On the other side of the road: Sanctioned Race Promotion
The racing community benefits from the goodwill of teams and individuals that take the time to organize, to plan and put on races. From a monthly alleycat to a multi-day stage race, volunteers are behind the scenes working tirelessly to ensure that the process goes smoothly. Have you ever wondered what time and preparation are required to execute an event? I soon learned through my own experiences from co-organizing (along with Megan Kelly) a criterium for the U of M cycling team.
Organizing a race is very similar to wedding planning; you stress out over every little detail and plan… and plan… and plan some more, but in the end, the event will start and take on a life of its own.
I offer a few tips of advice for any brave souls willing to tackle their own event:
• Plan as early as possible, particularly if you need permits. The U of M needed at least 8 weeks of lead time and we received a surprise by having to acquire a permit for Minneapolis as well (to cover the 297 feet of Arlington St due to recent land ownership changes). And don’t forget about USAC.
• Road closures can be tricky, particularly if your route is used by Metro Transit. Make sure the correct people are notified, both for parking and public transportation. Remember the road barriers!
• Is your course a pedestrian nightmare? Ours was surrounded by buildings, endless sidewalks and grass quads which required strategic caution taping to try to warn people not to wander out into the race.
Racers’ comfort & safety
• Bathrooms: Having soap and TP is not underrated. Water and snacks are a plus. • Course conditions: We were hoping for a fresh layer of pavement but we were two weeks too early. Spray chalk can go a long way to inform racers of nasty sections.
• Plan for worst case scenarios: While we don’t want to think about people crashing, it can happen. In an urban setting, there are metal poles and hydrants in abundance; thus, strategic hay bale positioning is important.
• Don’t forget to thank your volunteers, particularly those working registration that usually bear the brunt of the complaints.
• Keep your officials happy: food and coffee goes a long way