Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Events: Doylestown Bike Works’ Cranksgiving 2017 (and Why You Should Do It)

Events: Doylestown Bike Works’ Cranksgiving 2017 (and Why You Should Do It)

(2017) A few years ago I witnessed one of the most cutting edge approaches to a style of automotive racing. Rally racing is a time trial approach of an A to B race against the clock. Get in a temperamental car as a driver; invite a co-driver who scribbled some notes about the course in a book, and rocket down temperamental roads. Did I mention it’s against the rules to preview the course? So go as fast as you dare down logging roads, along clifftops, and over jumps. The fastest one at the end of the day wins. Sounds simple right?

 

The downside to this style of racing is the logistics of capturing it all on camera. Much like the Tour de France, rally racing has a full fleet of choppers pursuing the cars. Static cameras catch a single flyby but if the course is miles long, how many dead spots are on the course. Imagine a rally team being seen flying off a jump only to never appear at the next camera stand. That’s bad television.

 

A few years ago a television network came up with something called the Virtual Spectator, and it blew my mind. Overlapping time trial efforts, the network effectively turned the rally stage into a group race of sorts. They digitally installed the cars on one single piece of video. What was one car going down the road was now two or three. It gave the viewer a reference point as to who was faster where or how far one car was from all the others. I even loved the dust clouds.

  Eurosport's Virtual Spectator demonstrated what the rally race would have looked like if the cars had started beside each other.

Eurosport's Virtual Spectator demonstrated what the rally race would have looked like if the cars had started beside each other.

Perhaps the Doylestown Bike Works’ Cranksgiving could tap into that technology. Cranksgiving is a free event that guides cyclists to three supermarkets monitored by volunteers. The volunteers collect the donations after participants make purchases. Participants are given a list of items most needed this time of year to help guide them through the stores. Cranksgiving is not a race; it’s the farthest thing from, actually. Paradoxically it’s a team event without teams. It is a group effort of racing last year’s Cranksgiving.

 

The entire day would look like one big rally stage, but instead of recording racing progress the Virtual Spectator would record an attempt at outdoing last year’s numbers. This year is looking to outdo 7,000 pounds of donated food. Having that number dangling out front in the digital ether can give participants an avatar of a goal. It could be the difference between cyclists trying to carry donated goods to the checkout or grabbing a basket and filling it to the top. It could be a basket upgraded to a cart. The whole event wins with that type of approach.

 

With a countrywide approach to Cranksgiving, it could morph into a national competition. Until that happens, we will compete with last year’s nearly 6,000 pounds. Hopefully the cycling community outdoes itself in these parts.

 

 

Doylestown Bike Works’ Cranksgiving occurs on November 12th and begins at 9am. There are two distances: the short course stops at two stores; the long course visits three stores. Mission BBQ food truck will be on hand at the finish to slake your post-ride hunger.

Events: Fourth Annual Sly Fox Cross (and Why You Should Spectate)

Events: Fourth Annual Sly Fox Cross (and Why You Should Spectate)

Review: Draft Animals – Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While)

Review: Draft Animals – Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While)