Thursday, March 04, 2010

Bethel Spring Series - The Big Prep Day

So I was thinking of posting a picture of all the trophies today. I even scheduled posting such a post, saved a draft with the title, made notes in it. You know like, "Post pictures of trophies here".

But the trophies still sit in the car, probably until they get moved into the van, tomorrow evening.

So no trophy pictures, not until they're at Bethel.

I suppose I could haul them out, but they're heavy and I'm tired. This was a huge push day before the first race. And, after I finally got up, I started remembering things I should have remembered before.

Like, um, radios.

Right. Radios for the marshals. The original Motorolas we used each had a non-replaceable rechargeable battery. I think we had eight of them and they're all approaching the end of their usable life. We're down to two now.

We also have radios powered by four AAA batteries. If they're rechargeable batteries the radios have recharging plugs. The rechargeable batteries included with the radios started to fizzle out too, so I'm slowly replacing them with Duracell rechargeables. Expensive, yes, but they work.

The problem is I need to buy at least 16 more Duracell rechargeable AAA batteries. I learned that four radios have fizzled batteries.

We use a TiVO for our finish line camera hard drive. We have a fancy camcorder that "sees" the action, but we record it onto the TiVO. But TiVOs need to communicate with the mothership, else they don't work.

I spent a long time trying to connect the TiVO to the mothership. I finally traced the problem down to a bad telephone wire. The solution sounds simple but the process getting there was not.

TiVO said hi to the mothership. Mothership said hi back. TiVO was happy.

Then I left for Bethel and points surrounding it.

After an hour plus of driving (and my temporary exhaust patch noticeably weakening), I got to Crown Trophy in Brookfield. They've supplied the trophies for the Series for I don't know how many years. Ten? Fifteen? I don't know. I think all but one year, so 18 or 19 years?

Anyway, it's a lot.

In my haze I wrote the check out for the wrong amount (too much), they had me correct it, and I walked away with $500+ worth of trophies. They're really heavy.

Then I went to Bethel Cycle. The owner Greg has always a supporter of the race. I even have pictures of him before he owned the shop, pow-wowing with his then team. I picked up some samurai swords, tubular glue, and a bag of their Race Day coffee (can you guess what will be brewing this morning?).

Okay, they weren't samurai swords, but they might as well be. Super cool equipment used to demolish opponents' legs.

Heh. Well, at least they encourage you to try. I'll see how things work out on Sunday.

One disconcerting thing. These, um, samurai swords, when clunking together, sound exactly like trophies clunking together. Since I had a lot of trophies in the back of the car, and they regularly clunked together, I kept thinking the significantly more expensive swords were clunking.

I stopped jumping every time the trophies clunked after about 15 minutes. But my lip started twitching non-stop. Stressful. Tip: bring padding when picking up swords.

Next on my list, the course, of course. I got there, drove around it, looked at the sand, thought, "Ah, not so bad. Not really."

So I checked it off. I went to Navone Studios, where we'll have registration. Reviewed the space, thought about the layout, where we'll store things, stuff like that.

I really want to bring my bike in there and take pictures of it because it's just sooooo cool in there.


Anyway, Frank (he of Navone) and I talked a bit, but I had to make the rounds with the tenants, notifying them of the Series.

So I became that dreaded door-to-door bell ringer. Luckily I didn't wear a button up blue or white shirt with black slacks. Nor did I carry around a clipboard. I just carried a bunch of printed paper, in my Expo Wheelmen jacket, flannel lined pants, DeWalt work boots.

In other words I fit right in. Well, except the jacket.

No one kicked me out, no one cussed at me. They laughed, some of them. "Oh, you're the ones we always complain about with the sand on the lawn."

Um, ahem, yep, that's me.

One had a cat (it's a house). I have to remember to bring treats next year. Another had a cute little dog walking around, but it looked very happy with a bone in its mouth, so figure no treats necessary.

I gave them all letters (the tenants, not the animals), a little map of course with arrows for direction of travel, and pointed out my name and phone number at the bottom. A few of the folks looked at that and then at me.

"You're a brave soul, putting that there."

I thought about it for a second.

"I may be. But I am proud of what we do, and I stand 100% behind what I do. I'm responsible for everything that happens with the race so I'll answer to any complaint. If you have any complaints or (and I did the quotes thing with the fingers) 'suggestions', let me know."

(Which reminds me of Sarah out west, who had just learned about the quotes thing, except she didn't understand that you couldn't use them for just anything. Like, "Can I have some (quotes with fingers) 'oatmeal' for breakfast?" And then she'd wonder why the adults are looking at each other with big grins on their faces.)

I spoke with Brian at Gymnastics Revolution. Great guy. He pointed me to another space in the huge building where there's a training center. For physical fitness kind of stuff. Good guys there too.

I returned to Frank's to report what had happened. We needed to finalize some stuff, and he wanted me to meet his new neighbor, a guy that runs a volleyball coaching place (and they have tourneys on Sundays, which would kind of affect traffic flow during races).

And, of course, Frank wanted to get my favorites of the clips I have on YouTube. For the record I like the 2005 Bethel the most. I like the Summer Street Sprints, the Prospect race, Connecticut Coast Crit, and the 2009 Nutmeg State Games. I like them all but I wish I named them so I could tell them apart, like "Sick, died in the sprint", "forgot to sprint", and "screwed up sprint".

It doesn't help that I have like four versions of each one, all slightly different from what I uploaded, so when I watch my own videos off the hard drive, they're sometimes different than what I uploaded to YouTube.


Finally I bade farewell to Frank and at about 6 PM, I talked to the volleyball guy. He's cool too.

Then, because it'd been over six or seven hours since I'd eaten, I went to the Sycamore Diner (warning - site will full-size your browser and there's some music or something) to have a couple burgers (Dagwoods) and my first order of fries (small) since October 11th.

Not that I'm counting.

(And if I'm mistaken it's because I'm in denial. But I seriously don't remember ordering fries since before I started my diet.)

A nice meal later, with coffee, and I felt a bit pepped up. I drove back to the course.

Then, with darkness all around, I pulled out the trusty Echo Power Attachment System (PAS) head and snicked on the Power Broom attachment.

I honestly think I was born to be part-landscaper. Not all-landscaper. Just part. Nothing with bugs or dead animals. And not all the time. Maybe it's just a guy thing. Power equipment, vroom! vroom!, gears and such, modular tools, man-made machines struggling against the forces of nature.

What isn't there to love?

Fear my Echo PAS 265 plus Power Broom Pro Sweep Model 99944200550 rotary bristle attachment! Yeah!

Note: That picture is the curb just after the start finish line, no sweeping yet. Sand doesn't look too bad, right?

I have to say that the PAS is kind of like the MP5 (a gun) of sweeping. Not necessarily the most powerful, but it's a pretty frickin' effective piece of equipment. Like the MP5 the PAS is modular.

And I went to work with said submachine gun. A detail note - submachine guns shoot pistol rounds - machine guns shoot rifle rounds.

Well, I had a submachine gune of a broom. I needed more of a machine gun. Or bazooka. Or a tank.

That "Oh, it's not really sandy" sand was absolutely glued to the pavement. I mean glued. Pass after pass with the broom and it was like trying to grind down a tree stump with some 1500 grit super-fine sandpaper.

This stuff was deep, it was tenacious, and it got everywhere.

I got the section between the finish line and the first turn "edged", the sand moved away from the curb.

The hill seemed fine, something we can do Saturday, so I moved to the curve at the bottom of the hill. Man oh man it was the same stuff down there. Sticky, tenacious, glue-like.

An hour later I'd gotten to the curb on most of the curve. Sand everywhere. I even power-broomed the lawn into the road, then pushed stuff into the road more.

You can see how deep that sand gets. At least my sprint line is clear. I don't know where everyone else will be sprinting though....

I wanted to hit Turn Two, by Trowbridge, but I was out of energy, out of time, and almost out of gas.

Me, outta gas. What? I can't hear you.

I packed up (the long broom conveniently breaks down to fit a briefcase... or rather the mini-hatch of the Honda) and drove off.

Then stopped.

I couldn't see.

And the missus needed a call.

So, sitting at a stop sign a couple hundred yards from Turn One, I called the missus and let her know I was on the way back.

Then, because I didn't want to scratch my lenses, I held my glasses over the windshield squirters and squirted them with the winter-temp compatible Rain-X windshield washer fluid in the Honda. It took several squirts before the sand was gone, a few of said squirts missing everything except my face.

Hint: close eyes when using this method to clean glasses.

But my glasses got clean in the end.

Hopefully in the next couple days the sand dries up a bit. Saturday, Sweep Day, I'm hoping should be a bit easier.

And Sunday? I want Sunday to be a great race day.

Because, as I was telling the tenants, I stand behind the races 100%. I'm proud of these races.

So you better have a great day, you hear?

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

The amount of love and effort that you put into making Bethel happen is just staggering. Kudos.