Monday, April 08, 2013

Promoting - 2013 Criterium de Bethel

The fifth race of the Series. As I said before time seems to accelerate as the Series goes on. Each week the routine becomes a bit more regular. Sunday, unpack the car when I get home. Post results, do the overall. Respond to the inevitable questions, review finish line clips, stuff like that.

Monday I usually answer more questions, bring some of the stuff inside from the garage.

Tuesday I usually put together one of the bikes enough to ride it. This means dealing with the gear bag, the SRM computer, helmets, laundry, stuff like that.

Wednesday I take a break, try and think of what to post for the upcoming race, and mentally prepare myself for the weekend.

Thursday I start to prepare for the weekend, download the registration data, send out the releases to be printed, think about bringing more stuff in from the garage. I usually don't because Junior is very curious so he tries to open the boxes, chew on the bins, and generally tries to check everything out.

Friday I go pick up the print job with Junior. In the evening the Missus and I do the pre-reg work. Although I managed to pack the car once on Friday this year normally we're too exhausted so I leave that for Saturday.

Saturday the Missus works pretty much the whole day so I try and stuff in the garage. When she gets home I take out Junior's car seat and pack up the car. Inevitably I need to go to the course but whether I make it or not depends on my fatigue level. I've even missed the customary dinner with the family because I've run so late.

Sunday is the race. And then it starts all over again.

For April 7th I was in a decent rhythm. I left quite late, after 6 PM. Unusually I was really paranoid of forgetting something - some of the last minute things I remembered included my primary helmet, the 15' surge protector plug thing, one of the power cables for the laptops, a bottle... I don't remember remembering more but I'm sure I did.

I had wanted to patch some hard dips in the road (technically not potholes but they were bone jarring dips at the bottom of the hill). I had the PermaPatch in the car, I had already missed the family dinner (5:30 or 6 PM), but with it being so late I decided just to head over to my dad's anyway.

Somehow I found myself taking the Bethel exit, not the Dad exit, and once off the highway I drove to the course. I figured that, what the heck, I'll do the patching.

180 lbs of PermaPatch later, my back thankfully still intact, I left to head over to my dad's. My nephew generously gave me his precious leftovers and I passed out face down in bed, too exhausted to even remove my glasses.

Sunday I woke up worried I'd overslept. In a panic I checked my phone - 4:15 AM. Everything was okay.

I headed over to the course. My late night in-the-dark patching wasn't top notch but on the first laps of the Cat 5 clinic I found that the bone jarring dips had transformed into a bumpy rumble. Better but not great. If I had a lot of PermaPatch and a big roller I'd put more down but without a roller I think I'd just spread the bumpiness. It'll have to do for now.

Bikes in transport mode.

I finally got the now-red Tsunami together. I rode it on the trainer but hadn't really tested it completely built up. The bike felt very good over the bumps - the ENVE 2.0 fork seemed to be an improvement over the outsourced Reynolds fork I used before.

The stuff from the Jetta Sportswagen, plus Joel's bike and bags.

Each week we bring a certain amount of stuff to the registration area. This is all stuff that, in a trailer, would be already set up. It's not too much stuff though so for now it's okay.

On this day I made an interesting discovery. We're borrowing our registration location and we've agreed to allow only staff to walk behind the tables. I've turned away friends, explaining that I really don't want to lose use of this space.

What I discovered is that there's a camera back there somewhere. So when I say that you can't be back there, I really mean you can't be back there. Ultimately it's a self preservation thing - if anything is missing or broken it's all my fault. Therefore, to be safe, no one will be going back there except staff.

Joel moving tables.
Empty PermaPatch bags next to the curb.

Joel is one of the folks helping out. His wife Amanda has been at the day-of-race registration table for all but one week so far. Joel helps set up registration, then the keep-off-the-grass stakes, then gets stuff unloaded for the finish area (generators, gas cans, stuff like that). He'll even do the grate covers if he has time.

Finish line stuff in the background.
Teammate Jeff is second on the road in this picture for 3rd in the race.

Right now we have a small trailer for the finish line camera. It's not mine, it's a friend's, but it works well. There's enough room inside for a table, some chairs, and the ability to look at the finish video.

The officials' tent isn't mine either but I have two similar tents just in case we need them. The wind almost collapsed the tent - this is where the officials would have appreciated an enclosed trailer.

Overall the day, from a promoter's point of view, went pretty well. I only got reprimanded twice for riders in the parking lot. I only got reprimanded once for a race related thing. Normally it's every hour that someone complains about racers circling in the lot or the blocked entrance by the start/finish.

I mentioned to someone that it's the outliers that cause the problems. 95% of the racers are courteous and understanding. The other 5% cause me significant problems. It's frustrating but it's always been like that. The misbehavers come from all across the board, racers that have been around forever to new ones that may not even know of the problems they're causing me.

I suppose at some point the venue will become unusable. Until a couple years ago the Francis J Clarke Park was an industrial zone. Now it's zoned for retail so there will be more retail businesses located on and near the course. This means potentially more friction between the racers and the tenants.

As far as the racing itself? With massive winds the races blew apart. Although the pictures don't do the wind justice I'd consider the day one of the near-epic days of racing - everyone who did well were both fit and smart. Minor errors would cost a racer a lot and a lot of favorites found themselves caught out of position in the brutal wind.

At the end of the day we packed up, cleaned up, and headed out.

Two more weeks to go.

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