One lonesome Bethel Spring Series van.
It's been a long winter, and although I really like the picture above, it's been unseasonably warm. I heard, I think, that this winter was about 6 degrees warmer than usual. Or maybe it was 16 degrees. Whatever, it's been one of those winters that had I been 27 years old, I'd have put in massive miles in optimistic preparation for the season ahead.
That was then, this is now.
Things have been pretty hectic here, and, believe it or not, the race is the least of it. Still, though, the race is the race, and it's not like it's going to wait for whatever else happens. With that in mind I've spent the last three days cramming Bethel stuff whenever I had slivers of time in my "real" life.
Contrary to popular belief (heh), I don't live just to blog and do helmet cams, although I sometimes wish that was the case.
With the first race of the year, with the first year of racing for many racers, I get inundated with all sorts of basic questions. As a teammate pointed out to me, stuff that I (and maybe you) take for granted, it's foreign to a new racer.
Where do I register? Is there a parking area? Do I just show up? Do I need to bring anything? How long is the course? Where is it?
I saw all the standard questions and then some. It's all good. They're all standard, and I feel like there's got to be a way to address this in some reasonable manner. In other words I should include them in the Bethel Spring Series FAQ.
I often found myself typing an email (with a few more to respond to right after that one), texting someone on the phone, and trying to talk to someone sitting near me. In more than one instance I would be writing an email response to someone when said someone called me on the phone. Other times I'd be driving, texts rapidly rolling in, with no way of responding safely for an hour or two (and of course I was already trying to get somewhere quickly).
I don't think I was abrupt with anyone, well, except one guy. The Bethel Police Department called me while I was talking to someone else, and frankly I virtually hung up on the racer. If the PD are calling, I answer.
It was all good (they were confirming there'd be a police officer with a patrol car), I used Caller ID to call the guy back, and I got to answer his questions.
I've also seen all the standard mistakes. A typical one is when people register for the Series but they don't specify a category (or two). A related one is they register for the Series but select a race (to specify category). So that means they register for the Series, don't specify a Series race, and register for the first Cat 4 race (for the second time).
All this is confusing, right? It is to me, and I'm the promoter. So for 2013 one of my goals will be to clarify the registration process. The only person it really hurts is me, as I wade through the variety of errors, misunderstandings, etc.
Okay, there are some benefits - I could easily take all the extra registrations and call it a day, but I've been diligently refunding racers for their duplicate (and in one case, kind of triplicate) entries.
I worked on the spreadsheet two days ago (Thursday) at length, with more work Friday. I still have some things to fill out, data to find (or receive), and so I'll stop tonight with the spreadsheet only 90% done. Tomorrow we'll have to manually enter some stuff, but then we'll be set going forward.
Most of my work this year had to do with protecting the precious formulas in the spreadsheet, ones that calculate everything. I also wanted a flag to pop based on rider age (below 18 or above 44) so we could quickly see if a Masters 45+ was a Masters 45+ or if we needed a parental signature for a Junior racer.
Surprisingly there are a bunch of Juniors scattered through the various categories. If we can get another dozen Juniors to show up, they'll warrant their own race.
There is one major improvement this year. I finally have a way to get the overall calculated, at least at the individual level. The team thing still has some work but the individual, although I have to do some footwork, seems like a reality. This won't be in place for this week but I hope to have it there for the Ris Van Bethel on March 11th.
Today we had our Sweep Day in some miserable rainy conditions. I headed down after a surprisingly snowy last couple days. I wasn't optimistic to say the least.
Near home base, on the way to Sweep. That's Heublein Tower.
The rain dampened the turn out, but the trade off for getting wet?
An hour long Sweep Day.
By the end of the hour riders were walking along, picking up pebbles. I thought of aircraft carriers and FOD walks, where personnel look for foreign objects to prevent "Foreign Object Damage".
And then the sun came out.
"Look, the sun!"
And all was better at the course.
The beautiful results of Sweep Day. Incredible.
At that SOC, commander in chief of Sweep Day, called it done. The crew headed in to race supporter (we have registration in here) Panificio Navona for some pizza and coffee.
I managed to arrive just before the last of the crew left. I caught up with all the gossip, checked the course myself, and had some of the pizza and coffee before heading out.
My second stop (after picking up supplies for the race) was at major supporter Outdoor Sports Center, where I went over some of the race details with the folks there. They're providing a whole lotta cool stuff for the race, prizes and such. I'll have more on the Bethel Spring Series site as time goes on.
I'm working out of my car right now.
Okay, okay, I'm just kidding. It's parked in the driveway and I'm parked in the kitchen.
At the table.
Although that's what I seem to be doing a lot of lately.
Incidentally, parking in the driveway doesn't make sense. Why park in the driveway and drive in the parkway?
Yeah, I guess I'm about done for the day. It's been a really, really tough last few days, quite chaotic, and I can only hope that I didn't forget something for Bethel along the way.
I guess I find out tomorrow.
Anywho, this giddiness can only mean one thing.
But that's how it goes...
Millions of people...
Living as foes.
It's not too late...
To learn how to love
And to forget how to hate.
For some reason that song's been in my head recently.