The Future of Races and Racers  by Len Brunkalla  T oday
The Future of Races and Racers An Editorial by Len Brunkalla

Today's HPV racers, are largely people that have been involved with HPVs and recumbents for many years. Some of the most familiar faces and/or names that are associated with HPV racing, have been at it for as much as twenty-three years. That puts the age of those who began at the beginning, in their prime at the time, now knocking on their fourth, fifth and sixth decades on mother earth. A bit long in the tooth for many of them to interest major sports broadcasters on performance alone. We can however, stand back and admire the achievements that make them an important facet of HPV racing today.

Twenty-five years ago, recumbent racing was extremely unique in the eyes of the media. Any major HPV event could usually make the local news, or even a regional paper. A championship event could even make it into national magazines. The media focus at the time, tended to be on the oddity, or the less than professional aspects of the events. Reporters seemed to be more interested in the builder with the cardboard fairing, than with a non-faired super low-rider design. Well, the world never stops changing, and the same applies to HPV/recumbent racing.

At Indy, there were some new faces. Some younger racers, even a fresh junior class rider were participating. Younger racers are what the older racers should expect. If the sport of recumbent racing is truly on the rise, it will attract younger, faster, and perhaps even more daring racers. Maybe, those of us that have been at it for the last decade or two (or a few), will need to move for a senior category, or move on. Unfortunately, that is the way of the world.

So okay, that is a grim outlook. It is not the only viewpoint. In actuality, there are several senior racers (let's be vague and place the age at, over 50 years old) that participate in the HPRA racing series. Even the new kids can't beat these guys, or can't beat them regularly. This is a good thing. 

This also points out the dedication that some of the older and wiser have for our still rather unique sport. These 'senior' racers may also turnout to be our best ambassadors for the sport. Who better to endorse the sport of recumbent racing, than those who have turned to it after years of racing upright bikes in the USCF? 

The real truth in the future of HPV/recumbent racing, is that it will blossom into broader acceptance. The scenes at racing events will resemble more the herd of strangers that you would often find at large USCF events. There will be less of the local club atmosphere, that you find at current HPRA events, where everyone knows just about everyone. Certainly, the current roster of HPRA racers, enjoy themselves at our events. The camaraderie is abundant. When our kind of racing is really successful, racers will be registering by the dozens (hundreds maybe?), at registration tables manned by cold faced strangers concerned only with proper paperwork. Race officials will be concerned with running the race, and not what bike a particular racer is riding. 

While we ride into that vast cold future of hundreds of 'bent racers, enjoy the trip, where we've been, and how we're progressing, and growing. Maybe that future won't be a cold as we think. After all, our brand of racing enlists a different brand of individual, as race directors, and as racers.

Back to the WISIL projects page