An interesting take on a bike race

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by photosbymark, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Well this is the first year I have had Versus and first time I have had a chance to see a pro bike race. It is a race of about 160 miles, but that isn't what caught my attention. What did was the countryside. This one was through small towns and back roads. There were some smooth roads, and there were lots of cobblestones. Yet the scenery was as interesting as the race. It was through areas of farm fields, and narrow roads that were designed long before cars.

    I didn't understand much if any of the tactics, but I do understand how slick many of those types of road surfaces must have been and the skill to be that fast on them. Yet even more interesting was how the people lined the course. Not just for a few miles, but for large parts of the course. There was nothing but encouragement for the riders.

    It was interesting to see so many different types of bikes. I can't believe someone actually had their tires hand made for the race.

    Most of the riders everyone else would know, but I didn't. I recognized a few like George Hincapie, but most I wouldn't have a clue. It really seemed a shame that they were trying to get through that ride so fast instead of savoring it. Guess that is the difference between a pro racer and an old geezer. Still it was just the kind of encouragement I think we all need once in a while to get out and ride the back roads. Whether I am riding the back roads of Texas, or they riding the back roads of Northern France it reminded me of just how many back roads there are to explore. I never thought I would watch that much of a bike race, but the Paris Roubaix reminded me of so many country roads past I couldn't turn off.
     
  2. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

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    They suceeded. Did you see the winner finished in just over 6 hours for an average speed around 26 mph? That's amazing for that distance over those "roads".

    If you liked what you saw today, there's a DVD you'd probably enjoy documenting some of the sport's greatest ever riding Paris-Roubaix called "A Sunday in Hell" A Sunday in Hell DVD-World Cycling Productions, Inc.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011

  3. SprocketGirl

    SprocketGirl spin... spin.. spin

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    since moving to america i love watching races on versus. one reason is the scenery! in July you have to catch Le Tour if just to see the countryside.
     
  4. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    I have ridden over cobble stones, and dirt. Just covering that distance in a day seems to me unthinkable. To do it at that speed seems crazy. Judging from the crashes I guess I am not too far off, and in a way it was a bit like auto racing which I have followed most of my life. Two things are common. Pack racing stinks in anything. When you have a crash there its a big crash. There just simply is no play to go or no time to react. The other thing in common is that racers are perfectly capable of wrecking anywhere at any time. Most of the crashes were on the straights on good roads that I saw. Thankfully no one seemed to be seriously hurt.

    Hopefully next week a few things wind down. Time to ride now and not tinker
     
  5. SprocketGirl

    SprocketGirl spin... spin.. spin

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    mark... i forgot to mention. if you watched the start of the Roubaix it was a town called Compiegne. a couple hundred km west and slightly north from where i grew up. they look a lot like each other but Compiegne is a lager town than home. just thought you might think it was cool to see a place very similar to where i spent my childhood. most of those small towns along the route only very slightly from home.

    i too understand what you mean about slowing down to take in the views. that is why i am not a racer. plus crashing in a pack is no fun.

    the fans are always like that. cycling is larger than any sport in france. everyone has a favorite rider and team. obviously french riders are usually the most liked but not always. one of mine is "Piccolo Principe".... an Italian
     
  6. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Two nuns riding their bikes home, and one take the other on a shortcut...
     
  7. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Wondered if it went through your hometown or now SG. When they said, "northern France" I thought of my friend, and can see why your heart is there. Still it was interesting to see how differently cycling is viewed in the two countries. Here it tends to be a sport enjoyed with just a few friends, or often (almost always in my case) alone. The way the fans lined the road reminded me of many rally events. The fans stand right next to the roads with no barrier with high speed race cars whipping right by. Lots rather have a cyclist into the crowd than a race car.

    The pack crashes reminded me a lot of Daytona and Talladega in a stock car event. No not in violence, but in cause. Put that many bikes that close together, and someone is bound to try to make a move. Either someone is already there or someone else sees the same opening and tries to take it to make their own move. It doesn't work either place. Crashes like what I saw there are why I don't do group rides. All of those riders know what they are doing. Imagine mixing a few Freds in the bunch. Talladega is this weekend if you want a taste. Its a bit like a pack at 200mph with a few Freds in it.

    The concept of team racing always kind of always drove me nuts in any form of racing. The team orders nonsense in F1 where one sometimes has to GIVE a win to a teammate is the exact opposite of what I think racing ought to be. One person, one machine, and then see who is best. There was a time when someone was complaining about doing all the leading. Yeah I understand the draft, the concept of forcing one to lead just seemed to go against all things racing.

    Yet the flip side was the track portion at the end. The sprint to the end, especially for second was exactly what draws me to racing. Two people pushing themselves and their equipment to the limit, and giving it their all is the essence of racing. I wonder how many tracks like that even exist in the US.

    One real downer. It seemed to be a European feed. That meant the European broadcast expected viewers that knew what was going on. To a newbie to bike racing, I could tell there was a lot going on I didn't understand, but was probably so basic that the vast majority of the audience would be like "Do they think we are so stupid as to not know that?" Still I am glad I watched. That same course in the rain would have been a bear.
     
  8. chibibike

    chibibike Banned

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    yesterday I was racing my hubby going on a little downward slop on the road at 40MPH and I hit the curb and flew off my bike on the grass next to a big cow. I was so worried about my bike I thought for sure it was messed up some how but it didn't have a scratch on it, it landed on it's side on the grass but the chain did fall off and I had to put it back on the cog and a little part of my handlebar tape ripped.
     
  9. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

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    More than you would think. You're in Texas, right Mark? I'm not sure where this is, but they've just built a nice one down there.

    SUPERDROME in Frisco
     
  10. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    I'm just south of Ft Worth so that would be about an hour from me.
     
  11. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    44 degrees of banking??? Wonder if anyone ever took the Harry Gant Line
     
  12. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    Looking at the place it looks wicked fast. Only fixies too. I wonder why they won't let anyone with brakes on the track. Yeah I know its a fixie and yeah you can slow down with pedals, but why no brakes.

    Well the first reason is that if someone got on the brakes hard it would tempt others to do likewise and try to stop instead of riding through a crash. On a 250 meter track at any speed you are not likely to have time to do much stopping anyway and 2. it would leave skid marks on the boards.

    At my age this sounds crazy, but I am just crazy enough to try it once.
     
  13. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

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    Nice!

    Being only an hour away, it seems like it could be some good entertainment just to make the trek to watch some pros hammering on it.
     
  14. Tedzo

    Tedzo Who put that curb there?

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    I don't race either. I learned by watching the Le Tour de France and all the other races on Versus year after year. After a while you just get the hang of it. Plus the announcers, usually Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin (or Bob Roll, he cracks me up), are good about explaining what is going on and why. They understand that lots of people tuning in in the US have no clue about bike racing. They commentary over a European feed, like you noticed, so they don't have any control over what shots are being shown. They just go with it. They (Versus) are broadcasting two more races on the 23rd and 24th (Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege). Watch those for some more beautiful country side shots, in Belgium this time (and some racing thrown in, too).
     
  15. SprocketGirl

    SprocketGirl spin... spin.. spin

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    thanks for thinking of me Mark... it was close to home.

    track racing is a blast to watch!