Monday, March 31, 2014

Promoting - 2014 Criterium de Bethel

I have a sort of resigned acceptance to the whole race promotion thing. I try to do it well but it isn't intrinsically fun. It's sort of like focusing on a project at work and forgetting that maybe the work isn't that enjoyable. You get engrossed in the task at hand, at the goal, and you stop thinking of other aspects of the project, like "I really prefer not to be vacuuming" or whatever the task may be.

Normally it's okay, the behind-the-scenes work, I just slog through the stuff. It's just a chore like doing laundry or the dishes or shoveling the driveway or even mowing the lawn. They're all tasks that you wouldn't necessarily do if you had a day to do anything you want but there's a sense of accomplishment when you finish. That sense of accomplishment drives me.

So it is with promoting races.

I really don't "want" to promote races. If I could just race then I'd just race, I wouldn't do the chore stuff related to it. At the same time though I feel a sense of duty related to promoting races. If I can promote a race and it adds to the calendar and people enjoy it then I'll do it. If things get too busy or hard or the intrinsic return drops off then it'll be time to stop.

Saturday I hit one of the low spots that I sometimes hit as it relates to Bethel. Outside it rained pretty steadily, I felt this overwhelming fatigue, and I wasn't keen on getting out there, packing the Expedition, and heading to Bethel.

What I really wanted to do was to get cozy in the warm house, have a cup of coffee, and hang out with the Missus (after she got back from work) and Junior.

Instead I trudged out to the garage and started loading up the Expedition. After delaying my departure as much as possible (hanging out with the Missus and Junior) I finally headed out for Bethel. This year I normally go to the course on the way to my dad's. With the steady rain, though, I knew that I couldn't get much done at the trailer so I just headed to my dad's.

When I got there I was happily surprised to see one of the non-family band members of Linus, URT, and some of the other bands whose music I use in the clips. He, his wife, and two kids were visiting, and so we got to hang out a bit.

I thought of something a rider told me about getting to the course early to get more stuff done before the others showed up. Accordingly I set my alarm for 4:30 AM, to give me an extra half hour.

And then I fell asleep.

I did wake up at 4:30. Then again at 5:15. So much for the extra time.

I headed over to the course (Joel was waiting) and we went about setting things up. It wasn't really raining, just a bit misty, and the wind seemed to be calm. As the rest of the crew rolled in we got into our familiar rhythm and the whole machine started turning its gears.

Tent set up for release forms.

For the first time we set up a tent at the back of the trailer. We anchored it to the trailer and it worked really well. In the future this will be a regular thing in inclement weather.

One thing we noticed was that the water ran into the trailer from the window hatches. The trailer was tilting slightly away from the windows (due to the road crown) and it was just enough to allow water to trickily into the trailer. For the future we'll drop the window hatch down just a touch so water runs off to the outside.

Other than that the trailer seemed pretty good in terms of organization, good enough that I didn't feel the need to bring it home this week. I ditched a lot of the snow related stuff the other week and that helped make room inside.

Outdoor Sports Center, CCAP, and registration.

We had three tents next to the trailer, the first being our registration shelter. We also had the CCAP tent, doing a bake sale for CCAP (and manned by the Junior team), and of course Outdoor Sports Center's tent, the main sponsor of the race series.

Finish line area - tent, officials, camera.

At the finish area the officials had their tent. We had to set up two of the four sides, to keep the spray and wind off of the officials. When we were setting up I realized that we hadn't used the sides since 2009, the last year we were outside until now. It's been a while but the old routine came back quickly and we had reasonable shelter up pretty quickly.

Mike the camera guy set up the camera with its waterproof case. That worked out well also. He put the laptop in a bin on its side, making a 5 sided case that kept the laptop dry. A propane heater kept the penetrating chill out of the tent.

The weather really annihilated the turnout. We had just over 100 racers show up instead of the regular 200-250. On a good day 300 to a record 400 or so will show. Today we had about what we had in the first year of the Series, back in the early 90s.


Of course the wind picked up. A racer called it "the Bethel Triangle" because it's always windy at Bethel. The winds weren't so strong that any tents flew away but I did have a heart stopping moment or two when a couple of the tent legs lifted up. Overall though it wasn't that bad, as evidenced by the prevalence of aero profile wheels out there.

Mist. Break. Chase.

The field chased down the above break but I like the picture so I put it in.


This attack, out of the remnants of the minuscule P123 field, won the race.

The move.

Eneas has been the strongest racer in the P123s this year and in the exposed race this day he demonstrated that strength.

We packed up pretty quickly, with the results process much quicker than last week. With such a small field, with an obvious winner, we were done quickly.

I set off for home to try and catch Junior before he fell asleep. Unfortunately, even with my incredible driving skills (haha), I got home after he fell asleep. This didn't help my mood as I realized I left stuff behind that I needed to bring home.

After uploading the results I decided to call it a night. I had nothing left to give, not at that time.

Monday morning Junior found my laptop as I left it the night before. He tapped away at the keyboard, moving his finger on the touch pad, and clicked a button here and there.

"Okay I finished uploading the results, now what?"

I have to go back to pick some stuff up, I need to do some GC spreadsheet updates (it got all screwy somehow), post the GC, and then it all starts again on Thursday.

It seems like just yesterday that I was stressing about the races even happening. Now we're two weeks from the end of the Series. Incredible.

I'll be there this Sunday, hope to see you there too.

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