Monday, November 03, 2008

NoHo Report

Family commitments meant I could only make it to day 2 of the fun that is NoHo. To skip the same old pre-race story, lets cut to the chase... the day 2 course was wicked damn fun, but I found it to be surprisingly technical in race situations. I even said to CTodd one of the dozen times I passed him (more on that later) that the course was surprisingly hard to pass on. One thing that certainly didn't help is this wonderful start concept the Verge folks seem to have in their heads as a good idea... start the 55+ race ahead of the 35+ 3/4 race. With all due respect to the elder statesmen of the sport and the tremendous effort the Verge crew puts out, THAT START FORMAT DOES NOT WORK! They tried it at Gloucester and we damn near killed a couple back of the packers when we got to the runup the first time. I think it was a half a lap yesterday before I started catching guys. Even right through the end of the race, the top 10-15 B Masters are passing the lead elders. It just creates undue traffic and I'm still failing to see the benefit. Oh wait... this was a race report...

I lined up third row out of 10 or 11 and noticed that T-Needham had the primo front row spot. The Professor was row two and CTodd was lurking around somewhere as was Cookie. Now the good and bad thing about NoHo is that you can't really go balls deep at the start or you risk giving you or your neighbor a rude intro to a giant steel gate. So off we go and about 5 seconds in someone mid to back of the lineup decides to make everyone's day a little more interesting by causing a pileup before they even hit the start line. In the meantime I'm off somewhere in the top 30 or so. Right from the get go, the battles are on. Cookie and CTodd were all in the neighborhood and so were some fast starters who were trying to hang on. The worst part about the tight racing was that the very rideable sand pit and ride-down-turned-ride-up became enormous cluster phucks. Fast forward to lap 3... the 55's have been passed or are just one at a time. Cookie is gone from my group, but close. JimmE has moved up from his DFL lineup and is within site on the double-back sections. And me and CTodd have found ourselves in a battle. Looking back it was really the most comical thing... we spent the better part of 30 minutes taking turns pulling each other, trying to drop each other, exchanging words of encouragement, and heckling each other. I think being able to try and drop a guy, but offering that he jump on your wheel all at the same time is some of the beauty of cross. Final lap now... I know we're in the top 20ish and we've had various guys with us off and on and now we can see the next big group right in front of us including Mr. Needham. Into the litter box and we both ride it while Needham and another guy run. I was sure TN was gone, but he jumped on quickly and then he and CTodd were in front of me. Unfortunately we were now headed to the upper deck where opportunities to pass almost don't exist so it was just setting it up for the sprint. We turned for home and the (now) 3 in front had gapped me and right at the entrance to the stretch an NEBC guy came around. I wound it up a bit late and found myself essentially odd man out in my group. I've definitely decided I'm not a sprinter so I'm going to have to both work on that and work on getting to situations where I don't need it.

So the tally was 14th overall, just over a minute down to the winner and around 45 sec down to GCD. Gary was an easy 2 minutes up on me last year so it's progress. At first I was a bit down because I know I have beaten or can beat at least 6 of the guys in front of me. In a race that close though on that course and with the fun I had, I'm not going to worry about it. The upgrade has come through so the battles are only going to get more fierce... better get used to it.

31 comments:

solobreak said...

Did you hit your head on the garage door or something? At G-ster, Rath started 30 seconds behind the 3/4 and passed 66 out of 89 of us on his way to winning. At Noho his finish time is listed as a minute faster than yours. If he started ahead of you, the only way you passed him is if you cut the course, or lapped him.

So maybe the reason you had so much trouble passing these guys is you aren't much faster than them. What is worse, the winner of what is essentially an elite race having to race through 66 backmarkers, or a few weekend warriors in a B race having to work their way through 10 guys?

Punkass.

Colin R said...

Yeah solo, but take out Rath and Ed Hamel and you have the rest of the 55+ field which won't even catch 20 of the 3/4 Men, and none on the first lap.

So basically, inconvenience two guys, or inconvenience the 10 55+ guys that are immediately put "in the way" of the 3/4 masters rampage, and everyone who has to pass them.

Eh, what do I know. Ask e-richie what he thinks about it since he's often the 3rd 55+.

But it's not as cut-n-dried as you make it sound.

solobreak said...

Every single person in the 3/4 Masters race has the option of doing a different race that has the course to itself. They are voluntarily declaring themselves unimportant by doing a nobody gives a shit who wins race. But they have to have the course to themselves?

trackrich said...

Without opening the always beloved race scheduling discussion, I have to side with Colin on this one. I am genuinely curious though... how do the "other" 10-15 guys feel about spending the race with a bunch of punkasses in the nobody cares race running them over?

trackrich said...

And BTW... not much faster? I'll be the first to admit I suck, but we spotted them a minute and even I caught all but 2... Like I said... not slamming these guys because I hope I can get out of my frickin chair when I'm 55, but I think they're getting screwed by Verge...

solobreak said...

Well you claimed to have passed "the leaders." You didn't.

You just don't seem to be getting that the 3/4 masters is a marginal race to begin with. Hardcore competitors have a choice to do another race (either the A masters or the senior 4).

Colin R said...

Bah.

It's marginal in the sense that yeah, anyone in that race could race either 2/3 men or 1/2/3 masters if they wanted the course to themselves, so catering to the 3/4 masters crowd is a waste of time.

On the other hand, money talks, and that's a BIG CHUNK OF MONEY you're disrespecting.

I say, make it Cat 4 35+. The notion that one could earn Cat 2 status from winning a bunch of 3/4 masters races is ridiculous -- but then again, all being a cat 2 means is that you lose the chance for those easy pickins in the 3/4 races.

The reminds me, the 3/4 race has some massive freaking sandbaggers... Tim Young.

solobreak said...

It's marginal because it's not a Verge series race. The numbers argument is bull. If that were the case the Elite women and even Elite mens races would be billed below the Cat 4.

solobreak said...

Masters races do not count for upgrade points on the road. Never have. I don't think CX is any different.

trackrich said...

I don't believe masters races are explicitly excluded if you read the USAC book, but I'd have to ask Diane for a ruling on that one.

Solo, going back to your argument that it's an elite race, what would the harm be in starting the 55's 30-60sec behind the A Masters? They'd catch a small percentage of the field and any lapping of them that went on would happen sporadically and late in the race as opposed to the hacks in the 3/4 trampling a half dozen of them on lap 1.

And Colin, I've been holding myself back from specifically linking any of those who are in need of a forced upgraded lately, but you may have touched on one of the best candidates...

CTodd said...

Who gives a shit is right.

It was FUN. That's all I care about.

Rich our race was hilarious... made it all the more fun to partake. Unlike Mr. Grumpy-break I'm not going to bitch and whine about a race I didn't even ride in. Who cares if 55+ guys start in front of us? It forces me to be a better racer if I need to pass anyone.

Its all about fun, people. If you're not having that - stay home.

solobreak said...

There are a number of ways things could be rearranged. Giving the 45+ and 55+ a race comes to mind.

That's not the issue here. You criticized the Verge series for giving priority to the 55+ series over the non-series 3/4 masters race. Your disrespect for the older racers was thinly-veiled IMHO and I take exception to it. My point is simple: If 3/4 Masters want respect (and the course to themselves), then do the race that is worthy of respect. Don't go doing the "take everybody good out so I can win" race and then bitch about a lack of amenities. All you pink hats want the world handed to you. The guys in the 55+ race were manning up and doing the senior A race when they were your age, and they're still out there now. I could name a few of them who were sponsoring cx races when nobody else would. You would not have the sport today if it weren't for some of them. Verge recognizes this (Verge has been around more than a few years too) and puts up a series for them. The easy solution would be to eliminate the 3/4 Masters race. The series goes out of their way to accommodate riders who aren't willing to race against the real best in their age group, and the thanks they get is bitching?

trackrich said...

Dude... take a step back and breathe... If my original point was poorly stated, then, well, maybe I'm getting good at that. To try again, I think this format they've been using is annoying to the 3/4 Masters (who have paid their money to race) and it MUST be annoying to the back half of the 55+ (who have paid their money to race). Eliminating the 3/4 Masters would do more harm than good in my opinion because it would encourage massive sandbagging in the 4's or make the guys who have fallen off their game a bit just not show up (and pay their money to race). If they've tried other formats and pissed off even more people or just had other failures and this is the best combo/order they can find, then I'll STFU and pass guys when needed. I'm merely suggesting there's probably a better format.

CTodd said...

What if I don't want to go up against the best in my age group?
the Elite Masters field is for people who are uber-competitive.
So we need to roll in the 90 3/4 masters into that field? how big would that be? 150-200 racers? Can courses handle that? Can officials handle that?

I have no chance of being competitive in elite masters , nor do I care. I don't have the time to invest in training. Neither do a lot of the "B" masters. we have jobs, girlfriends, kids, dogs, etc.. so you're telling me I need to drop everything and train to race competitively or just don't show up?
How would bold and Mccormack feel having to pass 100+ riders on a course?

Colin R said...

What if I don't want to go up against the best in my age group?

2/3 Men would love to have you!

- Guy who doesn't want to race the best in his age group

trackrich said...

That would be a new one... creating a TodCast while in a bike race courtesy of Colin's seat cam. Then again he'd have to be able to ride right behind Colin... Oh Snap!

And to save you the typing, the only way I'm ever getting face time on that camera is if I'm the first one to register and I line up behind Reuter after he gets his callup...

CCC said...

"And to save you the typing, the only way I'm ever getting face time on that camera is if I'm the first one to register and I line up behind Reuter after he gets his callup..."

Um, no. Three rows of call-ups mean you'll be staring at my big ass, which will completely block your view of him...so no, Too Tall, you'll never get airtime unless you do a non-Verge 1/2/3...in?

Colin R said...

For example, Putney this Sunday.

Scott Sweeney said...

I didn't know the B masters was a "nobody gives a shit who wins race"!

Ah well....I guess it's back to bar league soccer for this kid.

Anyone wanna' buy a 'cross bike?

badbrad said...

Chill out fools.

Just ride your damn bikes... and smile. Smiling is good.

gewilli said...

i would love to read all the comments before posting my own, but that'd be mature and thoughtful...

how's starting the 55+ infront of the 3/4 masters any different than starting the Cat 4 beginners infront of the 3/4 masters.

3/4 masters seem to get screwed no matter what...

gewilli said...

okay - i've read the comments...

#1, Masters in cross can upgrade (and should fucking upgrade). 3/4 this year could certainly get you cat 2 points, why not? The top 10 or so of the 3/4 race this year is much faster than it ever has been. There are guys sandbagging heavy duty this year.

I think the Masters should be split up a bit more. Make the elite race a 1/2 race only, and do a hard core enforced upgrade of the 3s who win the cat 3 races *cough* curly *cough*. Don't have a 3/4 race but have a Cat 3 35+ race. Or just call it a Cat 3 Masters race. Whatever. Stick the 4s in with the 4s. Make them all race together. If the cat 4 masters with skills don't want to race with the beginners then that should motivate them to get enough fitness to go fast enough to score points or at least be out front of the carnage.

It doesn't add more races. The elite Masters field suddenly becomes uber competitive. The Cat 3 Masters race is a show case of the lifers and the moving on up guys.

Heck if you pare the Elite Masters race down to a Cat 1/2 race then you can stick em in the Elite field (scored separately) and give them the full hour race they deserve. Not these retarded 40 minute races.

Just saying, that's all...

Oh and yall bitches can really get cranked up when you look at the schedule for the NBX races.

Check the 9am race:
Cat 4 men,
Cat 3/4 Masters 35+/45+
Masters 55+

Seriously. All together. Just like always. Massive clusterphuc

will they start the Cat 3/4 masters before the Cat 4s? Will the 55+ start between them? Or will they do it the old way and start the Cat 4 first, then the 3/4 masters, then the 55+????

that's gonna be some serious carnage if some of those faster 3/4 masters don't pull their cookies out of the sissy jar and race in the big boys race...

Colin R said...

Check the 9am race:
Cat 4 men,
Cat 3/4 Masters 35+/45+
Masters 55+


Less daylight = time to cat up, ya pooooosies

gewilli said...

yeah that's the promoter's logic...

seriously, check the start field for that race... i hope they start the 3/4 masters after the cat 4 guys... so all the Cat 4s will get to see how amazingly respectful and nice Paul Curly is when he passes them all...

solobreak said...

Colin has already done a much better job of logically analyzing the ins and outs of this thread then I have, but I'll chime in one more time anyway, because it beats working.

Willi - UCI rules forbid mixing categories, so your plan to put the masters in the elite field is a no-go.

If you are a 3 and elect to do the 3/4, that means you want to race with 4's anyway, so at NBX you get your wish. Everyone else is a 4, so it's 4s racing with 4s. Except any 55+ who are not 4s. They just have to deal.

Getting back to where we started, hey, I've elected to do the 3/4 masters at times too. I accept that this is a race of low stature, lower entry, shorter duration, no prizes, and yes, field mixing. It goes with the territory.

It is also interesting that some Cat 3 riders feel "why should I have to race with the 1 and 2s?" How do they think the Cat 4 rider feel about racing with them? Separating the entry level riders (i.e. Cat 4) and giving them their own events has shown in the past to be the best way to grow the sport. If a new rider shows up and gets lapped and/or pulled by a bunch of Cat 3 sandbaggers in his or her first race, they might never come back.

If someone is a Cat 3 and feels they are totally uncompetitive in the 1/2/3 or 2/3 race, they can always downgrade. Why be a 3 if you want to race with 4s anyway? Just be a 4. Simple.

re: upgrading - For the most part cx categories are self-assigned anyway. But you cannot expect to earn upgrade points to a 2 by racing in a race that is 75% cat 4s. Does anyone even keep track of this?

And of course I was only kidding when I said nobody gives a shit who wins the 3/4 masters race. This is a huge deal! We should totally glorify these people. After all, they could have done the 1/2/3 race and suffered in obscurity and maybe got in the way of the elite masters, but they instead chose to make the sacrifice of stepping down to race with the Cat 4s and educate them on how to race cross.

Colin R said...

I gotta say, the idea that one could become a 2 by winning 3/4 masters races is pretty silly.

On the other hand, if you wanna be a 2, go for it. All you're doing is agreeing not to sandbag any more 3/4 races.

solobreak said...

It doesn't matter anyway right? You can do that race as a 3. And you can get to 3 just by asking. So it's not even an issue until you want an Elite license.

Colin R said...

It matters in the sense that I get to talk down to lowly cat 3's like yourself, solo.

solobreak said...

You forgot to qualify that as "lifer Cat 3..."


How long did we have to wait for you to finish off the back of Hilltowns? Do you have any idea how much it cost me to feed that pack of search dogs?

trackrich said...

at least everyone's having fun again...

And I'm pretty sure 30 comments is a record not to be touched on this forum for some time... at least until I unintentionally insult someone else.

gewilli said...

lets make it 31 for good measure...

(good to see the humor come back)