Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stop go stop go equals stop

Sunday, 16 March

IMHO there are a couple of things that need to be fixed at the Banana Belt race at Hagg Lake. One is the road. There are several places where the road is sinking with drops of 3-4 inches running across the road. There are other places where the asphalt is missing, resulting in significant potholes. If you hit any of these landmines wrong, you could wreck a wheel...or worse. It impacts the racing when a pack has to funnel through a safe zone that's the 12 inches closest to the centerline on a descent. And it's just not safe.

The other thing that needs to be fixed is the race scheduling. For the second time in two weeks, the cat 1-2-3 women's race was neutralized three times in a four-lap (44-mile) race. That, too, impacts racing (the last time today was in the last 3K of the race). Try as they might promise, officials never do justice to a break when a race gets neutralized. And all those people who have popped off the back have a great opportunity to catch back on when their race is suddenly (and I mean suddenly--we nearly crashed into the lead car today when it whipped in front of our pack at 8 mph when we were probably cruising along at 20+) reduced to a crawl. Either there are too many categories on the course at one time, or the promoter hasn't given any thought to start order...or both. Is it really rocket science to calculate that cat 1-2-3 women are likely to catch cat 4 women started 5 minutes ahead of them?

Maybe I'm just whining because I had a bad race. But after a hard day at Mason Lake on Saturday, my legs were not really that eager to have speeds yo-yo as we got neutralized and "released" while the cat 1-2 men passed us in bits and pieces. My rubber band snapped, and I had a nice 1.5-lap ride around the lake with a couple other women. I thought I was nearly last, but I was 24th out of 36 starters, so that's as good--or as bad--as yesterday's result of 6th out of 9? starters.

I see in the paper today that there's a new book out called The Art of Racing in the Rain. The title was a timely reminder of last year's weather at the Independence Valley road race, which is coming up next Saturday. The description of the book, however, seems to have nothing to do with what you and I might think.


Ted said...

If you want to race in a badly promoted race go to Boise.

We should all be VERY thankful for WSBA and OBRA races and there little issues.

Anonymous said...

I was the official for the whole series at Banana Belt for the women 1-2-3. We were told that there would be no neutralizing on the last lap of a finishing group every week (if you remember in week 2 we had to neutralize for a long period of time so that we would not overtake the women 4s again on their finishing lap). On Sunday I was again told on the road that the group (Men 1-2) would be held back since they had laps remaining, but the men seemed disinterested in slowing down and I was told to hold you for a "quick" neutral. As you know it was not fast and once they passed us they seemed to slow down. I am sorry that you were neutralized on your last lap, but it was not my call. In instances like that you should go to the head official or the finish line and file a complaint. Without your voice being heard at the race it does no good now. Once again, sorry for your race being treated the way it was.