Sunday, May 02, 2010

It's been said before...but

Dallas is awesome.

nuff said.

The race was wet and cold and super fun. I was up with the front group until the rock garden. um...wet rocks suck. Apparently so do I when i try to ride over them. Moments earlier i witnessed Josh G. find himself awkwardly embracing the earth. At this point I realized that today was for when I approached the rock garden with caution, I quickly found that this technique did not work well. On the bike, off the bike, on the bike, off the bike...I sucked.

Post rock garden, things did improve, that is, until a brake pad fell off the rear of my bike. This slowed some of the downhill single track sections for me. The two laps of front brakes alone felt slow. they were.

I ran into Dallas on my second lap. His new niner is super special. We rode and chatted for a bit in the twisty stuff. He told jokes of me moving up to expert with him. That guy is funny. He did (in his own Dallas way) motivate me to press on. So I did. Not catching anyone. Not getting caught. biking is hard...and super fun.

oh yah, KK beat me again. I had 6th and he 4th. nice one.


penner said...

great fun indeed!
there is essentially no place to go for me than up. Field of 20 sport riders....finished 16th. spent time riding with the lone altona alley cat who showed, the rock garden dealt me a few blows and Bruce forged forward.

as per usual near calamaty almost happened. we almost lost G's bike off the roof rack on the way home/

Coach Dave said...

Well done!

KK said...

I didn't have a good feeling about your bikes on that roof rack. Things just didn't seem right.

KK said...

And yes...Dallas is awesome.

So I awesome I need his email address. If you have it, please shoot it over. You can find my address in my profile.

halloewen said...

Glad all had a good time, it was fun putting on the race and seeing you all have a good time attending.

I wanted to wait until the race was done before I commented on the cost of putting on a race, and I didn't want these comments to be buried in older post - I apologize if this a little off topic

We don't make a ton of money on our races, some, but not a ton - more on that later. There are a lot of costs with putting on a good race: medics, good food, a well marked course (tape and signs are not cheap), maintaining trails, paying for officials (without them there are no quality events happening). To put on the race last weekend required 100's of man-hours of works - I went up to Grand Beach 5 times prior to the race to scout the course (we found new trails as a result of this - which everyone seemed to enjoy), work on trials and to mark the course. 5 of us spent 4 hours on Saturday putting up signs and tape to get the course ready - signs and tape we need to purchase.

Why the high cost of same day registration - if you want to know what the life of a stress bag is try and figure out how much food and prizes you need to supply for a race without knowing how many racers are going to show up at your race. Are we going to have 60 riders showing up or 100? These numbers matter because you need to know how many volunteers, commissaires, and medics you need to cover the race on top of they amount of food to supply and prizes you want to hand out. If you leave registration to the last minute you may find that you do not have the people you need to manage your race - that makes for a crappier product, something we all hate and our club is trying to get away from. So yes, the $40 may seem punitive, it suppose to be - organizing a race is stressful enough without knowing how many racers are showing up for your event. The $40 same day registration fee was decided by our club.

Continued in next post...

halloewen said...

Also, we are moving to online registration. This is going to make it easier and simpler for you to register - but the organizer still needs to know well in advance how many people they need to plan for when putting on a race. If you want to wait until the day of the race to decide to race then be prepared to pay for that privilege, there are plenty of places where you are not even allowed to to do same day registration.

Regarding the comment of attracting new racers. We are doing that with the citizen license. A citizen license costs $40 and allows you to experience a race for free (depending on the organizer), Last year we sold 40 citizen licenses and if at least half of them enjoyed that experience they will come back and pay the regular fees. This year we are already a head of last year's pace with citizen licenses sold.

You also attract new people if you can offer people a well organized professional race of good quality and we know that takes cash. You, myself and a lot of others would gladly get our racing jones by doing throw-down races, but we all know each other and that works, but what about the average person who is new to the scene, how do they find out about races (boy that's a lot of commas). People are attracted to well organized quality events; allowing for gong show low quality events is not going to bring anyone new to the sport - it take money to that, plain and simple.

There are cheaper ways to race (the Wednesday Night Series and Tuesday Night Crits). You get what you pay for there a bare bones race. The weekend races are suppose to be a step up and it costs more to put those on - $25 is not that much, and if you think that is too much sign up for the series for $100 - then it only costs you $20 a race.

There are many reasons why racers drop out the scene in Manitoba; family obligations, etc. One reason that I have heard is that people are tired of the same old race courses. We'll, it takes time and money to develop new venues and to upgrade old ones, money made from races facilitates that proces, it allows clubs to buy equipment to develop trails etc. Some do develop trails on their own dime, they dig deep into their own pockets to do so - you think they wouldn't mind some extra cash to help them develop better trails for us to ride and race on, keeping the race and ride scene fresh and exciting.

Continuation of post...

The money that Olympia makes on races gets poured back into race scene in Manitoba through putting on quality events and building trails. Some of it goes to supporting club activities but this is done to thank our club members for all of the time and effort they put in running those races and building those trails.

The Dark Lord said...

Good explanation Hal. If we take those comments at face value, the solution seems rather simple: race day registrants pay the same as pre-registered ones, but don't get any of the extras that stress you out. No sandwiches, no drinks, no prizes. Problem solved.

If we play our cards right, we could keep this conversation going well into the winter.

Coach Dave said...

Well said Hal. Breaking people into haves’ and have-nots’ on race day might be hard to police. Given that volunteers are already running around doing 18-million things at once, this might just be another headache... then again it might workout well. These ideas are something to consider anyway. However, I think we need to give what we are doing a chance.

The race was a pip. Thanks Oly.

Talking is good, discussing is better, and taking action is always best.

The Dark Lord said...

The have nots will be the ones with the big X marked on their foreheads in sharpie. They won't even get to chat with the haves before or after the race.

PaddyH said...

well put Hal!

halloewen said...

I thought about the have/have not solution as well and Dave is right it would be a huge headache - but it might be easier with the large X on the forehead. We could do it in permanent marker for those that habitually register late.

Brad the Impaler said...

Hal is awesome.

Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty good Hal but I'm with the Doc on this one.
If the weather is even slightly crappy the organizers have no idea who will show. If you race out of the 1.5 hour Winnipeg barrier you have no idea who will show. If you have provincials out of that zone even with medals you don't even know who will show. Scheduled near a long weekend or by another sport (tri, running , xc8) you have no idea who is going to show.
What you do know in Manitoba is that there will never be enough people to be overwhelmed.

The race at Grand Beach this weekend was the best race I have ever been to at that venue. The rain, course and people made it a great day. Having people on the course was absolutely priceless. thanks for all the effort guys and gals.

Dallas " Cut Sundays field by 30% and that's the Brandon rider numbers." Sigurdur

halloewen said...

There is no perfect system.

If someone has paid their money in advance they will most likely show - even if the weather is crappier. If they decide it is too crappy they won't show, that is their decision. The organizer does not make or loose money because of that decision and that is the important thing. If the race has to be postponed then they will have an opportunity to race at another date, if the racer can not make that date I don't know an organizer who would refuse them a complete refund. One person's 'It's too miserable, I'm begging out' is another person's 'bring on the challenge.'

It is important that the organizer does not loose money on a race if they do there will not be anyone left to organize races. The only one who looses is the person who prepaid, but that was their decision.

We all go in together in putting on the race, the organizer and the participants. The organizer needs your commitment and the racer needs the organizer's commitment in putting on a quality event. The one flaw that exists with the same day costs but no extras is their is not the same commitment from the racer as was put in by the organizer, the organizer has to know that people are committed to attending their race and they bloody well need to put on a good event to give them their value. Having people not to commit to a race is too risky.

Our last two races went up against two other events (the police 1/2 marathon and eco challenge)and we did well - if we keep doing well we'll pull people to our event from theirs because we ours is cheaper than theirs. The Brandon organizer's put on a great race and what we did for Grand Beach we learned from their race last year, they'll have good numbers also.

What I do know about in Manitoba is that we don't promote ourselves as much. Cyclocross has proven that a little promotion goes a long way - but we backed up that promotion with quality cyclocross events, the same we are trying to do in mountian bike.

Anonymous said...

That's fair and the races have been pretty freaking awesome. I remember last year finishing last at the Morden back 40 ( thanks to half the feild dropping out ) and there was still pizza left for us. Now that is a classy touch. Not having the last finishers feel left out was pretty amazing I thought.

All in all I'm sure everything will work out as it always does . I guess there is just a few to many ways to skin a cat.

I will say though two more things.

1- Sherry ran the half ( no big surprise there) and raced 1500 people. It cost her $60 dollars and she got fed a shirt, a pair of socks and a medal. late entry goes up to $105 (57% and they need to make shirts, socks and medals, GB went up 62% and there was no shirts , socks, medals)
2- Boston started off free and look where that ended up. Now you pay $150 as a non U.S citizen $110 for Americans , race 20,000+, get a shirt , medal, fed, booze and shut countless streets down in a MAJOR city and literally have thousands of volunteers and medical staff. And it all started free.

Bill and kk, I'm willing to give you as many weekends as it takes to put on the 24. I really thought Paddy did a stellar job and the numbers were good as far as solo goes. So the bar has already been set pretty high.

Dallas " Out of towners should always race free. They can chip in for food. there effort to participate is enough." Sigurdur

PaddyH said...

xc8 reg closes a few days b/f....just sayin'....

oh yeah...running's a fad.

PaddyH said...

ps-80k/hr winds really make us miss you guys these days...sheesh!

halloewen said...

Fair enough. Not saying that I am opposed to changes in structure and new ideas.

Remember this was an Olympia decision to charge the $40 there are no guidelines to dictate this other than $25 which was a MTB committee decision.

And to answer your two examples: both of those events had major sponsors which offsets the cost - I would happily welcome any help getting sponsors on board.

halloewen said...

Does it feel like Dallas and I are two dogs wrestling over the same bone???

PaddyH said...

I though it was more like to dogs trying to hump each other...

PaddyH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
penner said...

Speaking from the parental point of view.

I understand about cost, I understand about the need to know 'numbers'

I will simply submit that I enjoy racing when I get the opportunity and We race as a family.

Paying for yourself and paying for a family are different.

I fully anticipate to fork out $60+ to attend and race at an event.

I was just a little pissed when some ill informed yahoo told to "suck the $100 up if I want to bring my family"

will simply register online from this point on... and kuddos to the oly guys.. great race and good fun!!

the secretary said...

I wish it was me that said that...

Olli said...

Gimme $10K sponsorship and I'll give you a pretty good bike race/event. Well as long as it doesn't run on public roads because then it's as iffy as walking on the lake ice in July.

Grand Beach was a good race an I wouldn't have showed up to race without the pre-registration. Maybe to volunteer but definitely not to race.

I'm on hot seat this week hoping for things to go OK this weekend and not ending up in jail.

halloewen said...

exactly - now you get it