"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


The sandbagging debate rages on...

The following is a reply back to a commenter on my last race report, in which I accused the winner of Wednesday's Soldier Field Series #3 race of being a sandbagger:

1. Jesus, haven't I apologized for this?? I've never heard of Courage Cycles, or the team, and couldn't see anything on the kit besides the colors. I assumed it was some PBK/Nashbar thing...I even wrote in the original entry it maybe was a team kit I didn't recognize. And since the results aren't posted immediately online how the hell am I supposed to know? Drop it, for God's sake. Sorry I hurt all your feelings.

2. Fine. It's still two categories higher than the race he entered on Wednesday, but it leads me to admit that...

3. ...you are right and I am wrong on this. The rules do allow for Road to a category lower on the track or Cross, but do not translate to Road (the other way around.) I did speak with an official last night:
"You were right in thinking that a higher cat rider on the road can start at the same level in another discipline. Going from another discipline to Road though does not have the same process as far as I can tell...Road involves close quarters and a much higher chance of a crash for a rider with low bike handling skills to cause one, they appear more strict in allowing one to move up instantly on the road."


I'm going to lump your points 4 through 8 all together because they will get addressed in the same response:

He gets an easy win. It's not sporting to enter a field of riders who are not as strong as you, if you can just ride away from them. He did it at Hillsboro in 2008, as well. Your argument is so incredibly self-centered:He doesn't have to risk a crash. He just wants to have fun. Well, it's no fun for anyone else racing who ends up not having a chance!

Why doesn't he get his ten races in an upgrade as fast as judiciously possible so he doesn't have legions of bike racers - who paid their fee and want a sporting chance at a win - bitching about this Cat 2 cyclocross (or shitstrong time trialist for we know) who sandbagged his way to a win in whatever single race he decided to race that season for the next 10 years?

And he is a sandbagger, and so are you, by your definition. He is way too strong to be racing 4s and 5s - obviously - yet he "refuses to upgrade" (i.e. get his ten races in). By contrast - I've never won a race. I got 20th in 2008 down in Hillsboro. Got 8th yesterday at Holy Hill. 12th today in Schlitz Park. I waited on my upgrade because it's pretty borderline and I'm probably going to have to rely on my top-ten finishes. But I'm not going be riding away from any 4/5 fields anytime soon. Let alone even hang onto Mike's wheel.

I will be leaving a category in which I am just starting to become competitive in for a likely long string of DFLs. Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Sandbagging would be to wait until I was forced to upgrade at 30 points, which would probably take me into next season. Your argument doesn't hold any water at all. Especially since in both 2008's Roubaix, and Wednesday's race, Mike simply refused to work with anyone, or even make it sporting.

9. And what word? He didn't say anything to me - I'm the one who held his hand up on the podium.

It's my blog, I can rant all I want and be as mad as I want - so I won't CTFO. Mike needs to HTFU and get his 10 races because it's also my (and every other Cat 4 and 5's) money I'm spending on entry fees, training, and parts, and I want a legitimate shot at winning the race. When I finished on Wednesday I was blown and pissed because I had to TT for 20 minutes - which is not what I call "fun". But then everyone around me was laughing: "Don't you know who that is?!" But Mike had fun, so that's all that matters, right? If he's really going to spend the next ten years getting his upgrade one race at a time, I'll ask Fowkes to handicap him, at least - clamping his rear brake down or something.

Enjoy cyclocross. I'll be out there throwing snowballs at you guys.

Oh, Mike and Ben, of course I posted it - I found your twitter feed through Google Analytics :) - it's only bike racing, right?

1 comment:

Newman said...

I think there is a point that needs to be communicated to USAC and/or Mr. Fowkes directly. IF the real reason for the stringent requirement for upgrading to 5 to 4 is safety (from the experience of cycling) why do they sanction so many 4/5 combined fields? And allow juniors, junior women, etc. in these fields? They should only sanction races that have beginner only fields and this would at least address those people (sandbaggers or not) that "only race one road/crit race per year". They would not be able to race with anyone BUT newbies, not be eligible for cash prizes, and achieve the utter satisfaction of whooping the crap out of the "Fred Armstrongs" and the high school girls.

- Newman (Cat 5 road racer)