A Trip to Lake Wobegon

Dec 17 2007

So that last post extinguished my urge to talk about baseball for the next decade or so, but I still feel obligated to note that, after a mere three days, baseball already has its own David Millar and Tyler Hamilton. Clemens might do well to note that had Tyler just come clean back in ’04, he’d be racing today. As it stands, the first American LBL winner hasn’t even updated his webpage in five months.

But let’s keep the focus of this post domestic: the USCF recently crowned its men’s and women’s sandbagging champions. Great to see the national federation putting my $50 a year toward such a noble cause. One hopes next year’s prize package will be expanded to include a free UCI license, a legally binding agreement never again to race below Category A or P/1/2, or, failing all else, a swift kick in the ass from every other rider in the field.

In all honesty, why does the USCF expound their road upgrade guidelines in mind-numbing detail while leaving ‘cross utterly at the mercy of self-selection? Going to argue that ‘cross doesn’t need a hierarchical upgrade system that road has at because the potential danger of out-of-place riders isn’t as high? Tell that to Ryan Trebon, who lost his shot at another national title because some doofer couldn’t keep it inside the tape.

To me, though, the issue isn’t safety; it’s the mindset self-selection represents. Despite my very limited visits to Europe, I get the sense (considering that this dude can just come over and race) you either slug it out with the top names, or slug it out in the beer tent. Here in America, though, we’ve got the Lake Wobegon effect, and as a result, a “B” National Cyclocross Champion. Is it any wonder that guys like this think they can get a yellow jersey on their wall?

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