In Praise of Officials

I took note that bike race officials took a good slagging over the weekend on our local weblogs, and yeah, I linked to Fox.  Like I said, we need characters.  But we also need officials and that’s not something I take lightly.  I gotta think standing around in the cold, heat, wind, rain, and snow for little pay and to get yelled at or disrespected online requires thicker skin than most people have.  No, I have not always agreed with the calls, but I do believe that most people in this position are “doing it for the love” and are making the best calls they can, and I thank them for their willingness to do so.

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9 thoughts on “In Praise of Officials

  1. Well put. I’m not happy with what happened to me Sat, but rules and officials are there for a reason. I could whine that Ali and I weren’t the only ones that took the “hand up” but that would be stupid. It sucks that I have to be an example, but I can take it like a man. I’m very thankful for our dedicated officials that are there for us.

  2. I use to love racing my bike and the reason I enjoy reading your blog is to see how an average 9-5er makes it happen. I am a fan of the sport, but lets be honest, the sport is kinda silly at times and needs to be called out. Maybe Fox’s approach is not the most diplomatic, but hey, he does call it like it is at times. Maybe its the silly rules that should be pointed out instead of bashing the stickler official, I will give you that, but hey Fox has a point at times. The reason I stopped road racing and sticking to mtn bike racing was the silly rules and officials. I was about to get a pro upgrade on my mtn bike back in the 90’s but was forced to race Cat5 on the road. Also I was denied from racing certain events because my jersey did not fit into the rules of the USCF. Come on, its a local crit or hillclimb and you are turning away Cat 5 racers because of their jerseys??? I cant tell you how many potential racers USA cycling has turned away over the years, including myself. I thought mtn biking had enough silly rules, but the road scene was absurd. This isnt the Tour de France, its local racing. You wonder why the cyclocross scene is growing, because its inclusive and open to everyone, something the road scene is not. Someone giving away money at a local race should be complimented, not frowned on. My kids will race the cyclocross races, but I have no desire to take them to a road race. Its too uptight and eliteist for a family of knuckle dragging snowboarders and skateboarders who do not do well with conformity in the first place. Its a shame a cool sport like cycling shoots itself in the foot more often than not. My two cents.

  3. Officials, politicians, cops, etc… don’t get my respect if they are on a power trip. The only thing I’ll give her is that she gets little pay.

  4. My dad is a newly minted USAC official so I guess I can’t bitch about the “blue coats” anymore. Although I’m pretty sure he’d find dollabillz handups in a crit to be pretty funny.

  5. Forrest… Wait till people start getting hurt and suing the Cyclocross series, and there will be rediculous rules. It’s the American way 🙂

  6. The problem is not with the officials, but with the rules. Junior gearing is in place to help the national team compete in Europe. It’s a terrible rule that doesn’t protect riders and doesn’t help local racing. No less, the 52-14 gearing restriction is just silly, they could at the very least make that 53-14. Who can even find a 52 tooth CR?

  7. I’ve been a USAC official for the past 2 years, although I work few events … just hill climbs thus far; mainly because I want to work the races I want to watch.

    I’ve also been either chief- or co-officiating the Utah Cyclocross Series for the past 5 years.

    In CX, the only things that piss me off are riders warming up on the course during an earlier race, and riders bitching about mixing of categories (an “A” woman racing with “B” or “C” men, not for results, but for fun while training for another event) for example.

    The bike game is supposed to be fun, and I see my job as helping to make that happen … if you see questionable behavior in the pack, then warn the riders for a first offense, don’t DQ them, especially if (as in the case of the Sugarhouse Crit) a spectator is the cause.

    In my opinion, Sohmy and Ali should not have been DQ’ed … period.

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