"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer

21.7.08

Evanston

Still recovering from Tuesday's roadrash and jacked left shoulder suffered in Bensonville, folding up my numbers and putting them in my back pocket was the closest I came to racing at Sunday's Grand Prix of Crashing...er...Cycling in Evanston.

I've got too much at stake in Whitnall Park for the road race there on Wednesday, as well as a stellar upcoming weekend trifecta in Kenosha, Milwaukee, and finally back home for the Chicago Criterium. After weathering the mayhem at last year's outing in Evanston, I knew crashing would be on my mind the entire race, when it should've been on just going fast.

Just glad everyone is OK and not more seriously injured.

I hope the organizers of this race recognize that some changes are in order. I'm all for a challenging and technical course, but Evanston is beyond that. The dynamics of these corners, combined with large, inexperienced fields has led to chaos each year. And not just in the number of crashes, but the severity of them. Nearly every single race was suspended for riders down and then abbreviated. One rider down was nearly hit by the pace car because a marshal had to abandon his flag post, and then took down the lead rider coming up behind. The 4/5s and 4s fields raced less then 10 laps each respectively, and the interruptions caused confusion with the race official as to who was actually leading in the final laps.

I don't think I'm ever going to do this race again, let alone after catting-up, until serious revisions are made to the course. I can't stomach racing at red line through hairpin turns while at the same time anticipating a bloody pile-up at every corner. At the least, I would call racing just 9 laps in sheer terror a complete waste of a Sunday...and at worst, several of my teammates and friends are going to be on the sidelines for the rest of Superweek. Some, maybe beyond that.

Call me a pussy, call me thin skinned. I don't give a fuck. I'll admit, there's not exactly ice-water flowing in these veins. But I believe bike racing should be about big balls as it relates to effort and strategy, and not just about saying a prayer on every turn and hoping you make it to the line in one piece.

Some people enjoy that sort of thing, and I say more power to them. They can have this race.

3 comments:

Matt said...

Don't sell yourself short; even the pro-one-two race chock full of experienced racers had to be neutralized twice. So obviously the riders weren't the only factor in all the crashes.

The Car Whisperer said...

And I'm not exactly experienced...even so, I trust my handling skills - sorta (Bensonville) comes to mind) - but the natural order in those turns seems to be constantly converging lines...

Speaking of handling skills: nice work yesterday - and I'm really glad Jeff will race again soon...that pic of you squeaking through is a classic...the guy sprinting on his hoods in a Cat 3 race? Mmmmmmnotsomuch.

Jeff said...

Amen. Evanston is a dangerous course, pure and simple. I won't be racing it ever again.

Because I did, I am sidelined for the next 4 or 5 day days, will miss Whitnall Park and Downer Ave and about $300 to get my bike fixed.