Thursday, August 20, 2009

Racing - Rules and Regs

Someone once told me never to complain about something to someone unless I'm either complaining to someone that can do something about it, or if I'm taking action on my own to do something about it.

So when, say, someone (me) complains about how folks around here go 30 mph through stop signs, yes, I broke my rule, kind of (blog readers generally don't make town policy here, but if someone searches for "Simsbury" and "Stops", they may end up reading that it's kind of normal to go through a stop sign at 30 mph around here. And if the right person reads it, it could lead to some action.

However... I didn't bet on that. In fact, I also spoke to the Town Selectwoman about exactly that (and speeding, and tailgating). We had a brief conversation, sort of by accident, I have to admit, but a conversation nonetheless. It seemed like she wasn't going to do anything about it (at least not at that moment), but now and then I see a town cop pull someone over.

And I think, "Hey, maybe she mentioned something in passing to the Chief."

Or maybe not.

Anyway, I'm sure that over the course of the racing season, at some point you scratched your head (literally or figuratively, it doesn't matter which), and wondered, "How come they don't have a rule for that?"

Or, "Who is the moron that thought up that rule?"

Well, instead of griping to your fellow racers, complaining to the officials (who are there to enforce rules, not to change them), you can actually do something about those weird or missing rules. It'll be much more effective than pissing into the wind (again, literally or figuratively, although I think that doing it literally will hammer home the analogy).

Now is the time where you can contact your local association or LA for short. For CT it's the New England Bicycle Racing Association ( If you don't think you live in the New England area, you can find your LA here.

For readers in New England, NEBRA has announced that they are looking for suggestions regarding rules, changes, etc.

Note: Jim Patton, the one who posted that announcement, is not a candidate for election, he actually got elected. Another trustee is Diane Fortini, the top of the heap in NEBRA.

Although you may think that the rulebook is pretty complete (like I did), it's sometimes surprising to read about a new rule or two. For example, until this year, feeding was allowed in crits by default. In 2009 USAC stated that feeding in crits was not allowed unless otherwise specified.

I've worked around my perceived belief that feeding was always illegal, even devising "letter of the law" tactics to get myself more fluids towards the end of hot races. For example, more than once I've picked up "stray" bottles off the pavement at race speeds during hot summer crits.

The "stray" bottles, in case you didn't figure it out, were placed there by a friend of mine, based on my "letter of the law" plan, just in case I ran out of water. See, if I got a feed, that's a feed. But if I found a full bottle of fluid (Coke or water, whatever it "happened" to be), well, then, that's just a fortunate coincidence.

Ultimately the "stray" bottles never help any, but at least I got to have some fluids while soldiering on to pack fodder finishes.

Anyway, all this is to convince you that you should contact your LA with any and all rule change proposals you may have thought of during the year.

Next year, if your "should be rule" rule isn't there, you can only blame yourself.

And don't go complaining to anyone about that. The only one you can complain to is... you.

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