I have never raced before. Ever. (Unless you count cross-country in Jr. High School [I still can't believe they give out ribbons for 26th place--I mean, what's the point in that?]) Technically, LOTOJA is a race, though I'll just be racing against the clock.
On more than one occasion, people have suggested I do a Crit, or Criterium. I don't know much about these, but what I know, I don't like. For one, they involve lots of people racing around a small-ish area. Also, they have lots of tight turns. I my mind, a crit is like the cycle-cross of the road bike world--basically a race that is fun to watch, but not much fun to be in. (Again, I should point out I have raced neither.) Usually, there are lots of crashes. I don't want to crash. I don't like crashing. I have no desire to enter a crit.
Since the purpose of a crit seems to be getting hurt and eXtreme riding, I think we should spice it up a bit. If short tracks with lots of corners are good, lets make them shorter. If the uncertainty and danger associated with high-speed cornering in a pack is interesting to watch, why not plan the course with danger in mind?
Also, in an effort to bring my love of cycling to my "day job" I propose (are you listening, HR?) setting up a crit around the building where I work. Although not gargantuan, this building is fairly large (housing some 700 employees). Also, it isn't your traditional rectangle, so there are more areas for wrecks--er corners. Each lap would be short, and including as many as 10 corners--depending on the exact set-up.
Instead of roping it off and keeping it clear, I would eliminate any such "organizing" elements of the race. This would 1) make it even more exciting and 2) limit the work I'd need to do to set it up. How exciting (or dangerous, for that matter) can a race be if people (or cars) aren't allowed on or near the course? For that matter, I think the race should either be in the morning, around 8:30-ish, or noon--the two times with the most in and out-bound traffic.
I can't wait for the first time an executive walks by engrossed in a mobile phone conversation (or typing a email) and nearly escapes with his life.
Also, tires stick really well on dry pavement. For my crit, I'd have a fire hydrant open and pouring out over the track--preferably on a corner. And banana peels. Though easy to spot and avoid, everyone has seen enough cartoons that banana peels on the course will shake them up a bit.
We should organize a nation-wide event. Everyone sets up a crit around where they work. This could turn into a tournament, with the winners battling it out around a really complex campus--say Microsoft or Google--for the overall National Work-Place Crit Champion. I'd make the winners jersey a beige polo with three rear pockets--made out of wicking polyester, of course.
Now that's a crit I'd watch--I still wouldn't race in it, but I don't mind being in charge. I'll let you know if I get it approved by HR.