Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bethel Spring Series - Sweep Day = March 5, 2011

It's that time of year. I've been flexing my wrists after a tough evening on the course. It's a bit beat up out there, with lots of sand and snow. Although it may rain in the next week, it may snow too.

And the course ain't gonna get better on its own.

So... I need help.

How can you help?

Well, funny that you should ask.

Sweep Day will be Saturday March 5, 2011, at 10 AM. I figure it'll go until 4 PM.

Be prepared for some hard labor. If you ever thought you'd survive the stuff you see on TV, and I'm talking digging ditches, not Paris Roubaix, then Sweep Day is the day you see if you're right.

Bring whatever you can of the following: metal shovels, snow shovels, brooms, leaf blowers, power brooms, gloves, eye protection, ear protection, dust protection. I'll have some of each of them, but I may not be able to cover everyone.

Plus, if you want a $45 respirator mask thing, you gotta bring your own. I have one for me, but I can't afford to buy 20 of them.

Oh, and if you want, you should bring your bike and gear if you want to test ride the course after the sweep. We did this last year and it was a nice refreshing break from the less fun labor earlier.

For good effort work, sweepers get 3 weeks free entry. For more work, more entries (my discretion but you can ask).

1. Clear curbs of snow/sand, esp on the finish hill. Goal: use the course in the race.
2. Fill 19 five gal buckets with sand for signs directing course-side traffic. Goal: use of full road width.
3. Fill more five gal buckets for tent weights. Goal: provide officials with a tent that doesn't blow into the peloton as they ride by.

Method for dealing with sand:
1. Shovel/power-broom/sweep hard caked sand loose. Let sun/air dry it out a bit.
2. Make piles of sand around course; place bucket near each pile.
3. Put sand in buckets; van will be around to collect.
4. Extra sand we have to make disappear, probably into van, trailer, pick up, or similar.

Method for dealing with ice/snow:
1. Break it up, spread it out a bit. Let sun/air do some of the melting, expose dark curb and pavement so it can absorb sun/heat.
2. Put ice melt on snow to accelerate natural process (I'll have a bunch of melt).
3. As sun melts stuff, spread snow around more.
4. Shovel big chunks onto side of road since it'll take weeks to melt them.

1. NO SAND ON LAWNS (this is huge, critical to keep race on). If we have time I actually want to power broom the sand on the lawns into the road, esp near the mirror building as well as up by the start/finish and Turn One.
2. No sand in drains either. We need the drains to work if we have rain.
3. Don't make drivers mad at you or me or any cyclist.
4. Start at the finishline and work backwards (counterclockwise). The first straight is less critical than, say, the bottom of the hill. When we're all fresh we should work on the critical stuff.

So that's that. If you're interested in helping out email me. Go here, click "Contact Event", and put "Sweep Day" in the subject, and let me know you're interested and what kind of gear you can realistically bring.

Yesterday I was contemplating the idea of paying a backhoe guy to do all of this, but I remembered something from way back when. Trust me, the idea of using machines to do all the work is pretty appealing, freeing up a day for me, saving a lot of energy, and doing 90% of the work (there's always a touch up bit you can do with blowers and brooms). But there's more to Sweep Day than just getting the road clear.

Part of the sweep day is to get racers to understand first hand some of the effort it takes to put on a race. It grounds them in a way, makes them part of the racing community. It's not easy work but nothing worthwhile ever is; you gain the benefits the old fashioned way - you earn it. So it's a good thing we have the day.

See you out there.


JW67 said...

Every Year I want to help because you put on a great race but I have to work on saturday morning. Many thanks For all you do.

Jeff Weaver

Aki said...

No problem, life intrudes on bike racing sometimes :) See you at the races!