Skipped SpeedWeek

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I normally would be all over going to Speed Week. But, I vowed to never go again. The last time I went to Speed Week was 4 years ago, I think. I crashed 4 times in the first two races and vowed I wouldn’t go back. On Sunday, in Roswell, Ga, the race had to be stopped while they cleaned the carnage off the road. I haven’t talked to anyone about the race, so have no first hand knowledge of the extent of the damage, but I have been in very few races they stop because of a race, so I suspect it was a bad crash.

I’m not sure why a race series seems to have the same “issues” over and over. The Twilight course is kind of sketchy, being so short and at night, but most of the other races are just normal criteriums. Kind of tight, but okay courses. I think it might have a lot to do with the quality of the fields. There is a big diversity in the riders ability, even though it is a NRC race and a PRO-1 field. I’ll never understand the USAC’s inability to recognize that having 8 riders from a pro team in a criterium is not good for the sport. Not for the spectators and definitely not good for the riders.

Yesterday in Roswell, the report said that UnitedHealthCare started the leadout with 5 laps to go and ended up 1st and 2nd. Jake Keough said, “We had eight guys on the front and anytime there were any kind of moves or anything we had guys there.” That is so wrong. It’s hard enough trying to ride at the front of a tight criterium without having 8 numbskulls on the same team putting you out into the wind because they feel it is their place to be on their team mates wheel. So, people fall down.

I don’t mind falling. Actually, I don’t like to fall, but it’s just part of bike racing. I definitely don’t “get up” as quick as I used to. But, it isn’t a big deal usually. That being said, I’m not going to go out of my way to go to races that historically, statistically, you have a high chance to fall. In Athens Twlight, I’m over 50% crash ratio. That is just not right, thus, I most likely won’t ride the race again. It’s too bad, because it is one of the best criteriums in the country. Funny how that is.

I can fall in Iowa City when there is only one guy ahead of me, so it can happen anywhere.

5 thoughts on “Skipped SpeedWeek

  1. Sean YD

    Do you have your own personal photographer following you around all the time, Steve? There’s Trudi and Catherine in the picture above. Who’s taking all these great photos? It’s about time you published a book, too. Davis Phinney has one coming out this month.

  2. Neil Kopitsky

    You would have loved the Twilight Pro Race. Two guys got within 10 seconds of lapping the field, when there was a crash in turn one that stopped at least 1/3 of the field. The two guys in the break had to stop, then snake their way through the carnage, and were down to a 15 second lead on the next lap. Suddenly, there were 8 (or MORE?) United HealthCare guys on the front and the break was caught in three laps. I was wondering if there is a rule to NOT screw the guys in a break in a situation like that . . .
    But it is a crazy and glorious race. The start at the amateur finals feels like what I would imagine the guys doing the running of the bulls are feeling. It’s the only time all year when I think “What am I DOING here???!!??”

  3. T Leonard

    I was at Twilight, and have to say that I was so stoked when, despite their numbers, United Health Care weren’t able to hand the win to van Poppel.

  4. Sean YD

    What I find extremely disappointing is that a race of the Terrapin Twilight Criterium (yes, that’s the official name) stature is still dinking around with manual scoring.

    Chip timing and/or transponders should be required in all UCI Criteriums. If they’re going to allow Pro Continental teams to compete, it’s time to raise the standards for promoters.

    It was embarrassing to me, as a pro cycling fan, to hear the announcer have to bark at the race officials (over the live stream, no less) to get the numbers/names of the riders in the break. It took no fewer than 10 laps.

    I’ve watched Go-Cart racing that’s better organized, scored, judged and even televised. This is the top level of our sport in the U.S.? Not a good impression to first-time spectators…

  5. bob

    Your comment about carnage brings to mind some of the stupid decisions made in our sport. About halfway through a masters race@ Manhattan Beach there was a horrific crash somewhere back in the field. the motos caught up to the front and neutralized us, next lap there are ambulances everywhere on the course. We rode neutral for almost a half hour while they pulled off the bodies. then another flash of brilliance, still neutral 6 wide with no warning coming off the last turn the motos accelerate and the promoters give the entire field the bell for the final lap! 100 or so masters with short term memory loss sprinted for the hill en masse.
    I just pulled over.


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