All Talk & No Photos: Should pro cyclists participate in small events?

Let me start by saying I did not go to the race this weekend.  The Cyclist took off with a teammate and a buddy and I opted to stay home and be our housekeeper for the day.  When you work full time and are gone nearly every weekend, things like chores tend to fall by the wayside.  It's interesting what things thrill you as an a free day to stay home and take care of your house.

Anyway, The Cyclist raced the Suisun Harbor Criterium yesterday.  As I said, I was not there.  The opinions and thoughts I'm about to put out here are mine alone and are only intended to encourage discussion.  I'm not taking up a cause or even one side or the other, I just think this situation is a quandary that is interesting to discuss.

So, in case you are wondering, Suisun is a little tiny town between Sacramento and San Francisco.  I've often described it as "the spot on the freeway with all the fast food restaurants".  The Suisun Harbor Criterium has been going on for years and is a small little race.  The company that promotes this event typically do not hand out huge prizes.  The Cyclist won this race as a CAT 3 (I think) and got a t-shirt and like ten bucks (whatever it was, it wasn't enough to reimburse him for his race entry fee).  All of this is neither here nor there, other than to demonstrate that this is a super small event.  Nothing close to Tour De Nez or even Safeway Fast & Furious.  In fact, not only is it a small event, but the course is so short I can literally watch the peloton go by, then walk across the middle of the course and get to the other side before they pass again.

Yesterday, 2 pro cyclists who shall remain unnamed showed up to race.  Of course, one of the two won the race...the other one I assume placed high (no results up yet).  So my question to you is, should guys like this be participating in events like these?

As a spectator I have mixed feelings.  On one hand, it's kind of cool to see riders of that caliber up close.  But on the other hand, when your guys have a decent chance of placing well or winning and then some pro guy shows up, it's kind of like " much for this race".  I wonder if the "regular" cyclists in the race feel the same way?

Having pro guys like these definitely makes the race more challenging for the other riders, but I wonder, what do they get out of it?  I mean, really.  They must know going in that they're probably going to win.  Clearly they aren't there for the money.  (Or at least, hopefully they're not there for the money.)  I suppose that the pro guys may just really want to get a race can't mimic the race action by taking a ride with your buddy, so maybe their appearance should be a compliment to the rest of the field?  I don't know.

But all of this just makes me curious....why?  What do the pro guys get out of it?  What does everyone else think?  It would be awesome to get a response from an actual pro-guy, but I don't know any personally, so if somebody wants to forward my little ole' blog post to some cycling-famous person, please do.

Comments welcome!

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  1. As a semi pro girl, all I can say is that I relish the opportunity to race with real-pro girls. To be honest, I get quite board racing against the same people over and over. It's not to say that I don't respect my competition. Heck, it would be REALLY boring if none of them showed up. I suppose it all boils down to why you like bike racing to begin with. Do you do it for the competition, for the challenge, to persue excellence? Do you do it because you get to ride with your buddies and come home with a t-shirt? I say give the pros something to worry about. Make them sweat you a little bit. Don't hand over your VeloPromo t-shirt without a fight! Who knows maybe the challenge will make you a better bike racer.

  2. Well...having raced along side your hubby, I for one think it's cool when a pro or 2 show up. Most (at least 98%) of us don't in fact do it for the $ and in the interest of promoting the sport, it's cool when they show up. Win or lose, it's always cool to get into an early break, or bang bars in a sprint with the real 'Big Dawgs' of our sport...locally speaking of course. Seeing them is one thing, racing with them is another. Being that your hubby 'sat in' for the entire race, he didn't get the opportunity to do either of the things I his opinion my differ. ;) (dang sprinters!) j/ the way...dinner was absolutely Deeelish! Thanks for having me over. See ya soon. (unless he reads this. :))

  3. Wow! Thanks for the comments everyone. Not being someone who races it didn't occur to me that racing with the same ol' peeps would probably get boring after awhile. And Mr. Anonymous, you should have told The Cyclist to quit sitting in! I know who you are too btw!
    Thanks for the input!


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