A week ago I got a call from Joe Reagan (NorEast Cycling) looking for help with the Portsmouth Crit. A lot of bike racing was going on over the weekend with CX races in other places. So a broad net was cast to pull in helpers to ensure this worthy event runs smoothly. I haven't been a NorEast rider for two seasons now. I have volunteered to help out with the Portsmouth Crit in the past. It is one of the premier events NorEast runs, an all-day city center festival with activities for the whole family.
I agreed to marshall the course and help with take-down after the last race. The children's races started at 12:30pm. I was amazed at how many kids lined up, at least a hundred in several fields. You have to crack up when Richard Fries is giving race instructions to 4-6 year olds - with training wheels. "Don't look at mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa. You are going east, don't ride north or south, just go that-a-way."
Fries giving pre-race instruction to a very attentive audience.
Interestingly, many of the bigger kids already have team affiliations. Several of the P/1/2/3/4 teams were represented in the kids races. Really. The 4-6 year olds, first a field with training wheels, then a field without training wheels, raced 600m. This was the finishing straight away to the line. Slightly downhill with tail wind to start, then slight uphill to the line. A few kids in each wave really got it. They drilled it all the way to the line. On the flip side, at least one kid in each of the first few waves was terrified by the experience and ended up balling. Yep, I can relate more to this second group than the first group. Crits scare the willies out of me too.
The childrens age groups went up to 10-12, which did two full laps around the course. Started to see some nice equipment in this group with one boy that nearly lapped the slowest riders.
So you didn't come here to read about kiddie races? Well, on bikes were all really just a bunch of kiddies. I have proof. The only difference between the four year olds and pros are how close they ride to each other. Ok, pros go a little faster too. Same circles on bicycles. I was stationed on the last corner before the finish all afternoon. I captured a few images. After reviewing the images at home, I noted a nice linear progression in pack density with field category. Hope the captions stay with images. Not all browsers handle this well.
After the races, I loaded hay bails onto trucks and trailers and then unloaded them at another location. Hundreds of them. My utter lack of core conditioning became fully apparent the next morning. I could barely roll over out of bed. Nothing in my body escaped unscathed, except maybe my quads. It didn't help matters that I rollerskied on hilly terrain for over an hour Sunday morning either. I'm sure I'll be feeling this come Vermont 50 this weekend. My plan was to be fully involved in core conditioning by now, but too much seems to keep getting in the way.