Seattle is a town with a lot of tech money and plenty of it is on display at the local races. Guys and Gals riding around on Mad Fibers, and top shelf rigs with top shelf components and legs ranging anywhere from well to top shelf. I thought about this simple fact as I strolled the team tent area at Starcrossed on Saturday trying to work up the nerve to do the job I want to be doing.
I eventually got over myself and talked to mechanic David Wilcox who talked me through eventual race winner Gabby Durrin’s bike, which of course was top shelf. After talking to Dave I headed over to the Raleigh – Clement tents. There was a marked difference. While the Rapha team was equipped with the latest and greatest; SRAM Red 22 Hydro, Easton’s new carbon tubulars, Top model Mares. While Raleigh’s bikes were something you could pick up for under 3k. A price tag in reach of anyone without a spending problem and a job that brings in a living wage. Seeing that brought back something Molly Cameron told me a few weeks back. It was something that was so obvious that most would never think it: Not all teams have the same budget.
Chances are there was some dude my field, but more likely the 40+ Men’s 4/ 5 race was riding a “better” bike than the machine Ben Berden was hoping over the barriers every lap. It’s not just the Raliegh-Clement either. Take a look at Adam Myerson’s rig from two years ago (pretty much the same as last year, save for the cockpit I believe.), or the Richard Sachs’ team bikes (forget that they are Sachs’ for a moment…well OK don’t because that probably “make up for it”) in both cases their racing on Sram Force, not Red, and in the case of Sachs’ bikes a non-carbon Rival Crank.
Fact is, when it comes to ‘cross )and probably Continental level roadies as well) there is probably more than one slow guy at your weekend race on a bike that is “better” than that of a legit Pro. There’s probably also a stupid fast guy there racing on “shit” equipment – his stem and seatpost probably don’t match either. All that really matters is that you race your ass off on what you brung. Or in other words, sometimes the Zef option is the best option. As a guy not making a living wage I can get behind this point of view.