Road World Championships – Friday

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The weather is changing here in Richmond and it looks like it is going to play a big role in the outcome of a lot of the events here at the World Road Championships.  The forecast is for rain to start later in the day and stay here all the way through Sunday.  Someone said it was the end of a hurricane that is dwindling out here.   I haven’t been paying that much attention to the reason, but my phone shows rain constantly through Sunday, then a break, and then rain again.

The course is right in downtown and has a ton of corners.  Plus it has 2 cobble climbs, one which is pretty steep, maybe close to 20%, so putting water on that will change the race up completely.

The cobble climbs probably won’t decide the men’s race, if it is wet, but the other events it could make a big difference.  This morning is junior women, then this afternoon U23 men. Tomorrow is junior men, then women in the afternoon.  The junior women might be okay, but if and when it starts raining later, it could be ugly.

Like I said, it is a downtown circuit, thus a lot of oil from automobiles.  Plus they put new asphalt down in a lot of places and that is usually pretty slick from the oil.   When it hasn’t rained for a while, it is slick until the surface oil is washed off the roads.

I think the rain could be an advantage for the US guys.  Euro guys don’t like cornering on wet roads, plus they aren’t that big on riding circuits. Most the US guys grew up riding a lot of criteriums, thus aren’t intimidated by technical, wet course.  We’ll see. Either way, the U.S. guys are, as always, long shots at best. 

I think that tire selection and pressure is going to play a part too.  A couple days ago I rode up the cobble climbs without pumping my tires for a couple weeks, thus maybe around 50 psi.  I cruised up the hills.  Yesterday, before I went riding, I put air in my tires, 95 pounds or so, and rode up the climbs at the end of my ride and the cobbles were super harsh.

If I were racing here, I’d be riding big tires, 25 or maybe 27’s/28 and riding low pressure, like 70 psi. That would help a ton on the cobbles and would be perfect for the wet corners.  But, I very much doubt many riders start with this setup.  Too bad.

Trudi is making another run to Washington DC to take equipment to the airport today, so she is going to miss a bunch of racing.  My friend Joe Royer and his wife Carol Lee came into town yesterday and we had dinner last night.  Joe and Carol Lee are going to race the Brompton race at 6:45 this evening.  It is one lap of the course, riding a Brompton bicycle, like a Bike Friday and you have to assemble your bike at a Leman’s start and ride in a suit and tie.  It will be crazy in the rain.

After that there is a tour for a couple hours between 7-9.  It is now $135 to ride the course closed off.  It seems sort of like a rip, but it seems like a lot of people I’ve met are doing it. Seems to me that fans should be able to ride a lap on the course for just showing up at the event.  But in this day and age of getting every penny you can from people, I guess that is unrealistic.

Okay, here are some pictures of the course and stuff.

Here's Trudi climbing Libby Hill on her new bike.

Here’s Trudi climbing Libby Hill on her new bike.

They are real cobbles, so rain will make them challenging.

They are real cobbles, so rain will make them challenging.

The line up LIbby end when it gets hard is going to be riding next to the barriers on the concrete. There is a strip on the right side the first half of the climb, then switches over to the left up the last pitch.

The line up LIbby end when it gets hard is going to be riding next to the barriers on the concrete gutter. There is a strip on the right side the first half of the climb, then switches over to the left up the last pitch.

Yesterday the course was closed for road training. Lots of people were out taking photos of their favorite riders.

Yesterday the course was closed for road training. Lots of people were out taking photos of their favorite riders.

The barriers lining the finish should be mandatory for all big events. They angle back, keeping the spectators away from the riders, plus making it safer for the riders if they get pushed up against them in a sprint. It really widens the road.

The barriers lining the finish should be mandatory for all big events. They angle back, keeping the spectators away from the riders, plus making it safer for the riders if they get pushed up against them in a sprint. It really widens the road.

The USA Cycling booth in the Fan Fest has Allison Dunlap's bike displayed. I liked that.

The USA Cycling booth in the Fan Fest has Allison Dunlap’s bike displayed. I liked that.

Bob Roll stopped by our table to talk a couple nights ago. Same old Bob.

Bob Roll stopped by our table to talk a couple nights ago. Same old Bob.

 

 

 

30 thoughts on “Road World Championships – Friday

  1. bob

    In case anyone was wondering, these gems and precious nuggets are why I keep coming back:

    Euro guys don’t like cornering on wet roads, plus they aren’t that big on riding circuits. Most the US guys grew up riding a lot of criteriums, thus aren’t intimidated by technical, wet course. We’ll see.”

    “If I were racing here, I’d be riding big tires, 25 or maybe 27’s and riding low pressure, like 70 psi. That would help a ton on the cobbles and would be perfect for the wet corners. But, I very much doubt many riders start with this setup. Too bad.”

    Yes Steve, O great and humble cycling hobo, Euro pros don’t know how to corner on wet roads or make lots of 90 degree turns. And they don’t know how to properly inflate their tires.

    This follows the revelation from the Great Cycling Hobo during the Tour of Spain that pro tour riders don’t know how to echelon.

    It’s amazing that these guys even know how to buckle their complex cycling shoes! Trudi must spend the majority of her time wiping the drool from these tards’ mouths with a hanky!

     
    1. channel_zero

      I’m anxious to find out how right Steve is. You apparently have already made up your mind.

      Question for Steve: is your site traffic on the rise? Maybe the trolls are a sign of increased traffic?

       
      1. bob

        For Steve to be “right,” an American would have to win Sunday, no?

        Are you suggesting that a non-American has never won a wet worlds?

        Steve made several ludicrous statments; don’t make the mistake of repeating them.

         
    2. Joe masser

      Have you raced in Europe? I have and so has Steve. Euro guys cannot and DO not corner like American racers. They curse at normal crit. Cornering and call us insane. Save your comments for things within your cat 4/phil and Paul knowledge base. Oh yeah., it was a Belgian U 23 who just ate it at the front of the group in the last lap. Granted the Americans were droppedish, but still…

       
      1. ALS

        Thumbs up: 3 (myself and two people who asked “What’s so funny” after I LOLed. To which I said, “Ya got read this”.)

         
  2. old and slow

    Not to pile on here, but at least Steve has been consistent in this regard since 1983? And Armstrong’s rainbow jersey certainly supports his theory too. Maybe even LeMond’s second one in miserable weather as well.

    VeloNews published an anecdote from the one and only Tour of America where Steve lays it down in a wet corner and Jock Boyer says “well now you know why the pros corner so slowly in the rain” as he passes by.

     
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      old – That is pretty much a true story. I’ve fallen in many corners. Lots in the rain. But I’ve won a ton of prestigious races in the race too. There is a risk/reward aspect in all areas of cycling. Racing in the wet is no different. I tend to pride myself as a good “rain rider”. Both in road races and criteriums. That being said, I fell before a criterium and broke my hip last year, going 10 mph in a corner. Anything and everything can and will happen eventually in a bike race.

       
  3. ExRider

    Yeah, pretty sure these guys know their equipment a bit better than you do. Half these guys help develop the equipment they ride, and you can be sure that they know how to ride it in any condition.

     
    1. channel_zero

      Haha. Yeah, under-23’s and women get so much product input. The new Women’s ITT WC agrees.

      FYI, the WT men don’t have it any better. Do you think they enjoy electronic shifting malfunctions and peculiar frame fit fixed with seatposts and stems?

      Any other insights you’d like to share?

       
    2. Steve Tilford Post author

      Exrider – You honestly think that any of these guys “develop” the tires they race on. They are racing on the tires that their trade teams have sponsorship agreements with. You think that most of these European riders flew over here with an arsenal of wheels and tires for all conditions. I think not. I think most of them race the same wheels and tires whether it’s dry or wet. And, I doubt “these guys” in general, know “their equipment” better than I do. They have to ride what they have to ride. In general, I don’t.

       
    3. ALS

      Haha, yeah let’s have the guys that helped developed the equipment be responsible for building-up their own bikes and their routine maintenance. Ohh what a sight that would be!!! I mean, they know everything about THEIR equipment – right?

      Steve – When was the last time a wrench/mechanic touched one of your bikes?

       
  4. AndyB

    You can comment on/be critical of Steve’s posts without being patronizing. He’s obviously been racing bikes for a long time – he’s entitled to his opinions (on his own blog no less!) There’s a tactful way to disagree with people’s opinions without being a jerk.

     
      1. AndyB

        haha. yeah – i guess i’ve been here long enough to know better, but I’m still amazed that these people find their way onto someone’s (in the overall scheme) super niche blog.

         
  5. Rob Walker

    I rode (briefly) in Europe in 1990 and can confirm at that time European riders gave us shit for the way we pedalled through corners. They would shout out “Slow down, American Cowboys”!

    I don’t think they lacked the ability to corner this way, I think slowing down through the corner and then getting out of the saddle to accelerate back to speed was just the style of racing they were accustomed to. I was told by my Belgian coach that a lot of the amateur riders made (somewhat) of a living racing and they didn’t want to risk dumping their bikes in the corners, because repairing or replacing bikes was expensive.

    Of course, this was many years ago…

     
  6. Mike Rodose

    Steve

    Please consider bringing back the thumbs up/down ratings. I honestly think it helps to establish some group boundaries and focus our collective commentary.

    Thank you for providing this forum for many a joker, myself included.

    Mike

     
  7. Guillermo Garibay

    Steve, you do have an interesting blog and that is why I am here. However, you always loose me when you name drop and make boastful comments in your blog. Today’s boastful statement was how you have “won a ton of prestigious races”. We all know who you are and we acknowledge your cycling accomplishments, but this kind of bragging sounds like maybe sour grapes that you are no longer part of the “big show”. Not being here to bash, I want to say I do appreciate your fearlessness in mixing it up with the young pups and your often insightful blog entries. Salud!

     
    1. old and slow

      Since you and I knew each other more than thirty years ago and I instigated that comment let me point out that I met Steve almost that far back, I was still riding a 62 cm frame and he seemed to be an inch or so taller than me. IMO he probably rides as well in the wet as anybody that tall and relatively lean I ever saw anywhere. Pretty much just because he wants to.

      Also I believe that his last victory against the young studs in a big money road race was exactly as he describes so in that context I don’t think his response was particularly boastful at all.

      It certainly didn’t seem to be when he said almost the exact same thing on the podium that night. After all Steve had had to explain to the astonished crowd how someone in his mid forties had just ridden clear of a top notch field in the pouring rain and he gave a pretty direct answer. It’s not bragging if you can really do it at any age.

      All I wanted to do was make sure that people understood that wasn’t a recent development. I’ve been saving that Tour of America comment for a long time Steve and it wasn’t because I just wanted to pi$$ you off with it.

      Finally my own longstanding interpretation of the “Steve dives corners” sub theme here (and I’ve heard this complaint unsolicited from people who competed against him fifteen years ago and don’t know this blog exists,) is that Steve tries to do stuff in a bike race that most guys taller than 5′ 7″ simply don’t try to do. I used to watch smaller guys go way inside like that lap after lap and people always let them back in.

      With a big guy it’s considered reckless and in my own personal case that verdict would have been quite correct.

       
      1. Joe masser

        Yes! Exactly what I encountered as a national team junior and Belgian kermesse fuck from 1995-2000.

         

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