Old-Fashioned Cheating

Old-Fashioned Cheating

In the wake of Ted King’s amazing victory at Dirty Kanza, not to mention the utterly crushing disappointment of defending champion Yuri Hauswald’s mechanical-induced DNF, there’s been a bit of a storm brewing over the performance of one rider.

Nick Frey, a former pro roadie, took his second start at the Dirty Kanza 200 and rode well enough to make the selection of 23 and ultimately cross the line in sixth. However … he was disqualified for taking feeds outside the official support areas. You can read his account of what took place (as well as his musings on bamboo bikes, race organization, the nature of man and a few other topics) here.

When I first read about this, I really felt for the guy. I was under the impression that he’d simply gotten water from people on the course, which strikes me as no biggie. But gradually, thanks to social media and a very pointed blog post by Chad Ament, it came out that Frey, who claimed not to have a crew, not only had a crew including his mom, dad and business partner, but had them driving the course giving him support.

Frey claimed in his post not to know why he was DQ’ed, yet in a Facebook comment to a post by VeloNews staffer Kristen Legan he says he offered to DQ himself at the finish (“… I voluntarily DQ’ed myself right after the race …”). 

That suggests he’s clear on the rules, right?

Yet, in his blog post he wrote, “I did not give the event the respect it deserves, and didn’t read all of the rules or go to the rider meeting.” Rather contrarily, he writes moments later, “My admission does not, however, profess complete lack of understanding—I do know how to race a bike and what rules exist in these events.” 

I was getting lost. Did he or didn’t he know the rules?

In another of his comments to Legan’s post, he writes that if the organizer is going to have “a lengthy and STRICT list of rules, I suggest enforcing them exactly as written and making them black and white.”

You can’t have it both ways. If he really doesn’t know the rules, then he’s not in a position to say they didn’t enforce them. And if he knows the rules, then why was he breaking them if not intentionally? 

I really didn’t know what to think until I saw a post by Hauswald on Twitter that took issue with Frey’s claim that he hadn’t intended to break the rules. It’s a screenshot from a comment by Frey in which he thanks his crew by name—Drew Haugen, Doug Frey, Kathy Murphy and Nadiya Mitelman-Frey. I wouldn’t have an issue with that had his blog post not included the following line:

“So when I started DK on Saturday, my intentions were in no way planned to require outside assistance.” 

IMG_6650

At that point, I no longer believed that guy was trying to tell the truth. But that’s not the biggest issue I have with Frey’s perspective. It was in one of his many comments to Legan’s Facebook post he wrote the following:

“If you’re going to position the event as a Leadville 100 with big names racing for course records, you have to take the responsibility of the fact those people are going to push boundaries in the name of speed.”

I have two problems with this. First, this is how you get doping. “Pushing boundaries” is just a polite euphemism for cheating. My second issue is that if you’re going to cheat, don’t try to push the responsibility for the cheating off on the organizer. If you cheat, you victimize your fellow competitors and the organizer, and if you try to make it the organizer’s fault that you cheated, well that’s just victim blaming and we’ve been over that. Be a man and admit that you’re choosing to break the rules for personal gain.

The sad part here is that while he professes to love the race, he has the temerity to actually insult the event, an event around which many people structure their entire season.

If you want to have your little bike race in middle of Kansas and never make it a big deal, go ahead and keep it small and underground.” 

I suspect he thinks his is an elegant purpose, to shine a light on poorly conceived rules by showing the ways they can be misinterpreted and how they really need to step up their game if they hope to build it into something that could draw 1700 or so people without becoming big and corporate.

Which is precisely what they’ve done, without his help.

 

Image: C. Heller

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58 comments

  1. Tyler

    “Self-supported” and “neutral support at checkpoints” muddies this pretty heavily for me. If an event is truly self-support then the checkpoints should be just that, nothing more. I digress…
    IMHO, bottom line is Frey drafted a lengthy and at times contradictory response to a series of events. It’s not a well written piece, his arguments are not well formed or supported. Should he have been disqualified? I’d say yes. Does he have a right to be frustrated with the outcome? I’d say yes again. Rules should be clear (I feel they aren’t here).
    While Chad’s post provides some useful details his anger subtracts from the credibility of his arguments. In fairness to him and Frey, they posted in a personal space so they’re entitled to their respective voices I suppose.

    1. Brandon

      I think it is quite the reverse. Chad is on point, organized, and reasoned in his argument. He also has every right to be angry with someone (Frey) who clearly broke the rules with non-neutral support outside the checkpoints. That is clear as day. Rather, Frey changes both his tone and arguments in what I consider a crude emotional appeal for his self inflicted plight. It is not apologetic or conciliatory to end a piece attacking the organizers of a race in which one has cheated.

  2. James

    From the Promoter (Jim Cummins) via Facebook:

    “Let me be very clear about one thing… Nick was NOT DQ’d because he received water while on course. Nick was DK’d because he clearly violated our rule book, and admitted to doing so. Rule No. 12 states… “Support Crews are NOT allowed on course, except to pick up a rider who is abandoning the event. If a support crew vehicle is spotted on course for any other reason, their rider will be disqualified. Providing support to a rider while on course goes against the self-sufficiency spirit of this event. It is unfair to other participants, and therefore will not be allowed.” Let me also be clear about another point… We do not consider Nick to be a “cheater”. Nick is an upstanding individual. Nick clearly admitted to us that he was ignorant of the rules. He also clearly admitted to us that ignorance of the rules is no excuse. Those are the facts.”

  3. Andrew

    I think this is all part of the growing pains for these gravel events. I haven’t done DK, so I can’t comment. But I do Almanzo every year, which also gets >1000 riders. Every year they state “this is self supported”, and every year there are varying degrees of rider support. Some of these are fun (the Banjo Bros/Riding Gravel tent around mile 80 with bourbon and beer), and some of these are (I think) just local people being nice by offering water etc. But I have heard from the people who really race this to win that there is also an element of some people getting water handups and musettes on the fly from a support crew vehicle, so that they don’t have to stop. This obviously pisses some people off, but what are you going to do to enforce the rules when the race takes you out into the middle of nowhere, and there are no race officials (and no prize money either)?

    1. Brandon

      I too have done Almanzo. I also have done the Royale, and I have done this years DK200. The spirit of these events is that you are not receiving an advantage that another rider cannot access themselves with equal opportunity. What happens in the front may be different than the back, but wrong is wrong. Getting away with cheating doesn’t make it less cheating. If that’s what’s rampant at the front, then I have no respect for those riders’ efforts because their ride and my ride were completely different. On such large courses enforcement of rules will always be difficult, especially if they are free or low budget. However, the comraderie and integrity of an event is undermined if cheating is not dealt with.

    1. John Kopp

      I would like to see the Tour de France raced this way. Back when you had to weld your broken front fork at the local blacksmith. I rode the Minnesota Paul Bunion double century many years ago, and no support vehicles. Just about 40 riders out for a 200 mile on a Saturday in June. My goal was to finish before dusk. I made sure I was the last one in. Usually had at least one flat to fix. That’s part of riding a bike!

    1. Ron

      Ha, that is what I was thinking! Go for it if you want, but my days of sporting for anything more than fun, exercise, and seeing how well I/my team can play, while just doing our best, is all I’m out for these days. My days of fighting tooth and nail over a competition that really means nothing in the grand scheme of things have left my body.

  4. Lyford

    I’m with Chad on this one.

    When I’ve run out of water, I’ve never felt it was the event organizer’s fault. If Nick was trying to gain a competitive advantage by not carrying enough bottles and food or wearing a hydration pack — well, that was a bad choice. Own it.

    The rules as described seem straightforward. No personal support vehicles on the course is self – explanatory. Between stations, you can only accept help that’s freely available to everyone. Also simple.

    Nick sounds like a basically decent guy who needs to get better at accepting his own mistakes.

  5. miles archer

    Pushing boundaries does not necessarily mean cheating. If someone does something that violates the spirit of the event but is not forbidden is that cheating? Imagine if he had gone out the day before and put out hidden caches of water bottles for himself out on the course. Cheating? Maybe. Outside the spirit of the rules, for sure.

    To my mind, if you have prizes for finishing first, you will have cheating. Humans are like that.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      This is a letter of the law vs. spirit of the law argument and I suspect, for many of us, we are looking for opportunities to engage our competitive side without having to have this debate. Based on what he wrote, Nick is a letter of the law guy. Many people simply don’t want to compete against that sort of competitor. That said, I agree that once you have prizes, some asshat will cheat.

    2. Peter

      Where you have no prizes people will still cheat. Pumping strava numbers with cars, entering fake entries into commuter challenges (seriously, who has 12 trips for 140 miles in the first 7 hours of a commuter mileage count when it’s been a sever thunderstorm from 3am-5am!?), using your dog to make your fitbit numbers go higher (seriously…there was an article on this recently) and double standards for yourself and other riders in how they conduct themselves. People are an odd breed.

  6. John

    My response is only about this: “‘Pushing boundaries’ is just a polite euphemism for cheating.”

    I disagree with this. Yes, pushing boundaries CAN (and often does) mean cheating.

    But can also mean finding grey areas of the rules (caching water bottles in Miles’s example above); and/or imagining and employing new or emerging technologies (tri-bars and aero helmets in road race time trials circa 1989).

    This history of all human competition involves pushing the boundaries. It is in the very nature of sport itself, and probably human DNA. If nobody pushed boundaries we’d enjoy the Tour de Whatevers, Dirty Kanzas and other events on penny farthings.

  7. Scott

    As a former pro road racer, Fey spent enough time working his way through the ranks to know that feeding outside of the feed zone and being supported by his “team” is prohibited in most non-pro races. I’ve been at collegiate road races where they DQed a kid who forgot his water bottles and his mom drove the course and handed them up to him, so yeah, if you’ve spent time racing, you know the basics. Unfortunate for him, but everyone got the message–know and follow the rules.

  8. Rick

    I believe that these types of events are the future of “racing” in the USA. I also believe that 95% of the participants couldn’t give two shits about who won or who cheated at the very top. This is all about overcoming your personal battles.

  9. Lyford

    I went back and read the DK200 Rider’s Bible: http://www.dirtykanza200.com/dirty-kanza-info/dirty-kanza-200-riders-bible/

    It is unclear. Rule 11 states ” Receiving assistance from a support crew, or any other nonparticipant, at any other point along
    the route will result in immediate disqualification.” But rule 13 states “Participants may stock up on food, water, and other
    supplies at stores and businesses along the route.” There is no mention of unofficial volunteer neutral support — kids with hoses, etc. That should be clarified.

    The Nick was DQ’d for IS clear: Rule 12: ” Support Crews are NOT allowed on course, except to pick up a rider who is abandoning the event. If a support crew vehicle is spotted on course for any other reason, their rider will be disqualified. “

  10. cash

    Disclaimer: I grew up in Kansas and have known Jim Cummins for 20+ years. I have lived in Ft Collins – home to Boo – for over a decade, although I’ve only met Nick and his crew a handful of times (they seem like cool people, the kind of people I would gladly ride with if I could keep up). And, I rode enough windswept and hot gravel roads in my youth for a lifetime and I have no desire to ride the DK (or any “gravel grinder” – god, I hate that phrase – for that matter).

    I wouldn’t call what Nick did cheating, in the strictest terms. Outside the rules? Yes. And his justification blog struck a hollow and tone deaf note. Better to have remained silent or offered up a simple mea culpa. He’s a young guy, running an innovative business who made a bad decision compounded by social media. Let’s cut the guy some slack and let him learn and grow from this.

    And Jim … there is not a more honest and genuine guy anywhere in the wide world of cycling. He is a kind and giving and fantastic human being. I am so happy for his success. I would trust his judgment implicitly. Padraig, you gotta get an interview him!

    1. Don

      Padraig, Jim Cummins+Paceline = YES! Spent hours and hours with him at Trans Iowa 2016.
      He is the genuine article.
      Don

  11. John Doe

    Nick’s wife describes Nick as the most honest person she has ever met. Is this the same Nick that I know? I raced against Nick in college. I remember a race where he missed the first lap or two because he was warming up, hopped in, won the race, and only fessed up to it when the officials caught him.
    Nick’s wife, who is a coach, also had one of the most amazing quotes I’ve ever heard in her Facebook rant: “Lesson of the day – please mind your own business and if you cannot be as good as someone else, please quit and stop trying.” Again, this is from a COACH. Please quit and stop trying if you aren’t as good as someone else?!?!?!? If she wants people to mind their own business, they shouldn’t have turned this in to a public issue. You can’t have it both ways.
    She also referred to someone as “simple folks” because they disagreed with her argument. Her argument which was based on the incorrect reason for why Nick was DQ’d. He was not DQ’d for taking a handup. He was DQ’d for having a support vehicle on course.

    1. Robert

      His wife has been nothing but condesending in her fb posts and interactions. She’s a piece of work for sure.

    2. Random

      Nick’s wife races Ironman so should be incredibly familiar with these support rules – same as Ironman! No support from spectators. Ever. I smell bad things from this couple.

  12. MM

    Dude cheated. Period. Rules are rules. Follow them, or don’t show up. Don’t like it? Don’t go. Don’t want to be called out on your bullshit? DON’T CHEAT.
    He’s not a special snowflake.
    He knew what he did.
    The whole Steve Urkel, “Did I do thaaaat…?” routine is boring.

  13. Chris

    Frey first says he didn’t have a support crew, which is also against the rules. It’s just selfish too. Who retrieves him when he has a mechanical???? DK staff has to? But then it sounds like he did have a crew but it was faster to have them on he course than at the checkpoint. Either way selfish and cheating. The length and pomposity of his post alone shows what kind of character he has.

  14. Scott

    I’ve read a ton of comments here about the rules. Let’s talk about Why that rule exists. Hypothetically, let’s say 500 individual riders each brought their own support crew. Now you have a situation where you have 500 cars with untrained wanna be “director sportif” Freds co-mingling with a similar number of cyclists — while attempting to navigate, hand up bottles out the window, and communicate with their riders by cell phone. Does that make any sense whatsoever? Anyone who’s ever ridden a double century will tell you that’s about the stupidest idea ever. In every DC I’ve ever ridden (lots), bringing your own support crew is expressly prohibited. Regardless of the rules and any hypothetical grey area one might want to see, the concept is flawed to its very core. Stop it already!

    1. Johnny D

      I agree. Safety aside, the rule is there to make the race harder. We’re luck tto have three checkpoints again. Last year there were two.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      No one is saying you need to. Some of us like it, like it to the point of loving it. Some are going to think it’s sillier than a clown car. If you’re in the latter group, we’ve got other content you might like better, but thanks at least for checking this post out.

  15. Darrin

    Gravel events have their own character and thus their own rules or lack of rules. Although some seem to be saying otherwise, DK makes it very clear in their rules where support is allowed and where it is not. In my opinion, some are looking for a grey area that simply does not exist. The fact that other events allow support on course simply doesn’t matter. If a participant ignorant of the rules, that falls on the participant not Jim Cummings.

  16. Michael Lemerbger

    If I may quote from Nick’s own blog post:

    “In the end, I was told that other riders had protested me receiving outside support, and I was asked to volunteer my disqualification. I agreed. I had broken the rules, which as I read them were that I received outside assistance.”

    This is the only point he could have credibly explored, as far as I’m concerned. He broke the rules, he knew he broke the rules, and he admitted that he knew he had broken the rules. Everything else is just noise.

    Like Chad, I’ve attempted Trans Iowa more than once and failed more than once. That shit is hard. Really hard. It isn’t all about the win at that level. If Nick doesn’t like it hard, there are plenty of, as he puts it, “boring crap” events out there. I’d suggest that if he wants to participate in the challenging ones, that he put on his big boy pants and take seriously the preparation necessary. You know, like the rest of us.

  17. Nadiya Mitelman-Frey

    FYI, your facts are wrong – Nick didn’t have his mom OR dad driving the course. His mom was in a different state while he raced DK, his dad drove 7 hours that day to get to the finish line just minutes before Nick crossed the line. I was in Breckenridge, CO working and keeping my eyes on the DK’s live time updates (and keeping Nick’s dad informed of Nick’s progress to make sure his dad actually made it to Kansas in time to see his son finish). He thanks all of us because we are his family, and he had all of us in his mind when he raced. I figure not everyone can be as humble as Nick, and clearly cannot relate that thanking someone who is not actually present at the event is still appropriate when those people have contributed so much throughout the years.
    Sadly, it’s the ignorance, hyperbole and personal biases what turn this situation into an angry mob fight.
    Luckily, this person’s lack of facts actually proves that the entire account is just a bunch of unaccounted lies and personal opinions. Which, obviously, everyone is entitled to (even when the writer makes himself look like a fool, sigh).


    1. Author
      Padraig

      I appreciate you coming to Nick’s defense. What you might want to consider is that your defense of him might go over better if you didn’t resort to insults, as you did with Vincent Scales, like when you called him a simple person. You may think I’m biased, but what you may not know is that when I first heard of his DQ, I thought Nick had been treated unfairly. What you decry as my wrong facts are taken almost entirely from Nick’s own words. He seems to be the only person who is struggling with what the truth is.

      And for the record, every former DK200 winner I’ve been in contact with believes Nick straight-up cheated. Think about that.

  18. Freddy Salgado

    Padraig I don’t no if this is relevant. I am a bamboo frame maker, started around 2006. When I started my bamboo journey/research of course the 1st name to pop up is Craig Calfee bamboo bike renaissance man. While doing more research I came across Sol Cycles bamboo bikes run by Nick Frey. I found it very odd that in his website he states that Craig charged to much money for his bikes and that Sol bamboo bikes where better value. Now he charges more money than Craig for the bamboo bikes made by James Wolf in Vietnam? The bamboo bikes made by James are beautiful and appear well made compared to Nick’s early work. My point is Nick rubs me the wrong way. His company’s products should speak for themselves, not many bamboo bike frame manufacturers around no need to be a dick to the few that exist especially to the guy who started the revolution.

    1. Vijay Raju

      Do you mind providing the quote where he said that? Because from what I know, Calfee and Boo have not only benefited from one another, i.e, exchanging ideas, feedback and general knowledge of the bamboo frame making process but also have created a market for bamboo bikes. Both Calfee and Boo have shown the possibilities of bamboo as a frame material and I’m pretty sure they respect each others companies more than you are expressing. It also doesn’t help to compare Boo and Calfee, yes, both build out of bamboo but Calfee focuses on the sustainability and utilitarian purposes of bamboo as a frame material, shown by his work in many developing countries, while Boo focuses on the performance and ride/racing benefits of bamboo. Completely different market, customer base and overall intentions. You do some good work yourself, I am currently living in NZ for 4 months, and have heard of your company through multiple people. So please don’t make assumptions about people and their intentions without actually talking to them first, all it does is create rumors and bad vibes. I highly suggest having a talk with Nick, his knowledge and passion on bamboo bike sis amazing, and I believe you could benefit from him, as he could from you.

    2. John Doe

      Even more interesting in this saga is why Sol Cycles became Boo Bicycles. I heard from someone who knew Nick at the time that he took on investors in Sol, had some partners do a ton of work to get things off the ground, and then decided he didn’t want to share ownership with those who put in money and sweat for equity.


    3. Author
      Padraig

      I really, really want to leave Boo out of this. Boo is a whole company with lives on the line other than Nick’s. What Nick did at Dirty Kanza should reflect solely upon him and not his company.

  19. James

    Character is revealed in times of stress. Nick’s lack of, and his wife’s for that matter, are on display by their actions day of & continue with their rants post race.

    You had a crew, you knew the rules, you got nailed. Take it? Nope, go on a SM campaign to ‘right the wrongs’ that are DK. Thanks, but we don’t need your advice. Everything does and will continue to be fine at our “little race” or ride as your buddies like to refer to it.

    One thing we do thank Nick for is his pals idea to boycott the DK. Please do. STFAway!

  20. Lou D'Amelio

    Much ado about nothing. I know Nick personally from his collegiate days at Princeton. He’s a bright, honest guy and frankly, could have gone a lot further in the pro ranks but made the conscious decision not to dope and to pursue life with broader horizons than the limited world of pro road racing. He accepted the DQ, The promoter isn’t upset and had good things to say about him on social media despite the DQ. Dirty Kanza is something between a fondo and a real race anyway and we’re talking about 6th place. Tempest in a teapot.

  21. Flanders

    Padriag,

    I don’t want any of the other Boo employees to suffer financially, but as the CEO, his actions and reactions also reflect those of the company. Organizational integrity and ethos start at the top and trickle down.

    Seeing how he poo-pooed the situation and directed blame in all directions but inward, makes me wonder what dealing with them on a warranty might be like. Question: “Hey, my frame cracked on day two, what can you do for me?” Response: “Why did you break it? You shouldn’t have gone over that curb.”

    When you think about, warranty is always about taking responsibility for your own (company) flaw, whether its a systematic flaw or a statistical one… and a small company with a niche product and not a whole ton of history… let the consumers draw their own conclusions.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      I can’t say those aren’t valid considerations; they are. That said, I want the focus of this conversation to remain on his involvement in the race. I don’t want it to expand to Boo itself. As chief judge of the awards at NAHBS, I don’t want to be seen as being biased against a brand.

  22. Freddy Salgado

    Padraig you are right and I regret going there with my post. I apologize to Craig Calfee for dragging his name into this, Craig is a very busy guy. I also apologize to the folks involved with Boo, the bikes you make are beautiful.
    Vijay, it’s time for me to let this go. If you want to search the Internet you will find other bamboo builders including Nick who reference Craig Calfee’s bamboo bikes in comparison to there own bikes. Sol Cycles website is no longer up.
    Regards,
    One Trick Pony

  23. Bob Dobbs

    This is pretty much why I quit racing. Not because guys ate outside the feed zone….but stupid rules that don’t improve racing. They are only put there by the race organizer to make the race more macho. The feed zone used to be a no attack zone, kind of like one of those no passing flags in auto racing. It helped manage traffic and keep things orderly. Now it is just macho thing mostly aimed at getting non I/II riders to bonk. If you have to slow to feed outside the zone, you aren’t going to win anyway.

    I raced a race where they had rules like that. Everyone stashed their musette at the appointed spot. Of course, most of them were gone or scrambled by the time the longer lines rolled through (it was MTB). Mine was there but there was a rule you couldn’t hand anything to anybody. So I had to hang my bag up and point to share….and they wondered why there was chaos. For god’s sake, just let someone toss you your f”ing bag.

    I remember going up a particularly rough climb on the big Mt Mitchell race. I am bigger riding and was struggling. Someone I don’t know slapped me on the butt and gave me a traditional Belgium pastry. I ate it, powered up and learned a little about the fine traditions of cycling Just think, nowadays that would get me DQ’d and humiliated on the Internet.

    1. Lyford

      I would argue that the “no dedicated support outside the stop” rule improves racing by leveling the playing field. It reduces the potential advantage of someone with a large, well-funded team.

      As described by some participants, the rules allow aid that happens by chance, like the unknown person with the pastry. But that’s not clear in the written rules.

  24. NC Dirtbag

    I agree that Boo as a brand should be left out of this discussion but I also want to just put out there that it’s probably the right thing to do to leave his wife out of it as well. From what folks have said she may have said some things that drew ire from rubbing some folks wrong on the world wide inntertube but I think it reasonable that she would be fiercely defensive of her husband, right or wrong, perfect or imperfect. We tend to do that when we feel like our loved ones are being attacked. I think her reply above was pretty solid actually. Best to avoid personal insults all the way around. This goes for everyone.
    The other thing is despite it sounding a little confusing what happened, and in the end clearly the dude broke a rule, I don’t think he was trying to pull one over on folks like some super-villain. I dunno, I’ve just seen a few instances over the years where strong opinions and vitriol on the internet has resulted in some real damage to relationships and reputations. I’d bet if we were all in a room together, not shouting, but maybe having coffee/beers and discussing what the heck happened and the meanings that we ascribe to peoples’ actions we could probably walk away friends, with some lessons learned, and some plans for next year’s race. Maybe I’m just too nice, I dunno. I’m not saying what he did was “right” but it sounded to me like it was a confusing situation, actually. I would just encourage the conversation to be civil.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Had Frey’s wife stayed out of it, we’d have left her out of it; it’s that simple. If she’s going to comment here and call me biased, I’m sorta inclined to respond. As to the rules in question, there’s been a photo circulating on Twitter from Paris-Roubaix. What has so many people upset is that what Frey wants would mean follow vehicles chasing riders. To many who cherish gravel racing as different from road racing, this is antithetical to the experience these events currently offer. The rule(s) seem to have been confusing only Frey.

  25. NC Dirtbag

    Padraig, You raise a relevant point about responding when she commented here – you’re right for sure to do that. I think in her reply she may have shared some useful insight to correct some information that folks had wrong. I was more getting at folks (not you) inclined to call names and the like and get personal about her, which can get ugly real fast. As you point out above it will be really interesting to see if DK200 gets a caravan like Paris-Roubaix. I hadn’t heard that was a suggestion. If it goes that way I might recommend that that the items provided by the follow vehicles be decided by real-time crowd sourcing in a manor resembling a mashup between the hunger games and willy wonka. An example would be random rider pulls over and waves for his team car and as it approaches, fans watching live feed can decide whether the rider gets a new wheel, a cinder block, a 6 lb glazed donut, a new saddle made out of chocolate, a shot glass of coffee, etc. Of course as fans we would need live video feed of every rider. It does sound like a headache.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      We do all we can to make sure that the conversation here stays civil. And while we are at it, I’ll take this opportunity to remind everyone of our commenting guidelines.

      A Pro Tour-style caravan isn’t a real suggestion, but it’s what Frey wants and is the logical implication of his actions. No one else wants anything like this. His wife’s “corrections” are open to debate. Nick himself has said and published so many contradictory statements that I’m not sure even he knows what is true. The bigger point is that the character of DK200 gets killed the moment you have 1700 vehicles chasing 1700 riders. That’s a feces hurricane is what that is.

  26. Billy Bob

    “After doing a couple real bike races the last two days in DC, I sat down to contemplate the meaning of life. As well as the feed zone we had during our 90min criterium” Nick Freys Latest facebook status. What the heck does he mean by “Real bike races”, why does everything he does have to seem so pompous?

  27. Kermesse Sport

    While it appears to me that the rules are fairly clear, I don’t understand why individual or team support crews are allowed at all, if one is trying to keep the playing field level, and the course mostly free of vehicles.

    As an event organizer myself, I would most likely address this by only allowing neutral feeds (and perhaps increasing the number of zones), and by addressing the DNFs with Broom Wagons (probably buses) & Bike Trucks (box trucks with moving blankets & ratchet straps). This is done at large Gran Fondos around the world, including those with >30% DNF rates and >8000 participants.

    While I don’t know what costs the organizer specifically bears for DK (and certainly believe they are entitled to make a profit), when you have 1000 people (the field limit for the 200 mile race) paying $140 each (according to their BikeReg page), they deserve a considerable amount of service and security. While this might necessitate a fee increase, if you are adding value and if it eliminates known gaps in the rules, and problems on the course, it is probably worth it.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      You bring up some very fair points; those are definitely questions worth asking. It strikes me that for that kind of money you’d think the organizer would have revenue enough to provide completely neutral feeds. But that’s not how they do it and it hasn’t hurt their attendance figures one whit, which is one way of measuring participant satisfaction.

    2. JayRo

      I disagree with “they deserve a considerable amount of service and security.” The other 999 of the DK200 riders happily paid our $140 fee for the privilege to test ourselves in the Flint Hills of Kansas. We got to ride through private ranch land on some phenomenal gravel. We read the rules. And we knew exactly what we were getting for our money. If someone doesn’t want to honor those rules, Or think they need more support for their money, there is a very simple solution… Don’t register. That’s what bugs me the most about this whole deal. Why is someone trying to “be an agent of change” on an event that 99% of us don’t want to see changed. DK sold out in a matter of hours back in January. There are many who didn’t get a spot who would have gladly taken Nick’s and been happy to play by the rules that are in place.

    3. Kermesse Sport

      @JayRo I wasn’t saying that Nick didn’t break the rules and was prepared. I didn’t say that people weren’t satisfied with what they get out of the event. I do personally think that the DK charges a hefty entry fee for a mostly unsupported ride, but I don’t really know what specifically is included or not (the website doesn’t have much info), nor what the organizer’s costs are. The event sells out, so that is certainly a measure of satisfaction and success.

      I think the allowing of support crews lends itself to potential rule breaking and probably puts more vehicles on the course, when the intent is to keep vehicles off it. This is all relatively easy to remedy, though it might (or might not) require a fee increase to cover the cost. It is often quite easy to increase safety, security, and value without overly changing the nature of the event.

  28. Paul McKay

    I am always blown away by which rules are enforced and which ones aren’t. Example, 2014 Land Run 100, rules state, no outside help, and the winner I think it was took a wheel from a fan at the halfway, not from his support crew, and won and nobody cared. This year at DK they said you had to have a front light and a back light to start the race, I reluctantly put on my heavy front light and at line up guess what, everyone it seems up in the front is without lights and nothing is said. And this is safety, is it not. What I am saying is enforce them all or non at all. Then again like someone else said, who cares what is 6th place anyway.

    t

  29. mark hagen

    Did anyone see frey’s set up on both races??! His set up looked like one for a long’ish road ride/race only with gravel tires and a small seat bag (he even admitted in the first DK he did that originally wanted to use a speedsleve but it did not make it in time…people use bike packing set ups for this ride..not speedsleeves) even his waterbottle cages in his first one looked like sexy-18gram things that would toss the bottle as soon as they left the tarmac at 6:20. As one other blogger proclaimed he came to the race under prepared from a setup standpoint (twice) and nutrition and failed. His blog post about the whole ordeal made him look, as expected, like a compaliny roady making excuses after the race. It would have served him better to own up to it and just say sorry to the fellow racers, volunteers and promoter.

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