Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Cat3 Men,

No one likes you.

No, really. You're insignificant. The Cat3 race is like the Special Olympics of cyclocross. I learned this the hard way. One of my goals for cross season was to earn the VERGE Cat3 Men leader's jersey. I figured a year of racing at the front of the Verge series would be a great way to make a name for myself in New England cycling circles. Would I know who Jamie Belchak is if he didn't clean up in 2006? Every time I hear the name John Peterson, it's followed by "you know, the guy that killed the Verge 2/3 series".

Turns out, in the world of New England Cyclocross, the Cat3 leader's jersey is the last thing you ever want to have on your back. It is an insult magnet. You become a marked man. The internet has given Brian Wilichoski endless shit over the last two weeks. I have witnesses the Cat3 field, as well as random spectators, give BW shit to his face on numerous occasions. Why is this my goal?

At Gloucester, after riding at (towards?) the front of the Cat3 field for an hour and a half, you would think the race announcer would learn your name. Nope. Unless you're in an elite race, or your last name is Gougen, Keough, or Mannion. you're just a number to Richard Fries. The courtesy of being called to the podium by name is not extended to the Cat3 field. "...and in third place, racer number 492." Richard can't be bothered to learn your name. Why do you think the juniors race runs at the same time as the Cat3 race? It's so Richard Fries has something worthwhile to talk about.

Speaking of the podium, the race promoter is just going through the motions to make you feel good about yourself. They just pretend to take the pictures, but they don't actually press the button. Who want to waste valuable battery power on Cat3s? You're not handed a prize of any sort. If you want your prize money, you have to search for it. The only reason you're allowed to race is because the elite fields need to be paid, and your money is the greenest.

Your team won't care either. When I told the IBC Directeur Sportif I got 2nd and 3rd at Gloucester, his remark was "sounds like you're ready for the big kids race". That is one bitch slap of a backhanded compliment. As brutal as it is true.

Spectators don't give a shit about you, they are just there to watch their friend. They will be silent until said friend rides by. They will take pictures of their friend in 83 place, but they will not take a picture of anything, or cheer for anything going on at the front of the race. To them, the race might as well be a group ride passing by.

Your fellow Cat3 racers will be the worst. Your accumulated promotion points doubles as a scale, from one to 10, of just how much the Cat3 field hates you. There is no such thing as congratulations in Cat3 racing, and there shouldn't be. You will never hear "nice race," but every variation of the term "sandbag" will be thrown at you repeatedly. Not getting lapped in the elite race brings more congratulations than winning the Cat3 race. As it should.

While we're on the topic of sandbagging, Chip recently theorized that if you're having fun on a Cross course, you're probably sandbagging. I have had an enormous amount of fun racing my bike these last few weeks. I actually feel guilty for having such a good time.

Your shop won't order your bike for you. Your dog will not make eye contact with you. Your brakes will always squeak. Your girlfriend will dump you (seriously).

It's not all tears in your beers though. You can rise above the hatred and anonymity of the Cat3 field, and if you play your cards right, it won't cost you a thing...

Gloucester Second Place +$70
Gloucester Third Place +$40
Cancelled Cat3 registration +$35 x 2
UCI License -$90
Elite registration -$45 x 2

Net cost to you = $zero


  1. oh shit, i bet the ibc elite squad will be chopping, drafting, and generally owning the 30th-40th positions for the rest of the Verge series! Except Maine cuz we all know no self respecting elites will make the trip to that venue so you'll probably own positions 15-25 there.

    btw, now that there are 2 ibc elites, can you guys convince the shop to order some skinsuits?

  2. dude, the first guy i'm gonna chop is kevin.

  3. Sweet now I only have to pass 85 guys to win!

    Congrats! You are going to do very well.

  4. nice work kevin. hopefully soon i will join you up there.

  5. Nice blog, I just found it. Excellent writing style - you have a new fan. That is, if you can stand an old roadie/former mountain biker as a fan....

  6. Nice work on the upgrade. Agreed that the B men and women are shat upon in the series. There's an easy answer, support the smaller events instead if you don't feel that you are treated fairly, really. Also, if your miserable Directeur Sportif doesn't appreciate you, come see us at NEBC, we will :)

  7. Wow...I am a dick, no wonder nobody likes me.

    Kevin, you take one step toward NEBC and I activate the exploding microchip IBC implanted in your brain after I slipped that roofy into your Starbucks that time.

    Boom K-Sweet (you don't mind if I call you by that awesome nickname do ya?), BOOM! That's all I have to say.

  8. B men shat upon by the series? Puhleeze. They get a payout and choice start time. What else should they get, start money?

  9. Um, no one gives a **** about anyone outside of the top ten in the elite race either. You can't upgrade your way out of obscurity. Ricard Fries still won't learn your name.