Saturday, December 10, 2011

Promoting - Salvage Cross 2011

(I should point out that I'm not the promoter of Salvage Cross, I just helped with the registration bit of it. But since I only helped with the promoting part, I can't call this a "racing" or "training" post.)

I had quite the eventful week leading up to the first Expo Cross race, Salvage Cross 2011. First off, by Monday, I was getting sick, spending a lot of time at work allowing others to get things first. Tuesday I got flattened by said sickness, not remembering much except first waking up at 11 AM. Wednesday I had to make it to a pretty-much-non-changeable appointment, forcing me to drive about 4 hours, napping there before heading back.

I'd planned on updating the spreadsheet for the race Wednesday, but being sick and having to drive so much, I didn't do anything at all.

Thursday, the day registration closed, I was still delirious with fatigue, aches, but, according to the Missus, a breaking fever (I felt cold the whole day in a hoodie, sweats, and with the pellet stove cranked).

I managed to get some stuff done for the race, staying up long enough to download and updated the spreadsheet. I thanked my lucky stars that there were only four races, and I basically passed out as soon as I emailed it to Jon, the Salvage Cross promoter.

Friday, because I was asking for Saturday off, I felt I had to get to work. I loaded up on Dayquil and headed in, bundled up like it was freezing out.

Halfway through the day the Missus showed up. She was sick and going home.

Oops. My bad.

I managed to make it through the day and went to bed prepared for a not-so-early wake up call. As walking wounded (i.e. sick) and just there for registration, I didn't have to be onsite until 9 AM.

I threw some stuff in the car in preparation for the race, pens, pins, tape, binders, cash drawer, printer, some stuff that I wasn't sure if I needed but it'd be good to have. Normally the Missus would be coming with me but she was getting into the cold I still had so she stayed in bed.

I got in touch with SOC, my fellow registration person; he told me he'd be a bit late, 9:15 AM. I told him I'd get there just before - my GPS was telling me 9:05, and it's pretty accurate.

Saturday morning meant little traffic so I made good time, getting to my GPS point by 9:02.

Problem was that the cross road didn't show up on the car's nav system. I pulled over, checked the DroidX (normally acting as a dashcam), and saw I was a minute or so away from the course. I turned into the parking lot, someone flying up the road behind me.


We parked in the "promoters'" area. SOC and I greeted each other and I laughed.

"When I told you I'd be there just before you, I didn't mean 10 feet in front of you, I meant 10 minutes. You must have made good time."

Well, that and without GPS stuff he didn't have quite the same pinpoint ETA either.

We brought everything in the car to the registration table, including, I have to admit, the little red RC truck with the helmet cam and NiteRider light on it. I figured I could take a few 4" off the ground type of shots with it.

Jon had figured I'd just bring everything I needed, so he hadn't brought anything other than power and tables. I thanked my instincts in bringing everything, and in short order we had things set up and running.

A young'un and his new friend promptly borrowed the RC truck and ran it around for pretty much 2 or 3 hours. I'm curious what the cam captured as the young'un was savvy enough to turn it on and off.

It was nice to have something for them to do (he didn't have a bike), and it was nice to see kids who had both respect for the people and things around them but still managed to have fun and explore and experiment.

Reminded me of myself when I was a kid.

Of course I spent most of the time doing registration, and I started remembering a lot of things that I'd forgotten I forgot.

I forgot how much laser printers steam in cold weather, and in the 30-odd degree weather the printer steamed a lot.

I also forgot what it's like to type when my fingers were numb with cold. It's been only two years with Navone Studios (now also a bakery), and it's been a few years since I had to really man registration at Bethel. How easy it is to forget pain.

I also haven't done the minute-to-minute registration stuff in a while, so I was relearning that too. It's something I think about when people compliment the Bethel Spring Series. I appreciate it, yes, and I am very proud of the Series, yes, but I think that we have a slightly unfair advantage - we get to practice 6 times a year. Most promoters only get one or two days of practice a year, and by the time they've figured things out, it's been a year and they forgot what they figured out.

By holding 6 (and 7 for many years) races a year, we get to practice the registration/day-of-race bit a bit more than others, and we have motivation to streamline our process. Our goal is to have paperwork essentially done by the time the last race starts (except for the last race's placings).

I have to say that we basically succeeded. By the time the Open Men's race started, we were starting to gather all the packets for the officials (fee schedule, start lists, results, one days, release forms, whatever).

At about this time I started finding detail type errors in my Thursday night edited-while-groggy-on-Dayquil-or-Nyquil spreadsheet, little things. One Day license totals didn't match (spreadsheet cell error). USAC results didn't populate properly (ditto). The places didn't auto-populate properly (ditto).

SOC and I started fumbling a bit until a knight in shining armor showed up.

The Missus.

Okay, she was in a black jacket, coughing a bit, but she saved the day. Having run registration for a few years (that's why I was so rusty with it), she knew immediately what we needed to get done. Zip, zap, and bang we were all set, literally within a few minutes of her arrival.

So cool.

I told SOC that most officials hate the bit after the race, where they count One Day forms, figure out how many racers raced, this fee, that fee, exclusions, exceptions, results, start lists, all that. It could take an hour or two just for the paperwork; I know because it used to be like that at Bethel.

Now, with the spreadsheets originally created by Gene P (and slowly honed by me), we were done before the official even walked over to the tent.

I took extreme liberties in the breakdown part of the day, only packing away the registration stuff (and literally driving my car into the heated tent to save walking out in the cold).

Then I took pictures.

I skipped the cross-required beer, partook in the post-race-volunteer-raffle (won some socks!), and set off with the Missus for some well deserved rest.

I have to admit that cross doesn't really do it for me. I admired Jon's bike, with its low pressure bouncy tires, and I think it'd be fun to carve a few corners, but the actual races looked like death marches, like a hill climb laid flat.

But working registration, that was fine. I contributed in the area of my expertise, I could help carry some of the stress that Jon had to carry as a promoter, and I had the equipment to do it.

Next year I hope that we can hold it again, maybe a bit earlier (the original date was Oct 30th, but we got stormed out).

Whenever we do it though, I want to help out again.

Hopefully I won't be sick.

(I have to offload pictures off the cam and the DroidX so I'll post those later.)


Anonymous said...

Other officials don't know how fast and efficient the Bethel series is run until they get a chance work it, or have you run the registration process. I have recommended you to many other promoters hoping they will call you so you can handle registration. The system you have is one of the fastest out there. The other Bethel official and I always comment on how other promoters should call you to run registration. My paperwork post race only takes about an hr to do including occurence reports.
Now is there a way to make it 70 degrees and no wind?

Aki said...

I hope that the paperwork is faster this year. For me the after-race USAC csv file has been a pain. I hope to have it integrated and ready to send as soon as the each day's last race is finished (Salvage Cross 2011 revealed errors in my ways). This way the promoter (me) has no paperwork left to do once the promoter leaves the course.

You know, we used to end Bethel at the end of April, and people got sunburnt toes from standing around in 75 degree weather all day. It used to be a Race To The Sun. Now... it's just cold the whole time, sometimes less cold.