Looks like the Tour of the Battenkill road race has now become more popular than Mt Washington in terms of how quickly fields fill. A couple years ago, Mt Washington filled 600 spots in about 18 minutes. This brought the Bikereg.com server to its knees and many people got hung up and shut out. Perhaps there were some server upgrades. Last year went smoothly. I believe the race still filled in less than 30 minutes.
Enter current economic mess and Mt Washington price increase. Could that put a damper on enthusiasm for this event? Apparently so. Nearly 40hrs after general registration opened, the race still has not filled with three spots left. Perhaps $46/mile is a bit much for some folks to handle when they are worried about their jobs, or in some cases I know, are looking for a job. Mt Washington competitors aren't exactly the type to go around with pledge forms to raise their entry fee through donations either. Mt Washington just doesn't fit the mold of MS charity rides.
I hadn't planned on doing the August race. There are other things on the bike racing calender that look enticing, and I thought it was time for something a little different on this weekend in August. One event that starts very early the morning after the Mt Washington race is the Hampshire 100k mountain bike race. I even signed up for it one year, the year that Mt Washington was cancelled, and I still ended up not doing the MTB race anyway since I was in such a sour mood.
I expected Mt Washington to fill by the end of yesterday, but when I got into work today, there were still 50 spots available. Made me think. Tormented me actually. I learned a couple other friends on the fence about doing it this year jumped in. A nemesis on Mt Equinox, Mark Luzio, signed up too, first time ever I think for Mt Washington. So I relented and did the deed today. I signed up. I hope Mary lets Mark into the Top Notch field so we can kill each other on the way up. If Ned Overend doesn't show up, Mark could take the top podium spot in his age group.
Speaking of mountain bike racing, I got my USA Cycling license today. I have two upgrades on it. Last year I upgraded to Cat 3 road but hadn't considered cyclocross since it is not one of my primary disciplines. But later I learned some masters fields are Cat 1/2/3 only. While my CX technical skills are pretty weak, I feel I can still be competitive in a masters field. I handily won a Cat 4 CX race I did last fall. So I petitioned for upgrade to Cat 3, which I think can be granted on the basis I'm Cat 3 road alone.
While I was petitioning for upgrades, I worked the off-road side of things too. USAC went to a new category system in 2009, Pro/1/2/3 instead of Pro/Semi-pro/expert/sport/novice. When I last raced NORBA back in 2000, I was still a sport rider. That meant I would transfer over to Cat 2 in new system. But I raced many years as Expert in EFTA series after that. So I requested upgrade to Cat 1 for Endurance/XC, as the license says. My plans are to do a mix of EFTA and Root 66 races, VT50, Tahoe 100, and maybe a couple others. This will obviously put a dent in number of regular road races I do this summer. Time will tell which way I gravitate more heavily towards.