Monday, 12 November 2012

Crotch Sniffers Anonymous

When I first used the phrase "to sniff the crotch of victory" I didn't know that I would make it sort of a weekly thing. Yesterday, I decided not to contest the hole shot since Charles the series leader very obviously wanted it BADLY, and I was in uncontested second, and the course was a road race on dirt so drafting was going to be a thing. At some point I passed him, don't really remember when or why, and then led for a long time. Kosta came around sometime before the pond thing and led up the start/finish, but then let of the gas so I was back in the lead.

The pack got whittled down to maybe five or six shortly thereafter (keep in mind my perspective of this comes from quick looks back so I'm probably mostly wrong on a factual basis), and as I recall someone came around maybe after the horse jump, or something? Anyhow, I do remember thinking that the short uphill by the baseball field was an effective place to attack, so I did, and then was pretty full gas through that crazy double track thing onto the gravel down/up before the barriers. We lapped a guy when we were going up, which forced some/most/all of us to use the left line which SUCKED. I think Matt and I started to gel into a bit of a lead group at that point or shortly thereafter. Matt took the lead after the short scrubby uphill before the pond, but it seemed like maybe he was blocking me so I shouted "faster Matt" and maybe that worked. I thought that having him lead up the hill to start the bell lap was a good situation, since I could attack and gap him on said hill, which I did. He seemed to sit up as I got some distance and I thought maybe he was done, but he was not done. So I kept attacking him and he kept finding ways to claw back, and I kept hearing his freewheel because like I said this was a road race on dirt and if you just refused to get dropped it was very profitable. It seemed like we were pretty clear at this point (again, it seemed to me - maybe there were ten guys there but if there were, I couldn't see them), so I just kept attacking and I'd get a small gap but it was really hard to get clear. Finally we got onto the road for the sprint and I thought "screw it maybe I can just overpower him on this piece" but as it turns out I could not overpower him on that piece and he came around to take the win. Well done to him, I threw everything I had at him and he lasted through it all.

Jason passed the guy who was ahead of him so he took over the series jersey. So .4 seconds made me a double bridesmaid on the day, instead of a race winner and series leader. It was on me to get rid of Matt and I couldn't do it, which sucks. Despite that, I do feel like I had good legs, and raced well and reasonably smart.

At the last minute, we had an extra entrant into this race. This was exceedingly neato for me and a thing that I would like to explore further. For those of you who are concerned about such things as getting "chicked," imagine the pressure of the potential for getting "wifed." Seriously.

There is a developing problem with Super8 races - they are just too damn short. Our "45 minute" race was over for the leaders in 34:46 (34:46.4 in my case). Everyone on the lead lap (69 dudes, dude) finished in under 45 minutes. An extra lap puts Matt and me across the finish line in 42:20 (which is probably overstated since there were definitely some shenanigans going on in the last lap and a half). If people are JUST ahead of us as we finish and take 10:40 for their last lap, they are still off the course in under 53 minutes. If you give those mythical "just didn't get lapped" guys 40 seconds to clear the finish line, the course is open for pre-ride 17 minutes before the next race, which is more than enough time. The races have been getting shorter and shorter (Master's B winner's times are Tacchino 44:18, Winchester 40:04, Hyattsville 45:09, DCCX 35:40, Schooley Mill 34:46). By the time we get to Sander, we'll be going through the finish line for the hole shot, and they'll be ringing the bell for final lap. While I applaud the administrative control and general series quality of the Super 8, the sporting concerns are getting short shrift. Yes, in Hyattsville you had laps that were getting slower and slower and slower as the course went from bad to worse and people got tired and sloppy. That is the only race we've had so far this year where you've even had to wash your bike off after it was over.

For anyone who dismisses the foregoing as sour grapes, I confess you are right now go away. For anyone who thinks I am willing to raise the issues without being part of the solution, I will gladly volunteer for whatever role allows me to be involved with making sure the sporting aspects of the sport aren't made subservient to the administrative aspects. Please put me in contact with the correct people.

Also, we've been mountain biking some lately. After Fair Hill, we kind of put the mountain bikes away for maybe almost four months. The time away was good since you can't focus on everything all the time but holy crap is it fun.


Jim said...

It takes about 10-15 minutes to stage for the next race. With the folks in your race on the lead lap finishing at just under 45, that means it's comfortable for the officials. At 53, it turns into a clusterfuck, straight up, particularly when the follow on field is actually three fields with maybe 75 riders. FWIW, the Masters 3/4 is listed as a 40 minute race. The center mass of that field raced 39 minutes. I'll be mentioning this among the promoter types... but while I'm sympathetic your case isn't &that& strong, sometimes the courses give the officials weird lap times that don't break perfectly. Sorry. BTW, I think if you look at lap times you'll probably find you are a mid-pack "A" race rider. Not that I'm accusing you of bagging of the sand, Mr. Sniffin' Victory's Crotch All The Time. Just sayin'...

Chuck Wagon said...

I'm always the guy who's sympathetic to administrative concerns, but to have the Master's B race be the same length as the Cat 4 race is a joke. I can't accept the statement that having 5 racers left on the course 53' into the hour is a straight up clusterfuck without any evidence. Lew also said at the start that we would be racing for 45'.

The Super8 had gained a reputation as being THE series you went to - the best courses, the best organization, the best venues, the best food trucks - all of which led to the best competition. This year, there's a lot of chatter that the racing is suffering at the altar of all the other "not racing" stuff.

The Masters B race is supposed to be a development race and a feeder race to the Masters A race. It's not providing either function, instead it's just a stagnation race. The front of the field is stagnating because moving up to a faster AND longer race feels like getting thrown to the wolves, the guys in the middle think that race length is a joke, and the guys at the end are just finding it to be a better alternative to the Cat 4 race because it's the same race but you don't have to get up at 5am on Sunday to do it.

The masters A race is getting smaller, as is the 4. The reason for both is that the masters b is too short.