Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Some Thoughts On Governing Bodies, Racing, & The Gravel Scene

Note: Going through some old blog posts looking for something the other day turned up the following posting circa February 2006.  Interestingly enough, it has to do with a "sanctioning body" for 24hr events, but as you will see, Trans Iowa, gravel rides, and "World Championships" come up in this interview. 

The whole nature of gravel events has gone the way we saw it back then, but I think this is still a relevant conversation in 2014 concerning gravel events and the future. Here is the interview in it's entirety as it appeared then. Note that I was a co-worker with Jeff Kerkove at the time and this interview was taken as we worked alongside each other back then....... 

Gratuitous image to make this post look good!

The Future Of Endurance Racing: Kerkove Interview

"I'll kick your a#* if you turn that thing on!"

"Hmmm..................not a very promising start to my interviewing career. Ahh...........what the heck!" click! I did it anyway, and here is the result! A ragged, yet candid look at two guys discussing the state of affairs in the endurance world and it's future. It didn't take much for me to score this interview since I work with Jeff. So, don't applaud me for tracking this down!

A quick intro.......... Jeff Kerkove is a member of the Cat Eye Enduro Team. He has been racing endurance events now since 2002. In that time he has participated in some of the endurance worlds premier solo 24 hour events, including the 24 Hours of Moab and the Solo World Championships. He is currently preparing for his 2006 campaign and working at Europa Cycle and Ski . I interviewed Jeff at work, where I met him as his co-worker in 2002.

G-Ted: So, when did you start mountain biking?

Jeff: I have no idea what you're talking about! ......I don't know. I never did.

G-Ted: You never did?

Jeff: I've never ridden a bike in my life. ...........I started squirrel hunting back in ''s code for mountain biking, okay?! I got my first squirrel when I was...... oh, in '96. It had a rigid tail.

G-Ted: So, what do you think about endurance racing having a governing body? Think that'll ever happen?

Jeff: Hmmm........ I don't know.......

G-Ted: Would that be good?

Jeff: If you want to have a true National Championship, or.....or a governing body. I think it's good that they do it the way they do it with the Norba Nationals, but that's the only Norba sanctioned 24 hour race.

G-Ted: But that's the thing....they only do that one....

Jeff: Right.

G-Ted: ....and that's the only one. So, would it make more sense for them to have a series? Because it's kind of weird just having one race, isn't it? Because it's like, well....whoever happened to be good on that day won it, you know?

Jeff: Yeah, if you're going to have a jersey, you'd better at least have a race in every location in the country, not entirely East coast, like they do now with National Championships.....or West Coast, or whatever.

G-Ted: Now Norba just has their 24 hour thing- there's no Worlds......

Jeff: Officially not. There's one off clones, wannabees, local series.........

G-Ted: So what stops us from calling Trans Iowa the "World Gravel Championships"?

Jeff: Nothing! You are on to something there!

G-Ted: You are the World Champion Gravel Racer!.....Gravel Grinder!

Jeff: Here's your flannel jersey!

G-Ted: There you go!

G-Ted: Personally, I don't think it's ( World Championships) a very good idea.

Jeff: I mean, I think how it is now is perfect, it's fine. Because it lets people.....there's no set rules. Every event is unique in it's own way because there's no standards, you know? Anybody can do what they want.

G-Ted: And once you get into standards, then it starts to get weird.

Jeff: I think you should do an event where some guy puts on a 24 hour race. You have to race solo and you cannot have a support crew. It's you and whatever you bring. That would tell who's the best solo racer, I think.

G-Ted: The way they got it now, where you can run by your trailer....and grab another bike....

Jeff: Well, the fact that somebody's already there pre-mixing stuff, you know, cleaning stuff. It would be just like Nationals, just sans pit crew. You still have your pit. You still have your stuff there. You have to do everything your self.

G-Ted: But that kinda goes counter to what they've changed Norba into now, because they allow......

Jeff: Yeah!

G-Ted: at cross country races!

Jeff: Exactly! Which I think is dumb.

G-Ted: Yeah!

Jeff: If you can't change your own freakin' flat tire, then you shouldn't be on a bike!

That's your look inside the mind of endurance racer Jeff Kerkove, and what he's thinking about the current state of the endurance racing scene. I hope that was insightfull, and I thank Jeff for that conversation! More thoughts on the interview in my next post!

Jeff: Sweeeeet!

 And now there is a "gravel worlds"! Tongue in cheek courtesy of the PCL
So to my mind, this conversation brings up a lot of things to think about in terms of gravel racing's future. 

I think it also speaks strongly to what Trans Iowa has become, and maybe folks that have been in that event can see where I am coming from with that statement. I also can say that this is pretty much a typical example of a day worked with Jeff Kerkove back then . Crazy days!  

No comments: