The 8/14 Glencoe Grand Prix marked my first race of the 2010 year. I entered the Cat 4 race for the sole purpose of gauging my fitness going into cross season and to provide a support role to Jamie, Stan or Hemme. 100 riders pre-registered for the race, but I’m guessing not all started due to the heat. With an 11am race, the temp ratcheted up rather quickly throughout the morning.
The team’s plan was simple. Hemme and Popper would get the hole shot and try to split the field appart. The rest of us would try to shield Jamie and Stan from the wind and make the rest of the field work. Part 1 of the plan worked flawlessly. Hemme and Popper threw a grenade into the field from the start by setting a relentless pace of 25-28mph. By the end of the first lap, I heard the announcer say they already started to gap the group I was in. Sadly, Jensen and I were unable to help protect Jamie and Stan as they were able to bridge up to the Hemme/Popper group.
At one point during the race, I tried to give it a go off the front, but was unsuccessful. With all hope of reconnecting with the lead group dashed, I settled in with a group of 20, just trying to stay safe. At minute 30, we received the signal that we had one lap to go before being pulled. On the descent of the last lap, I lost my powertap computer over some of the rough road. Not wanting to lose a $200 piece of equipment, I stopped to pick it up, but I lost contact with my group and was lapped in the process. I finished my lap and assumed I’d be scored at the back of my 20-person group completing 9 total laps.
Given my low expectations of finishing well and treating the race as a “training” event, I didn’t care about where I placed. After checking out CBR last night, I looked at the chip timing results from our race. This is where it gets interesting.
1) I was not even placed. You’d think with chip timing, it’d be able to count the total number of laps I completed and they’d place me accordingly. This happend to Popper as well. 2 DNF’s ….
2) The best lap time for the Cat 4’s was 2:59 while the best time for the Cat 3’s was 3:03. The best time in the Cat 1-4 Masters 45+ was 2:58. This tells me we have some fast Cat 4’s that should be Cat 3’s at the very least. The upgrading process is broken in my opinion. Our IL official should take a look at the lap times and consider upgrading at least 10 individuals from the 4’s.
3) With cycling becoming more popular, in a way we are limiting our growth by not properly upgrading people based on their ABILITY. There were 2 full Cat 5 fields of 50 riders and 1 full Cat 4 field of 100 riders. How can the sport grow when the developmental categories are completely filled?
Food for thought on this Monday morning.