Thursday, July 2, 2009
Why do I do this?
photo credit: D. Pate
One of my favorite Crits was Sunday. The Webster Groves Criterium. This year was extra special because I am on the Hub team. I started my day extra early by volunteering at Registration for 4 hours. On Saturday, I put my craftiness to good use (what little I have) to make signs for the kids races (They doubled as fans!). At noon, I changed into my kit and prepared to help with the kids races. I actually delegated well and got to sit down (or rather, was TOLD to sit down by Carrie) during the kids races. As a result of all of the morning standing/working, my legs felt heavy and leadened.
All morning, we were registering women for Cat 4 races and other women for a 1,2,3 race. At the line, we were told we'd race as "women's open." I didn't grasp what this would mean in the end. I still don't understand the nuances of this stuff, but I am learning. The more I learn, the more I don't like it. The more I have to evaluate WHY I do this. Turns out Women's Open means that for a Cat 4 women, no matter how well you do against your peers, you are judged against everyone, including some of the the best women racers in the area. I got 11th, out of 20 finishers. I felt good about my race but got dropped off of case group 1 (which ended up becoming chase 2) with about 8 laps to go. Looking at the results, I discovered that Alice (Hub team mate) was the first Cat 4 women across the line. I was the 2nd. That's awesome....however, no one cares (except me, and maybe Alice). Turns out that when there are two flyers, the one announced at the line rules. That was the one that didn't give a damn about Cat 4 women. No money or glory for us.
(I am realizing that I am MORE in it for the glory than anything). Ron (our Hub Team Director Sportif) was pleased with us and I am pleased for that!
Phil had a bad race. The first he actually pulled himself out of. Despite all the reasons he had for legitimately ending that race early, he was pretty rough on himself for several days. Processing this from the outside has also given me pause to consider more "WHY?"
Then I did the TNW. I had a blast. I struggled but hung on. I am feeling better each week as I dive into that turn two. Chris Clausen stayed in our race and gave pointers and encouragement throughout. I was fortunate to be the benefactor of this support several times. I lose it on the hill every time, but Chris encouraged me to make it to the top and hang on. I stayed with the lead pack (albeit at the back) til 2 to go. I even noticed that I was starting to pass Alice in the turn. She, of course, promptly passed me on the hill. That girl has Power! This is WHY. It's fun and although I swear I will actually throw up at some point during a race, I love the feeling I get when I push myself to the limit.
Then Wednesday came. For some stupid reason, I decided to look at the MOBAR standings. Why are the girls who catted up still listed on the Cat 4 standings, and still getting points for races since they catted up? Why are there NO points for Women's 4 for O'Fallon Grand Prix (I got 3rd!!) I emailed Mike, who emailed Craig. Craig proceeds to tell me that 1) "The Cat 4 racers who have upgraded will keep the points they have, but gain no further points. It seems reasonable that if a Cat 4 earns enough points to be MOBAR champion and then upgrades during the same season, they should still get the benefits of their points. Otherwise, you would have people sandbagging and refusing to upgrade until the end of the season." - This still makes no sense to me b/c they clearly have points listed for races that occurred after they catted up...
2)"The O’Fallon Grand Prix had Women Open run at 11:38 and Women 4 at 11:42. Since these races were run simultaneously and since the first was Women Open, the Cat 4s in Women Open got any points they earned and no points were awarded for racers in the Women 4 event. The thought here is to encourage racers to do the harder races (or at least not penalize them for doing so). We have this situation in other categories as well (typically if there’s a Men 1/2/3 race and a Men 3/4 race)." BUMMER! There's the Why question again....
I'm still working on the answer. I've come to realize that it's more dynamic that static. It changes, evolves, regresses and rejoices. Sometimes the answer to WHY is to belong to something bigger than myself. Sometimes I feel like I am truely a part of a special community, a family. Sometimes I feel like I am a step-child in this family (insert childhood issues here). After all, Someone once said "Women aren't the future of bike racing."