Monday, September 24

The Grassroots is Greener: Cougar Slayer

Just for the record: I do understand the innuendo. Do you?

I love this idea: map a route on a known mapping/training website, create a website through Wordpress or similar portal to promote your route, establish a date or range of dates for the competitive event, have participants upload their personal results to your website via Strava or similar results interface...and you've got yourself a bike event.

Crowd-sourcing beauty at its finest!

Compare the impact of an event like I've described with that of an event on the scale of the Alpine Odyssey. Assume an equal number of participants. Which has the greater environmental impact? Obviously, the fee driven, widely promoted, sponsor heavy event generates more waste, more STUFF, and more direct environmental impact.

I'm not suggesting the Alpine Odyssey, or other such events/races, are evil. What I am saying is that we can follow a different model and have an equally valuable experience while having a much smaller carbon footprint.

An event on the scale of the Leadville MTB Trail 100 would be difficult to operate in the same manner as the Cougar Slayer. It's interesting though that the Leadville 100 started out as basically an underground grassroots event and has evolved to what it is now.

And what is it? It's a corporately owned, sponsor-heavy, industry show-piece race series. I'm not knocking it; I just wish I had known about it, and had the desire and means to do it, way back when it was that small event.

"Back when it meant something..." I could say. It means something now. As I've said, the Leadville Race Series came about as an economic stimulus package for the town of Leadville by the town of Leadville. It's bootstrap economics at its best, and you can't fault them for wanting the race to grow to the size it has. I hope they keep capping the race and using the lottery as they do. That system adds to the experience in my humble opinion.

My training plan for LV 2013 is going to incorporate some grassroots rides from the Colorado Endurance Series. It's a great way to motivate and challenge myself beyond my solo training without investing a lot in entry fees.

Enter: Strava. I'm hooked. I've put a Garmin Edge gps device on my Christmas wish list. Deep down I really am competitive, and I'm shocked how much I like seeing those segment leaderboards which in turn inspired me to try and improve my standings.

I can do this on my normal commutes. It adds a whole new dimension to be Roadie-O. I don't have to see the roadie rabbits to chase them down.

Anyway, looking forward to slaying the cougar on Saturday. The mighty hunter prepares!

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