Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Promoting - Sweep Day 2010

Okay, so the race took a bit more out of me than I thought. I had a bunch of posts "framed", with ideas, themes, "needs" (like I needed pictures of sweep for this one), stuff like that.

And I got... two of them in. The results, which, if you look at the post, isn't very much. And the post-race report, another not-too-detailed thing. I started remembering all these different things after I put up the post, like riding exactly the same gear up the hill as a friendly rival at about 2 to go. Or... okay, I forgot what other things I forgot and then remembered because now I forgot them.

So, anyway, the first Bethel race in 2010 was a rousing success. A huge, huge part of it is the very cool Navone Studios, but I'll cover them in a separate post. Another huge part was the beautiful weather, easily seen in some pictures snapped by, who else, Navone Studios..

But the racing would have been unpleasant at best if we had to race on the sand that was there just a few days earlier.

Although we had the hand of a more powerful entity literally brush aside much of the sand, we still had some work to do to touch up the place.

Seriously, the course had been swept so well that we had nary a bit of sand to pick up. So, in order to proactively catch some future "sand on the course" days, I had the folks who showed up for sweep do two things.

(I described it to a few people as making everyone do "busy work", but that's not fair. I wanted to have people feel good about the work they did. For example, in addition to sweep, I also had folks help unload the van and set up registration. We never had this luxury of setting up registration the day before, so this was new to me. The ever enthusiastic "K" girls helped with that. They even checked over the trophies, organizing them and all the medals. Much better than me unwrapping them at the end of the Series and seeing "Girl's Overall" instead of "Women's Overall" and then trying to explain to some very strong racers why their trophy says "Girl" on it. To be honest they thought it was funny, but still, it was a huge typo.)

Anyway, back to the tasks...

One, do a lap around the course with blowers. This would get all the dried sand off the road. Each blower would have accompanying sweepers, kind of like a curler stone with the furiously scrubbing brush folks in front of the stone. A blower on the road works best when someone (or more than one someone) runs a broom over the sand on the road. The broom loosens, the blower blows.

Two, clear the sand off of the corner lot at the first turn. It's a place where the land owner has acted extremely patiently with the races over the years, enduring a lot of extremely impolite bike racers. You know, like those that pee on the side of your building.

As a thanks to him, I had the crew sweep sand off the lawn, onto the road (!), then off down the hill.

Finally, someone suggested picking up sand from the driveways since, at the first hint of rain, it would just drain into the road.

So, the third thing we did was to pick up all the stuff in the driveways, stuff that could wash out into the pristine road.

I totally forgot to take pictures. Luckily some others were not so forgetful. Thanks to my teammate Steven Yau, Sweep Day 2010 got immortalized.

Happy crew. And they didn't even know about the pizza coming up.
(Photo courtesy Steven Yau)

A bunch of hoodlums actually, or that's what they looked like. All teammates. Boisterous, carefully reckless, having fun. Talk about team building experiences. We didn't have a Navy SEAL run us through our paces, nor did we walk blindfolded in the snow, not even mountain bike through the snow.

Nope, we just did some course sweeping.

In fact, Expo Wheelmen had a bunch of folks down for the sweep. Seeing as the club is based up by Manchester (we're sponsored by Manchester Cycle and have our meetings in Manchester), it's a good 3+ hour round trip for most of these guys. I felt bad that they made the trip, but it was fun that they did.

Clearing the edges of a driveway.
(Photo courtesy Steven Yau)

The first stretch, getting detailed.
(Photo courtesy Steven Yau)

Wait, you say, I read pizza up there, by that first picture.

Yes, you did.

I've been discrete with the whole other part of Navone Studios, but it's not just a studio. It's a licensed coffee seller for now, and eventually will become a cafe-like place. Frank has a background in the food business and he wants to share that passion with everyone by cooking and selling various foods.

See, in our first meeting last fall, when I first sat down with him (or, more accurately, we walked around his studio), he made pasta.

I mean, he didn't just throw some Barilla into a pot, he made pasta.

He kneaded the dough, rolling it, squishing it, then flattening it out. He cranked it through a Play-Doh like machine. And he carefully wrapped up the resulting pasta (since I had to go he didn't have time to cook it).

And it was good.

On Sweep Day he promised me maybe 30 personal pizzas, maybe five or six inch pies. I got a bit worried when we had a good 30 people show up for sweep.

It was okay though. I held off on pizza, figured I could buy food elsewhere; I wanted the sweepers to get the pizza first. Well, if he got 25 on a big tray, I think he served up 125 pizzas that day, maybe 150.

And believe me, we all scarfed it down.

Afterwards the Expo boys got their bikes together and we set out to do a few laps around the pristine course. I got my first ride on my new wheels (and freshly glued tires), scampered up the hill a few times, then sat up as everyone's eagerness got the better of them.

A short time later we did a couple leadouts, talked about some teamwork for the next day. Ultimately, although the plan didn't work out, we all went in with a goal, and that was probably the most important part.

Ultimately it was a good day. After most everyone left I started entering the names into BikeReg, so I could print out pre-filled-in releases and such for Sunday.

And I noticed something interesting.

Folks who helped sweep would get credit for 3 weeks of racing, more if the day ended up horrible. If we hadn't had some divine intervention on the sand, it would have been a horrible day.

Instead it was really an easy day.

Since I didn't know everyone who showed up, I had them put their name, license number, and what race they wanted to do on what week on a sheet.

Most people put down their races and put down what they wanted to do.

But what got me were the few folks who put down just one or two races.

They turned down free races.

I don't know if they're simply not around, or if they're racing the collegiate circuit, whatever.

But I'd like to think that they were spreading the love of cycling around.

And, for them, they asked for just what they felt they deserved. They came, they helped, and they asked for just what they figured was fair.

If only everything else worked that way.

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