Monday, August 18, 2008

The New NRC: No Ridiculous Cost / Carbon Emissions / Country-Crisscrossing

In addition to my sharp friends, even cyclingnews is evaluating what the NRC really means these days. Easy for me to sit back and criticize from my armchair of injury, but it sure seems that there have been few races where all the big guns duked it out. Notable exceptions would be the recent road and crit nationals (well, minus Olympians): and power to Brooke Miller who won both plus Jen McRae who pulled off 4th and 3rd. But even the Women's Prestige Series (and again, hats off to Aaron's for their awesome sweep of the series) seemed more dilute than last year, with a one-day crit replacing Tour de Toona, noticeably missing Webcor and other West Coast teams. OK EVERYONE did seem to be at Nature Valley, crashing on wet manhole covers in a field of 150 when PEI would have been much better racing... I've thought before of a series built on great races that support the women's field - because some promoters really do go out on a limb to do things like offer equal prize money, then find their events barely attended - but what is the new $4-a-gallon gasoline/"economic downturn" bike racing? I am sure the sport will rally but it sure sounds as though a lot of teams are folding, that things are looking a bit dire. Maybe it really is the old school approach, the Alison Dunlap/Katie Compton cyclocross approach, the aspiring "pro" approach, the less is more, where you hone your skills locally, the level of regional racing rises, and you hit the big races in your area and if you are ready, the BIG glorious races nationally. In New England for instance, we can do pretty well with Battenkill, Hilltowns, Bear Mountain, Fitchburg, Thater, Green Mountain, Housatonic Hills (ok what am I forgetting), then zipping up to Montreal to pretend we are in Europe. No news here but maybe racing is going grass roots, or should.


d said...

hey! wordy! wordy! wordy! you not only have a bum leg but also drop your participles. guess it beats dropping your drawers. it could be worse than a walking cast; you could be in traction with screws and rods in your leg. then you could watch soaps and ophray and read mushy harlequins. you make good and valid points about everyone not racing in same races. you must have your brains under your helmet instead of on your bike seat. don't see how can crown a "champion" when everyone doesn't run same races like they do in nascar. as for teams cutting back and/or not willing to travel, don't know what country club you elitists live in but for us regular folks there's a recession on. everyone's tightened their belts when it comes to sponsoring anything especially sports. as the saying goes, in the department store of life sports are the toy department; nice to have but not necessary except to those playing the sports.

Kirsten Robbins said...

Hi Anna-

You raise some great points and I enjoy your thoughtful outlook on the state of the NRC. Well, I enjoy your thoughtful outlook in general!

Yes, it is something we are currently evaluating on CN, in a balanced way of course. But, I think you are right on ths point -- maybe going back to grass roots racing is something that would do wonders for our local racing scenes. It will serve other importances like promoting physical health in our home cities aswell as the health of the environment.

Anna Milkowski said...

Thanks for the comments. All for lively dialog and uncensored blog - within the bounds of kindness of spirit. Tone can be hard to gauge if I don't know you. I suppose since there are readers out there who don't know me, I will be extra careful to convey important things such as my caring more about the human condition and social justice than bike racing and my total lack of intention to wallow in self-pity over a broken bone given my unquestionably priveleged life. This is not the subject of this blog and won't be, but contributing to the world is a key goal of mine and I deliberately put "economic downturn" in quotation marks with some sarcasm, so I question the critical tone since we seem to agree. All good fun. Cheers, Anna

Dieter said...

Hey Anna,

I stumbled upon you blog today. Nice.

RE: NRC - Folks ask me at races when I am going to take the Battenkill to NRC. For the life of me, I can't figure out what NRC gets a race and what it really does for the sport. Exposure? Turnout? For races like the Battenkill (and many others) they already have this. I think the future of pro-level cycling in the US is the regional schedules for sure. As long as promoters put on interesting races in interesting places, then the quality of the racing will continue to rise!!!