The last race to take place in my hometown was the Hutchinson Criterium in 2006. By all accounts, it went well and was a positive event. My friend Mark Milnar put it on with the help of the St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club. I have no idea what I was doing that day, as I was still in Hutch. Probably working at Target.
Competitive cycling is changing. For better or worse is yet to be determined, but it’s changing just the same. The traditional weeknight parking-lot crits and weekend road races are being replaced by events of a different nature. Competition for the sake of competition isn’t enough anymore; the ‘experience’ surrounding the competition now matters just as much. Cyclocross is a great example of this – with spectators having just as much fun as the participants. Drum Crops, waffle stands, loud and boisterous announcers create an environment that is not only family friendly, but draws in numbers road events can only dream of.
So is road cycling dead?
I don’t think so.
Like anything else, it needs new blood to stay relevant and exciting. Eventually the governing bodies at be (the USAC, MCF, what have you) will need to change to accommodate the new styles of racing and events that are happening (or be content with dwindling numbers). In light of this, I’ve chosen to throw my hat into the ring. Together with Mr. Scott Bentrup we will be putting on the 2012 edition of the Birchwood Road Race. With a new venue, a new staff and a new energy we hope to bring back some life into the road cycling scene (at least in Minnesota). This is the first of many posts chronicling this attempt.
I get to bring road cycling back to my hometown.
There’s just nothing better.