There’s a little bit of the Tour de France at Superweek. And not just racing every day.
The racers at the Tour de France occasionally find reasons to stage protests: over unsafe road conditions, treatment by police during the doping scandals several years ago. To protest, they will sit at the start line when the race is supposed to begin.
It’s hard to imagine a group of 40+ Masters racers at Superweek doing this because they are unhappy with late starting times.
This is what happened at the Lakefront Road Race. Upset because of the 40 minute delay, a couple of the local riders decided to stage a ‘protest’. The whistle blew, and no one on the front row started. Well one guy who apparently was not informed (or who did not want to go along) did take off.
After about 40 seconds and some shouts of “Go!” from the back rows, we started. I could see protesting dangerous conditions, but to do it because of late starting times just seems embarrassing to all of us.
The Lakefront course is on the waterfront in Milwaukee, and requires a significant amount of logistics to close the 4.2 mile course to traffic. It is completely closed to cars. The races on this course, in my experience, have always started late (both the ‘long’ and ‘short’ courses). So you show up 30 minutes later than normal and expect that you won’t start on time.
The race hasn’t been held the last few years, due in part to construction, and probably due in part to the hassles with closing the course. How often do you get to race on a road course, closed to traffic, in a downtown setting?
Aren’t we old guys supposed to have gotten beyond the phase of taking yourself too seriously? Guess Masters racers can be ‘young at heart’ in more ways than one.
PS. Over the next couple days, all of the half-dozen guys I talked to thought this was embarrassing also. So not all of us are whiners.
Day 3 Update:
The Lakefront course is one of my favorites, but I was not excited to do it in the rain. It was pouring at the hotel, but dry at the course only 12 miles away, and the sun was out. But shortly after the race started, it began to rain. On only half of the course. The other half was dry. Unfortunately the wet part included the twisting downhill plunge to the lakefront.
Guys were crashing in the sharp curve at the top of the descent, even though (it seemed) we were barely moving. I stayed near the front and made it through the first few times just fine. Then at the bottom, on the left turn onto the lakefront road, someone went down, the guy in front of me went down, and his bike took my wheels out. Fortunately for me, I mostly fell on him, and had only some minor road rash (and the next day a sore body).
After chasing back to the group, then recovering a bit, I went with several attacks. One looked promising but was caught with 2 laps to go. It was looking like a field sprint but 2 guys got away in the closing couple of miles. Not in a position to go, I missed the move and rolled in just out of the money (but with most of my skin).