Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Racing Cycle

I remember when an MTB race was so grassroots, they did not even hand out race numbers, have EMS standing by, or have the attorneys of everyone involved on speed dial. Reseda to the Sea comes to mind.

Those were the days.

Then it got big. Money, sponsors, Pros, sanctioning bodies, huge venues. I remember the first Yeti box van. THAT was amazing at the time. Eventually it seemed to get too costly, too serious, too market driven, too, well, just too. XC racing never really interested me much. I liked big, exploration rides the best. 4 loops around the ski resort at Big Bear for 50 bucks? No way. How about a 30 mile loop in the backcountry? Race ya there. Cuz even if I lose, I will have a great time.

Eventually, XC racing (classic NORBA stuff, I mean) all seemed to bust in a balloon of self importance, drama, budget issues, and dis-interest, or that is the way I saw it.

SO now it is endurance racing that has me interested. I am no threat to the leaders, I assure you. I like the idea of the challenge of covering a lot of ground, being pretty self sufficient, etc. And, it seems to be pretty grassroots.

A recent thread in a popular MTB site has me wondering, though. I hope that the endurance racing scene does not follow the path of the XC races. The 12 and 24 hour stuff, the 50s and 100s, the festival atmosphere, the family involvement, all harkens to the roots of the bike VS. the mountain. It is great if guys and gals can make a living at what they are good at, hate to take that away, but I hope it stays kinda fun and innocent with fewer box vans full of parts and factory mechanics and more Honda Elements full of spouses and kids cheering dad on (or mom, as the case may be).

Heck, I will never be the focus of controversy cuz I will never win anything and no one will notice me or protest me and what happens behind the scenes at the podium matters not to my ride.


Maybe the future is the way it used to be way back when. A few phone calls, a start time, a map, a finish line somewhere and cheers/beers for the participants.

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