2007 GMSR is this weekend; 800+ bike racers visit Vermont

Mavic mechanics ready with neutral support bikes at the Burlington Criterium.

The 2007 Green Mountain Stage Race is this weekend. I will be helping out on Monday in a small way, it's just a way for me to reconnect with some of the people I know from my decidedly inauspicious bike racing career. I checked the start list and it's kind of like the 'class notes' section of an alumni magazine: We are all getting older and people I knew from way back when are now racing in the Masters categories. There are over 800 riders registered and several fields are full, the race has really grown over the years. I hope that all goes well because while it's good that the race is so successful previous editions have been marred by traffic problems and congestion caused by hundreds of aggressive (and not very smart) riders racing on public roads shared with aggressive (and not very smart) drivers in bloated and oversized vehicles.

The race is a complex and time consuming volunteer effort to put on and it seems like each year it gets a little harder to find folks willing to help out. The event in Burlington is run by a veteran cadre of people who are quite experienced at putting the race on -- which makes it much easier -- but the pool of volunteers seems to shrink a little each year and it's very hard to find new blood.

I hope that all goes off without a hitch (last year, a state police cruiser took out a large part of the mens pro/elite race on Saturday, the stage was nullified) and I will probably post a few pictures from the Friday (there's a chance I will get to be in the pace car for the pro/elite race with my camera), Sunday and Monday stages here.

1 comment:

bmike said...

I volunteered for the 05 race. Enjoyed it for the most part, but had a bad taste in my mouth after arguing with some folks when I was directing traffic in the parking lot at the circuit race. The moment that it gelled for me was finding out that some racers need a very specific amount of square footage left behind their truck for trainers and set up space in an already cramped parking lot. Follow that by general disregard for the folks trying to keep riders safe at the parking lot exit and requesting that they only warm up where specified and it makes for a frustrating weekend for volunteers.

Crapping on the volunteer help jsut doesn't behoove a bike racer.

I did enjoy the finish of the road race atop App Gap. Made it there in time to see the Pro/1/2s make it in from my spot directing road traffic many miles away.

While I appreciate the folks who race, I just have such negative vibes from the TDF, doping, and professional sports in general. Granted, the majority of GMSR riders aren't pros or even high level amateurs... but the culture of 'the race' dosen't sit well with me anymore. Guess I'm getting old in my 30's.

Guess if I grew up in the sport I'd feel differently, but coming at it later in life I get turned off pretty quick by the bad behavior.
Have fun in the pace car - and I'll check back for photos. I'll probably be riding through town during the crit - so I'm sure I'll catch a glimspe or two first hand.