Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling - What a Joke - US racers "over training"
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07-20-11, 09:38 PM
All my life I've known I'm a bit of a poser. Hardly worth a crap - save the ability to ride 20mph in 100 degree weather for 200 miles or more.
But looking over the "pond" seeing that there are some "boys" about to ride 25mph for 200k over three or four mountains and just call it a "days work" among so many more - well you know I'm just a knackered old fool.
But for the life of me - after riding here in the States with several dozen State Road Champions - i for the life of me can't understand why USA Cycling is such a wuss of an organization as to not foster more 200k competitions.
"Oh blimey me" - the route is over an 100k - It's too long - I must train with more "quality."
Boo- hah !
I think it has more to do with money and the fact that in America it's too difficult to get the roads closed for a bike race. Long races just don't seem to fit with American mentality. Also, at least in the western USA the cities are generally further apart and it's harder to generate the excitement that a race in Europe gets going through several small towns along the way and a more populated countryside makes for more country spectators. Witness the fact that criterium racing evolved in the USA so that the race could be easily watched by an audience. And yet we have ultra endurance events here in the USA that dwarf those of Europe like the RAAM and the Great Divide bike race. I think not enough Americans can identify with bicycles as a transportation medium. They are strictly for recreation in America for the most part except among a small percentage so there is not the serious interest and dedication to bike racing to the same extent as in Europe. The only way I see this changing is if RAAM and Great Divide become legitimate grand tour stage races. One for off road and other for road. Maybe they will evolve into that but I don't see that happening any-time soon.
07-21-11, 07:07 AM
I concur it's a question of money and interest.
Pro races in the US can barely sustain enough interest to put together courses as tough as in Europe. E.g. the Tour de Georgia was classified as "HC" and had several very long days (182km, 176km 214km) but financially couldn't make the cut.
Many regions of the US offer the same population densities as in Europe, so I don't think that's a problem.
Of course, this is just the nature of sport. Different nations excel at, prefer, and/or are willing to invest significant resources into different sports. E.g. you're not going to find the same caliber of baseball players in France or Germany as you will in the US.
As to RAAM etc., those events are far too long, too spread out and lacking visible drama to gain much popularity.
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