Monday, October 24, 2011

Promoting - Silk City Cross Race (Final Week)

So, I just got back from our usually-monthly team meeting, one about the Silk City Cross race.

The fact that we have a meeting is kind of unusual for a cycling team. That we have them more than once or twice a year is even more unusual. And finally, the fact that we have an agenda for each meeting, that's just astounding.

We used to have monthly meetings last year, and I made all but the ones where I was away (SoCal and Vegas). This year we skipped a month or two here and there, but pretty much had a solid schedule for much of the year.

Note: I should point out that I'm just a member of the team. I'm not an officer, not anything more than an involved member.

What's amazing to me is the level of participation from the members of said team. Yes, there's always one or two people who do a lot of the work, but I think that for the upcoming Silk City Cross race, we have a solid 5 people sharing board level responsibilities at the race, meaning each one took such a significant part of the race that the event would be hard pressed to go on without each one's help.

Not just that, there's a good dozen or two who will be working hard just below that. We're not talking just one or two races of work, we're talking helping set up on Saturday, working the day Sunday, and helping break down after everything finishes Sunday afternoon.

Last Wednesday I spent some time talking with Jon, one of the race instigators (meaning he instigated the birth of the event). I'd spent a bit of time just before gathering stuff we needed at the event - generators (that involved a drive down to my dad's), tables, cords, radios, numbers, pins, some other stuff.

He came by the house and we loaded up his car, then talked over and hashed out some stuff on registration and USAC procedures and such. He brought me up to speed regarding some of the unique cross racing things, like staging by rankings and such.

Sunday I gathered some stuff when I finally retrieved the van from Bethel. After a brief scare ("Uh, honey, you have a yellow jacket following you"), we got the van back to the house. I'm happy to report that the FOUR wasp nests are all inert, nary a wasp buzzing around after I parked.

Our van retrieval got delayed a bit when the storage bay's door disintegrated (rotted wood). We waited a few weeks until they replaced the door - I didn't want to empty the bay out on the door-replacement-day and chance getting everything soaked in a poorly timed rainstorm.

I actually emptied the bay last Wednesday, before I met with Jon. After he left, I went and retrieved our new keys, put the red Honda back in, and locked it up. Feeling much more secure (the old door literally had inches-wide gaps across the bottom panel), I felt comfortable putting valuables back in the bay.

Once we had the door in place it took just four days (Sunday) to get the van back home. Fortunately it cooperated, starting immediately, stopping just fine (after rubbing some rust off the brakes), and handling normally. Even heavily laden it drove fine, shocks okay, tires good, various ball joints seemingly happy. At home we unloaded most of its contents and socked them securely away, behind the fresh, new, locking door.

Now it's the final week before the race. Did you ever wonder what "helping just a bit" involves for a helper at a relatively small 'cross race? I can tell you that from last Sunday to race day (this coming Sunday), it's pretty busy.


Today, Monday, I spent some time working on the spreadsheet, the one we'll use for registration. I don't know 'cross racing from Cross pens, but I do have an idea on how to do a registration table. Therefore the powers that be put me in sort-of-charge of registration, at least setting it up. Any mistakes are mine. Any good ideas, you can give the powers-that-be the credit.

Of course we had the meeting. Jon and I hashed out some of the registration details, both in the meeting (I shot down a later pre-reg closing date - so it's my fault it closes Thursday at 9 PM) as well as afterward.

When I got home I brought up the spreadsheet, fixed a few things I saw right away, realized I had to change some other things (but they'd take some time), and emailed the sheet, as it exists now, to Jon. This would let him get an idea of what we'll have on race day - a solid spreadsheet that allows the promoter to spend as little time as possible dealing with paperwork.

At that I downloaded the current pre-reg list, using the ranking sorting, something I never did before. It seemed manageable; I decided to focus on cleaning up the spreadsheet, ultimately putting it aside for Tuesday or even Wednesday evening.


I'll be doing more spreadsheet work, finalizing the changes I need to make for the Silk City race. More categories, more places for results, neaten up some formatting from the original spreadsheet (a Bethel Spring Series one).


Unfortunately I'll be out the whole day. I had to write off Wednesday as far as Silk City Cross goes.


Thursday starts the final push for registration. When registration closes Thursday at 9 PM (per my extremely firm request), I'll start downloading data, testing with "real data" to make sure things will be okay. As I just mentioned before I tested earlier tonight and it was fine, but when it's for real, well, it's for real.

In the software world they say that the final test is User Testing - it's when it's actually released as a final product. No amount of testing will stress software as much as the actual users, and no amount of testing will stress the various formulas in the spreadsheet as much as a slew of real data.


I've set aside this day for emergency spreadsheet work and potentially packing up the car for Sunday.


Unfortunately I'm booked solid on this day, literally from 8 AM to midnight-ish. I won't be doing a single Silk City Cross related thing all day. There's a slight chance I'll pack the car Saturday after work, if I haven't already done it Friday.


The day. I have to be at the race at 7:30 AM.

It'll be a busy week for sure, but one that should be really productive. I don't know when I'll post next, but I hope that I see you at the race.

Linky, one final time.

Silk City Cross race.

Be there!

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