Monday, February 27, 2012

Promoting - Drive Down

Before anything, I totally forgot to take any pictures whatsoever. Arg.

Sunday the Missus and I ran errands for most of the day, stopping frequently so I could get something to eat. I don't know if it's the cold or what but I kept eating and eating.

At any rate I managed to round up a lot of the heavy stuff for Bethel. I checked the Echo PAS heads (we have two for Bethel), the leaf blower (need to get the other one too), brooms, shovels, pallets (to keep the officials out of the potential swamp aka lawn), sewer grate covers, tents, propane tanks, heaters, two generators, stop/slow signs... the list goes on.

I forgot (now that I think of it) the extension cords.

I purposely left behind the radios, printer, surge protectors, wireless router (I have to remember the password so I can configure two more machines for it), notebooks, pens, and all sorts of stuff that I carry back and forth each week to the races.

Once I had the van packed the Missus and I did a mini convoy down to Bethel. We live a good 90 minutes away, and the van, heavily laden, doesn't like going that fast.

Or rather, I don't like going that fast in the van. 65 mph, the legal limit for much of the drive, is about what the van does comfortably. It weighs 5500 pound empty, probably close to 7000 pounds as it was, with fuel and its bike race promoting payload.

The drive wasn't bad. The Missus has driven the van, extensively sometimes, but usually I drive it now. The Missus took my red car, the one we'd use for the trip back.

We have fun driving together, whether we're in the same car or not. If not we just have to catch up when we get there, otherwise we comment on stuff when it happens. At Bethel we blurted out to each other the stuff we noticed on the drive down.

"Did you see that guy that cut into my lane at that intersection?"
"Yeah, that was crazy. But I like how you kept the gap closed to the van, that was sweet!"
"And that pickup truck. That's why I had to pass you on that down hill."
"I know, I couldn't get enough room for you before I had to move over."
"And then he almost drove that one car off the highway!"
"Yeah, I got that on the dash cam."
"I figured you'd be doing this," motioning a finger tap motion that saves the last minute of the dash cam.

We headed back in the red car, more comfortable as we didn't have to drive with a caravan partner to think about.

And, of course, we stopped for some food.

Once home we got some stuff done, I headed down for a short spin on the bike, and then I worked on...

The Spreadsheet.

It's the thing that makes Bethel flow so much smoother than before. It does a lot of stuff automatically, asking only for registration people to type in certain information.

The rest of it gets calculated.

Every year I have things I want to change, stuff that I meant to change but didn't get around to it.

For example, we have the race date on each page. A while ago we manually entered that date, over and over, on every tab. Now we update one tab (the first one) and the rest of the dates auto-populate.

I know that sounds really basic, but when your head is buried in the names and details of the spreadsheet, it takes a bit of time to figure that out.

Well, this year I had this brilliant idea that the category titles should be copied too. It seems that on a given week I'd have one Masters results page with M40+, a remnant of a few years of M40+ races. Likewise some of our formulas won't work until I delete the Juniors data since we don't have a Juniors race. Some racers questioned the results we post, basically a print out of part of the spreadsheet.

"The M40+ results, is that for the M45+ race?"

I chide myself when I hear that. "Friken friken frak, I need to fix that."

Then the next second there's something else and I forget.

Until the next person asks the same thing.

I also changed the "/" in the category names to a "-", so instead of P/1/2/3 I made it P-1-2-3. This was for only one reason - Excel kept auto-correcting Cat 3/4 into Cat "three quarters". I decided on the dashes, but in some of the back office pages (meaning the pages the racers don't see) there's a bunch of "three quarters" stuff because I didn't change them.

Now they all transform when I change the category on the main registration page for that race. Magic, right?

Another thing we never really fixed was the prize list calculator. We base our prize list on field size, taking the tens digit as the number of places. If there are 81 racers, we take the tens digit ("8") and that's the number of places. We have minimums, 4 places for most of the races, 5 for the Cat 3-4 and P-1-2-3.

I'm proud to say that the prize list now auto-calculates, based on field size and the prize list grid (where the actual prize amounts gets entered). I can update the grid and the dollar amounts update too.

I have other things to work on. USAC requires promoters to send in results in a particular format, and I plan on using the racer database to look up the racer's official team name and such.

I eventually want to use this for registration so we can type in a license number and have the rest of the line auto-fill.

Finally I want the spreadsheet to automatically create the overall standings for individual and team. This takes a lot of time for me and I hope to reduce this a bit.

For now I have a few things to get done up at home. Any spreadsheet work I can get done is great. I have to pull together all the official paperwork for the officials. I want to figure out a way that women can do the clinic too. I need to make sure I don't overbook the Cat 5 race (because racers can register for the Series for for each week, and I don't have a perfect way to combine them).

Thursday registration closes.

Saturday is Sweep Day.

Sunday we race.



ldjm said...

The conversation between you two was cute.

I think it wasn't until last year that I started really realizing how much work goes into putting on a race, cycling, running or whatever. I have a whole new level of respect for everything that you do to put on the Bethel series.


Aki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aki said...

What's crazy is that it was the following morning that they wanted to induce the Missus. I purposely pushed hard to get the van down to Bethel (which requires two drivers) that day, Wednesday, because I figured it would be the last day we had the time before Junior would show up. I didn't say that in the original post because he was still a secret then.

And thanks about the race thing. Each year I get unpleasantly surprised at how much work goes into the race.