CBR Interview: Eric Goodwin

Mar 17
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The Spring Super Criterium on April 5, 2014, has become the de facto season kick-off for many CBR teams.  Now in its 7th year, the SSC p/b Burnham Racing and Spidermonkey Cycling will be the opening event for both the Illinois Cup and The Pave Liga Team Championship. Registration is open.   Luke Allingham spoke with Eric Goodwin, Race Director of the Spring Super Criterium.

CBR: Please tell us about yourself – how long have you been involved in cycling, do you race / ride, etc. 

Eric Goodwin: I am the race director of the Super Criterium and I’m the managing director of Burnham Racing; both of them are kind of the same. I’m not really directing much, but I’m kind of in the service capacity. I have been racing bikes since 1992; I started in duathlons because I was a runner in high school and college. I picked up the sport again in 2003 and then Burnham was formed in the end of 2005. This is our ninth year, so we’re really looking forward to our ten-year anniversary next year as a team. 

CBR: Give us some background on your race - how many years, location, sponsors, club sponsor, typical fields, etc

EG: The Super Criterium started in 2007, so this is our seventh year. It’s really intriguing - it’s the perfect race for its spot on the calendar. It fills it’s role as the first big early season race for a number of unique reasons. The venue, first and foremost. We talk about the venue in two terms; the race is held at a rally auto racecourse at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit, IL . Because of that, there are a number of facilities available to the competitors that wouldn’t normally be available at a race venue; things such as indoor registration, indoor showers and restrooms, indoor concessions, and the best part is that there is indoor spectating. Another thing that we like to talk about is that because of our relationship with Blackhawk Farms, we have a level of medical response available to us that is far above and beyond any other race that we’re aware of for it’s size. We have a full staff of paramedics and multiple ambulances on site.

CBR: Tell us about the course – distance, what should racers expect, what are some unique features

EG: The auto racecourse is 1.85 miles around. The reason we call it the Super Criterium is because is so big. It’s nearly a circuit race. Races go anywhere from half an hour to an hour long. The way our schedule works out, a lot of the competitors will have the opportunity to race three times in a day, because of the way the categories shake out. Because this is an early season race, we try to keep the entry fees low, and we offer the opportunity to race a second time for ten dollars. We also definitely want to mention that if the juniors pre-register, then the juniors race for free. That’s one thing we’ve always tried to do is tried to encourage juniors to start early.

The course is great, because it is very forgiving to newcomers. It’s forgiving in the sense that because it was built for auto racing, the corners are gradual for bike racers and there are no road hazards to speak of. The pavement is absolutely perfect, the course is very well maintained; there’s no debris or anything that is near the racecourse. It’s safe in that regard, but it’s still challenging because the wind plays a big deal into the way the races shake out. The races are challenging in the sense that you have to know how to play the wind. A veteran racer is going to be a little but more savvy in finding where to attack on the course to get away. Due to the fact that the course is wide open, you can see the people who are trying to escape, so you have to try that much harder to get away from the pack because you’re in sight the whole time.

One thing that is pretty cool about Blackhawk, though, is that it doesn’t favor one type of rider over the rest. Some courses will favor a climber, others will favor a breakaway specialist, and some courses will favor raw sprinters. The races at Blackhawk are pretty much decided every which way every year. Races have been won in solo breakaways and group breakaways, and a fair share of races have come down to sprints. The sprints are some of the most exciting in Illinois all year long, because of the finish straightaway that we have: it’s nearly an eighth of a mile long and it’s pretty intense to watch.

CBR: Tell us about your sponsors – what involvement in cycling, their support, etc

EG: We have a number of partners that we’ve worked with. Kozy’s Cyclery have come out and supported us. They’ve supported our team as well. Colnago, who is also another partner of Burnham, has supported the event. They’re both great partners, they’re both based in Chicago, and they care deeply about the image for the cycling scene.

CBR: What’s the best-case scenario that could happen in this year’s race, in your opinion?

EG: Best-case scenario for me as a race director is that racers continue to show up and test themselves, but also that we continue to have a great safety record. This race really does have a history of being one of the safer venues. Also, that everyone comes and gets as much racing as they can handle out of the day and go home exhausted, but happy.

This interview was conducted by ​Luke Allingham.  Luke can be contacted at Allingham’s Bike World.




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