Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Carpentersville Report

Something is rotten in Denmark.

I am not feeling at one with the cross zen this season. I have found I am not alone either. It just isn't as much fun this year.

Polling friends I have broken it down into the following possible causes:
1. The courses have gotten kind of silly. They are just too long to be anything more than an amusement ride. 1/2 hour of racing is short enough and when you are only getting 3 laps it's barely enough time to figure out a line through corner #97.

2. The 4's races have changed tone. It seems to be more about how early you can get there to line up (1/2 hour before our race this week) and whether or not you can make it down the front stretch without ending up in the inevitable pileup.

It's like cat 5 road racing. Everyone is an internet kid who has read up all summer about how they are supposed to go like mad at the start of a cross race....kind of like how they read they are supposed to sit in and never do any work in a crit but to always be int he top 10-12 spots. Makes for real negative racing.

3. Everyone has moved. I am hardly racing with the guys I raced with last year. Some are waffling between 4A and 4B. Others have ditched the 4's due to the comedy factor and ended up racing 30+ or 3's. It seems like the categories settle down a bit after Carpenstersville if last year was any indication but I am not holding my breath. Guess I will race the 30+ this week just to be with the guys I like racing with. Our apologis in advance to the guys who are actually racing it seriously. Just be sure to yell as you lap us and we'll get the hell out of the way.

4. It went from being a lot of good-natured fun-loving partiers to a carnival college keg party for the sake of having a carnival. Like all good things when given to us in our youth we have a tendancy to relive the stories during the offseason and are left with no alternative in the fall other than to "out-do" the party this year.

As with most things this effort is usually met with too much effort and not enough content. Too many people trying to be the cool group - result...no one is the cool group.

- getting back in conjunction with point number 1 - as a result I don't see any hand-up opportunities until either the last lap or until the next race. You only pass each cool group 3 times so you better have your eyes open on the crowd instead of racing.

So what does all of this mean? Have I forsaken cross? Hells no. I am just more pissed at myself for not feeling the love. I want it back. This week I will race the 30+ in conjunction with my already paid entry for 4A's. I will have a wheel table set up but I will be concentrating on hangin out with good people.

I will cheer more. Heckle even more. I already say hey to every racer I know as I pass them or as they pass me. I suggest everyone else should as well. Get to know the guy's name.

I want my Beverly Bob back. I need my Beverly Bob back. I need to be gunning on the last lap hoping like mad he doesn't get past me. That's cross. Not some stream of nameless 20-somethings streaming past. That's crits.

During the Dan Ryan Woods race I was having a blast for a huge section of it because I was racing Supergirl. That takes me back and is fun.

I have an idea of how hard it is to put these on. I would like to thank everyone for the job they have done. I think everything has been great and we couldn't ask for more at all. I've been trying to join in as a sponsor for the series but you'd be amazed at how hard it is to give people money it seems. I will keep at it.

There's still some love out there - Nick doing the double and passing me on the last lap.

If you're a normal adult - possibly with a family even - then come out this week. Cheer people on. Scream for the guys way OTB of the 4B race. Say hey to people you don't know. Say hey to me. Ignore the tents. Ignore the big traveling circus. bring the cross zen back.


Biffbradford said...

I know of at least two Pro CX riders with broken collar bones that would love to exchange places with you. HTFU! LOL

Psimet said...

No you don't. I don't know any pro riders that would rather be a self loathing pile of 4A fodder.

BBVP-Bob said...

Dude, All I have to say is. I Love You Man. But, not in the Broke Back way. LOL We will crush the back of the 30+ field!!!!

Nikki said...

Oh no... We must turn this around so you walk away smiling and loving that you spent your Sunday at Cross!

I'm bringing bagels on Sunday so stop over. :-)

aham23 said...

is this like the "bring sexy back" movement? if it is i am so totally committed. later.

Kevin said...

Completely agree on your 1st comment. It has gotten to the point that I admit I get there early to try and be in the 1st 30 riders. "Try" is the key word. Initially, I felt out of place and lined up in the middle 3rd as not to screw any faster riders out of a clean start. In these 1st four races I consistently see a couple of individuals sneek up to the front or get there very early, only to be passed by me on the 1st lap. Sad part is that they are affiliated with a bike shop and would have thought they should know a little better. No idea where this rant came from, maybe too much coffee already. Your comments have been in the back of my mind for a few weeks.

Illinoisfrank said...

This is my third year racing cross. The sport is getting more popular and growing fast. This is good and bad for the reasons you wrote about. Last year I raced three 4A races and two of those days I also raced the 40+. This year due to time constraints I am only racing the 40+ so I had no idea that the vibe of the 4 races had changed. I do know that the field sizes of the 4s is huge. I was in the 2007 Jackson Park 4 race with 88 of my closest friends. This was the race that birthed the idea of having 4A and 4B fields. It's amazing that just 2 years later, both these races are filling up. I can't imagine starting out in a field of 75, especially on asphalt. Anyway, we seem to have a group of masters racers (like me) that are racing for fun and private victories (if I'm in the top 75% group, that's a great result) and the vibe is friendly and competitive. Even when the leaders are coming up to lap us, it seems relatively polite. Maybe it's me with my typical response ("which side?" or "come on up")

I'll keep racing cross while it's still fun.

Hey, I just checked Psimet. Great idea. Do you have any Campy compatible wheels that I can demo?