Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Alligator Arms

I’m having a crisis of motivation, and the long Independence Day weekend didn’t help.

We had close-to-perfect weather on Saturday and still only four members showed up for the Washington County Bicycle Club ride in Germantown. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: our club rides fail because there’s nothing special about them and because our members treat them as events of last resort, events in which they participate only if they can’t find something better to do. Attendance at our longer, more challenging “Adventure Rides” is consistently higher. We should remember that when we’re planning the 2011 calendar.

Fortunately we had two guest riders on Saturday, visitors from Kentucky and Colorado who were in the area for the holiday weekend and had found us through our website. It was great to have them on the ride. But by the end of August the website will go away; we simply can’t afford to keep it running. Will people find us on Facebook or at our new file repository? I doubt it.

While club ride attendance has been poor all season, it certainly didn’t help on Saturday that there was a Cream City Cycle Club ride at UW-Washington County. That event drew away a few people who otherwise probably would have ridden with the WCBC. We simply can’t compete with the bigger clubs in our area. When the Cream City and Bay View clubs ride in Washington County, we should encourage our members to support those events. Instead of being the first club to publish its 2011 calendar, we should be the last. That will keep us out of the Bike Fed’s annual ride guide, but there’s no evidence to suggest riders are coming to us from that source. We still will be able to publish our calendar through Silent Sports (and, by extension, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

So, midway through the 2010 club season my goal for 2011 is to be less ambitious. That’s not what I would have liked, but I need to be realistic about how much a small and unmotivated club can achieve. And demoralized by the ongoing failure of the club, I’m finding it hard to rally myself for personal achievements in the second half of 2010. I won’t lie: buying a new bike has blown the cycling budget. Paying entry fees for races and centuries seems like a really bad idea. If you need a teammate/partner, let me know. Otherwise, I don’t think I’ll be reaching for my wallet until next year. In the meantime I still have my personal time trial routes to challenge my fitness, and I’m still on pace for my first 5,000-mile year.

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