Monday, March 18, 2013

Promoting - 2013 Tour de Kirche

I suppose the whole promoting gig started on Friday. The Missus got home from work, Junior went to sleep, and we immediately set about doing the pre-reg books, releases, start lists, etc. We had to double check the "exceptions" (like when I add someone manually) to make sure we had releases for the start list people and that the start list people really should have been on the start list.

Saturday got busier.

In the last 5 or 6 years, since I moved away from the Bethel area, I've driven down the day before the race to my dad's. Since we've had registration indoors, first at Panificio Navona, then now at the Retail Lab, I drove down to do minor set up tasks. Sometimes it's not so minor, like shoveling a few hundred yards of road shoulder clear of snow. Other times it's pretty basic, marking off the lawn or doing a quick drive-around to make sure nothing weird happened since the last time I was there.

The Missus works Saturdays at this time of year, even Sundays, so she normally can't make any races after the first one.

The new wild card for this year is Junior of course. Someone needs to look after him so with the Missus at work Saturdays that means I need to make sure he stays out of trouble. This means waiting until she gets home before heading out towards Bethel.

March 16th was a bit different. I've missed, for eight years, the one official's clinic held each year in the district. Most years the clinic happened to take place while I was training in SoCal. Last year the Missus and I had our hands full with Junior's arrival. This year I decided to make it a priority this year to attend the 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM clinic.

That times range meant that I had to have someone take care of Junior. One of the regular Bethel officials Meg volunteered to take care of him - she'd be bringing another Bethel regular Delaney to the officials' clinic. So I got to the venue at about 8:00 AM with a full day's of distractions packed in a few bags.

Junior hanging out before the clinic.

It ended up going well. Junior behaved himself, spending literally hours in the classroom (the clinic was at a local school) with all the potential new officials. He only really made noise a few times in which case Meg would take him out exploring the rest of the school. He even slept for an hour and a half in the class, waking up with his quiet self-babble, only getting excited when he realized I was there.

After a long day I passed the very reasonable test. My one error had to do with the free lap rule of all things. Never assume, right?

I headed home with Junior, the plan being to leave the Golf with Junior's stuff and take the Jetta. I had to finish packing the race stuff in the Jetta - my bikes were inside still, for example, as were the computers and such. Once packed I headed out... but it was late.

On the way out - this is about 10 minutes from the house.

I wanted to check the course and such but I didn't have time, plus I was exhausted from the long day (Junior wakes up at about 6 AM each day now). I knew tomorrow would be another long day so I made the executive decision to head straight to my dad's house, skipping checking out the course (which would add about an hour driving to the route). I had to stop for dinner - tonight it would be an egg sandwich and a calorie rich muffin.

I kept thinking of things that I might have forgotten. My shoes ("okay they're in my gear bag"), my helmet ("that's in the bag with the clean Leader's Jerseys"), the check book ("in the bag with the official clinic stuff... and it has Junior's log in it, oops"), finish line camera, race permit package ("in the plastic bin... and there it is in the rear view mirror"), etc etc.

My phone kept ringing (during the clinic as well as during the drive down) but I let it go to voicemail. If I took any calls about the race now I'd just forget whatever I promised to do and that's worse than the caller just thinking, "Oh he's not available".

On the way it started to snow.

Arrived at my dad's at about 9 PM. It's snowing.

Once at my dad's I brought in one laptop and my overnight stuff. I had to handle a few last minute questions about the race, mainly about the weather, and posted stuff to the site about the weather. The Missus and I had spent Friday evening prepping pre-reg so that was all set.

Then my brother and I talked, as we usually do, except this time we talked until something like almost 1 AM. I wouldn't recommend this with a 4:30 AM wake up alarm.

Arrive at the course at about 6 AM.

I managed to get to the race okay. I was on that race day adrenaline, my mind racing, thinking of all the things I had to deal with during the day.

The first deal was the ice cold conditions. We had black ice on the course, it was in the low-mid 20s, just bitterly cold. The Cat 5s braved the conditions for the clinic and the race and by the time the clinic finished the last of the ice was covered or gone.

Registration has really smoothed out. The Missus wasn't here for the first time this year but things ran well nonetheless. Our new crew for day-of-registration, Amanda and Joel, did superbly. I helped out here and there but otherwise it was all them. Delaney, as a newly minted official, handled the pre-reg folks perfectly as well.

The camera, too, went better, with Jonathan manning it. As another newly minted official he had a better understanding of the various priorities of an official so that helped.

The marshaling has really improved for this year. We still need help whenever we can get it but the main spots, by the start/finish and Turn One, the hill, and "Turn Two", had good coverage. A lot of racers stepped up and marshaled, getting comp'ed for their race in return.

Unfortunately the Tour de Kirche marked the first anniversary of a tragic crash. Last year Markus Bohler fell in the Cat 3-4 race, succumbing to his injuries early the next morning. VeloNews did an article named Death In The Family about the crash - it was their Editor's story of the year. In respect we had a moment of silence before the Cat 4 race and the Cat 3-4 race.

Rob Kelley of Pawling speaks briefly to the Cat 4 field before their start.

Finish of a silent lap in memory of Markus.
Someone put flowers at the crash site this year.

The Markus Bohler Memorial, in use by spectators as intended.

The cycling community really pulled together after Markus's death, raising funds in New York and New England. Ultimately the fund was used to build the Markus Bohler Memorial at the start/finish area of the Bethel Spring Series. Each week this year people have sat there to watch the races, exactly what the intent was when the Memorial was designed.

The fields were unusually large this week. I was happiest about the Women's race, hitting almost 50 racers.

The Women's field lines up.

The Cat 3-4 race was a massive 120 starters, the most I've ever seen at a Bethel. Three of the five missing starters were my teammates so it was very few people that couldn't make it. The other fields weren't as big so it may not have been a record day overall but it was definitely one of the bigger days. Hard to believe after that day's morning where we had black ice, frozen sand, and snow on everything except the road itself.

We managed to start breaking things down during the P123 race. I had suffered in the 3-4s (finishing 93rd out of 95 finishers) so I was around to help once I recovered a bit. We pack up stuff in the van, trailer, and whatever car I drive.

After receiving two birthday gifts for Junior I headed home.

View to the top right.

View to the top left.

Once we put the rack on the Jetta I've been very aware of the rack whenever I pull into the garage. Every time we go somewhere I stop and look up before I pull in, even if we didn't bring a bike. One day, after I stopped the car outside the garage and craned my head left and right, looking at the obviously empty rack, the Missus asked me what I was doing.


I got home a little bit before 7 PM. I backed up to the garage, looking at the bikes on the roof and the garage entrance. Yes, I stopped before the garage. I quickly unloaded the race stuff from the car, the Missus putting Junior's seat back in place. Now if we needed to go anywhere with Junior we could - leaving the car packed meant that we only had one car available with a babyseat.

I knew the racers really wanted to see results up, including the GC, so I worked on that before I did anything else. The Missus tried to feed me dinner but I couldn't even feel hungry until I was almost done with the GC and I'd already put up the day's results. Only then did I feel like I could take a shower and relax.

Of course I was so tired I really couldn't do anything. I couldn't stay awake, I couldn't focus, and I could barely read a half dozen pages of a book before the blanket of fatigue covered my face.

I took off my glasses and fell asleep.

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