyou for even looking at a long climbing course out in WV. I live in tidewater and would make the trek out there. All we do is a stupid circle flat course week after week. It'd be great to have a real climb or two. I'd be down for two days and no TT, easier to carpool when everyone only brings one bike. But agree with others that if its one day of racing make the climb as brutal as possible.

Sean Barrie said...

There are currently no climbing courses in the MABRA region. Jeff Cup is not selective at all and even Coppi is not even close to a climbing course.

If it is a MABRA race early in the season it will get plenty of takers... especially if it is associated with NCVC.

There are plenty of hard, climbing courses up in the northeast that fill up fields in no time.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I'd come.. but you have to make it a Women's OPEN field. There are TOO few of us.. and TOO few RR races..

Bring it on.. I might get SHELLED.. but I'd drive 4 hours.. Can you say ID3 to ride some hills..

David Kirkpatrick said...

First, thanks for all the comments. I was more pessimistic about turnout than maybe I should have been.

Here's the deal on fields: large splits in the field will create an untenable safety issue. The fields WILL split. Riding out there with friends with whom I'm pretty evenly matched, it's tough to keep a group together. Putting a bunch of people whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs on this thing will get people hurt and/or put an undue premium on organizational resources to try and prevent accidents.

To put this race together at all is going to be a ton of work. The incremental work required to chase after making something for everyone and making it safe will be massive. I don't want to be in the position of running a crappy race because we've spent all of our capital on people at the ends of this race's participation bell curve. We need to create fields which have the narrowest possible ability range, and a Women's Open field doesn't do that. This view point is also educated by having driven sag for the Women's 4 race at Poolesville. That field split up profoundly on a course that's not even on the same degree of difficulty chart as this race would be.

Sorry if that's blunt, but that's the story.

Inviting novice categories (women's and men's) to this race in order to offer the most people a chance to enjoy what could be an epic race, and to create enough of an audience to be able to hold the field is under consideration.

Anonymous said...

vote: yes

Anonymous said...

Great idea and desperately needed. It's hilarious that people think Coppi is some kind of tough climbing course. I appreciate the fact that we have so many races so close by but MABRA would really benefit from some more selective courses, even if it means driving another hour or two.

Todd H.

Steven Gordon said...

Having done a lot of WV road races (I race collegiate in the Spring usually), I can say that it would definitely be a good time, but you should make the finish a flat sprint, NOT at the top of a mountain. Several reasons for this:
1) It makes it a better race. Both climbers and all arounders have a shot and the outcome will be far more exciting. People will race hard the whole time and not just sit up when they get dropped.
2) You will get better participation. In the collegiate races, they usually had a flat finish to get everyone to come. If everyone knew it was going to finish up a 5 mile climb, people wouldn't bother to make the drive. Plus, with the fact that it will be a bit farther away for most people to drive, you will need to encourage other people than the "pure" climbers to show up. Of course, there will be plenty of crazy climbs during the race, so climbers will get to strut their stuff for sure.

Please keep this in mind. I feel very strongly that it is good advice.

Anonymous said...

Finally, we need a good climbing road race. Either option sounds good but I would prefer no TT. I would definitly show up for a weekend of racing in WVA.