Saturday, March 28, 2009

How To Promote Races - The PreReg Dredge

So, it's the Friday after the Thursday that registration closes for Sunday's race. For most of you it means "Phew, I got my registration in", or "OMG why did I register when it's supposed to rain with thundershowers on Sunday?!" Whatever your thoughts, your only responsibility is to be prepared for Sunday; you have cast your die.

What's that mean for someone that, well, does stuff after registration ends?

More than I thought.

In the past, before BikeReg, I have no idea what I did. I never wrote down my steps (or if I did, the paper is gone), never took notes that I can remember, and in fact, I don't even know if I had anything to do with pre-reg at all. Like maybe someone else did it. Joe or Allan or Kevin or Rich would be able to tell me, since they were in the pre-BikeReg generation of co-promoters.

With my last co-promoter Gene, we got on the computer bandwagon - spreadsheets, laptop, the whole bit. We also started using BikeReg. It was a new thing, scary, and we had no idea what to expect. I actually never dealt with BikeReg except when I registered for my own races - Gene did all that.

He always raved about how nice the guys were at BikeReg, how they always helped, worked with him, and all sorts of other things. I finally got to interact with them this year and they've been nothing but helpful (and so has USAC, for that matter). There's a reason why we use BikeReg every year, even when we got all messed up when we fell behind in paperwork and both of us got super busy with non-Bethel life.

Anyway, now I know the "after pre-reg closes" drill. Here is part of it.

First, we download the pre-reg release forms. Since we have folks registered for the whole series as well as ones registered just for the day, I download from two dates on BikeReg - March 1 (for whole series registrations) and from the next race, March 29 in this case.

I sort by last name then first name. This results in a pdf that has all the releases sorted by last name, which we then put into a binder with tabs for letters A-Z. When racers show up at the race, they just sign their release, show their license, and take their number.

Then I download the next raceday's (March 29 in this case) registration data, in csv format. Now I have everyone's data to populate our spreadsheet. I do the following:

1. Sort by last name, first name.
2. Check for double entries in the same race, and make a note that perhaps someone paid too much.
3. Check for two+ race entries for one rider. Bold the line that has info for the race that takes place later in the day.
4. Sort by Category Entered, last name, first name
5. Copy paste into spreadsheet.
6. Every line that is not bold paid the normal one day fee ($14). I fill that in.
7. Every line that is bold paid the normal second race fee ($11). I fill that in. I also put "Yes" in a column that counts racers who are in their second or third race of the day.
8. I also paste in the Masters ages, which unfortunately is in a different column from our spreadsheet, so I want to fix that for next year. (I also want to include category and sex so that it's easier to fill in the 7 column results format USAC likes).
9. I save the document as both a Backup and Primary, and email it to myself.

Printing the pre-reg releases (on 3 hole paper so we can put them in a binder) and regular releases (on regular paper for clipboards). Our wedding book has become a heavy, stable base for the printer. We have a second printer as a backup, but this one is a nice, compact, quiet one (HP 1006).

Recently fixed Bella making sure the day-of releases are in good shape. The binders holding the pre-reg are below the clipboards. Apparently they passed inspection as Bella didn't find anything.

Recently fixed Riley checking the box of extra numbers and pins. We started the year with something like 15-20k pins. Don't waste them, I'm just saying that we try and be prepared. Riley was disappointed when I hid the rest of the rubber bands.

Typical pre-reg printout (in the back) with the assigned numbers clipped to the printout. The rest of the numbers are in the foreground. Yes, this means we only have 22 racers pre-reg. It's supposed to be raining with thunderstorms, so it'll be an epic day (for both staff and racers).

The two laptops, with one of the spreadsheets up. The stack of numbers to the left still need to be assigned to races. We buy a few thousand numbers a year, and we have an overflowing box of incomplete numbers (the box pictured with Riley is our second box of incomplete numbers). Note glass of OJ per advice of a bike mechanic (I'm still sick). High pulp, in case you're wondering.

Other tools of the trade. Chalk paint (from the officials, and I've tried to buy some for years and can't find any). They use chalk paint for the Tour finishline painting, then spray the stuff away after the stage ends. Umbrella (golf size, with anti-wind vents) for thundershowers. Extra video cable. Printer box (to transport printer in first picture). Box of pre-reg and day-of release forms.

Other stuff near my feet. Yellow numbers (now not legal for USAC). My gear bag (which reminds me, I have to go find my rain jacket). My laptop bag for the two laptops, SRM, mini camcorder, and cable/plugs for all of the above. The little black bag is my Carpe Diem Racing bag, has paperwork and stuff in it.

New numbers in front. 1000 of them right there. The overflow numbers in back with various pins, markers, etc. I leave the new numbers behind. I have about 1000 of them with the pre-reg stuff anyway. I have some Olbas stuff in there too.

All our categories. Each folder has a pre-reg list with numbers attached as well as the day-of numbers. When we do the races we put all the releases in the appropriate folders, or bunch them all up if it's too busy. Duct tape finish line for dry days, also to tape up results. Trash bags for garbage. Pens, clips, extra numbers, manuals for the generators heater etc, various other things piled in there.

Tiger (he's been fixed for a while) making sure all the radios are, in fact, radios, and not mice. They're all charging. The Motorolas are nicer, but they cost us 12 times as much as the cheapo black ones (albeit 10-15 years ago). The latter use 4 AAA batteries, and I've been moving over to rechargeable Duracells since the original rechargeable batteries are kind of iffy. My cell phone sits in front, as does a number from the end of 701-800 (I took out all of the last numbers this week for some reason). The Tumi is my clothing bag, but I may skip that this week and jam stuff in my gear bag.

I also set up the TiVO to call in to the TiVO mother planet and get the updated time and such. This enables us to record onto the TiVO on Sunday. As a backup we have DV tapes for the video camera and a cable to move tape from the camera to the backup laptop. We can then review the data this way if necessary.

During the week I managed to remember to fill two propane tanks, so we'll have two heaters in the tent on Sunday. Yay for heat!

On Saturday, today, I'll load most of what's pictured up top into the red car, along with my bike, food, clothing, various AV stuff (mini-camcorder etc).

Today, because of the expected rain on Sunday, I'll be working on the tent sides, punching out grommet holes (I never finished punching them all out, and that was 5 years ago), zipping the sides together, and preparing them to make it easy and straightforward to mount. If it works out we'll store them just like that.

Of course I have to get to the van to do that, and the van is 1.5 hours away. I also want to do it in the middle of a huge expanse of pavement (not the tick-ridden yard) and so I'll be driving to some quiet, large parking lot to work on organizing stuff for tomorrow. I figure a high school parking lot would work fine (they don't have Saturday school stuff, right?).

I also want to go find some ball-bungees, little loops of elastic bungee material hooked to balls. I'd like to get 100 of them because ours are getting a bit played. Or a lot of the actual bungee material, and I'll re-bungee them.

A bonus would be figuring out some way to set up all the electronic stuff so there is little risk of them getting wet. Printer, laptops, generators, microwave, they all need to stay dry. I don't want to zap myself or anyone else, and a smoking printer that doesn't print doesn't do anyone any good. We've gotten by in the past and I think we'll be okay for tomorrow, but it's another thing to think about.

Finally, I'll want to get a short spin in. Because if I don't, my legs will be stiff and slow tomorrow. I figure 15-30 minutes should do it, then I can worry about everything else.

You know, because, ultimately, it's all about the race.

See you out there, flahutes.

1 comment:

From Head to Toe said...

I see why you only organize six races per season.