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.