Redlands Revamped

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I was reading this article about the Redlands Classic and how they got an influx of funds and the race is healthy, which is great. I used to go to Redlands, mainly just to train. This year the race is in early April and I have no chance of being able to compete. But, I haven’t done the race the past couple years anyway. I always thought that they did a pretty good job mixing up the stages, even though the Sunset Loop is a very hard race, it doesn’t necessarily make or break the GC results.

This year they changed the time trial to high altitude, Big Bear, and longer, 12.7km. The time trial used to be less than 5 km and uphill. This year they made the time trial a stage, not a prologue. I think this is big mistake.

The problem with them making the time trial a stage is that they will have to enforce the time limit. The race has such a diverse rider ability and it is so early in the season, that it is really unfair to riders from the Northern climates.

I’m not sure why they wanted to lengthen the time trial either. It might not be that much longer in time, but it is still too long for a weekend stage race. And that is pretty much what Redlands is, a long weekend stage race. I don’t think that a 15 minute time trial is right when there are only 3 stages to make up the time.

Not even mentioning the use of time trial bikes. Personally, I think for all NCR stage races in the United States, there should be no time trial bikes allowed. Our country is just too big to cover in an automobile and flying with two bikes to a race is stupid expensive. If they want to allow clip on bars, that would be alright, but having to spend $350 to bring a time trial bike, just for a 7.5 mile time trial is just dumb.

I know all you time trial fanatics are thinking, “Tilford, you’re full of shit. Just because you don’t time trial well, you don’t want us to use all this expensive equipment we have.” That is partially true, but it still doesn’t matter if it is. The amount of expense that it costs all the riders that are participating in the race isn’t justified by the small amount of seconds exchanged. The results will be pretty much the same, no matter what bikes everyone is riding.

Even the Pro Tour Teams are not allowed to race on time trial equipment sometimes when it is very expensive and cost prohibitive to travel with the extra equipment. The Tour of Qatar comes to mind where the guys did a team time trial on their regular road bikes.

Anyway, it is nice to see that the race is healthy. I’m not big on the changes, but it’s their race and I’m sure they had their reasons for the new venue and longer time trial length. We’ll see if it adds to the competition of the race in a little over a month. Man, it is nearly March.

The is Tyler Hamilton from the 2008 Redlands prologue.  Wow, that was 5 year's ago.

The is Tyler Hamilton from the 2008 Redlands prologue. Wow, that was 5 year’s ago.

The 2013 Tour of Qatar Team Time Trial

7 thoughts on “Redlands Revamped

  1. Calvin Jones

    The Tour of Oman produced videos are, to me, fascinating. No dialog, no commentary, just stirring music and great angles: (skip the ad, of course).
    It looks like a large scale Tour of Texas, in that it appears as much a training race as anything. Suspect it is a great time for all.

    On the TT equipment, up in MN, the Nature Valley promoter asked for only road bikes in the TT. While there was grumbling, I sensed a secret sigh of relief from many a manager. However, as an unintended consequence, this often leads to a bike-inspection kerfuffle before TT.

  2. Rad Renner

    I agree that TT bikes should (generally) be disallowed in weekend stage races, especially for the lower amateur ranks (which I race in). I’ve been to more than a few “3 stage races” (where the event is scored on cumulative time)in which they allow TT bikes and the TT stage is 15-20 miles long. If you don’t have a TT bike, you’re gonna be 2-3 minutes behind before the first road stage, which is pretty much impossible to make up. I guess the answer is to buy a $3,000+ TT bike, but I’d rather not. Promoters: listen to what Steve is saying!

  3. chad

    Steve I have to disagree a little bit. Redlands is an invitational race, a pro race, thats who they cater to. I like the fact that they dumped the 6 min hill climb for a flat tt is great. no longer will the guys who can destroy on sunset also be on tops of the tt. i’d like to see zirbel defend in sunset… that will be a race. and while the tt i longer, with the faster speeds, the time gaps will be similar. dont get me wrong, i suck at everything but going around the block 40 or 50 times, but i like that they switched it up. Plus it gives teams a reason to use those $18,000 bikes in the trailer. mean while i just worry about making time cut

  4. Robo

    I love the idea of eliminating time trial bikes from as many races as possible. The technology is amazing and it can be fun to watch the speeds/times (especially in the pro tour ranks, and especially the TTT), but it moves the sport further and further from the average spectator. And at lower levels, it creates gaps based on equipment (money) rather than ability. I watched the final stage of this year’s USPCC, and a handful of the teams had no TT equipment other than aero bars and helmet. I thought that would be cool to see all these guys race their normal equipment in the TT. Then you could truly compare the athletes on the most level playing field possible (and even compare your own times on the same course).

  5. Euro

    Couldnt agree more. I was considering coming over from europe to do the redlands. But when i saw the time trial i decided to skip it. Bringing a tt bike half across the globe is out of the question. No objection to tt. It would fine if it were to be done on a regular road bike…

  6. tilford97 Post author

    Chad-Redlands is technically a Pro invitational race, but come on. There are 25 teams in the race. And how many Pro teams in the US? Maybe 10 will ride it. And of those 10, not all will have the 8 rider maximum. So, the other 15 teams are club or composite teams. I’ve ridden Redlands on a team that only had 3 riders in the race. I’ve ridden the race on the British National Mountain Bike Team, who only one guy was British. The NRC is not he premier race series in the United States anymore. Redlands is just another big early season race, nothing more.

    Forget about the individuals, but the burden for the Pro teams to bring the bikes is huge also. Who wants to be driving all the way across the country with 8 extra $8000 bikes that are going to be used for 15 minutes? Not many of them.

    If we, as cyclists have an X amount of money to spend racing bikes, I don’t think it is a wise use of our money to be paying for transportation costs of bikes that are not really that important to start with. Just my opinion.

    I do agree with you that a flat time trial might make the even more interesting, but at 2000 meters, I can’t sign off on it.

  7. Rod Lake

    I nominate Tilford to be the new US Bike Czar–once he’s off the oxy of course. As usual he presents common sense solutions for modern day bike issues based on his experience and empathy for the everyday racer. Heal fast.


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