Road Season 2013

Feb 19
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Opinions, Musings,

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What is going on with the road the last few years


It was the year 2009, and things were great for road racing in Chicago. We had the Evanston Grand Prix, the Chicago Criterium, the Glencoe Grand Prix, and of course Superweek was still firing on 5 of 8 cylinders. Chicagobikeracing.com was going full bore, so we could always see what the rest of us were up to.


Flash forward to 2013, and things are much different. Superweek seems to have run aground, the Evanston Grand Prix is gone, and so is Chicago Criterium. Then to make matters worse, a bearded guy in a XXX windvest walked into our living rooms and took away the little hyper-local slice of our racing world. Sure, Jon Knouse is still promoting a heck of a great race, xXx has hit a grand slam two years in a row with Galena, and Marco Colbert and Tom Schuler have added great new venues and they’re working very hard to construct a race series that will be around for years to come. Of course there are even more races that I am failing to mention, but the wins seemed to be outpaced by the losses in races, and in spirit.


The way we communicate has changed in that time, too. Instead of cogent paragraphs and lasting content presented in some sort of order, people are distributing tiny conversations all over the place in the form of status updates and tweets. I knew I would miss CBR when it started to wheeze, but I didn’t anticipate how much, and that even with the increased frequency of small news bites, how disconnected I would feel from the larger road scene.


On top of all this, the competitive landscape seems to have changed. The pent-up desire to have 5 sets of Zipp tubular wheelsets was finally satisfied when the chicrosscup deathstar became fully operational. Open race weekends perhaps reminded people how much fun it is to just hit the group rides. If you needed a little bit more competition, you could satisfy your sweet tooth with Strava.


This year feels much different to me though (Maybe it was me all along who felt like the road scene was sagging when in reality it wasn’t). In measurables and in non-measurables, the arrow is pointing up for the first time in a few years. We have some great new races and even a new race series to look forward to. Guys who have concentrated solely on cross the last few years have been training this winter with the road in mind. The winter group rides I’ve been on have been spirited even in the dark of night, and there are some fresh new faces at these rides. Traditional venues like Beverly will once be teeming with a variety of languages. There are new teams eager to make their mark.


CBR is back too obviously, and with it, some of the energy that I missed. We are looking forward to the year ahead, and will need your help and your voice.


Cheers to what I think will be a great 2013 road season. What do you guys think?


-Pat