Monday, March 10, 2008

What Would You Do?

I just got a call from the promoter of the San Dimas Stage Race and he has a dilemma... The Pro/1 race is sold out and he's trying to make room for some pro teams that got caught out. Looking down that list, it's pretty clear why he called me. Johnny Anonymo, no teammates, and I'm probably the only one with an option of doing another race (35+ or 45+). So he asked me point-blank if I'd be willing to give up my spot and do a Masters race instead. Ouch!!

This has thrown me for a loop and is making me search my feelings, literally right now as I type this.

On the one hand, it would be a kick to race with some of the more (in)famous entrants such as Tyler Hamilton and Oscar Sevilla. Of course I shouldn't really say "race with" because in truth, I'd be a couple minutes down in the TT and might be struggling to make the time cut in the RR. Basically, I'd call it success just to be pack fill! Is that a worthwhile reason for some up-and-coming pro to be excluded just because his team manager wasn't quick enough to get the entry in before me?

So here's my thought at this exact moment: Bike racing is a team sport at all levels, but especially so in stage races at the pro/cat-1 level. Bigger races don't allow individual entries, although a few will take composite teams. Maybe some uncompetitive old dude with no teammates doesn't really belong in this particular Pro/1 race.

But I am sad to miss an opportunity to line up with Jake and his Symmetrics team, Phil Southerland and his Team Type-1 guys, and of course friends like MarkZen, Adrian, Vinny Owens, Grant Van Horn, Cody, and Daniel. These are great people as well as great athletes and I really enjoy the privilege of seeing them in action from up close least until I get dropped!

So I told the SDSR guy I'd call back tomorrow with my answer. Maybe I can extort a comp'ed entry into the 35+! That'll be a damn hard race anyway with Thurlow and the Amgen/Giant machine, and other strongmen like Pat Caro, Greg Leibert, Josh Webster, Mark Noble, etc, etc, etc. The 45+ looks really tough too.

What would you do?


Baublehead said...

Do you really want to race in that field? Wow, that's gonna hurt.

I'd go go for the 35+ race if I were you. Of course that's not gonna be easy either.

Good luck

Chester said...

I would race the P/1 race- You registered early, you deserve to race. You have just as much right to race there as ANY of those other guys. In fact you have a responsibility to toe the line with the big boys. Plus remember one of the team goals that was established? For Marco to beat Hamiltion in at least one race.
But all jokes aside... If I were you, not only would I race, but I would ride off the front and win the P/1 field SOLO, with out any team mates... Because its just Hard Core!

Anonymous said...

Consider it a good deed and help the young pro out...what goes around, will come back around (as much as it sucks in the moment). You always try and do the right thing, and knowing you, you will probably do so now.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if you give up your spot, try to get the director to 'open up' 3 cat 4 spots for your teammates who didn't sign up in time.

Marco Fanelli said...

It's interesting how much clearer decisions are in the morning after a good night's sleep. This one is a no-brainer... end the delusional behavior and switch to Masters.

35+ will be plenty hard, and I'd be shooting for a top-10 TT and then work to get in a good break in the RR; in 45+ I'd be disappointed if I didn't make the podium, but the RR is too short and too early in the AM.

Chester said...

Okay Mark, You can take on tyler another day. NEW GOAL: TAKE THURLOW,DOWN- DOWN TO CHINA TOWN!

Marco Fanelli said...

Chesta, you're killin' me here...

hmmm, how do I delete comments???

Seriously, with perhaps a single exception, I don't strive to beat any one particular person (especially someone that good) but instead just try to ride the best race I can in any given day. The cool thing about a bike race--and I don't include TT's in there btw--is that your result is the accumulation of hundreds of decisions, both in the event and in your preparation. Did I attack at the right times? Did I use my limited energy wisely? Did I key off the right moves? Did I do enough intervals last month? Did I rest adequately? Did I hit the porta-potty enough times?

It's pretty rare when you make all the right choices, but really satisfying if you get most of them. Beating people in the races is just a byproduct.

But since you keep mentioning it... the one person I'd like to beat if he ever races again is MKA. I really like Roger, but since there were so many times where he finished nth and I'd finish (n+1)th, I'd like to solidly reverse that order if given the chance!

...but you need to cool it on saying so, k!?!

Chester said...

I hear you, I'll cool it- I like the way you put that "your result is the accumulation of hundreds of decisions, both in the event and in your preparation"
Oh yeah I met blue squirrel at TOM- He told me to say hello...

Chester said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TnA said...

Ummm...why the dig in there about TTs? How are they any different in reference to your result being predicated by a myriad of small decisions in preparation, training, and execution? I've always said that going fast in TTs is all about taking care of a bunch of small details, that in isolation don't look like they would matter, but in the end all add up to something significant.

BTW, I'm glad you cleared that up about MKA...I was thinking there for a bit you were talking about me...(right!) So does that mean that MKA is "Newman" to your "Seinfeld"? Is he your "Lex Luthor"?? ;-)

Hey...when do we get to see the Solvang review and the report of your first MTB win? Did you see Mr. "V"'s report about why he needed to stop at mile 60? It came close to MKA's tour de farce about "dookies" and the quest for TP :-) BTW, he had that posted before I even got home on Saturday...I think he wanted to make sure you knew why he pulled off :-)

Marco Fanelli said...

> Ummm...why the dig in there about TTs?

TnA, you should never take anything I write here as serious ...unless it is serious. The answer to your question about TT's is: because I suck at TT's, and any reputable psychiatrist will tell you that I'm simply rationalizing away their significance.

That same psychiatrist would also say I'm once again spending too much time on this damn computer, so now I'll go out for a 3-hr ride in the mountains...

Oh yeah, Solvang: seems like too long ago to write a report, plus I'm embarrassed about what I did at the end in scooting by Aaron and then raising my arms. Lame! Chuckie V's blog post was great... I laughed out loud (but then again, my maturity level is quite low). He was a horse with those pulls, along with Aaron. 25 mph into that headwind was cracking people left and right, and only a few of us survived by groveling in the gutter. Best training day so far this year.

What can one say about a moutain-bike race? For me it was simple: go really hard up the hills at the start, and then hope I don't crash on the downhills.

Anonymous said...

Commendable choice regarding SDSR. Tough choice but the right one. You're doing the right thing, not for yourself but others. Altruistic. The 35+ race should be comped.

You know my feelings on TTs.

Congrats on your win.


Anonymous said...

Tom, you need to face facts: TT's are not bike races. Not even my brother will try to claim that.

Marco, I did a bike throw in front of Matt and Ben when I caught them along the home stretch of Solvang. Seemed funny at the time, seems silly now. We do odd things when jacked up on Lactic Acid and Gu. Thanks for the push on Foxen when I was suffering. I just needed the steady rhythm Aaron had been providing - I couldn't hold wheels when we were accelerating through the rotation. Nonetheless, I agree, it was the best training ride of the year!


TnA said...

Druber...ummm, let's see...

1. I'm on my bike.
2. I go as hard as I can and I suffer.
3. I'm ranked against others at the finish based on how fast I go.

Hmmm...Sounds like a "bike race" to me.

So, tell me, did you just buy that P2C as an "art piece"?? :-) said...

Hey Marco,

I don't know if you've made the final decision, but I think you should race the Pro/1. You earned your stripes and are totally entitled to do it. This race for the pros is purely a preparation event for Redlands. It is not a focal point for teams and you're not inhibiting the progress of a young pro. It's what...6 hours of biking? No one should expect an automatic entry based on status. They need to plan ahead. A little life lesson is always a good thing. said...


TT's are a necessary evil added to stage races to help separate riders on GC. They have no place in society as individual events and should be spurned.

Also, the necessary equipment required to be competitive is ridiculous. I hereby call for a ban on separate TT events and declare that stage race TT's should be Merckx style only.

Anonymous said...

TnA: No doubt that TT are hard and we suffer. For me the difference is the participants are ranked after the event is over and you rarely see your opponent while competing in a TT. A TT is more a COMPETITION than a RACE.I suggest the word RACE be used to describe mass start events where you are competing head to head against your opponent. Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

Jerker - you rock!!!!

Marco Fanelli said...


Thanks for the kind words, but I switched last night to 35+. I had strongly mixed feelings obviously, and, quite honestly, a bit of insecurity led to my decision. Anyway I'm in for the NRC race at Sea Otter and I plan on doing Ojai, both of which should satisfy my bizarre desire to get pummeled by the best domestic US bike racers.

So at SDSR, I'll be rooting for you and your team. You need to crack 13:00 in that TT, k?!?

Yes to the TT proclamation! Let's start the "He Man TT Haters Club"...

TnA said...

Hmmm...I look up the definition of "race" in the dictionary, and the first thing listed is "a contest of speed".

Sounds to me like a TT is truer to the definition of a "race" than other forms of bicycle competitions that weigh heavily on tactics and teamwork, etc...which sound to me like they apply more to something considered a "competition".

I think you have it backwards.

They don't call it "the race of truth" for nothing.

Jake, as for you comment about the "necessary equipment required to be competitve is ridiculous", I'll have you know that this is not necessarily so. The vast majority of a riders drag results from his position on the bike. You can get pretty damned competitive on some "not so ridiculous" stuff...but, YMMV :-)

I'm also not so sure why Marco says he's not good at TTs...I seem to recall him coming out for the local TT last year and spankin' everyone...oh well.

Marco Fanelli said...


You do know that the more you react, the more we're gonna tease you about TTs, right?! Quite childish to be sure, but that's how we roll...

President and founding member of the He Man TT Haters Club

ps. btw, I see Ty-Ty is entered in the LA Circus Race this weekend. That fricken cracks me up. I wish I could go but Gina's got a girls weekend and I need to be around just in case they need me to post bail. said...

Okay TnA,

Show up to the next TT on your road bike with 32 spoke wheels and hunker down. Let me know how that goes for you.

...Fignon is still wondering what went wrong

TnA said...

Marco wrote:
"You do know that the more you react, the more we're gonna tease you about TTs, right?! Quite childish to be sure, but that's how we roll..."

Absolutely...and it goes both ways ;-)

Hey, I need something to do while I'm laid up here at home suffering from the plague.

TnA said...

I guess you don't realize that up until 2 weeks ago, my TT bike WAS my road bike (gotta love the Aluminum Soloist!). Oh yeah, I've also done a LOT of TT's with a 36 spoke wheel. Of course, I'd covered it with ~$20 worth of model airplane heat-shrink mylar to turn it into a "Cheapass Aero^TM disc" ;-)

In fact, my current "disc" is a 32 spoke wheel. It's a PT wheel with a ~$80 plastic cover.

Oh yeah...Fignon's main blunder was in deciding to go for the "style points" of having his pony-tail flying in the breeze rather than plopping a simple foam helmet on his head ;-) To be honest, the sweet "Bottechia" LeMond rode in that TT is still one of my all-time favorite bikes. said...

The TTT at Georgia is Merckx style. That's one for "our" side.

blue squirrel said...

good man marco, a truly hard decision, but i think in the end a honorable one by you. and that chester of yours sure has a lot spunk. oh, and how the mighty have fallen, ty ty at LA circuit, but than again he gets to ride his bike and get paid, as apposed to sitting around second guessing things and eating potato chips. see you at SDSR and say hello as you pass me up during the TT [i think i start an hour before you].

Marco Fanelli said...


I regret the decision and and I'm disappointed in myself for yielding to the (internal) pressure and my insecurities. That said, the 35+ race will be brutal and I know it'll be a battle for gc spots.

Yes, our Chesta is full of enough optimism and fired-up-ed'ness to make up for all us old guys.