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: Zwift US National Championships

Events: Zwift US National Championships

Multiple worlds have collided in regards to the trainer-riding season. Take a busy schedule, confinement to the trainer at odd hours of the day, a dangling bait of Zwift’s country national championship, and an intersection has been created for February 24th. 

 

The offseason has been rife with responsibilities and engagements. There are places to be at all hours of every day. Someone once said rides mean more when life takes up more time. I disagree. By the time a window of opportunity opens, I have talked myself out of climbing aboard the land missile and got a head start on the next obligation. Further proof can be found on the bike because race tires are still on five months after the last race. 

 

What a time it is to be a busy cyclist though. With its increasing popularity, cycling has witnessed a meteoric boom in indoor riding. We have been sucked in to the virtual reality world of smart trainer riding. If ever there was a time to be relegated to the basement in an attempt to hammer out some miles, now is the time. The set up is straightforward at the creakybottombracket.com office, yet we don’t huff and puff when descending into the basement to ride like we used to. There is a twinge of excitement. Who knows what will happen in Zwift world.

 

What is happening in Zwift world tomorrow is the country-by-country e-cycling championship. And in the same order of events as Zwift’s website, the concern for cheating is thrown out there directly. However, without being remotely considered a contender for the champion’s jersey, how wonderful it would be to RSVP for the race tomorrow and let the VR world unfold in front of us. The race is hardly technical. The total distance is fewer than 40 miles with approximately 1500 feet in elevation gain. That means heavy hitters will keep the pace furious.

 

Having pounded scores of miles on the trainer this winter the event could be a great fitness gauge. Knowing I wouldn’t be in it to win it, I would be excited to see how long I could stay with the national group. And once it’s over, I would love to analyze the data until I conclude ‘I’m just not that fast’ and move on. An elevation of 1500 feet is just my game. It closely resembles the distance and courses I anticipated in my racing years.

 

But there is one problem:

 

To compete in the Zwift national championship one must carry a US Cycling racing license. In order to have results verified, one must front $80 to race in VR world tomorrow, a more than ten percent price hike from the year before. Don’t get me wrong, I think there should be some sort of filter to prevent the race from being server-crashing gallop fest. Do I think there should be 10,000 people racing tomorrow? No. But for those who have recently stepped away from the racing scene, I pulled my entry from the app on account of hardly justifying the $80 membership fee to US Cycling. I didn’t walk away from cycling because of membership fee, but it made it a lot easier to do so. Considering US Cycling is not recognizing the event, why bother?

 

I have always said the worst place in sports is to be a winning cyclist in any race. Everyone immediately asks how you cheated. Tomorrow a new worst place in sports may be revealed when the national champions are introduced. Before the race has even started people have clenched their jaws in anticipation to label their compatriots as cheater but want immediate assumption of skill if they win. Imagine someone without a license ripping to the finish with healthy telemetry only to be disqualified because s/he didn’t empty the bank account for one event.

 

I have always written positive articles on creakybottombracket.com, but the requirement to have a valid US Cycling license is preposterous to me. I walked away from racing last year for several reasons and felt justified and fulfilled after the last race. I felt similar sentiment when I withdrew my RSVP to tomorrow’s race. Perhaps Zwift believes only the best riders are license holders. I disagree. If the race was an open format tomorrow, I would not have been surprised an unknown sprinted to glory, was accused of cheating, went through litigation to prove the results, was deemed authentic, presented the award months after the race which was just enough time for the person to be turned off to cycling, sort of rider to come out on top. Instead the same effect happened before the race all because I lack a status. Multiple worlds have collided in regards to trainer season events. Best of luck to those who have status.

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