By Kevin Brubaker
For those of you new to the club, Mike Green is once again wearing the ‘Director of Open Racing’ hat, having served in the position in 2005 and 2006. He is very excited and LOVES to talk cycling. Even though he works over at Bloomberg LP as a computer programmer, something tells me his mind is more focused on improving the New York racing scene than minding his real job. Eating dinner at Pio Pio on 1st Ave before heading over to the roller races, Mike waxed poetic on several topics about the upcoming season….
Are there going to be any new races this year?
Not right now. The focus right now is do the races we do very well. We want to get things organized so that responsibilities are spread out among more people and the process is smooth and easy…not where one or two people are stuck with doing everything.
What about a River Road Time Trial in the near future?
I talked with the Palisades Park people in 2006 and they were receptive to working with us. It’s something we’d like to do in the future. The first thing they asked was ‘What charity is this for?’
Understandable…the MS 100 includes it in their route.
True. However, I think there’s an intrinsic value to the sport for it’s own sake. Having said that, they’re still willing to work with us. More to come on this…
There are some changes to the Spring Bear Mountain Race. Do tell…
First of all, my number one goal is to make Bear Mountain the best amateur race in the region . I also want to improve things for racers in every category. To attract a stronger regional P/1/2 field we raised the prize money to $2500. The prize money for the Women’s 1/2 has been doubled. Furthermore, we added three new fields: Cat 4 40+, Masters 50+, and Masters 60+. This helps give more people an opportunity to race and be competitive in their field. We’ve also added SRAM neutral support for the Cat 3 Men’s Field. Administratively, we’ve already received our USCF permit and the Palisades Park Commission should be issuing our permit next week. We also have Harriman State Park permission and police approval.
Will there be a Fall Bear Mountain Race this year?
The Harlem Criterium has been a topic of discussion recently. What, if anything, can you tell us?
First of all, we are now working with former CRCA President John Eustice, who has been putting on the UCI Pro Univest race. He is going to help make Harlem into a higher profile event. The goals are to raise the level of racing and to make it more of a community event.
The good thing about a well run crit is that it’s a street fair, carnival, and a high level sporting event all wrapped up in one. It’s also a great way to get out into the community. Harlem is such a diverse and cultural neighborhood and incorporating that into the event with food and live music will help broaden the race. Years ago, this race used to draw up to 10,000 spectators. We’re committed to bringing it back to that level.
Some amateur bike races around the southeast are experimenting with electronic timing systems. What do you know about them?
There is a main computer and a sensor at the start/finish line. Every rider has a transponder mounted on the bike whose device ID would match the corresponding rider from registration.
There are two types of chip timing devices. Active and Passive. New York Road Runners use the Passive system but it’s too imprecise for our needs. The newer Active systems are much more accurate…like what they use in the Tour de France. They generate a strong signal and have a battery that lasts 5 years.
What are the benefits?
They are very precise and give you instant results. You’d still want to use a camera at the finish line for close sprints, just like the tour, but they are very accurate. You would also be able to get lap times of every individual rider. Also, in races like Bear Mountain where you have major overlap of fields, it would help to keep track of who’s who.
How feasible is it for CRCA to use this system?
First of all, we would only be interested in using electronic timing for open races and maybe Cup Championships where the finishes are 10-15 riders deep. Financially, the main unit is $5000 to $6000, which isn’t unrealistic. However, the individual transponders that the riders need are $90 a piece! Herein lies the obvious problem. The club can’t afford that so it’s up to the racers to foot the bill in some way….either to rent a chip for a race, for a season, or to buy it outright. One of my goals is to keep our racing as inexpensive as possible. Triathalons use chips but their entry fees reflect that, charging into the hundreds of dollars just for one race.
As of now, we’d rather put the extra money into bigger prizes. We are still exploring ways to get around the financial burden but haven’t found any viable solutions yet.
What do you know about drug testing for amateur races?
All legal testing in the U.S. is conducted by USADA (United States Anti Doping Administration). They have to monitor, administer, and analyze every part of the testing process. Unfortunately, they have only a limited amount of people and equipment to spread around the country. Furthermore, USADA does testing for ALL olympic and professional sporting event in the United States.
Is testing a possibility for open CRCA races?
They are concerned about doping at the amateur level and New York has warranted attention from past incidents. The financial costs of the whole procedure are feasible. It’s all about availability of limited resources. Knowing that even one test may take place, can deter people who are thinking of cheating. So the answer is yes, it is possible.