CRCA Fort Lee Crit 2017.
On behalf of HH Racing, I would like to thank Alex Rodriquez to make time available to officiate the second half of the HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series. He was using his vacation days from his day job to come to FBF and to officiate our race series. Alex is an IT specialist working for the Columbia University in case you want to know. He was born in Columbia and came to America when he was only 3. As a result, he spoke little Spanish, like most first generation immigrants growing up in America. He is one of the few USCF officials showing up with his own laptop and video camera to capture the finishing results. Rob Quan is another official following the same footstep as well. However, it isn’t really necessary to officiate CRCA and Prospect Park races using their own laptops and video cameras since the races there are using a more sophisticated high speed camera system to record the finishes, and being managed by specialists. For many of the startup, new race series, it is certainly extremely helpful to have race officials bringing and using their own laptops and video cameras to record the finishing results. Although our camera system can record the finish in 4k video, there are still some technical issues needed to work out in order to produce real time results.
Like I have said many times in my previous blogs, no one would have become a fixture in our local racing community without some sorts of long, established involvement in the local racing scene. You don’t decide to hang around for years without feeling that you have something at stakes, something to contribute. Alex joined the CRCA in the 90s and, according to him, there was no Cat 5 back then. He started as a Cat 4 but didn’t bother to upgrade to a Cat 3 because he didn’t think he could become competitive enough. He won one race racing in the B field, in a 4 men break. He remembered what the former CRCA coach Jose Alcala once told him; you only needed to win the race by a tire width. So, he sat up and waited for the late sprint to take his first and only win racing in CP. Nowadays, he isn't racing much. He still races the Brompton races however.
Harlem Crit--Brompton Race 2017.
Harlem Crit--Brompton Race 2017.
Alex is currently the official CRCA race director as well as a C license USCF official. According to Alex, this happened by accident. Years ago, CRCA was looking to hire a CRCA race director. He and Jim Boyd decided to try it out since it was a paid position. When Jim decided to retire from the position, Alex became the main CRCA race director and being responsible for running all the CRCA races up to the present. He later became a certified USCF official and acting as a chief race referee. He is a C license official and has no intention to upgrade his license, in which it would allow him to officiate more prestigious races. Alex just didn’t have the time to undergo the grueling exam process and the expense involved. Other than being a CRCA race director and an USCF official, he used to be a coach for the woman’s archery team at Columbia University. He had that position for about 4 years.
The NYC racing scene has changed a lot since the time he became a CRCA race director. Alex recalled that races used to start around 7 am, instead of 5:30 am. There were more than 15 races per calendar year too. As I remember, there used to be a Spring Series in early March in CP and it was being organized by the Metropolitan Cycling Association. Loved the cold chill burning your lungs racing near your threshold heart rate. After the race, you could almost taste your blood, literally. Those good old time.....
Alex does appreciate all the new race series in this 2018 season. However, he fears that the shortage of USCF officials may stretch officials too thin and causing burn out for some of them. In some cases, like himself, he needed to take a half day off to come to FBF and to officiate our race series, amidst all the traffics. Race photos and podium presentation are a plus for racers, according to Alex. Whenever there is a chance, Alex would bring his son Max to the race and he likes racing as well. Alex didn’t pay much attention to the junior racing until his son showed interest in them. He does appreciate the junior field in our series but he didn’t think the NYC junior racing scene is growing. One way he believes it would help to get more juniors to race in our series is to coordinate with other junior teams and programs (Star Track, CRCA JR Development, and Cuevas). And maybe having a junior field only once a month, instead of weekly. Maybe something HH Racing can work on in the next season.
Max racing at the CRCA Orchard Beach Crit 2018.
Max racing at the May 11, 2018 HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series.
For me, it is always a pleasure seeing Alex, a familiar face while trying to capture my race photos in the rain, and up in Bear Mountain. It is always fun to see and chat with him at the race. He loves to ride around at the course with this own bike too and he rarely stays in one position. If it is possible and time permitting, he would love to officiate our race series again next season.
Alex driving around at the CRCA Bear Mountain Spring Classic 2017, checking the course if it is all clear.
Alex riding in his iconic green belt driven bike in the CRCA Orchard Beach Crit 2018.