It seems to happen every year. Inevitably, hundreds of racers from around the state and even around the country plan their calendars in January and February. But then, right around March 1, all the clubs that put on their races start to publish their calendars -- and all of a sudden, the two don't mesh!
This phenomenon happens at every level in the sport; just a few years ago, USA Cycling had to scramble to change the dates and location for our national road events. These are the national championships! The Stars & Stripes is the goal of so many racers; how can they mess around with an athlete's calendar, rescheduling the event just 6 weeks ahead of when it took place? (To be fair, that was worse-case, and since then USA Cycling and the USCF has published advance notice of Nationals sometimes up to 4 years ahead.)
There are several pillars in the Midwest calendar too, and I tend to plan my schedule around them. This year was already looking a little light -- a vacation in late June, plus a focus on 'cross, made my road season fairly small compared to years past, but there were still some events I was planning mini-peaks for. But then they went and moved 'em!
The first, and biggest by far, is a change in date and structure for the Proctor Cycling Classic in Peoria. This two-day event has always been in mid-June, with a road race on Saturday and a fast, fun crit on Sunday. Until now! For 2006, they have expanded the event to add a Friday prologue, and moved it to the first weekend in July ... I'm afraid that I'll be in Munich, and on a plane home on Sunday! I'm pretty bummed, as that was the entire focus of my early season -- instead, I will probably line up at the Garden Prairie TT instead, a week before I planned on Proctor, perhaps shooting for a 40km personal best. Shoot, if the weather's right, I'll just spend my planned "Proctor weekend" mountain biking with Kim somewhere! Or maybe we'll extend our vacation, since we haven't bought tickets yet ...
Another big change is in the state TT championships, traditionally the last Sunday in July. Because Illinois has been lacking a strong local association for so long, the state TT has been "co-located" with the Wisconsin event up in Milton, about 3 hours north of Chicago. This year, however, it looks like it's been moved ... to Marine, which is about an hour east of St. Louis! The timing has changed dramatically as well -- instead of late July, it's smack-dab in the middle, on July 15. That's a direct conflict with Superweek, the Waukesha Crit to be precise, and my guess is that most of ABD will miss the TT but you can be sure Jeff Schroetlin will be there, even if it is in the middle of his traditional July break.
The last change is hopefully one for the better, as "Parkinglot Forrest" seems to have been moved to Kankakee in mid-May. I'm pretty happy about this, as I wasn't a big fan of the parkinglot crit in a run-down shopping mall, and wasn't particularly looking forward to going back there this year. Kankakee isn't that much further south, although we'll have to map out a better route than the Dan Ryan ...
To be honest, the change to Proctor has sort of thrown my whole spring and early summer for a loop. Proctor was my first big objective of the year -- We scheduled our Germany trip in part to come after racing down in Peoria, and all the racing I'm doing up to the planned date was scheduled specifically to mini-peak.
Memorial Day weekend in Iowa is a lot of fun, but it's so big and crazy that it's better used for training -- and with work and family commitments in early May, it comes too soon for me to be really effective. My best alternative is the aforementioned TT -- I can get motivated to go for a PR, and I know the course really well -- but to be perfectly honest, it doesn't really get me going all that much. To tell the truth, except for Hillsboro, I have half a mind to just bag everything before Germany, hit a few Superweek races and the state TT, and then race a few times in August before getting back on the 'cross bike.
But what would I do with all that free time?
ONLY 290 DAYS TO NATZ!!