Saturday, March 05, 2011

Promoting Races - Sweep Day + Registration Prep

(I realized something. I forgot to get everyone's names and race desired and all that for the people from Sweep. Arg. See me when you register, or say you swept and I'll nod or not.)

We're starting to wind down the prep stuff for the start of the 2011 Outdoor Sports Center Bethel Spring Series.

In case you missed the memo, the Bethel Spring Series now has their own site, at (of course) Bookmark it now because it doesn't come up in search well (the old site,, does for me).

At some point I'll put together a little story about how that came about, but suffice it to say that it's a nice site. I can say that because I didn't do it; except for some text, I had a lot of help from a couple people.

Anyway, with the Series starting tomorrow, that could only mean one thing today - it's sweep time!

Sweep time means getting everything down here. It's not like the old days where I could just drive home, grab something, and be back in an hour or so. Now it's a three hour round trip so if I forget something it's kind of major. Therefore packing becomes a bit more critical.

I'd been packing the van for a couple days, a little at a time. It's overwhelming to try and do it all at once, and I've tweaked my back more than once trying to do it late at night in bone-chilling cold.

First was the stop to the storage facility where a lot of stuff lives for most of the year. We keep outdoor type stuff there, the grate covers, garden tools (shovels and brooms), tents, tables, leaf blowers, gas cans, power cords, podiums, buckets, generators, and I don't remember what else.

After the storage facility stop.
I added maybe 10 various bins to this.

Second stop was the house, where the "indoor" stuff lives for most of the year. This includes things like laptops, power cords, various cameras, walkie talkies, printer, tripod, paper, toner, tape, markers, pens, pins, and, again, I don't remember what else.

Finally I had to get some stuff in there for myself, like my gear bag, race wheels, stuff like that. My bike (even my shoes) were already at Navone's - I knew I wasn't riding much at home so leaving them here at the Studio made sense.

I headed down to Bethel, a 90 minute drive, in what was now a comfortably laden van. With the 1-ton suspension, the thing bounces around if you have less than 500-1000 pounds of stuff in it. Since I removed almost 500 pounds of bench seats, making the van 500 pounds lighter to begin with, that means the van bounces around pretty much any time I drive it.

The only exceptions occur on two drives - one down to Bethel, the other when I drive back.

Both those days I have, in my estimation, a fully loaded van. Since I've already eliminated 500 pounds of bench seats, I figure that the van's load ends up in the 2500 pound range.

(It couldn't possibly be more than that because that wouldn't be legal.)

Instead of a highly sprung, impatient van, it mellows out. It rolls a bit drunkenly, slowly righting itself. It turns reluctantly, like a temperamental horse that wants to go straight instead. And it brakes... well, it slows at a leisurely rate.

It's a solid workhorse, not a thoroughbred. It does a specific job and it does it well.

We had an awesome surprise yesterday. A "spy" (okay, just a long time cycling person) let me know that the town was testing its streetsweeper on the course, along with the load capacities of a dump truck or two.

Apparently they all worked because when I got here this Saturday morning, things looked... cleaned.

End of Turn 2, where it used to be really messy. At 10 AM Saturday it was just kind of messy.

Just before the Mirror Building. Nice.
"Pay it forward" tube on dash. This is for those riders who need an emergency tube at Bethel.

Chunk of snow/ice three days ago Wednesday, so three days prior.
I worked pretty hard to get that little section clear.

When I got here March 5, it looked like this.

I met up with the sweep crew for the year. Smaller than prior years, they performed well. They all worked hard, I have to say. It ended up less a "Sweep Day" and more a "Chop Day". We hacked and picked and axed and stabbed big solid chunks of ice, sometimes six or eight inches thick, maybe more.

The "Chopin' Crew" at work.
That's like "To Chop", not like the composer which is pronounced like "Show-pan".

The result of the Composer Crew. Insane, right? Awesome. Beautiful.

Weary but happy crew.

We ate and hung out inside Navone's for a bit. The Expo boys, six or seven of us, kitted up and went and did almost 20 laps of the course. The Navone boys joined us too, and we had some friendly efforts going 'round and 'round the course.

Two or three groups rode through too, probably to check out the course, as well as some individuals.

I have to say that the hill is a LOT harder in a small group or alone. In the group you just fly up the thing, it's barely a bump. Solo, though, it's tough. I don't know how those "recon riders" don't get demoralized. I'd almost quit if I thought that's what I had to go through the next day.

We had fun buzzing around the course. We did a few spontaneous leadouts (I sprinted only once - the rest of the time I sat up just where I'd start sprinting). I didn't want to wear myself down before tomorrow, but I did appreciate the chance to ride outside for the first time since Palomar.

Then, after everyone left, it came time to do registration work. Print out the spreadsheets (we couldn't before because we didn't have the numbers since we're printing them here at Navone's). Set up registration area/s. Plug in the radios, and, for me, the helmet cams.

The Missus arrived, reinforcements when the energy levels ebbed dangerously low. Fresh coffee and some food and suddenly we got going again.

Day of race registration. Turn right when you walk in, you're there.

Next to day of race is pre-reg. Notebook is the key since it has all the riders' names in it.

The view when the door opens. Food and beverages for sale at the counter in front of you.
The coffee area, at least for Sweep Day. Sink hidden to the right.

The Lounge. Heh.

The P123 numbers. Very pro.

The rest of the numbers, printed on generic numbers.
Not so sharp but they don't cost a dollar a number (plus ink).

The Release forms. For Cat 5 One Day Licenses please ask at the desk.

See you tomorrow!

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