Monday, August 25, 2008

Do Not Go North to Race

Want to get a good scare?

Imagine a hundred Cat 4 and 5 racers in a crit field with top-4 prizes of $165/$100/$85/$75. Good God: Cat 5s chasing $165? Might as well wax the corners and put wood chippers where the straw bales should be.

This is what's coming up in Grand Rapids in a couple weeks. Participating in the race would not be worth the trip for a Crash 4 like me, because I would return to Cleveland dead. (But I'd take some of the bastards down with me!)

If you weren't actually in the race, the trip might be worth it just for the spectacle -- if you're into watching horrific, nauseating but perversely amusing things such as rodeo events, competitive eating or Peter Gabriel acting as precious as an Oberlin student.

At the start, 22 of the 100 entrants would get run over trying to clip into their pedals. By the third lap, look for the leaders to be skidding as they hit a turn at 26 mph only to find it clogged by guys they're lapping, who are riding downtube-shifter Univegas, wearing cutoffs and billowing T-shirts, and coming to the mortal realization that this shit is hard.

Imagine the drinking game you could play at a crit corner: Down a shot of beer for every time you hear a racer shout "Hold your line!" and a shot of bourbon for every time you hear "Inside!" (Come to think of it, don't: You'd wind up in an alcohol coma or become so brain-dead that you'll want to race cyclocross.)


But if I, as a Cat 4, think it would be scary to ride in that race, imagine what a bunch of Cat 2 Masters racers along the lines of Brian Batke, Ray Huang, Rudy Sroka and Tris Hopkins would think of the lot they've drawn in The 50th Annual Tour di Via Italia Race in Windsor next month. If my eyes don't deceive me, the Cat 2/3 masters will race in the same field as the Cat 4/5 seniors. Is this a cruel joke? Or Darwinism? Or are the Canadian categories different in some sort of freaking metric/Celsius way?

- JN

1 comment:

Mike N. said...

Last weekend we had the Brentwood Grand Prix here in LA. It featured a closed course along San Vicente Blvd., a combined 4/5 field, and a serious prize list for that (and every other) field. Unfortunately the corners were wide and well rounded, so no one wiped out when I was watching. Plenty of people went off the back, though. Not surprising, 'cause Cat 5 here is like Cat 4 in Ohio, and when the Cat 4s get together, they tend to throw down...