Reflections on the De Bortoli Tour, and I win some cash at DISC!
Mixed feelings ....
Good news first. I got my first lot of prizemoney at DISC last Thursday. After a messy scratch race where I surged a couple of times to break things up a bit, and getting boxed in, then leading it out and Dino missing my wheel, the points race was going to be worth a go. Unlike the last few weeks, this week I wasn't riding as Wayne's leadout/chase monkey/shock trooper. I got dropped at the first sprint, but chased for 10 or so laps, and got back on to the bunch about a lap before the second last sprint. I took 3rd in the sprint, but I had momentum, and rolled through and before I knew it, I had at least 80 metres on the bunch. Oh well, let's see if I can hold them off ... 4 laps and a new HRMax later, and I did, winning the final sprint by about 50 metres or so. Gets me 2nd in the race. That hurt .... that really, really hurt. I've often told my riders that the race that hurts the most is the one you win, and that was a reminder - I didn't win it, but I did win the final sprint, which feels almost as good, and hurts just as much!
Last race, the motorpace, pans out beautifully, I'm 4th wheel when the bike pulls off, with big Pooley on the front hammering, but in front of me is a girl, and when Pooley kicks, a gap opens, and it's too late. 4th ... that'll have to do. Payday for the night, $6. Entry fee is $10. So I lose $4. Heh ... There'll be more, I'm getting a feel for DISC now and who to watch for and the timing of sprints etc. Dino's a real threat too! He's got a sprint on him ... that's for sure.
So to the De Bortoli Tour. A lot of aboc'ers helped out with this, which was great. Nick, Nathan, Rob, Mick and Will, Bev ... all the troops. Byron and Wayne Evans and Simon Alder racing. My role, web site and photography. I took some 1,200 photos, and published about 1,100 on the website. The aim was to get at least one photo of every rider in the event, and most of the officials and volunteers. I think I managed. A hell of a long weekend, especially as I had to drop Vanders off at the airport on Sunday morning at 6am.
Everyone did a great job, except we had one glaring, disasterous problem. Race results. I don't know what went wrong, but even now, 2 days later, we still don't have the final results. Why is this a problem? In a stage race, times count and gaps count. The riders couldn't make smart decisions about breaks etc, because they didn't know any times or places. Feedback from some (and I agree with them) is that the Tour was, because of the results failure, a collection of social rides, not races.
One feedback email contained this :
First and foremost, Results? WTF? How can a tour be run without results? Can you imagine if The winner of the 'Bathurst 1000' was announced the next day? Or if by the time the TDF winner was determined Lance Armstrong was back at home on the ranch. This is a major issue for everybody from Riders, Teams and Sponsors (Both of teams and of the event i.e. De Bortoli) WITHOUT RESULTS ANY BIKE RACE JUST BECOMES A SOCIAL RIDE!
This is from a friend, and it's completely fair critisism. I can't agree more.
So what can we do? I don't know ... I know Nicko and Alan spent ages (up 'til midnight on Saturday etc) trying to sort out the mess, but the key thing is why, and how can we make sure it never happens again? Blackburn has an unfortunate reputation now for stuffing up results - a 1:20 ITT not long ago had a similar problem, and we've become rather famous for being the club that can't run races properly. That's not fair, because for everything that went wrong, heaps more went very well, but the lasting impression that most riders who rode the race will have is of not getting any results.
As a club, we have to look very hard at what went wrong and how it can be fixed in future. I've held the belief for a long time that the Tour is simply too big for a single, small club to organise. I think it's a club killer, as it's too hard and uses up too many people. I hope I'm wrong, but the washup from this tour is going to be messy. Then again, the Colleraine Tour seems to work pretty well, maybe we as a club need to have a talk to them, and see how they do it. That's outside my area of interest within the club, my line in the sand is clearly drawn.
Enough said on that ... Spin is tomorrow night and I've a bolla to cook to feed hungry cyclists!