Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What in the world is going on with R.A.C.E.???

What in the world is going on with R.A.C.E.???

I’ve been asked this question a ton during the last few months. And, for the most part, I’ve kept pretty quiet. Well…..I figured now is as good a time as any to give everyone an update. The following is more of a rambling-thought process than anything, so bear with me.

A number of things have happened since I abruptly canceled the remainder of the R.A.C.E.(Rodney’s Amateur Cycling Events) events for 2012, and heading into 2013. First off, our baby was born on August 19th, and I am really enjoying being a stay-at-home dad at the moment. In fact, I LOVE it….and Baby Heidi is just the best – love her to pieces.

But, in addition to the time it takes to raise our children(Adela and Heidi both), my mom was put on hospice late last year. This definitely took the wind out of my sails, and I find it very difficult to deal with on a day-to-day basis. I love my mom dearly, and I know that the coming months will be a very difficult time in our lives. My mom seems to be doing well right now, but I never know what is coming. Cancer, most definitely, sucks.

I’ve also been riding my bike more often. And, with that, the joy of riding has really made me see why I put on the R.A.C.E. events. I definitely have some new goals I would like to achieve in cycling. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired all of the time, as the cliché goes. So, I changed my diet and started riding daily…..and am finding that this is an absolute necessary ingredient for me to have a good life, at least in my opinion. I had a rider tell me a couple of years ago at one of our Airport Criteriums that I was mentally ill – and that is why I put on free cycling events throughout the year. He said it out of anger, I know…but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Riding again really makes me wonder if he was right in that jab towards me. Maybe so, and maybe that is something I should look at more closely.

The Lance news – and reading the entire USADA report as soon as it came out – didn’t help my motivation much. I put on 220 bicycle races in 2012 in and around Butte County, California. Since its inception, R.A.C.E. has put on over 1,200 free bicycle races – we put on more free grassroots bicycle races than anywhere in the world! But, this Lance thing really got to me – and I started to question why I do what I do with regard to putting on free bicycle racing events for the community – and whether it was really a good idea. I absolutely did NOT want to encourage junior-aged cyclists – or any cyclists, for that matter – to be involved with doping or drugs……or be led into that type of situation.  I don’t know – it just, like I said, took the wind out of my sails. And, I begin to question everything with regard to my promotions of bicycle races.

And, finally, I went through the numbers and attendance at the R.A.C.E. events in 2012, and they just aren’t what they use to be. In fact, the Hill Climb Series in the fall had a record low with regard to attendance – and hardly anyone shows up to the mountain bike races anymore. I mean, even the Criteriums and Thursday night Time Trials were less-attended than they were in previous years. So, I had/have to take that into account as well. I’ve always told the riders, “When the riders stop showing up, that’s when I know I’m done here.” I can’t help but feeling that maybe that is what has happened now – that maybe the riders are trying to tell me something.

So, what am I going to do with regard to R.A.C.E.?? 

Honestly, at this point in time – Jan. 22nd at 1:30pm – I have no idea. Part of me wants to continue with ALL of the events going into 2013. Part of me wants to do only a portion of the calendar. Part of me wants to do only a handful of events . And, quite frankly, part of me wants to stop the whole thing now. I’ve contemplated taking the year off, and allowing time for motivation – by both myself, and the riders – to grow….then start back up in 2014 or 2015. But, I’m just not sure where things stand now. I wanted to sanction at least a half-dozen events in 2013, but the absolutely packed NCNCA calendar made me re-think everything…..although the NCNCA itself has been VERY supportive of R.A.C.E. and my motivation of sanctioning some of the R.A.C.E. events. We are very very lucky to live in this cycling district!

I’ve worked VERY hard to build R.A.C.E. up since 2007 – and have spent thousands of hours on the organization. I lose money every year – I do it out of love for the sport of bicycle racing. Lots of people have told me to charge money for the events, but I have never done it. My feeling was, why charge money for something so fun – so enjoyable – especially when cycling itself already costs an arm and a leg? I’ve seen other cycling organizations rob the riders blind, and I never wanted R.A.C.E. to become something as obnoxious as that – I wanted the organization to be fun and good for cycling/cyclists. I don’t know - I am just evaluating everything.

So, right now……I will be putting on the 2013 Paskenta Ride/Race with all the things I normally do and have – maps, trophy, SAG vehicle, treats and bottled Coca-Cola and food at the end. Past that, though, I am not sure what I may do. I may start doing the weekend events again – and add the Criteriums and Time Trials later. Or, I may just hang up my clipboard and see what the riders want. Just….not sure right now.

Let me know what you all want – or what you want to see. Shoot me an e-mail at:

And, thank you for reading this rambling note – just gotta let everyone know what is going on in my head.

R.A.C.E. – Rodney’s Amateur Cycling Events
Chico, California