October 18, 2011
An Unscientific CX Study - Then & Now

How has Cyclocross changed in the last few years in MN?

  • We know it’s the fastest growing segment of the sport.
  • We know the CX calendar in Mn has been greatly expanded. Right?
  • We know it is taking away from the Road Race attendence.

What else do we know?

Here is a map of the Cyclocross races offered by the MCF in 2007:

And this is a map of our offerings in 2011:

What can we draw from these maps?

  • Races far from the metro area die off.
  • We are recycling more courses for multiple use/races
  • We really enjoy racing in Western WI
  • The northern suburbs seem to tolerate cyclocross
  • St. Paul is a dead zone
  • In 2007 we had 15 races at 15 venues.
  • In 2011 we have 17 races at 14 venues.
  • In 2011 we have 13 races in MN.

Things to note:

  • Neither map include weeknight races. (Aquila in 2011 and Boom/Plymouth in 2007)
  • 2011 map does not include any races past November

This is mostly food-for-thought, for fun and interest and is not really a critique of anything we are doing.

Thoughts?

June 6, 2011
Drama strikes the MN State Time Trial!

Our intrepid team of reporters got wind of what we are calling a ‘situation’ at the MN State Time Trial Championship held this weekend. Naturally, we are always interested to hear what’s going down, being we are more-or-less the PerezHilton of the local scene.

Anyway, let us review the story as we understand it to have unfolded and then we can explore some of the breakdowns that lead to this ‘situation’.

There were actually TWO separate instances of drama at the TT, both surrounding the same two riders. The second issue basically negating the first, but for the sake of keeping you informed we’ll run through the whole story.

For the sake of journalistic integrity we will not name names in this article. Instead, I will use race numbers. Let’s call the rider pictured above, 131. And the rider behind 132.

In a time trial each rider begins 30sec apart, and the race is an individual one against the clock. There are very few rules the can be broken, really: Your bike must meet certain standards; you cannot start early or cut the course; and, should you be so lucky as to catch a rider that started ahead of you, you can not draft.

The drafting rules as set by USAC are as follows:

3E6. Rider Conduct.

(a)On an out-and-back course, riders shall stay to the right of the centerline at all times [disqualification].

(b)No rider shall take pace behind another rider closer than 25 meters (80 feet) ahead or 2 meters (7 feet) to the side. [A rider who is observed taking pace shall receive a time penalty as specified in Table 2]. A rider may also be disqualified for extended and/or repeated pacing.

(c)No two riders may ride abreast other than when attempting to pass and such attempts shall not be maintained beyond a distance of 500 meters. An attempt to pass may be repeated an unlimited number of times but each time a
challenging rider fails in his attempt, he shall drop back to 25
meters behind the challenged rider before renewing his
attempt.

Our story begins with rider 132 closing that 30sec start gap to rider 131. We are to understand that the lead did change a few times, but the majority of the race was ridden as pictured above, with 132 behind 131.

132 did so 2 meters over, in compliance with USAC rules as noted above. The problem is that in addition to being 2 meters over, 132 also needed to be 25 meters behind unless attempting to pass.

Seeing as a 40k TT is extremely difficult for officials to monitor it is almost impossible for one rider to prove that another was in violation of the rules.

Moving on.

In the end rider 132 did pass, and defeated rider 131 by a total of 40sec on the day. 131 naturally annoyed protested. The officials debated and decided based on what they had actually witnessed they could only penalize 132 for a total of 15sec.

132 still had 25sec in hand, and was declared the victor.

Case closed, right? Wrong!

Soon a new problem came to light, and this had nothing to do with the actual riding in the race. It turns out that rider 132 had purchased a USAC One-Day license to race the TT. For those unaware, a One-Day only allows a rider to compete in the beginner or open (age group) categories. Seeing as the race in question was restricted to the Cat 1/2’s, the problem of drafting was no longer a problem and 131 was the new winner right? Well… Maybe.

There are many rules in the USAC rulebook. And, as well as they try to be clear many can be interpreted differently by different people. As was the case with this issue.

Two camps formed over the debate: one group thought if 132 raced on a One-Day then she could not race the 1/2’s and simply had to choose if she wanted to be in the age group race or the Cat 4’s; the other side of thinking was of the opinion that since 132 was a Cat 2 and just hadn’t paid for an annual USAC license then she should simply buy the license right then and the results would stand, with 132 the victor by 25sec.

What do you think?

FAIR would be to let her pay for the annual, oversights are oversights. But, RULES are there for a reason and they aren’t worth much if not respected, she has to race one of the Cats she was qualified to race when the TT began.

What would you decide? Fair? Or, Rules?

It’s tricky, huh? I mean, she was allowed to register in the 1/2 race by the promoter (via reg volunteers). Is the responsibility with the rider or the promoter at that point?

Well, the officials on the day decided in favor of the rules. 132 was disallowed from the Cat 1/2 race and despite coming in 40sec (or 25sec) down, 131 was declared the MN State TT Champion.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • Are the rules of TT’s made clear enough before races?
  • Ok, but if a rider is coming from a Tri background with different drafting rules, are USAC’s made clear?
  • Is there a way to enforce them anyway?
  • Have you experienced a rider drafting you in a TT?
  • Were you even aware or clear on the rules about drafting in a TT?
  • Who’s at fault in the One-Day debacle? The rider? The registration people?
  • Is it the rider’s responsibility to know what cat they are eligible for?
  • Is it the promoters job to make license rules clear to their reg volunteers?

May 16, 2011
Round Up.

Tour de Grove Weekend: Some locals down in StL for 3 days of racing action. Sadly, BikeThrowDotCom has to report that local racer Adam Bergman has broken his collarbone in a crash. Get well soon buddy!

Another local, Colton Barret was there, placing well. Well done sir!

And Patty was there as well, no word on how it went for him, but here he is looking PRO.

TnT Time Trials: Ladies rejoice! It is official. June 7th will be Grrrlz Night at TnT. Seperate Womens-only start. Free food for everyone. Great place to try your first TT. All deets now on our wall!

BikeThowDotCom Calendar: We have added group training rides to our already robust calendar, check it out. We aim to have every oppurtunity to ride available to everyone in one place. If your team has a regular group ride open to all post the info in the comments and we will add it to our Calendar.

Results: Looking back, the Campus Crit still has incomplete results. The promoters of the race had to pony up for 5 USAC officials, yet not one field in the entire race was scored deeper than 11th place. Did they get what they paid for? Did we? When does the MCF take a stand for higher quality service? And if they don’t/won’t, when do we? And how?

Bassett Creek Clean Up: Cancelled yet again, with the wet spring there has not been an opportunity to help fix and damage that we may have caused at the State CX races. Instead there will be a work date later this summer to install new stairs in the woods! Let’s make ‘em 3 meters wide (UCI legal!)

SQLK: Birchwood’s Epic Square Lake Road race is saturday May 21st. So is the Freewhell Frolic MTB race. No racing on Sunday. Is there a chance for cross discipline conversation/planning/scheduling here? Oh well, smaller fields for both I guess.

May 2, 2011
La Crosse Crit Results

posted here.

[2010 via www.peloton-pix.com, duh.]

April 29, 2011
Grandpa Fisher Coming To Town

We got a tip in the email box today that the Godfather of Mountain Biking and Hollywood Henderson’s idol, Gary Fisher, is going to be in town on the weekend of May 7th. Looks like he will be leading a group ride from the West Bank Freewheel location out to their brand spanking new building in Eden Prairie at around 8:30AM.

There isn’t an MCF race that weekend. Even if there was, you probably wouldn’t get scored with your timing chip anyway.

In other news, it would appear that Freewheel has scraped their old advertisement package and identity. We bet a lot of people are going to miss Tyler waving to the camera during the TdF.

Here is the new advertisement.

Scooped here on BTDCdc:

Freewheel Bike from Pocket Hercules, Inc. on Vimeo

April 6, 2011
Homme’s Guide to #winning the Campus Crit.

[Originally appeared in 2007 prior to the LGR hosted return of the defunct Campus Crit. Homme was an original founder of BikeThrow. Please enjoy. -BTDCdc]

I’ve never won the Campus Crit so, naturally, I decided to write a post about how to win it (unfortunately family commitments won’t allow me to try this year - so somebody else can take my strategy to victory).

(NOTE: This does not take into account team tactics which would make this post too long and probably would not help many of you).

First off, this isn’t a race where you can sit back and wait for something to unfold and then react.  The course it too narrow and the winning move can happen at any point during the race so you need to be vigilant at the front for the duration.  Use the course setup to your advantage so as not to exhaust yourself.  The backside of the course (East River Road) is more open, and most attacks will happen there.  Stay to the front there and use the corners and hairpin section as a place to relax and recover. (NOTE: you can pedal at race speed around the first 3/4 of the hairpin, but stop before you exit the corner - stay off the brakes in the corner)

Make your decision if you are going to follow a move (or make one of your own) on the backside of the course.  If you wait until the technical section, it becomes a series of brake/sprint/break/sprint which may stretch out the field, but is harder to get away cleanly.  If you’re bridging a gap, you definitely want to get away cleanly.  Dragging others up will only incite the field to want to do the same.

Avoid breaks that do not work well together and/or do not share the load.  Here is a clue, if there is a lot of yelling and screaming, it’s a bad move.  If you are with a group that is rolling nicely, using corners to rotate, taking steady pulls, you have a good chance.  The right move will just feel right - it is hard to describe.  If it is the “right” move, commit yourself to winning from the break and forget about the field sprint (this means making sure the break stays away).  If it is not the “right” move, you’ve got a couple of options.  Either way, don’t commit your energy to screaming at your break companions, it will do more harm than good, just roll though and bide your time till the field comes up.  When they do, either reintegrate or counter in hopes of getting into a better break.

Wining from a break:
I won’t go into the myriad of ways in which you could “sneak” away solo from the group because a) this is a super subtle tactic that I don’t have the eloquence to describe and b) if you are crafty enough to do that, well, you probably don’t need to be reading this.

To win in a sprint, you first need to make sure nobody gets away from the break.  One way to keep the attacks at bay, in the last few laps, is to keep rolling through. If a non-sprinter senses people sitting in, they are more apt to make a move which will sap some of you sprint to cover.  You need to be decisive and go with your first instinct when the attacks do come.  If you are going to cover it, cover it immediately, don’t hesitate for one second.  If you are going to force the others in the break to cover it, make sure they know that you have no intention of covering the move, even fall off the back a bit.  This way, if a CF ensues, and everyone decides to watch someone ride away, you can jump the group with some momentum and attempt to bridge solo.  If you hesitate and wait for others, then cover as soon as nobody else moves, you will have to give 2-3 times the effort to cover while giving the others a free ride.
 
With a small group sprint on this course, if you have a good jump, just make sure you get to the hairpin cleanly (you will want to be in the first three coming into the hairpin).  First or Second is ideal, but you can come around from third if you jump hard early.  One block after the hairpin, the road curves left then right, this will narrow the sprint line, make sure you don’t get pinched here and have to stop pedaling (or you are done).  If you don’t have a great jump, you need to get around the hairpin in first, bottom line.

Winning from a field sprint:
If you haven’t seen the front of the field the entire race and you are planning on moving up on the last lap, think again.  This is a bad idea that will probably end with your ass on the pavement, along with a few new “friends”.  If on the other hand, you’ve proven to yourself that you are strong enough to ride at or near the front, you need to start your sprint planning with five laps to go.  The front of the group dynamically changes the last five laps and you need to get a feel for how you are going to position yourself on these laps.  Stay calm, don’t fight it, just roll with the flow, reintegrate yourself into the line that moves forward, and stay away from DF’s (you know who you are!).  If you are able to hold your position at the front by “riding the wave” and not pushing, shoving, screaming, and hollering, then you are ready for the final two laps.

Last two laps:
Don’t worry about the other sprinters, this is not a finish where you can bet on the “best” sprinter guiding you to the last 100 meters.  Stay in the top five and be as calm as can be.  This is the time to be more assertive about position.  Don’t allow yourself to be swarmed and make sure you are on the side of the field that moves up and not back.

The Sprint:
The key to winning the sprint is to move into the top three on the back side of the course, late if possible.  When you get to the corners, you want to be in the top three (without having to sprint to do so).  The sprint is actually pretty easy, Jump before the hard left-hander that takes you out to the hairpin, make sure nobody passes you before the hairpin, sprint a straight line from the exit of the hairpin to the finish - sprint up the left side before the bend, straight through the mini-bend, the right side after the bend (refer to the green sprint line on the map - notice there is no room to pass you on this stretch).

After you win, donate your check to the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Red Cross on behalf of Little Guy Racing and in honor of those who are affected by the tragic event yesterday.

[For those unaware, the 35W bridge collapse happened 3 days before LGR’s event, see photo below. -BTDCdc]

April 6, 2011
 Campus Crit Course. The UofM team has secured the final permits and this race is ON!

 Campus Crit Course. The UofM team has secured the final permits and this race is ON!

April 1, 2011

MCF vs Durand 10:52

BREAKING NEWS SPECIAL EDITION PODCAST

So, why isn’t the Great Durand Road Race on the MCF Calendar?

Debate is heating up on the MCF messageboard, as well as other social media outlets, but not a lot of clear information has been presented. We here at BikeThrowDotCom even tried to avoid the issue on our last podcast. But now, it’s ON!

So. We’ve alluded to Durand’s exclusion being a long and complicated story, and it is. Sort of.

I mean, the facts of the case are black & white, and the rules of the MCF are also black & white. So, what exactly is the problem?
Well, what’s murky is who actually wins, and who loses from these rules. The MCF has a vision statement that reads:

“The MCF exists to lead in growing the sport of competitive cycling in the Upper Midwest”

We want to know if this move follows that logic, or goes against it.

So, the BikeThrowDotCom investigative team sharpened our poking sticks and walked into to the bear’s den for you, as we look into the following:

  • Are Durand promoters being responsible to their shareholders? (the racers, and themselves)
  • Are the MCF rules serving their shareholders? Who are their shareholders? Racers or USAC? Can it be both?
  • What benefit does the MCF gain excluding Durand from the calendar? Even if they don’t quite follow the guidelines.
  • Why won’t the Durand promotion team just do what the MCF and USAC would like them to do, and stop causing trouble?
  • If Durand has it all figured out, why don’t more races go ABR?

I learned some things. Maybe you will too. I don’t think this issue is resolved, and will likely rear it’s head again in the future. But, at least now you know what the hell everyone is going on about. Join the conversation in the comment section or on our facebook page.

Thanks for listening!

XO, BTDCdc

Bob's Shoes

March 30, 2011

Podcast 10 10:17

Welcome to podcast 10, (or podcast X as I like to refer to it).

We’ve got a whole new season of bike racing upon us! BikeThrowDotCom is here to help you make sense of it all.

We’ve done the research. (Actually, our interns have done the research). We’ve walked the walk. (Actually, we rode our bikes). And, most importantly, we’ve ingested all the information we could find, hit record and then regurgitated it here in an easy-to-use format for your listening pleasure.

We ask the questions you want answers to, and then we take the heat for asking! It’s a win-win for you! So, thanks for your submissions- and send us any topics you’d like to see us investigate. (Actually, send it to our interns).

In this episode we will go over:

  • What races are on the MCF Calendar. What’s coming up!
  • What races aren’t on the MCF Calendar. What else is coming up! There’s A LOT.
  • A briefing of the upcoming MCF meeting, including an in-depth run down of each of the the presidential nominees.
  • An outsiders perspective of the MN Mountain Bike Racing scene. I mean, really. Who even likes mountain biking?
  • Tonka Cycling no more?? FACT or FICTION? Get the scoop here!
  • The Campus Criterium preview! (No flyer link from mcf.net, nor is it listed on usacycling.org, sorry!) Potholes and Lightrail and rain? Oh my! Can it over come a date change and the past drama? We think so! And we know about race promoting DRAMA.
  • …hmmmm, anything else.. ummm.. OH YEAH!
  • THE HOTTEST BIKE RACING RUMOR TO HIT MINNEAPOLIS YET.
  • …and probably some other crap.

Thanks to our freinds at www.rouleurderby.com for providing us endless entertainment on the cheap, testing our knowledge of pro bike racing each week. Check ‘em out!

Also, don’t forget about ARTCRANK this Saturday, April 2nd!

March 29, 2011
The Great Durand Road Race 2011.

Yes folks, the season of skinny tires is coming up quick. Here in Minnesota that means the annual trip to Durand, Wisconsin for the traditional opening of hostilities of the road racing season.

You may be looking at the MCF cycling calendar and wondering, “Uh. What the hell? Where is the Great Durand Road Race”? Well, I have news for you. It ain’t on there.

Why not? Well that’s a complicated story, but to get you the facts you need to race BTDCdc is here!

Durand Road Race 2011

Sat, April 16th Racing at 11:00am

Fields:

1/2/3 - 5 laps

3/4 - 4 laps

M40+ - 4 laps

M50+ - 3 laps

4/5/Citizen - 3 laps

5/Citizen - 2 laps

Women Open - 2 laps

Registration closes at 10:45am $30

Pre-reg for $20 via mail to: Camber RT, LLC 459 130th St Amery, WI 54001 (checks payable to Cambet RT)

So, now you have the info to get out there and ride the brutal crosswinds and endless rolling climbs of bumfuck-nowhere Wisconsin.

Each lap is 13.5 miles, and takes in some of the most beautiful Amish cornfields anywhere.

The first stretch is always brutal fast and the rollers are harder than they look. The key knowledge here is to stay out of the wind. This means the shoulder side of the road. If you find yourself on the outside of the group, use the rollers to move across the peloton. The group will bunch on the small climbs and allow you room to reposition. Don’t blow the opportunity. It’s far easier than fighting into the echelons.

Side 2 features the narrow climb (they watch the yellow line here, don’t play with your life for the Great Durand Road Race title), and a fast decent and quick uphill turn into Side 3.

On side 3 the wind is again a factor, so stay to the yellow line side. The road snakes left and then right to set you up for two steep pitches back to back.

This is where moves get made.

The decent from the second climb is fast and dead straight. The gap will have to be big for a move to stay away here. If you are the climb-attacking type, consider making your move on the first of the two hills. Maintain your gap into the second climb, and extend it as the pack bunches and hits the climb behind you. The remainder of side 3 is always longer than you want it to be and features some fast sections and false flats before finally depositing you at the corner into side 4, the finishing straight.

The finish is a long gradual power-sapping uphill drag to the line. Many a sprint has been launched far too early (including mine) much to the racers dismay at grossly misjudging the distance to the line. Patience is a virtue here. Sit on those wheels longer than you want too. Trust me. When you open it up, remember two things: you have the whole road (no yellow line rule for the finish here), and take it alllll the way to the line. Everyone is suffering more than they planned on. Don’t make yours for naught.

Good luck from BTDCdc.

Hills + wind = The Great Durand Road Race

Course MAP (use street view, and drop the man on the text “County Road R” to see the larger climbs).

Race Website