Saturday, July 16, 2011

708 Racing, a game changer?

I started Wild Card Racing STL, now 708 Racing with Mike Rickey because I didn't want to be just another rider in a group. I wanted to be part of a real team. I think a lot of people in the STL racing scene dont want to race as a team. Maybe they never were part of a team when they were younger and don't understand or appreciate the positives to it. Since I was a Cat 5 just about every race I have been in with others there has been a team plan. They don't alway work and we didn't always win but they made racing more enjoyable and filled my need to be part of something more than just me. Now that I have this great team around me and we always race as a team people are really noticing. Again we don't aways win, and we often have more than one plan, sometimes up to 4 plans, but they are there.
Racing a bike is different then running or triathlon because when we line up to race we are not doing it just to finish or get a personal record time. Most of us are doing it to try and win. The thing is that only one man can win and with bike racing it is very hard to win every race. But when you race as a team every rider has a job to do. Your job my be simple, it could be to make the first five laps of a race really fast, or it could be hard, go away on an all day break away. Some guys will have the job to chase break aways, some will have lead out duties, and one guy is going to be picked to win. And because everyone has a job everyone can win. You can feel fulfilled by your day's work because you did what you were supposed to do to help the team attain their total goal.
Our team also gives all our members their shot at their goals. We all have favorite races that we would love to win. And everyone at some point in the year will get all the resources of 708 Racing at their disposal. We do have a couple riders that if we worked for them at every race we would have had a pretty good shot at winning 3/4 of every race we entered or more. But what type of team is that? Sure as a pro you may be paid to race for the same rider at every race, the key word being paid. As amateurs we do this because it is our passion. We dream of riding across that finish line with our arms raised in triumph, and we make sure everyone gets their shot. My two shots I got this year I was not able to bring home the gold, but I was so grateful for all the help from my team that I have also buried myself for others on my team. It is that total sacrifice that separates 708 Racing from all other STL teams.
I feel like I have already started to see changes in the fields though. Other teams are starting to see that if they are going to keep up with us they are going to have to start adapting similar tactics. I think this is a great thing for bike racing in St Louis! If there are a good number of teams that learn to races with each other instead of just wearing the same kit St Louis could become a region know for great racing and maybe start to produce great young cyclists. Now that could be a big jump to make that just because a few guys who like to ride bikes together could change a whole cycling culture. But things have to start someplace and why not try to push things in a direction that could make us all better.
So even though I may be making it harder for me and my team to race and win, I am throwing out the gauntlet to those who suit up to race every weekend. Make plans, race as a team, I think that you will find that your passion for the sport only intensifies. And when it is all said and done this could be the start of an era, and you could say you were there.

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