Robin Carpenter Wins Joe Martin (In the Rain)

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I wish I would have been in Fayetteville yesterday,  just watch the criterium at Joe Martin.  I’m not up to racing a criterium in the rain, but the race really interests me.

First, I need to state categorically, that I don’t like racing criteriums in the rain.  I happen to be good at it, but it is way more dangerous than just regular criterium racing, thus who would want that to be the case.

That being said, it is part of bicycling race.  Being able to handle your bike in all conditions is really a part of all disciplines of the sport.  Especially on the road, cross and MTB.  Track racing, well, that is a separate beast.

Riding in the rain takes a special talent.  And usually a fair amount of experience.  Tire selection is super important.

Robin Carpenter, Holowesko-Citadel, won the Joe Martin Stage Race, overall, because he has this talent.  Not exclusively only this talent, but it is key.   He won a stage in the Pro Challenge a few years ago, riding solo in the rain, on a dirt descent.  He has the bike handling skills.  He is a very good bicycle racer.

I would have liked to watch the race develop and seen exactly what happened.

I lined up at Joe Martin a few years ago and it was looking like it was going to be wet for the criterium.  I was on the 2nd row, right behind the race leaders and I was aghast seeing the tires that most the guys in the top ten were riding.  The guy right in front of me was on Continental Gatorskin clinchers, that were nearly bald.  And he didn’t have the worst tires of all the guys on the front line.

I was thinking to myself, that the officials needed to do a bike check and not let riders start that didn’t’ have the proper equipment to race.   I never would have started a criterium riding that equipment.

It didn’t end up raining, so everything was fine, but just the idea of starting a race, knowing that you were riding something was wasn’t up to the potential weather, made me wonder.

Remember a long time ago, when during the Tour de France, the riders neutralized the race themselves, on a descent, because one of the Schleck’s crashed and Fabian or someone convinced everyone that it was way too dangerous to race?  This was stupid, in my opinion.  Like I said above, being able to handle your bike when the roads are wet, is part of the sport.

Anyway, congratulations to Robin.  Winning Joe Martin overall, the final criterium, is not how the race usually plays out.  I guess the rain made the day very hard to control.  Good, old fashion, bike racing.

Robin Carpenter winning yesterday in Fayetteville.

And at the Pro Challenge.

Sven Nys showing off the best cyclocross tires every made, in my opinion.

 

 

12 thoughts on “Robin Carpenter Wins Joe Martin (In the Rain)

  1. Mikelikebikehike

    I remember racing Tour of Somerville one time in the rain.50mi. at 30mph, but hardly anyone crashed!

     
    1. LA LA 70.3

      We used to call Summerville….Matt’s Race. You was lucky it could be slick on that Mafioso Oil. Hey guys I did Texas n Oceanside 70.3 yesterday used my Corp Jet got it hid from The Feds. No Mo PEDs kids

       
  2. Larry T

    I know it’s a marketing slogan, but “So much is riding on your tires” should be more than that. Had to laugh at your recount of the guy ahead of you in a fairly high-level event with the almost worn-out, heavy training clinchers. Sadly, too many have only one (two-part) question when it comes to tires – “How long do they last and how easily do they go flat?” rather than “How well do they grip?” or “How smoothly do they ride?” These same guys will spend $Way-too-much.95 on all kinds of “high-performance” equipment, then cheap-out when it comes to the only thing that contacts the road.

     
    1. Taleb

      Most likely they are being forced by the sponsor to ride crapy tires. That happened to me.

      It’s not that many years ago that AG2R rode tdf on clinchers. Pretty horrendous.

       
  3. Jacob

    I asked Robin on twitter what tires he was running and was surprised to find that it was what some people would call a “training” tire — Michelin Power Endurance Plus. 25c at 73 / 75psi.

     
  4. carlos

    It’s worse at cat 3 level. Pay $3k for Enve carbon clinchers – gotta race them in all conditions. To hell with the weather forecast. Saw several crashes at the RR in Galena a couple of years ago by fools who discovered their carbon wheels couldn’t brake downhill in the wet. Then they got on social media and blogged about it – blind to the number of people they had taken out.

     
  5. Davey

    Steve, what tires do you like in the wet and what pressure due you run compared to normal? Does width make any difference? I am referring only to tires with the last question.

     
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Davey-I’m partial to Vittoria tubulars. I’ve had super good “luck” with the old CX’s. A CG has a little more tread depth and is better in the rain. I used to only ride 23’s. Now I’m racing, or going to be racing, exclusively on 25’s. I even have some 27mm CG’s that I was contemplating trying out, either in smoother dirt races, or maybe just in a regional, rainy criterium. I haven’t used the new Vittoria Corsa G+ tubulars, but have heard good things about them. The problem with switching to different tires for wet conditions is that really the only time you will go through a wet corner at race speed, is at a race. That isn’t the best time to try out new rubber.

       
  6. Sean YD

    “I was thinking to myself, that the officials needed to do a bike check and not let riders start that didn’t have the proper equipment to race.”

    Unfortunately, there is no provision in the rule book for this, as it relates to tires. Only things like having at least one working brake, not using aerobars in a mass-start race, etc.

    Speaking of bad tires, at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California the entirety of the Kelly Benefit Strategies team crashed on a wet descent into Santa Rosa. What was too blame? Tires – and over-inflation.

     
  7. Ryan

    I used to love racing in the rain. Always rode Michelin Axial Pros i think they were called. Always at 115 psi. Mike Fraysee told us once about a race where everyone was letting pressure out of their tires and i think it was Eddy B’s team were putting air in theirs and they won. I didnt believe it till I tried it myself. I think the belief was less tire hitting the road so less chance of hydroplaning.

     
  8. euro

    I can’t cheer for the Hincapie team (or whatever they are called these days). Even though I live in the city they are based in. Any team/rider associated with a lifelong cheat like Big George deserves no support.

     

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