Wednesday at Wakefield... what is normally a HOT DRY SHORT TRACK SPRINT on buff trails was a river running adventure race on bikes! Now there is the big debate about how Potomac Velo Club handled the race in these storm conditions

perspective... spin cycle... point of views

this post exemplifies how one event can have many perspectives and multiple stories

in this case...
for the people that were in attendance... there is one set of stories with one set of perspectives
for those who were not there and heard stories second hand or are making judgement from the photos and videos that they saw... many of them have an alternate perspective

HYPOTHETICAL... a hypothetical is just that
What would you do? Do you know what you would do?
What would you do if you won POWERBALL? You may have fantasied such... but it is a hypothetical 

I respect the opinions of all

the voices of MORE have made some valid points
but it is hard to judge what happened when you were not there

it all unfolded fast
I am in full support with how Potomac Velo Club handled things

I started a RACE REPORT... but it got highjacked when I got distracted by all the comments on FACEBOOK about how things were handled

I will try to edit things... it is clear that my initial tone did not weigh in the same perspective of the outsiders
read on if you will

Maureen Fagen snapped this shot of myself and Jason Hade rinsing off in the post race light summer rain

brought the camera... but did not take many photos from W@W

Wednesday at Wakefield

I really do not have any photos from last nights Wednesday at Wakefield... I brought the camera... but the weather last night had me run for cover and shelter my camera from forces of nature

where to start? where to start?

Wednesdays at Wakefield have been a SUMMER HIGHLIGHT for me for years... only the last few years life and its responsibilities have been such that I have not been able to attend this event hosted by Potomac Velo Club
it is tough... these things slip out of priority and it is tough to get them back

but... seeing the posts on Facebook from all the happy racers I thought I would come out of retirement and "toss my helmet into the ring"

it is true... not only have I missed the W@W Summer Race series... I have not been racing my bike AT ALL
kids... new job... and my elbow injury from a year back have taken me out of the game
I could be racing... as the elbow has long since healed
but I have been in somewhat of a funk
unable to prioritize one of the things in life that brings me great joy... mountain bike racing

so... with a little moral boost from friend and DCMTB Team mate Kent Baake I decided I would try to get in at least one Wednesday at Wakefield Race this season

Week One was not an option... I was committed to the task of driving my son to soccer practice
there was a moments' thought that I would have him blow off practice and I could take him to Wakefield instead
but he just joined up with a Travel Soccer team and he needs to get up to speed with their routine
even if that practice was the last practice of the season

priorities... my priorities and my family's priorities 

so... I resigned myself to the option of trying to attend Race #2 at W@W
it took a little planning... but not really that much
slight adjustment to the Niner Single Speed and packing of my DCMTB race gear
instead of riding my bicycle to work... I opted to drive to work with my bicycle packed inside
I would then leave out of work and drive straight to Wakefield Regional Park

this seemed easy enough
sure there was traffic... bumper to bumper parking lot style traffic moving at a snails pace
but this was no worry
I was not trying to make the early race for my kids
I was not trying to line up for the early Single Speed event
all I wanted to do was snap some photos before taking the line with the Clydesdales at 6:55

it had been years since I had raced Wakefield and just as long since I had raced on dirt at all
sure I had done a number of urban races
those Crystal City Parking Garage Races then also a number of Messenger Alleycat events
but no "real" racing
and nothing on dirt

in fact... my time on dirt has been less than impressive
did I fall off the horse?
now it is time to get back on the horse
Wakefield would be a great chance to brush off the cobwebs and get back in the game

needless to say the notion of racing brought me anxiety

I was not sure how my body would hold up
I was not certain about my technical abilities on the bike
yet I battled back my demons and gave myself little pep talks
"it is just riding a bike... I love riding my bike... just ride your bike!"
"you can do this...  you got this"

all these little things really help... it sounds stupid... but I do find these things to be helpful
those may not have been my exact mantras of the moment... but something similar
something to help get my head right
something to beat back the demons
something to slow my heart rate

left out from work and battled traffic to arrive at Wakefield Regional Park with plenty of time
enough time to line up with the Single Speed Class if I did in fact have the fitness to attempt the "back to back"
but no... I wanted to snap some photos with my newly acquired camera

after parking I said hello to a bunch of folks as I worked my way to the registration table
after passing an Andrew Jackson I had a a race plate with the Maryland area code 410 that would have me lining up and racing with the Clydesdales at 6:55

back at the car with a few minutes before the 6 PM release I fumbled through my gear
then it happened
an unexpected rain started
I checked my iPhone Dark Sky app... it looked like it would be a short rain fall and then cleared up by the time my race started
I kept shelter in the car as it rained

I lost focus on this post after I discovered that there was an outside perspective to how things unfolded at the races last Wednesday at Wakefield
I lost focus because there was a lot of chatter from people who were not there and how they feel things should have been handled
I was there... I believe that things were handled well
they raced the early races with a short storm for the duration of one lap
then it stopped

I bet you would get a different set of answers from those who were there and those who were not there...

My guess...
The overwhelming majority would favor positively with how Potomac Velo Club handled the event...

It unfolded fast...
They took all variables into account and responded.
Each race started in between storms. I had not checked my DARK SKY application after I suited up... but when I was waiting in the car during the 6PM races it was a short fast storm just like the technology anticipated.

The race was amazing... the conditions were not a slog slog through deep mud. It was a fast smooth hammer-fest in heavy rain. Yes... sliding out on some turns... and yes... there was an impact from the tires... but really... the RUN OFF FROM THE INTERSTATE may be the real problem... creeks went from trickles to raging rivers in seconds...

That said... I was aware that all those tires would have an impact.
There were a few times where racers were force to go wide on a turn... or even went straight because they were going to fast to make the tight turn. After the race I was hanging out with MORE Wakefield trail liasons Tom Howe and Rob Lowe. I asked them to let me know when they would be hosting a trail day. So I could share the word if they had a trail day. Knowing I would try to attend but definitely share the word

That is why the MORE Trail Liaisons are hosting an unofficial trail work day as I type.
I should be there... but I have stuff to do around the house... stuff I should be doing right now...

then at risk of repeating myself... FACEBOOK IS ON FIRE!
lots of opinions on this topic... lots of opinions from people who were not there...
it is getting heated

I said this elsewhere... Potomac Velo Club has a long history of hosting top notch races in the area... the Greenbrier Challenge and the Wednesday at Wakefield races have been a huge part of local mountain bike community for over a decade.

In that time they have always showed the ut most concern for the safety of the racers and top notch concern for the sustainability of the trails.

I was at this event.... I feel that Potomac Velo Club handled things well. They made the call on the fly. Things unfolded fast. The doppler radar on my phone was calling for things to pass quickly.

A big issue is the expansion of Interstate 495... the run off from the Interstate is was caused the intense flooding. Yes it was sheets of rain... but the run off from the 10 lane highway just over the wall was a major contributor to the high water issues

I fear that race promoters may take a "goldie locks and the three bears" approach to things

but rain dates and return policies are a discussion for another time... race promoters have gone bankrupt off lack of pre-reg and race day cancellations

in this case... I think the race promoters made the right call!

I raced... I LOVED IT!
I hope that those injured were not seriously injured.... I am happy that no one was more seriously hurt.
It was an amazing night... the trails were fast and the elements were sublime.

good call...

everyone who was not there is making a call on a hypothetical situation... 

what happened and how they responded is all a hypothetical.... I was there... it unfolded fast... PVC made the call... I respect their decisions... This was not a slow paced slog through deep mud... the trails were hard packed with a stream rolling down them.... I did not race the week prior... but I I am thinking I put in some solid lap times on the two laps I raced... I came across the line wanting to take my third lap... then I heard that there were safety concerns and injured racers

it is good for the conversation to had

the notion of Trail Etiquette and Trail Responsibility is an important one
in 2008 I wrote an article for SPOKES magazine on the topic it is not my best piece of writing... but it gets the message across and works as quite a time capsule as it interviews a number of people in the scene

I respect the opinions but I also know it is all hypothetical for those who were not there

and then... after all that chatter

there is this


No comments: