Jordan Cheyne contributed to PezCyclingNews A Roadmap to Repair Professional Cycling which lays out an ambitious and intensive 4-point plan to heal cycling’s image, make the sport economically viable and establish effective long term governance. I've raced with Jordan a few times and appreciate his contribution to cycling. He is also one of those riders that for no real good reason, minus the lack of options, isn't a pro. But I like racing with him because he goes all out and doesn't hold back. And despite his lack of opportunity, he is all-in with the sport and will continue to go after it in a positive way.
I think the majority of cyclists racing in USAcycling appreciate the structure of Category racing because it provides that video-game mentality of getting to the next level. Novice, Category 5 to Elite, Category 1 with a points structure based on results through the categories keeps riders in the system for years until they are indoctrinated into loving cycling because it becomes such a long process that they have no choice but to love. Or hate... there are definitely those riders who realize how much the system has taken over cycling for them and have abandoned ship. But all-in-all I like the system because it keeps riders itching for that next level, with the promise that if they make it to Cat 1, they can race at the professional level. Unfortunately that's where I think the fault is. I don't want to elaborate right now, but the Pro-Am racing scene in the US is a joke. If professional racing is ever going to be successful, there needs to be enough professional teams to fill a field.
There were 42 starters for the Professional Criterium Championships this past season. Every other professional field has anywhere from 100-150 starters, with 50-100 of those riders usually being Category 1 racers. How much longer will amateurs prop of a broken professional development program for non to hardly non-existent salaried rider teams?
I'm looking forward to reading the book from Phil Gaimon regarding his experience racing on division 3 Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: A Hand-Me-Down Guide to American Bike Racing. Now I'm a little worried that this book will inspire kids to put up with the norm of domestic pro cycling since Phil has made it to the "Big Leauges". Phil is going to race on Garmin next year and make lots of money and be considered a success in bike racing. I don't want to distract from his accomplishments at all, anyone who can put up with a system for 10 years and overcome and succeed is a hero in my book. I just hope that this book exposes some major problems in the system and it elicits some change.
Again, I don't have the answers. I just want people to think about it and to understand that currently, cycling is not a viable career choice! Alright that's about the fifth time since I started writing that I almost blew up in rant. I am calm and collected. I just get nervous when juniors come up to me at bike races and treat me as if I have made it and I can see pro dreams in there eyes and can hear ambition in there shaky voices. I hope they have more opportunities and viable ones.
And then again, again..., I don't really relate well to the junior cyclist. I was never good enough to make the team for organized sports when I was younger and didn't start riding and racing bikes until I was already twenty-three. Hard to be super-frustrated about a system you are still so ripe to and with little real influence being a 27...racing age 28 year old recovering corporate world Information Technology specialist. Then again, that might be more influential than I had previously thought.
Oh well, without further ado. I'm returning to work. maybe I needed to spite and spout to feel better about going back to my day job. It's a good thing really, I need health and dental insurance and a paycheck gives me the opportunity to sponsor myself! Woohoo! RuggRacing is coming to a city near you in 2014. Sort of a joke, but not really. I'm still working a few angles and plan on racing individually where I can and guest riding on teams when that's required.
I'm going Rugg, er... Rogue
Nick Waite is a badass, but I look cooler.