Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BikeJam: Three Step Program for a Safer Race

What's up people? Did you have a good weekend? Did you get all racey at Wilmington and BikeJam? Are your insides still inside and your outsides still outside? Maybe..Maybe not.

It seems like every year BikeJam comes and goes and every year people bail entirely on the race because of the past history of the race.  I mean, this race has a reputation. Of course, many people shun the risk of road rash and post up anyway.

Don't get me wrong. BikeJam is a GREAT event in the heart of downtown Baltimore. Heck, this year even seemed pivotal with the crowd attending. Town alcoholics wondering the field breaking bottles near the course were replaced by young urban twenty somethings playing organized ultimate frisbee. Yippeeee!!!

With that all being said, let's dissect why BikeJam has more than its fair share of casualties. Maybe the officials and promoters could take note.

totally stolen from Cadence and Cogs blog. Let's take down the barriers!!
1. Barriers. Lots and lots of barriers. YGD understands the need to keep people off the course. However, these steel barriers also keep riders inside the course when something 'bad' happens. As far as the eye can see there are barriers. Now..YGD is an environmentally type of guy but this might be one opportunity to use an insane amount of yellow tape and traffic cones..or maybe a human chain of friends holding hands! How many times have you heard "I got bumped into a barrier and then..."

Even Gingers weren't safe on Sunday.
2. Wheel-pit placement. Old YGD was in said BikeJam race and coming along the hill when, all the sudden, he looks up and sees a USA Cycling official entering in a crashed out rider for his free lap. Now, this SEEMS fine but you have to remember the line of sight for the rider coming into the hill is about two or three rear ends. If it wasn't for my catlike reflexes, the world would have ended. I would propose to put the wheel-pit AFTER the start/finish line in the giant empty space to the left before the chicane. Not sure if any crashes happened at that spot, but let's consider this a preventative measure for 2013.


This looks painful. Heal up, Eli. Photo from Evelyn Egizi. Evelyn, stop taking photos of broken people.
3.   Road surface. I know I know..we are LUCKY to have races at all no matter how many potholes and crevices and sand in chicanes there are. This really doesn't bother me too much. I mean, hell, people last week was the Poolesville Road Race with 1.5 miles of gravel each lap. However, considering people's ability to handle their bikes, I must voice concern.

The bumps and cracks I can take. However, I could visually see road sand/dirt in that corner. MAYBE consider putting a guy there with a broom so there aren't so many wash outs?

My last thought of the day is sketchy riders. I'll leave this one out of my official list because it's something that no promoter or official can really control. Ultimately, the safety of the race is up to the racers. Here are a few things that you can do to be considered a sketchy rider by your fellow riders.
  1. Trying to pinch in to get through a spot that is not there. This is even more annoying when it's during a non-decisive time during the race. Making a move up between a rider and a barrier only separated by 8 inches is stupid. 
  2. Dive-Bombing corners. I could write a whole thesis on this. The first good reason to NOT dive bomb a corner is that you are being a dick. The second reason is that you are actually loosing speed and will have to do more work long term to hold that spot. Stop it. Just keep your place and make your 'move' with your legs, not your idiot brain. 
  3. Moving erratically with your bike. I don't know what this is and why people do it. An example of this is when somebody gets out of the saddle and moves their bike two or three positions to the right or left. Not needed. Another example is when a rider is 'going hard' and his bike wobbles right and left. Is he putting out SO much power that his bike can't handle it. Stop that shit. It's stupid and you look retarded. 
That's it for now. My next project will be specifically for our officials and their desire to maintain center-line enforcement no matter how sketchy and risky driving a moto on the opposite side of the road is. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Anatomy of a Crash - NCVC/Cat 4/CX Style!!

What's upppp party people? It's flipping hump day already and ol' YGD is still shaking off the dust from Poolesville Road Race this past weekend. Luckily, all my fillings remained in tact and my bones are inside skin.  Sorry!

Mr. Guzeit from NCVC was out with a super telephoto lens taking some pictures of the pain. Dudes were breaking off the front, taking lefts when they should have been taking rights, and...crashing into grass..the BEST kind of crash.

Ahhh..yes. Luckily, Guzeit held his finger down on the trigger and captured a whole scene of NCVC Cat 4 riders overcooking a corner and working on their CX skills. Bravo to everybody involved in this. Looks like everybody is ok so here we go.




This is the best one of the bunch. The potential for a mass pile up here is huge. The NCVC rider on the bike narrowly misses the downed bike. The body position of the rider off the bike is right out of Black Swan. Since I can read minds, I know that the spectator/photographer located in this photo is thinking. 'WTF?!!'

Guzeit is now holding down his shutter button. Dreams are coming true for me.  Many people's eyes would be drawn to the riders. However, my trained YGD eyes are focused to look elsewhere. Check out photog/spectator #2 to the right. She's thinking "should i go right? should i got left? should i breakdance?" Whatever she's thinking, it's probably awesome. 

Photog #1 is now at ease of the situation and goes to help. This could have been a big mistake. Meanwhile, spectator #2 decides to bail to her right with what appears to be the dance move The Smurf. ILL! 



GW rider sees this as the perfect place to attack out of the corner for Poolesville crowd glory. I'm also tuned in to the guy in the back right corner HOLDING a camera and NOT taking photos. Come on people!! Why else bring a camera to a race other than to capture winning, droppage, or crashes?


Bike is still on the ground. Rider #2 is somewhere in the grass. Now we see a rider next to a phone poll soaking all of this in. I'm a bit jealous. 

The county should really come cut this grass. 

What is it with Cat 4s sprinting when there is a crash? GW dude is still using throwing down the watts. The reappearance of grassy NCVC rider #2. Crashed NCVC rider decides to casually pick his bike up in the road with one hand. No big deal, bro. 


ACTION SHOT!!! Now the NCVC rider #1 has properly picked up his bike..It's time to run on the road and get a sweet remount.  NCVC rider #2 (grassy mcgrasserton) is still sprinting in the grass looking to reemerge. GW rider is still out of his saddle. New riders emerge in this photo oblivious to this awesome crash. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poolesville Tire Choices

Jared Nieters was busy all week thinking about tires and wheels for Poolesville. 


Congrats to MABRA nice guy Jose Escobar for his big W at Poolesville RR. J

ared, on the other hand..we congratulate you for orange socks, red shoes, and your green whip.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

MABRA.org - a user experience

(the following is a conversation YGD had in his head while surfing the ol' internet recently)


Wow..Can't believe it's May already. There's been something like 10 races in MABRAland already. Let's check and see those results and see how everybody is doing. Ok..it's Mabra.org i think? Here we goooo...
Mabra.org worked but it looks like the url is http://www.mabra.org/index.php. Whatever...that looks pro as hell..looks like i'm on the homepage..maybe? is this the homepage? 

Ok....Ummmm...looks like results are listed......nowhere? WTF? Ok..wait...maybe under BAR standings? WTF is BAR? I'll click on it anyway. Recent results..here we go. Ah..Poolesville, great! 'view results'. Why is this screen blank? 

Ok..they just must not have updated yet. I'm cool with that. I mean..these people volunteer, right? right?  I'll go back to the home page by clicking the MABRA logo. WTF? I'm back on the BAR page which list the upcoming events but not the BAR standings. Ahhh..MABRA Home..here we go. 

Oh sweet, look at the picture of John Whittington from NCVC and Ian Birlem riding for Kelley? Hold on..that was like 2003?  Brian Butts has that Embastita Jersey! SICK! Wait..YGD getting sidetracked. I wonder if there are any other photos from some of those amazing photographers that litter the listserve and gamjams every Monday morning? hmmmmmmm. Nothing. 

Ok...well surely there is a list of who recently got upgraded. Let's celebrate their success! 2011 Annual Meeeting...nope. 2010 Annual Meeting..no. Those links wouldn't have that info but i sure am glad that the meeting notes are at the top of the page so I can easily access that. Man..even in my own head I'm a sarcastic asshole. Where was I?

Ah..MABRA BAR Standings. I kind of care about this. Click. I wonder what races have the most points for BAR? I'll click....Rules? Ok..i'm here. I see 2012 MABRA BAR Rules here. Fuck..it's a pdf. Sigh. Ok..i'll click it. I said..click it!! WHAT THE FRACK!! Nothing works on the god damn website. Maybe they'll have similar rules listed in the 2010 BAR Rules in pdf. Click. WTF..it's a Word document? Opened. HOLY SHIT!! This has more track changes than I am comfortable with even at work. I'm out. 

Back on the MABRA homepage. Look, Ramon in Artemis colors at Capital Classic Crit in..2001. Takes me back. Let me click refresh..here we go. Ah Shane Groth at Poolesville in 1998. SWEET! 

What if I'm a promoter? Maybe this website is built for promoters to get resources so it makes it easy for them to promote an event. I'll just click 'Promoters.' Here we goooo.. Ah..the Change in Riders Age Demographics from 1989-2004. JUST the document I'd be looking for.  Maybe they have...like a manual for first time promoters..or a guide?  Here is a sampling of the current PDFs I can download (only 1/3 of them)

So..the most recent PDF is from 2009 regarding reduced entry?  Not helping me here. Why did I come here in the first place? I can't remember. I'm heading over to pronhub now. 












Friday, May 11, 2012

YGD Prognosticates - Poolesville Road Race

If Jefferson Cup is MABRA's first Spring Classic, Poolesville Road Race, with its 1.5 mile flat dirt section and punchy rollers is MABRA's Queen of the Local Classics (trademarked, YGD). 

Many racers don't regard this race 'hard' but with an attrition rate of often 50%, something must be said for the difficulty. Regardless if it's getting a rear flat, getting caught behind somebody with a flat, or getting a front flat, it's a tough race that can take out the strongest of riders (with flats). All week long, you hear guys on group rides and on the ol' facebook talk about their 'setup.' 

Old YGD was taking a look at the 1/2/3 start list and said to him (or her?)self, "this looks like a pretty gosh darn good race." Let the prognostication begin!!!

ABRT
Remember when ABRT was Snow Valley? Snow who you say? Well..if you don't know, you should check out the MABRA history records on their awesome website. Nevermind, that doesn't exist. 

Battley Harley Davidson/Sonoma Masters Racing Team
Don't confuse these guys with the XO Communications Team. They are not one in the same. They don't all get together and talk pre race and post race strategy before and after races. Really, they don't. Two TOTALLY different teams. 

Bike Doctor pb DigiSource
Where did these guys come from? They are beginning to be more annoying than Harley/XO pb Cisco developed by Sonoma/Mendocino. Look out for Pete Squared here. Custer wins the AA Road Races up the street and Warner stomps on Morgantown? How do I know? They only blog about themselves like every day.

Celerity Cycling pb Brooks Systems
Guys, this isn't a time trial. The three amigos if you will. Three strong riders from what I like to call 'almost Virginia Beach', Va. Watch for one of these guys to straggle on to the winning break. Maybe. 

Clean Currents pb Beyer Kia aka DC VELO
Frick and company was in full force delivering DJ Brew to the line at the Bunny Slop last week..except NIMA had other plans. What can you do? Perhaps the best tactical team in MABRA (I said it) with a FLYING Ryan McKinney. If they aren't in the move of the day, free t shirts for your mom. 

NCVC
These guys just need a break. They've got the tools and have been knocking on the door all season long for that elite victory. VERY close last week at the hop. Honestly, I'm talking out my ass...i don't know all their results...but damn..this is their home race and they are all riding well. Dark horse fellas.

XO Communications p/b CISCO
Only 9 riders??? Don't expect these guys to telework or provide a webinar on Saturday. They are bringing their hit squad. If Nieters doesn't go in the first break of the day, the world is flat...and he's looking to win. Expect him to claim victory for the state of Vermont. He's the only rider in the peloton who puts maple syrup on his Clif Bars. Of course you have the rest of the team to contend with including an on form Russell The Muscle Langley..which is always scary. The saving grace for the rest of the field is that Adam Squared is staying home. 

YGD Prognostication: It's anybody's race. There will be a nice, solid break with representation from XO, Harley Masters, Bike Doctor, and DC Velo. Every team tent will be saying this of course..If you are on a small team and looking for the win, tag along and sprint yourself to a gravel trophy. If you are NCVC, don't get left out and sent chasing. If you are in any of the other races that day, enjoy yourself and have fun. If you get dropped, check out this site early next week for your photo. 






Monday, May 7, 2012

Public Service Announcement - Hold on to Your Bottles

Every race season, countless crashes are caused by bouncing bidons.


ONLY YOU
CAN PREVENT STRAY BOTTLES

With the Poolesville Road race this weekend, it's time to take off those fancy carbon cages, and install some cheap aluminum ones. Bend em a bit to make 'em extra snug.

Dropped bottles are bad enough, but somehow the idea of tossing your bottle at the end of the race persists as an acceptable practice in some minds. IT IS NOT. You'd have to be as skinny as "the next great American Climber" for 2oz. of plastic to hold you back.

Don't believe that it's dangerous? Check it:




Together, we can make a difference.







Friday, May 4, 2012

Monkey Face of the Day

Not getting dropped but want to be on our glorious website? Make a monkey face!! This guy gets it.

We'll be looking out for monkey faces all season long. If you find one, send them our way. Link is over there to the right. Thanks and thanks to Julie Elliot for the photo.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PSA - Lititz Cat 3 and Cat 4 Crashes - Don't Overcook Corners

First off..hope everybody involved in this crash is ok. From our sources, we heard the initial crashee got taken away to the hospital but can walk and function. We hope this is the case. 

Secondly, HOLY CRAP! This is even making the rounds on non-cycling related websites by NBA features writers. Oh, do non-cyclists love to see us smash ourselves up good. 

Thirdly, don't overcook corners. It's bad for your health. 

Fourthly, the guy screaming to 'go go go go!' after the crash...What up with that? Discuss. 




*Update...The above is the Cat 4 crash. Below is the Cat 3 crash. Damn! You were gonna win bro!