Monday, April 14, 2014

Promoting - 2014 Zwiedzanie Bethel

Ah, where to start.

It seemed like just yesterday that I was worried about whether or not the Series would even go on. I gambled a few thousand dollars (in insurance, numbers, and permits) that it would, then gambled many more thousands that it would go on for at least a few years (trailer, new generator). The stress really got to me, with my riding hours down, my back hurting, and generally being tired all the time.

The Series did eventually kick off, the racing happened, and I even got to race my bike. Surprisingly I could race okay after the first couple weeks. My back pain leveled out at "tolerable but be careful" levels, my whole body soreness (from sweeping and chopping and shoveling the course) went away, and the staff, virtually all new, settled into a nice, well oiled unit.

Before I knew it the last week of the Series approached us. Usually the last week means a lot of extra work so I tried to do what I could to get things done earlier. My normal first stop included picking up the release forms from Staples on Friday.

My assistant picking up the release forms.
It took 15 minutes to get going, about 30 minutes less than usual.

I dropped the releases off, along with the numbers and start lists, with Veronica, who would organize them into the pre-reg notebooks that we all know so well.

The big things for me this week, literally in some cases, was to bring the podiums down (big wood boxes), the trophies (big boxes that don't stack well), and the t-shirts (big boxes).

Although I had to make a trip to Bethel on Friday I got it done, dropping off the podiums, trophies, and t-shirts. Junior was a bit wigged out since he was with me for about 4.5 hours of driving that day.

Saturday the 12th was the CCAP Breakaway Benefit ride. I'd registered for it, raised money for it, but I wasn't sure if I could ride. I had this fantasy that I could pull Junior along in a single-kid trailer. When I realized that even 25 miles would be tough with 40-50 pounds of trailer+kid I started thinking I'd just pull Junior around in the parking lot or maybe a surrounding road or two.

Of course in the frenetic weeks I never even got the trailer down from its hook in the garage.

I lowered my goal to making it to the start at 7 AM. The start was only about 45 minutes from the house so 7 AM seemed realistic.

In the morning things just didn't work out. I thought for a brief time that I could make the 8:20 AM ride start time, when the Expo guys would be starting.

Finally I realized that, oh, I really should go to the bank (to withdraw $2000 in additional prize money in addition to the $1500 I normally had), and they open at 9, so I'll head down after that.

Things with Junior take a while so I didn't get to the bank until 10. Since he likes to run laps around the building and such it was a bit tough even to leave in 15 minutes, and a touch after 11 I finally got to the CCAP tent.

Junior loved it, running around for the next FOUR hours.

One of the rider's daughters was out exploring.
Junior was fascinated with her bike.

Trotting with purpose.


I've seen these birds a lot in the last week or three.

I didn't bring any bike or anything, I figured I'd just hang out with whoever was done riding and such. I managed to catch up with a few people I know from the races, saw a couple of my teammates, and we called it a day. Junior started to melt down at about 3 PM so we headed out. I'd drop him off at home - the Missus would be done with work by then - head back to the CCAP spot for the dinner, then drive to my dad's for the evening.

I managed to do 20 minutes on the bike at home, just a short spin up and down the condo complex roads, then dressed ("business casual") and headed back. Although I had my camera I didn't take any shots of the dinner, I just basked in the atmosphere. I'll have to do a separate post on CCAP as it's such a significant thing. Suffice it to say that I didn't head out until after 9:30 PM, and the nav system told me I had about 1:20 of driving ahead of me.

And here I was, still needing to do some registration work before tomorrow.

I got to the house pretty late, ate some (more) food as I really hadn't had much at the CCAP dinner, and decided to call it a night.

6:15 AM trailer selfie.

I kept meaning to take a trailer selfie shot in the dark with all the lights but by the last week of the Series it was too light when I got to the venue. I should have taken the 30-60 seconds to take the picture in the first week of Daylight Savings but I didn't.

6:17 AM, give or take, the beginning of the day.

I'd already coned off the truck on the backstretch and now we had to set up the registration area and the finish line area. I generally helped with the trailer, the rest of the crew helped with the Turn One and finish line areas.

6:30 AM, ready for business.
John is leveling the trailer. Note podiums in the background at the left.

I think that picture was from a bit later than 6:30 AM since we normally have Cat 5s ready and waiting by then. This might have been around 8 AM, after the clinic started and there was a short breather period for everyone in registration.

John R is the guy that's been at Turn One this year. He's helped out in the past but not to this extent. He marshaled the finish line intersection last year, the "crossover" if you will, and I knew that he'd be great at Turn One. He sacrificed his opportunity to race in order to make the Series work, and his efforts made the results incredible.

His backup, and usually stationed at the bottom of the hill, was Jeff C, and between the two of them they'd run the marshaling group. Derek was one of the full time marshals as was Joel. Both did other work too, in setting up and breaking down, but without the consistent marshaling from those two things would have been much less predictable.

Junior race.

Derek C is in the front gesturing, tall guy on the white bike, CCAP kit. He's one of the new guys and has worked out great. I first noticed him last year when he make a huge effort to make sure his teammate won the Junior race. Over the winter I asked his folks if he could work, if they could work, and so it was that the Series gained a whole family, Jeff, Veronica, and Derek. Derek spent each week working the whole day, from setting up to breaking down, marshaling until just before the P123s, and racing P123s. It was really great to have him and his family on board.

Hanging out at the trailer midday. Erin is standing at the window.

The "registration girls", as I call them, worked well once again. All experienced hands at the whole thing, they accepted the extra things I needed them to do in good spirits. This year we wrote checks for everything, I had a CCAP donation bottle out, we sold t-shirts… all sorts of extras. Erin, Delany, Amanda, and Veronica (in order of when they started helping out) worked out great, and I've only heard nice comments about the "registration girls".

One of my goals with the trailer was that it would become a focal point for riders in terms of hanging out and such. With Outdoor Sports Center's tent, CCAP's bake sale, and the results on the end, it sort of ended up like that. The traffic on the road, both bike and car, meant it wasn't an ideal spot for hanging out, but it worked.

Speaking of t-shirts...



Luckily for all of you these t-shirts are still available! $10, let me know if you want one. S, M, L, XL, they run about true to size (Gilden t-shirts). As my brother asked…

"So how'd the t-shirts go?"
"Well, did you make money?"
"No. Lost a lot, actually."
"Yeah. We never made money on t-shirts either."
"I think the money is in making the t-shirts, not selling them. It's like the gold rush - the people who made money sold the picks and axes. The people looking for gold had to buy the tools but that didn't mean they found any gold."

Back to the regularly scheduled program…

Finish line set up.

This year was Mike's first year at the camera (back to the camera, blue shirt). He did an excellent job so that was a huge stress relief for me. I was super nervous the first week, making him do two practice "finish line clips" on the Cat 5s. I even asked him how he unlocked the screen saver on the laptop, since that would really screw things up if he couldn't use the laptop. He pointed at the manual his predecessor Jonathan wrote.

"The password is in the instructions."


Mike and Meg, the officials, did their usual exemplary job. As a promoter I can request specific officials. There are a lot of reasons that I ask for Mike and Meg, but the main one is this: if I'm racing at a race I'd want them officiating the race. That's what it boils down to, that as a racer I'd want them officiating my race.

As a promoter I stress about three things - crashes, course marshals, registration, and the finish line camera. With the full crew in place I didn't have to worry about pretty much anything. You can tell because I took a lot of pictures during this Series, something that I can't do if I'm busy doing "promoter stuff".

My favorite podium shot, pretty much of all time.
Sixcycle guys, hamming it up. They won the Cat 3-4 overall in both team and individual.

We did podium shots on the last week, which you can see here on the Bethel Spring Series site. We also raffled away a roof rack with two bike mounts, courtesy Outdoor Sports Center and Thule. Fittingly one of the women racers who marshaled regularly ended up winning the roof rack.

5:40 PM, the end of the day, all packed up and ready to go.

Unlike other weeks I had to get everything into the trailer and Expedition for the trip home. Joel helped load the trailer properly, although I think I vetoed one of his ideas and that ended up making the trailer a bit less stable. Nonetheless I made the drive home, only a wiggle here and there on the road.

What I unloaded that night at about 9 PM, taking almost an hour to unload.

Normally I don't unload a lot the last day of Bethel but I wanted to empty out the trailer in preparation for the interior finishing. Therefore I tried to empty out the trailer before I drove home from the storage bay. Except for a few totes everything ended up in the garage, and by the next day everything was in the bay.

I worked hard to get the results up that evening. I wanted to do that for the race but when I woke up on the keyboard I realized that it wasn't going to happen. I got the individual GC up but had to do the team and high school stuff the next day.

Well earned cup of coffee in a Sixcycle gift mug.

I have to comment on the Sixcycle guys. I don't know any of them, heck I didn't even realize that one drove a green pickup until the end of the Series. But they've been super nice, super polite, at least off the bike (on the bike they just rip your legs off). One of them called me "sir" which was really great. They brought me a few gifts on the last week, a mug (same mug as Carpe Diem Racing so I know what it cost etc, but the thought is what counts) and a couple t-shirts (I know about them too, sort of). The kicker is that these were almost the only actual gifts someone gave me for the Series. Yes, for Junior, people gave us so much I could barely fit them in the car, but for me, for the race… not so much. So thank you to the Sixcycle guys and good luck in the rest of the season.

So that ends the 2014 Bethel Spring Series p/b Outdoor Sports Center. After a bit of decompression, some work on the trailer, and prep for some of the other events coming up, I'll revisit the whole "where will the Spring Series be in 2015?" question.

For now, though, a nice cup of coffee.

Thanks everyone for coming to and supporting the races. I hope to see you all next year at the WhereverItsGoingToBe Spring Series.

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