Saving The Vanishing Road Race

Road races are a dying species, and more and more keep falling off the calendar.

Russ Campbell’s tweet got those of us who are sitting behind a desk talking on the Twitters. And maybe talking about things is how we can keep road races around? Or maybe not, and I’m just wasting my time typing this (NOTE: I am currently waiting for reports to run, so I am filling a void in my day with bloggage).

Despite the unhelpful commentary I’ve lobbed at Dieter Drake and his (quite expensive to race) Tour of the Battenkill, I do think that he has figured something out – entry fees have been unsustainable for too long. Or, to put it another way, bike races are really expensive to run, and the primary source of revenue has been stunted, contributing to races falling off the map when the promoter gets tired of running a money-losing event.

Dieter has also taken over the Tour of the Dragons. The entry fee in 2011 (pre-Dieter) of the two-day stage race was $90 (or something, Colin Reuter hasn’t answered my IM about how to find old races on bikereg. Shit that’s cheap!). Entry fee in 2012 was $180 (what the hell just happened?!?).

Now, that is a steep increase – but maybe he’s the only promoter who’s realized that putting on a bike race is a risky endeavor, and if you want to make sure the event is still around in five years, you gotta add some padding there. Terrible weather with no turnout, road construction canceling the race or late-to-pay sponsors and the promoter could be looking at a big-ass bill eating up all available dollars.

Please note that I’m doing Tour of the Dragons this year because I really like bike racing, and I feel that it is a worthwhile expense for the event. I don’t do Battenkill because driving out there blows, and I don’t think it’s worth the entry fee.

As far as racers helping to better foot the bill of an event, the answer probably lies somewhere in between artificially low entry fees ($35 for Sunappe!) and a doubling of entry fees in one year.

Other questions that are valid that I have no idea how to answer, and am just putting in a list because I am bad at writing and want to go eat lunch.

  • How do promoters keep entry fees down for beginner racers so they don’t get scared away?
  • How can costs be lowered across the board?
  • Does having more volunteers lower the event cost?
  • What information can promoters share to figure out best practices?
  • Maybe every race has an associated Gran Fondo to support it financially?

I may be totally missing the point for why bike races are disappearing – maybe it’s not money. Maybe it’s a lack of volunteers, promoters getting tired of all the work, cities and towns that aren’t supportive (maybe because PEOPLE KEEP LITTERING YOU FRIGGIN IDIOTS), or something else that I can’t think of in the few minutes I dedicated to type this out.

Perhaps racers should promise to volunteer at one race per season (please note that I only help out with my clubs events, so this sentence is also directed at me). Cars don’t point themselves in the correct direction.

So, really, I have no answers, just thoughts, but this is the Internet! It willed a Foam Party into existence, it can help solve some of these road race problems.


Marblehead, AKA OH HEY BIKES.

I haven’t raced my bike since Mayor’s Cup. Since 2005 I’ve raced cross, but then 2012 was a busy year and I had to choose between “racing bikes” and “being a functional human being”.

So it was a long time between bike races, and though one would expect me to be SUPER ABSURDLY EXCITED about Marblehead, I was just MARGINALLY EXCITED, because maybe I am becoming an old person. But if I’m becoming an old person, maybe I’m getting old man power, so it’s really okay.

I rode from my house to a McDonald’s in Amesbury to meet Ryan Fleming and new teammate but dude you all know Aaron Hubbell. We drove to the bike race while they marveled at my collegiate-level foolishness to not bring a change of clothes with me.

Listen, when you have size 15 feet, you really don’t want to ride bikes with a pair of shoes and street clothes. It’s terribly annoying. Plus my shorts are pretty comfortable and I had on some chamois cream, so…whatever.

Upon arrival at the sandy parking lot of Marblehead, Peter Bell came up to us like some sort of beardless Santa with a sack of new clothing, and that was great. I love new clothing, especially when it includes well-fitting long-sleeve jerseys, as a good portion of my bike riding is spent in the morning hours when long-sleeve jerseys are my friend.

After the usual pre-race business of chatting and riding and discussing whether or not it was an appropriate temperature to go bare-knees (it was not, but don’t tell Luciano that, because he’s all “you guys check out my legs!”), the racing started! YAY BIKE RACING I HAVE MISSED YOU.

It was not warm, which is normal at Marblehead.

Marblehead is a strange race, because the promoting club CCB throws everyone who owns a CCB jersey at it. So, when there’s a move up the road with a CCB rider, you aren’t immediately sure if it’s watt-factory Tim Mitchell or some dude who is normal. Then, CCB also has Cameron Cogburn (winner of 2012 Mt. Washington Hill Climb), Dylan McNicholas (dude who spends every Wednesday night in the summer making me question my life decisions), Will Dugan (former Team Type 1 rider) and a pile of other dudes who they also just send off the front to make it interesting.

So you’re never really sure what’s going on, it gets sorta fast, and everyone is super excited because OH MAN WE ARE RACING BIKES!

The race saw a few moves go up the road and come back, and things were pretty normal until three to go when Tim Mitchell (aforementioned watt factory), a Keough (yep, one of them Keoughs) and another dude were up the road. I was getting to the point where I wanted to take a nap, as I had spent some time at the front of the race being excited, but once I saw Ryan Fleming at the front riding with gusto I realized I should try to be productive.

We spent a lap riding at a lively pace – lively enough that my legs and respiratory system started getting confused with what was happening – before I detonated at the bottom of the finish climb at one to go. Fleming eventually blew up shortly thereafter.

Luciano ended up 6th, and Aaron 8th (full results – please note the fantastic finish of Ryan Fleming and I!), so that is dandy.

Yay bikes!

Lotus Notes OSX Alert

Lotus Notes OSX Alert (mp3)

You may have heard that I use Lotus Notes at work as an “email” “client” (both are in quotes because Lotus Notes is so fucking terrible I refuse to put it in the same category as Gmail, Postbox or Pine).

You may also have heard me bitching on Twitter about how long it took me to get a computer.

Well, I got a new computer (MacBook Pro), it has Lotus Notes, and the above-linked file is the alert that Lotus Notes plays when I get an email.

Please note that this is 2013, and I am not a character in a Carmen Sandiego game.

Food times

This weekend I planned on a bunch o’ bike riding, which included one day with Alex Cox and probably the Exeter ride on Sunday.

GENERALLY, all of my bike riding energy comes from pre-ride french toast (or pancakes) and mid-ride Snickers bars (unless I’m racing then it’s…still Snickers bars, but sometimes Clif bars). But both cost money, and rice is CHEAP. I had a bunch of rice cake thingies this one time when Ted and Tim tried to kill me, and they were good.

However, they pretty much fell apart in my hand while I tried to eat them, which usually resulted in me shoving the whole thing in my mouth and almost choking. And I didn’t really think they could hold up to a couple of hours in my jersey and not disintegrate into a pile of rice and other ingredients.

So I modified this recipe slightly – instead of SCRAMBLING the eggs and mixing them into the rice in a baking sheet, I mixed the eggs (and soy sauce…more about my ingredient choices later) into the rice, greased a muffin tin, and made WATT CAKES (or, that’s what I called them when I texted a photo to Alex).



Put them in the oven at 350° for…20 minutes or so and BLAMMO. Pretty sturdy little cakes that held up very well during our ride. At mile 80 or so, they were still totally together and hadn’t disintegrated into a rice pile!

All told it probably took 20 minutes to prepare (that’s counting the time to cook the rice). Way better than spending $1 on one Clif bar.

A few things I’ll do differently (probably on Thursday night so I can have them for our Bicycle Riding Team Adventure Weekend):

  • Lower temperature and longer – The top was a bit crispy, the inside sort of soft. I’d like it to be SOLID, but kind of soft, so that if I accidentally inhale a grain of rice it’s not like there’s a tiny knife flying through my respiratory system.
  • MORE STUFF IN IT – I didn’t have any veggie sausage and I brain farted on putting…anything else in them. So they were very bland. Alex spiced it up with some agave nectar at D Squared, so that was good. Round two will include veggie sausage and shredded cheddar cheese in the mix that goes into the muffin tin.
  • Maybe chocolate – Might make some with chocolate inside. Yes.

I should do the math on how much they cost per calorie unit…likely way better than anything you can buy!

SICK WATTS (It’s a T-shirt)


Some t-shirts. Design by Ryan White, as he’s my design dude. Here’s what they look like in Illustrator:

They will cost $20. I should have them with me at Gloucester on Sunday (and a Square reader!) so track me down and you can buy one (or coordinate with me before hand). Cash or credit BABY.

Printed on Next Level shirts at Black Sheep Design in Portsmouth (printers of the Portsmouth Crit shirts this year).

Sizing is similar to American Apparel.

After the race, they will be on Metallic Poutine for $20 + shipping.


Share your sick watts in your choice of power meter.