The road season technically started a couple weeks ago at Froze Toes, in Columbia. While the race stopped being labeled a "training race" a few years ago, I still don't consider it the REAL start of the season. It is like the Tours Down Under, Qatar and Oman. It is racing and sometimes good racing but in my mind the season doesn't start until whatever the next race after Froze Toes happens to be. Just like I don't consider the pro season as having started until Omloop Het (Volk) Nieuwsblad takes place. This weekend is the first local racing since Froze Toes. Saturday, we race at Carondelet Park and Sunday at Forest Park.
Now, I've been in the racing scene for a long while. This is the start of my twentieth year. Way back then, the internet did not exist for the general public. There was no going online to find race schedules and flyers. Instead, when you joined the USCF, you started to receive, via snail mail, a monthly "magazine" called Midwest Flyers that had race schedules, flyers and results of races.
Yesterday, I ran across my Midwest Flyers from 1995. The February issue happened to contain the 1995 Missouri Race Schedule. I looked at the schedule and realized just how long seventeen years can be. When you are out there on the roads training and battling throughout the spring and summer, things do not seem to change. One week becomes another and turns to the next month which becomes the next and leads to the next year, and on, and on, and on...
Throughout all that time the racing scene gradually changes and becomes something completely different, almost imperceptibly. "How much different?" you may ask. There were exactly four races in 1995 that are still part of the current race schedule. That's right. FOUR races!!! And, technically, there are really only three races.
Froze Toes, the MO State TT Championships, the Tour of KC and the Giro della Montagna are the only races that still exist. The Giro has moved one block east but essentially remains unchanged. The Tour of KC remains but the races that make up the weekend have completely changed.
Here's a list of races from 1995 that have gone to the great parcours in the sky.
VeloForce Two-Man Time Trial in St Charles
Whistling Dixie Road Race in Holts Summit
Tour of Delphi in Delphi, IL
Tour de Girardot in Cape Girardeau (I really liked this stage race)
Apple Cup in Columbia
COMM LINK Crit in So. STL ( I have no memory of this race at all. I wonder if it even took place)
Clayton Criterium (Existed for 3 or 4 years. Changed every year, I think)
Tour de Soulard (A classic)
MO State Road Race in Clarksville
Greentree Crit in Kirkwood (the very first race I ever entered. Raced the long gone Citizens class)
Signal Hill Bicycle Race in Belleville, IL
Jazz Festival Weekend Road Race in Jefferson City
Centennial Road Race in Wentzville
River Bluff Racing in St Joseph
What's most notable from back then is the shift away road races to a more crit heavy schedule. I do not know if that is better or worse. It's just different. Crits just seem easier to put on and that means more racing, which is good... I think.