Tour of Lawrence

Before I get to any overly detailed race review of the Tour of Lawrence. Just a word about the whiny riders of Le Tour.
This year’s tour is the 100th anniversary of the addition of the Pyrenees. Not unlike that tour 100 years ago the organizers added whole new type of racing to the tour: the high and largely undeveloped mountains of the Pyrenees. The riders bitched and moaned about how tour organizers were trying to ‘kill’ them…please. Now the Pyrenees are are an integral part of the tour that add excitement and have the most insane fans, thank you crazy basque people.This year, now that all those Spanish mountain roads are paved and wimpy, tour organizers decided to throw in some “classics” stage. In particular stage 2 and stage 3. Stage 2 is similar to those hilly northern classics like L-B-L, and stage 3 went over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. Anyway after a few crashes in stage 2 the riders decided they didn’t want to risk their lives in finish and decided to neutralize the sprint, weak sauce, clearly Fabian’s never been to SuperWeek.
On that note, the whole reason for everyone crashing in stage 2 was that a moto went down and leaked a bunch of oil on a downhill. This is funny because, not a few months ago all the riders were up in arms about the UCI starting to ban race radios. Their main complaint was that race radios are used to notify riders of potential road hazards like, oh I duno…I giant Mario Kart type oil slick in the middle of the road. Its so ironic I’m not even going to make fun of all these whiny pro’s.
Anyway on to some race results:
Tour of Lawrence, I was flying solo for this one. I was worried about this at first, but the P/1/2 fields were pretty small. Mostly it was just team Hotel San Jose, that Trek VW team and Mercy in attendance. The road race course wove around the campus of the University of Kansas. The course was sweet, two long climbs and a bunch of twisty decent dictated the four mile circuit. Unfortunately it was raining hard and the roads were very slick. There was a large pile up in the first half mile of the race on a straight downhill section. I managed to weave my way around everyone sprawled across the road and dudes putting out the tripod in the turns. I channeled my Purdue Regional crit cornering skills and attacked and put nearly a minute into the field. As the course dried up we were brought back by what was left of the field, about 12 guys. We dicked around for a little while until 4 to go. I attacked on one of the uphills by a group of drunk KU students that were cheering for me because I gave them a thumbs up while I was in the breakaway after they offered me a free beer.

I spent a lap alone until Adam Bergman bridged up and we were riding really hard but were caught with 1 to go by three riders. There were some little attacks but it came down to the final uphill sprint, I had nothing left in the tank and ended up 4th.
Sunday was a repeat of the 2008 Collegiate Nationals Criterium course. However there was more rain. Another wet day, and I knew Hotel San Jose would be riding for Josh Carter. So I sat in and spent most of the day in my Endurance zone. With a few laps to go I took off my glasses that were fogging up pretty bad. Then it started raining, so I pretty much couldn’t see at all. I got a little sketched out with the whole wet roads and not being able to see so got caught out a little far back in the sprint and ended up 12th.


UCI Time Trial Regulations

You may or may not have heard of a new set of UCI regulations banning the ‘two-level‘ tri-bar cockpit commonly found on modern time trial bikes. As the Cycling news article states, the goal of the rule is to prevent riders from using their arms in a more aerodynamic way. Here is some of the highly technical jargon and diagrams found in the UCI’s rule book:

If you actually bothered to read the rules and took the time to actually understand what they were talking about in the above picture, I encourage you to find a hobby like knitting. For anyone who is not as technically minded, I have ascertained a top secret document from one of the many UCI technical meetings. It is from a reliable source and shows us just a glimpse into the genius insights and inner workings of the UCI’s “Preventing the Bastardization of the Bicycle” technical Team:


Rest Week

Not a lot to report on during a rest week. There are no epic stories from the ranks of amature racing, no great training stories, and no peleton gossip. Instead I’ve been able to shift my focus from myself to the upcoming largest event in the cycling world: Le Tour. The first thing I would like to say about Le Tour is that I will never be doing it. After doing a lot of small talk at my brother’s graduation party this past weekend I was reminded that most people think Le Tour is some cool bicycle touring event that Lance Armstrong happens to be really good at. While there are LA’s at bike touring events that think they’re winning the race, I assure you this is not how Le Tour works. For all those who read my blog and are pondering asking me, or any other competitive cyclist for that matter, if they will be racing the tour next year, I will answer in general. It is completely unobtainable. Think of it this way, the tour consists of 180 of the fastest cyclists in the world (not counting a certain sprinter who loves to party).

The level of cycling that you are at is largely based on which team you are on. Only the best 20 teams in the world get to go to the tour. The majority of these teams, 18 to be exact, consist of the UCI Pro Tour teams. These teams are the best of the best, and get entry into every top level UCI race. Two ‘Wild Card’ teams also gain entry into the Tour. This year these teams are Skil-Shimano and the Cervelo Test Team. Both of these teams are UCI Professional Continental Teams. These teams are a step down from the Pro Tour, but still pretty good and are typically isolated to a Continent. These are smaller teams that don’t have enough funding to become Pro Tour, or are simply new and have not obtained the necessary results to become Pro Tour. Keep in mind that all of these teams are quite large and only send nine of their top riders to the Tour.
So I’ll keep on going down the list. The next lower level are the UCI Continental teams (note the lack of professional in the title of this level). These teams will never ever have a chance at racing Le Tour. They are the first level of ‘Professional’ cycling teams in that they are the first level where the riders really get paid to race bikes…sometimes. Almost all of the “Professional” teams in America are at this level. Another interesting aspect about these UCI Continental teams is that they are officially ‘development’ teams, meaning that most of the riders have to be under 25 or some other odd age restriction like that. Which means that, in America at least, the older you are the more chances that you’ll be SOL when trying to find a pro team to ride with.
Below the ranks of the UCI Continental teams are the teeming masses of ‘Elite’ amature racers. The Panther squad falls into this category. These teams most definitely do not pay their riders. However they sometimes help their riders out in terms of travel and other cycling related expenses. The benefit of this category, is that you obtain a lot of the same advantages as the Continental teams just above, but have more personal control over race schedule. Also, It is possible if not common to race with Continental teams.
Below this are the club teams that have members from the elite racing categories to the lowest beginners.
Obtaining passage from one level of racing to a higher level of racing is very difficult, and you pretty much have to be the shit in your level of racing to advance (or you know somebody, or have a famous mommy and daddy).
So to answer your questions, extended relatives, I will not be racing in Le Tour anytime soon.