Friday, September 9, 2011

The problem of bank and MABRA mergers, and a practical communist solution

At the rate we're going with banks and home ownership, it won't be long before there'll be one bank, and it'll own everything. This won't exactly be fascism, but the end result will be the same: most of us will be victims of the bourgeousie and our laws will be subject to the whimsy of fat capitalist bastards.

Even if we are on our way toward peasanthood, as cyclists we can still enjoy the benefits of MABRA, which is thankfully far from the porcine reaches of Lord McQuaid and the UCI. True, the syndicate prevented Joe Dombrowski from racing in Utah and the US Pro Challenge in Colorado and they took Battenkill down a peg or two, but that's about it. In time trials I can still push my seat forward of my bottom bracket. I can wear Primal Wear if I wish.

And this gets to my point--maybe we'd be better off with a few more rules in MABRA.

I'm not quite suggesting we organize a junta to overthrow MABRA and institute a Pacific Northwest OBRA-style anarsynchronous commune thing. I'm suggesting a more gradual revolution. We do this by instituting a couple of proposals loosely based on Marx and Engels' Das Kapital.

Proposal One: Limit team size in races
Laboring against large squads is especially hard on courses with strict yellow line rules. This year at Coppi and Poolesville one large squad controlled proceedings; from the start, we found ourselves behind walls of riders from a particular team, arms linked like goose-stepping fascists, several of their black leather raincoated gestapo brethren already far up the road.

This is not at all to fault the teams that took advantage of their numbers. This is just to shake our worker's sickles and hammers at them passive aggressive-style, and to propose rules that properly handicap them.

I'm talking to you, fascists of Battley-Harley-XO Communications Haymarket Battly Harley Masters Omniteam.

Joking aside, one practical way to eliminate imbalance in numbers is by limiting numbers. We know all riders are not equal, but let's at least make things numerically somewhat equal--let's limit the number of workers a team can field in yellow-line rule races.

Proposal 2: Create a MABRA all-star team to race NRC events

This is a slightly more radical proposal, comrades. I propose we create a collective team that would only convene for NRC or other national-level races. Sort of an all star team of our best comrades.

Workers who perform well in 2011 would get a chance to demonstrate their harvesting skills at NRC-level races in 2012. Also, they wouldn't feel compelled to leave their local villages--NCVC, Coppi, Bike Doctor--for capitalist gain and the chance to race at the NRC level.

Having a composite squad would (1) improve the competitiveness of local elite races by spreading out talent; (2) improve the quality and number of MABRA NRC competitors; (3) increase the support of local clubs for elite racing and racers; (4) allow greater opportunities for sponsors seeking to direct their funds and energy to top-level NRC racing rather than local riders and events; and (5) offer increased MABRA solidarity, since as a club rider you might compete against a rider who'd be your teammate on the MABRA all star squad.

Conclusion: Hammer and Cycle
If we adapt these two proposals, comrades, I promise you a clean sweep of kulaks from the MABRA ranks and the institution of a new egalitarian state. We will take from each according to his ability, and to each we will give according to his needs. Long live free MABRA!


Nick said...


Corey D said...

This is a very good idea. Any idea when the next MABRA meeting/call for proposals convenes?

Tim Rugg said...

Attend the MABRA meeting, and bring backup.

Peter Warner said...

>>it won't be long before there'll be one bank, and it'll own everything.

Now that made me chuckle.

Re Proposal 1: Does Mabra really need to be involved? I think it's a decision that promoters already have the latitude to make, right?

I guess the real question is why Mabra promoters typically don't? You are talking exclusively the 1/2/3 races, right?

Regardless, I am with you that certain venues should consider team # limits.

Calvini said...

You're right, Pete--MABRA governance doesn't need to get involved.

On proposal 1, race promoters can simply add the requirement to their elite races. Problem solved.

On proposal 2, MABRA doesn't really need to get involved. It's something the teams could decide. Mainly it's something for sponsors and clubs to mull over. Harley, XO, Kelly, and North Tek (among others) have done a lot for elite racing.

This is probably a question that for two groups: (1) local clubs and (2) local elite squads. Lord knows Battley, XO, and Kelly have done a great deal to develop talent. The question is whether they'd like to focus exclusively on NRC events and create a conglomerate squad, working with clubs, or to continue the current setup, where they work against local clubs.

If they decide they'd like to sponsor conglomerate NRC squads, then it's just a logistics matter.

That being said, it'd be great to see MABRA involved at some level, whether in organizing it or coordinating sponsors or in some other capacity.

I'm open to ideas here--any changes that achieve two end results: (1) more riders sticking with their clubs from levels 5 to 1 and (2) continued support for MABRA riders at the NRC level.

MB said...

Whatever happened to Racing Union?

Kyle Jones said...

I will be the dick in this conversation.

You can not limit 1,2,3 races because it is one of the lower number attendance races compared to masters and lower cat races. I don't think ABRT had a full fields in the past 2 years with our race being walkersville/Harwood. So as a club we almost rather have a big team to make the means to have an end.

Some of these smaller elite teams can do more for mabra to by actually hosting a race instead of piggy backing on an event that already gets tons of volunteers. Especially when the teams are invite only.

Now to talk about Bank Rolling this nrc team. Why not mabra works its volunteers to the bone, and has 60k in the bank that does not get spent on new cameras, new updated website.

Anonymous said...

rest assured comrade. the union is alive and well working within the bowels of MABRA, biding its time. when your petty bicycle "racing" has collapsed under the weight of its own tyranny, the union will arise anew to light the path to a glorious two-wheeled revolution.

Calvini said...

@Kyle--great points, and not at all dickishly raised.

My hope is that we'd respond to the problems we had this year not necessarily by creating more rules, but by eliminating the need for new rules. That is, clubs retain their elite riders and field stronger teams, while XO becomes an NRC squad.

From what I hear in the transfer market, several clubs are now creating stronger elite squads: North-Tek is growing, and I'm guessing Bike Doctor will have a strong elite squad next year. I think we'll also see squads emerging from Coppi, DVR, and ABRT.

I love what XO has done for MABRA, but I'd love to see them take on the role I proposed in this post: become the MABRA all star team.

Pete said...

I think there is a bit of a logistical clusterfuck in trying to limit riders. Personally, I'm with you, but if you consider the different options, you end up with road blocks.

If you go directly to promoters to ask that the Senior races have team caps, you have to sell them on the idea that reducing possibly 10 entries (across the 3 teams that have large number) would gain them X number of additional Cat 3 club riders or Y small crews from Pennsylvania or D42.

I don't think going to MABRA would work, and I'm not sure it is their prerogative to control team/club interests.

What if some of the teams who felt snubbed pooled some resources and kept a 'power rankings' statistic going, which incorporated team size, rider category, etc into our local-yocal race results? It would work out something like that Donut Derby, where many fast people would be automatically screwed by virtue of the teams they rode with. I would for sure donate two whole dollars of my own cash money to buy an award of handlebar tape for this power-rankings classification :)

Rollin' Polish said...

Two questions:

Why don't more races using a rolling road closure, like Jeff Cup does? Traffic still gets through and the yellow line rule ceases to be an issue. I've raced in OBRA and a bit in NY as well and every race had rolling closures. I don't know if this is logistically possible, but would be awesome.

Second- what constitutes an 'elite' squad? On the national level aren't elite races those that just feature smaller domestic pro squads or regional powerhouse squads like the aforementioned XO? I'm asking because there must be a distinction in terms of size, sponsors, and organization that differentiates a good group of a few 1s, 2s, and 3s, from a true elite squad. Such a distinction is reflected on the USACycling site and rankings, so although there are lots of good local teams with strong riders in the 1s, 2s, and 3s, how many actual elite (by definition and distinction) teams are there?

Calvini said...

Pete, I love the idea of an index that tracked results taking into account club size. That's supremely geeky and number-crunching awesomeness.

Rollin, locally we have squads composed of 1/2 riders and other squads composed of 3-5. A couple of squads run the whole gamut. This may be because of local rider demographics--we have a lot more 3-5 riders than 1/2. In any case, we in MABRA follow in a strict caste system.