It’s the fifth lap of my first crit in ages. I was really excited to be racing again after watching the spectacle that is Tuesday night at Palace. An early attack of mine had just been brought back and I was sitting around the front of the bunch as we approached the finish line. The commisaire is angrily shouting out my race # and my disqualification. That was the end of my race.
Thanks for reading.
Or was it…
Seriously though, I was DQ’d but I didn’t get pulled from the race. At the moment I’m racing to get better at racing and gain experience – I’m not chasing points. Being put into a position where I have nothing to lose was a perfect outcome. I was free to race hard without the responsibility of having to get a result for my efforts. Usually, I wouldn’t ride all out in a race until the race is being decided. Now I could do whatever and it wouldn’t matter either way.
Whilst I was considering what to do with myself, the race-winning break was beginning to form. PMR, Richardsons-Trek and Nuun-Sigma were all represented in the move and had opened up some 15s on the bunch.
I was chatting with my teammate Snoopy about the DQ and he noticed the danger of the move (I wasn’t really paying attention at the time..) and attacked out of the bunch to make his way across. I was on his wheel and duly sat up to give him a gap running into the hairpin.
The gap opened instantly and I led into the hairpin at a really slow pace to back everyone up. Someone was commenting about the extent to which my cornering was slow, but I had already attacked hard out of the corner at 1300w before he had finished his critique and realised I was riding across to join the winning break and he wasn’t.
Off I went, in pursuit of Snoopy who was about 40m ahead. Before I caught him, I gave him a good shout so he’d know to jump on my wheel. I had to get him into the break or the race was pretty much over for us.
I spent the next few laps trying to make sure the break would stay away (7.30 @ 366w AP), riding right on the edge of blowing up. The bunch eventually gave up the chase and our break of 9 rotated smoothly for the rest of the race. Once we got 30s and could see the bunch at the start/finish we were just cruising along.
We backed off going into the final 3/4 laps and strangely, no one attacked. Snoopy and I had been chatting about how to play it, and we decided to mark the riders more likely to attack, and leave it to a sprint. I didn’t feel I could race for the win knowing I was disqualified so I would lead out the sprint and see what happened.
The last half lap was cat and mouse, until the hump hill passing the velodrome when I moved to the front with Snoopy on my wheel. I put it in the gutter (crosswind) and opened it up with about 350m to go
It wasn’t meant to be, Snoopy was cooked from working in the breakaway and couldn’t pass, and 4 of the 8 others in the break came over the top of me. They weren’t that far ahead at the line, which is interesting for future races, but my 5th was struck from the results sheet anyway. The race was a lot of fun, and it felt great to be able to give everything in a race and still be around to see how it was won. It would’ve been a lot less fun watching from the sides.
The real stats:
My $0.02 on the GoPro subject (obviously I’m very pro-GoPro)
I’ve always known it was a technical reg of BC that cameras aren’t allowed. I knew that eventually something like this was going to happen. I was in the wrong, knowingly so, and the commisaire is only doing his job by enforcing the rules. I’ve always known that by racing with a GoPro, I take the risk that any results might be voided. The reward to taking that risk is capturing (sometimes) interesting racing, from a unique perspective, and re-telling that story through a (roughly edited) video on YouTube, which I enjoy doing.
I asked the comm afterwards on his thoughts why cameras are banned, but he couldn’t give me a reason: It’s the rules – you’re allowed your Garmin and that’s it. Fair enough. It’s also a reg that you need barplugs for the end of your handlebars but people weren’t DQ’d for that.
Its been previously reported why cameras are banned and the two main reasons that come up are:
- BC don’t want people using video footage as evidence to sue them (widely reported as the main reason in cycling media)
- Cameras falling off / another item to cause injury
The first reason is illogical because anyone can still record a race from the sidelines or via a drone. If something happens that is bad enough that people need to go down the legal/insurance route, then a camera would be really, really useful to clarify what has actually happened and allow a just outcome.
The second is interesting. I think if GoPros were to be allowed, there should be some kind of approval of the mount system for the camera to check it is secure and safe. GoPro Session4 mounts are really secure and have never faltered – even in all of my crashes (including head-ons). I’ve ridden ~1200h with a GoPro mounted on my bike and I’ve never had it fall off, or a mount fail. Compared to what they are designed to withstand, a bike race doesn’t really test the integrity of the system.
All of this is balanced against the promotion of racing generally, exposure of BC events and people being able to see courses in race situations before racing there (#recce). BC/GCN’s own RaceSmart videos use on-bike cameras to show what bunch riding is like to promote safety – actual race footage is even better for that (knowing what to expect when on a given course)!
\\end GoPro rant.So it’s safe to say no GoPro at the Velopark on Wednesday evenings. Maybe in a few years the rules will have changed and all owill seem very odd.