• Nature Valley Grand Prix

    by  • June 12, 2008 • too random • 12 Comments

    realarmstrong_robbed.jpgwoooboy … sounds like there were some tough calls made in yesterday’s NVGP opener.

    [for other drippin’ cool reports, check podium in sight]

    I’m a HUGE fan of this race and desperately want to cover it someday with first hand hyperbole and over-reaching metaphor. But, in the meantime ~ i’m stuck hearing 2nd hand accounts of some decisions that the officiating crew made during the opening criterium. You see, there’s a bit of weather happening up in that part of the world right now … and lord knows, crazy jumps in the barometer does affect folks’ judgment…

    The first race off was the Women’s crit. From the pictures and the squirking out quotes (to be relied upon, or not), we get the impression of a very, very wet crit with a number of slide-outs. Early in the race, Kristin Armstrong took the reigns and stormed away solo in a bid to a) stay out front and upright on the slickery-dickery-dock course; and b) ride her ass off.

    she did both.

    Armstrong is this thin, tall, and not-quite-gaunt beast of a woman. When i see her ride around … so self-contained, so focused … little sparks of heat and anticipation shoot through me. Seeing an athlete like that triggers an internal response that i find energizing, vitalizing … inspiring.

    Armstrong lapped most the remaining field of 150 starters. Yes, that’s right … 150 starters listed in one of the reports I scanned. That’s just insanity … but great experience for those riders. Taking a start at a crit with that many shoulders bumping and nose-rings snorting explosives is just the kind of experience our ever-growing, ever-improving women’s fields need. The US has the potential to be the best place a woman can race her bike professionally. We are on that trajectory … and it makes me proud. It makes me want to be a part of it.

    colavitachasers.jpgAnyway, back to KA’s exploit … so, she laps most the field and comes in for the win in the opening crit and takes a sizable chunk of GC over her competitors in the process. Behind her, the fabulous Team Tibco riders mount an inhuman chase and separate off their own few riders from the pack for some GC aspirations as well, and … well, just leave a ton of energy expended out on the opening stage in the whole deal.

    but worth the expense, right?

    I mean, PROMAN looks like they did some dying out there for the result … and you know Colavita is always looking to ride hard …

    well, here’s where we get sticky with the officiating. Apparently AFTER COMPLETION of the race, the officials decided on neutralizing the GC results. This decision is … well, it’s wrong.

    packers.jpgNow, as someone who has officiated, has promoted, has raced, and is a ‘pull the shifter from my cold, dead hand’ SuperFan of the sport … I have to say that in 99% of all disputes between racers and promoters/officials – i will side with the promoters/officials. I do this because MOST racers have no idea what goes on behind the scenes at races … the stresses, the pressures, the hard decisions that must be made. And … honestly … sometimes riders can just be a bit disrespectful to those cats in bluecoats or behind volunteer badges.

    But, people are people and folks make mistakes. Killing the GC after the race is done and all the energies expended is a wrong call in my opinion … but, i also think time trials should be optional … so, what the hell do i know, anyway?

    sheeet, gotta get back to work.



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    12 Responses to Nature Valley Grand Prix

    1. niki
      June 12, 2008 at

      PROMAN raced heads up the whole race, followed moves, stayed safe, stayed up right and finished with 2 in the top 6 out of 142 riders. feeling great and ready to race!

    2. June 12, 2008 at

      Rumor has it there is more to this story…any first hand accounts from those who where there (on or off the bike)?

    3. roman kilun
      June 12, 2008 at

      There really nithing more, they raced and then…
      They cancelled our race half way. I wonder, if they watched the womens race and decided it was too dangerous why did they let us race? This is the dumbest thing I have ever been part of. Getting wet and avoiding crashes just long enough for the race to settle down and then having it stopped.

      I think that in this part of the country there is a greater than 50% chance of rain so they need to make sure they design race courses that work if they are so worried about safety.

    4. nitro
      June 12, 2008 at

      That defies reality. Can they give back Armstrong the effort she expended, too. How many times did the officials see her pass by solo? Did it not register that she made it, the pack made it, and racing in the rain is part of racing? Wow. I can see maybe being forgiving to those who were dropped, GC wise, but there was a clear effort by Armstrong, and she should be properly rewarded for it. Once again, wow.

    5. June 12, 2008 at

      so wrong. but I bet it puts a little fire in the bellies of those who sacrificed today and they might all pull off something inhuman in the coming days.

      150 freaking starters — now that’s hot!

    6. June 12, 2008 at

      hernando- you failed to mention the real reason you are bitter: you weren’t there to witness all the WET girls in spandex!

    7. Hooptie
      June 12, 2008 at

      Shelley said yesterday was madness, full throttle from the gun and the pack shattered just laps into the race. All sorts of crashes and lapped riders made things confusing. Everyone was assuming time gaps would count, bummer for Armstrong and Tibco, they lit the race up for nothing.

      Live coverage here

    8. nitro
      June 12, 2008 at

      Wait, so it sounds like the officials made this choice because they could not sort things out. At least give the gaps to those in the lead groups, and give everyone else, lapped or dropped, the same time. Negating efforts like those of Armstrong and Tibco negates the incentive to race.

    9. Hooptie
      June 12, 2008 at

      1st through 5th was…
      Tina Pic
      J. Kiesanowski
      L. Van Gilder
      Kat C

      Since yesterday was neutral, this is the GC as well.

    10. olive oil
      June 12, 2008 at

      Yeah Tina! She can pull out some finishes. Her hand is still toast from Philly, so this one must feel good.

    11. June 13, 2008 at

      Whoa, I can now die happy, I’ve been vander-outed by THE Olaf.


    12. Kristin
      June 13, 2008 at

      There were crashes every corner, which were slick with sheets of rain, dotted with manhole covers, and marked with slippery pavement markings. I need to go back to work on Monday, so caution and safety were primary for me. To add insult to injury, many riders that were pulled jumped back into the race and many riders were pulled that shouldn’t have been. All in all it was a very confusing race. I can see why it was neutralized – what a headache to sort out.

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