Yesterday I raced the GrapeRide after a 4 year hiatus, choosing to race the magnum (2 laps) with 7 of my hardy clients. As anticipated for its 200k we only started racing hard after 130k, at this stage there were only 6 of us up front. Or so we thought….
After telling just about everyone I had won I found out to somewhat disbelief at prizegiving I actually came 3rd! Two magnum riders whom I know from Christchurch, woke to the teeming rain like the rest of us, but decided bed was a better option, before coming out for a leisurely one lap once the weather cleared and presumably crossed the finishing line.
At the official start time of 6am no timing mat was present. I’m assuming then all entrants whether they started or not were given “gun time.” This raises some key issues – rider safety and rider placing misrepresentation.
Starting with the latter – what about next year’s magnum? You could quite easily win no less set a new land speed record by taking the ‘Taster’ 42k shortcut as your first lap and head home with the speed bunnies?! Don’t be on Strava.
Now for safety – even before considering correct results, gps tracking or simply having a timing mat close to the finish of the 1st lap would make sense for this event.
I am about to embark on running a local road racing series in Christchurch the Prebbleton Winter Worlds and I spent some time considering what it will be like when participants come barking to me in outrage over incorrect placings and/or safety. Now some of the responsibility does fall on each participant.
GrapeRide organisers provide thorough detail online and in race packs, in addition to a riding briefing. Unfortunately though the course maps lacked any detail and a number of marshals didn’t correctly or thoroughly point out directions (one of my clients doing the taster got sent back to halfway 2k from the finish)!
In GrapeRide’s defence – it is now a non-for-profit trust run on woman/man power of volunteers. This event has gone from strength to strength and caters well for its target market of 1 lappers after a P.B. not a place, by using a reliable timing system.
While it is hugely successful it has less so catered for the racers – like the speed bunnies (entrants this year were 35 across both male and female) or me racing the magnum. Has it become a victim of its own success and neglected these categories? This is perhaps – being mindful of who races and why (at Prebbleton) – is the most important thing I have taken from this GrapeRide rather than my final placing.
Thanks for reading
P.s. for any GrapeRide competitors out there who feel aggrieved at been given the incorrect result, you can email the race director Pete Halligan and who will see to fixing it.