Brain Fart: Self supported road racing?

Anybody else see any road racing coverage lately, particularly the Tour de France? Anybody else blown away by the amount of motorized vehicles that accompanies the peloton?  That’s not even all of it. There are multiple team buses, camera helicopters and all the weird little product placement vehicles that travel the route before the racers, dispensing candy and trinkets to the fans lining the roadsides.

This bothers me. Not so much from an environmental standpoint, which could be the subject of another posting. I bothered by the fact that racing bicycles seems to be so dependent on cars, not just to support the riders, but also for sponsorship reasons.

I like long unsupported rides, and I think there could be a place for this on the road as well as off road. Here’s my idea.

The biggest change I’d like to see is a complete elimination of outside support. No more Mavic support motorcycles, no more team cars with wheels, bikes and bidons. I’d leave in the feed zones, but all else needs to be carried by the racer, or others on the team. What I envision happening from this is each team developing a cargo  bike specialist to carry spare wheels food and water, but also racing as part of the team. Think of a racing version of the Xtracyle or Big Dummy, outfitted for support use, and ridden by a group of riders with some French name, like transporteur.

I can here Phil Liggett now, talking about domestiques dropping back to the pack of tranporteurs to secure water and food for the team leaders up the road, grabbing a musette bag and sprinting back to the main peloton.  Your team leader has a flat? Better give up your wheel and wait for the your tranporteur to roll up with your needed spare wheel.

This could create another aspect to racing and a group of tough guys that for the cargo bike freaks among us to look up too, not to mention some of the technology that would be developed to make cargo bikes lighter, stronger and faster.

Also, no more team radios. You need to know who is in the break up the road? Hope you were paying attention when it went. How far up the road are they? Better go chase it down just in case.  Adding a bit of uncertainty to racing will make it more interesting.

In the real news of road racing another team has pulled out of the Tour after their leader and 9th placed riders rider tested positive for a new and improved version of EPO. Sad, but hopefully a sign that doping controls are staying apace of the advancements in pharmaceuticals used by the cheaters in the peloton.