Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Promoting - Revisiting The Trailer

Trailer. It looks big until it's next to an 18 wheeler.
I think I could drive my whole rig onto an 18 wheeler trailer.

This isn't a revisiting like "Should I have bought the trailer?" kind of revisiting. It was actually me visiting the trailer. I don't see or step into it that often and this year I think I was there three, maybe four times. All but one time was having to deal with a tire that went flat (ends up a bad valve, but once a tire is flat it's hard to troubleshoot a tiny leak off the side of a bad valve).

The last time I went there was to pick up one of the home fans that I'd moved over to the trailer for air circulation. We actually used the fans for cold weather, if I recall correctly, because the heaters we used didn't really distribute the heat well. And of course we used them for warm weather, for a little bit of air movement in the shade and shelter of the interior of the trailer.

I don't visit the trailer much because, honestly, I've felt sort of burnt out on the promoting gig. It's at best a break even thing, usually a money loser, so it's not really satisfying in that respect. Of course on the other hand promoting races is sort of my identity in the local cycling world, and in that respect promoting has given me back a lot of intangibles.

I bought the trailer a couple years back with the idea that I'd be promoting Bethel races for forever. Of course that's the year when the trampoline place opened, literally hundreds of cars drove around the course during race day, and the venue became essentially unusable for bike races.

Then over the winter of 2015-2016 the bit with my dad came up so I couldn't commit to promoting races at all, even working them. Nowadays I have a very small window of time available if the Missus covers for me, but otherwise it's basically impossible for me to be away from the house for more than an hour or three at a time, including driving time. That makes promoting a day of racing pretty much impossible. Therefore 2016 became the first year in over 20 years that I didn't promote a race.

It meant that I no longer needed to visit the trailer, the pitiful sight of the flat tire notwithstanding. Since I park it at a local business (one added benefit: security cameras) the flat tire looked kind of bad so I felt some internal pressure to fix it.

I was there at the trailer with Junior so he was pretty excited about the visit. For him visiting the trailer is a special event. He gets to run around inside this room-on-wheels he doesn't get to explore often, he gets to jump out of the door, and there's all sorts of neat things he discovers on each visit.

For this visit it was safety pins. Picking up stray safety pins kept him plenty busy while I unstrapped the stuff inside the trailer in order to extract the fan.

The whole process of unlatching the tie down straps, of moving around the inside of the trailer, it brought me back that promoting feeling, like I was getting ready to work a race. At that point I realized something.

I missed it.

I felt like I belonged in that trailer. It's where I was meant to be, if that makes any sense.

Others have joked about the trailer.

"If you get a bathroom installed you could live there."
"You know, if something happened at home you could live in here."

Stuff like that.

The reality is that the trailer is actually a nice spot to hang out, at least once I did some work to the inside. It's relatively warm in the winter, it's usually pretty cool in the summer, it's about as big as one of those tiny houses or maybe a small RV (it is about 20'x8' inside so about 160 SF).

Inside of the trailer when I finished the floor and walls.

It's a good set up, in terms of infrastructure for a race. It has a generator set up, regular plugs, lots of built in interior lights, the two big windows for registration (and clear windows with teller-like-openings for cold weather), a space to store stuff, tables, chairs, a spot for finish line tape, One Day and Annual Forms, two sets of drawers for numbers and such, so on and so forth.

Trailer at the 2015 Silk City Cross Race.
It's a bit messier here.

I do wish I'd had a vent installed in the roof, or even an AC unit mount, something to put a closeable hole in the roof. This would have given me an opening to either run out a video cable (vent) or do a direct mount in a turret-like structure for the finish line camera (AC mount). With a semi-permanently mounted camera I'd realistically put one of the two monitors on the wall - we could do photo finish reviews inside the trailer without any problems, even in inclement weather. At this point our finish line camera system is a camera on a tripod, which works but isn't wind proof nor water proof.

At any rate I looked around the trailer while I wrestled with the straps and such. It was cool inside, even though it was pretty hot outside. I took the opportunity to clean up a bit, to put the newly fixed tire/wheel unit onto the spare tire mount. I looked through some bins to see if there was anything I should keep at home, electronics and such. I think I grabbed one of the 2014 purple t-shirts.

(A tip: don't get more t-shirts than you think you need, and in fact divide what you think you'll need by half and get that many t-shirts max.)

The trailer reminded me it isn't all fun and games. The big metal plate that bridges the gap between the trailer floor and the ramp fell only my leg, scraping the skin off a solid part of my calf. If it was road rash I'd have needed one of those 4"x4" pieces of Tegaderm to cover it.

Metal plate - that black strip - doesn't look heavy but it really is.
About 8' wide, about 15-18" long, and definitely thick enough to support a car.

I grunted in pain and made some kind of face. Junior tuned into that and asked me if I was hurt. I told him I was okay but that I hurt myself on the "black metal piece".

I loaded the fan into the car while Junior played in the trailer, carefully staying toward the front of the trailer, away from that "black metal piece".

I walked around the trailer as I usually do when I leave it. Tires were all good, the spare looked fine. The rest of it looked okay, no wasps flying around.

Junior did a couple final flying leaps out of the trailer before I closed the door and locked up. He wanted to play in the sand in the parking lot so I watched while he moved sand from here to there and back again.

Junior playing in the parking lot.

It was getting time to go. We were about 8 or so minutes from the house but we'd burned a lot of time at the trailer. I wanted to get back to relieve the Missus of her watch-over-Pops duties.

As we pulled out of the lot Junior piped up.

"Can you play Uncle Gene's song? The one with the drums?"

I thumbed the control on the steering wheel.

I found URT's "I Erase"
"That one?"
"No, the one with the drums."

URT "Not Just One"
"This one?"

I clicked again.

URT "Sea Monster"

URT "Deepest Knife"
"Yes! This is the one!"

URT "Deepest Knife"

We drove home in the warm sun. I thought about the trailer and realized there was something I had forgotten to do. I got home and pulled up an email. It was from the guys that promote the Silk City Cross race, my teammates. They'd asked me if I could help with registration this year. They knew about my situation at home, they'd been super supportive about the Spring Series (which I eventually had to cancel), but it never hurts to ask, right?

I clicked on Reply All.

I told them I'd be able to help out.

I'll be there.