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Thread: Hosting a Race

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    County sign fanatic snoboard2's Avatar
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    Hosting a Race

    First, I really think we should start a sticky on this subject to pool our collective knowledge (mostly to help me out).

    As some of you know, our club is hosting a race this spring, and I'm playing the role of race director. I have 6.02x10^23 questions and no one I can just pick up the phone and call (yet). I know that cdr hosts a very successful race every year, so hopefully he joins in on the fun.

    Right now, I'm drawing up the criterium and road race/time trial course for reference to submit to the proper authorities for approval.

    First question: What's the best way to draw up a course map?

    Do you print off a map of the roads and draw on it? Is there an online mapping service you find useful?

    Kind of simple question, I know, but it's my first time around, and I'd like a collective bf brainstorm.

    Any other tips & tricks would be fantastic!

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    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    I am working on doing my first TT omnium promotion. I have a little info that I might be able to provide, but to answer the map question, I just use Mapmyride.com and make sure "follow roads" is selected. Makes it easy to outline a course and elevation profile.

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    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Best bet is to see if someone in your club has, or can tap into someone with, computer based mapping experience . We are lucky enough to have a person who works in that capacity for a local environmental engineering firm. They have access to excellent topo maps and mapping software. I tell him what I would like and he does up a proof and we go from there. He can put in all the medical and radio relay locations and even the highway mileage markers. We submit those to the sanctioning body (ACA in our case) and put abbreviated versions in our race bible. We also give the detailed version to police, medical, lead follow car drivers, traffic control volunteers etc. Perhaps someone in the the U of A geography department could assit you. Mapmy ride is pretty good too. Elevations, however, can be way off in a few areas on a long RR course with lots of climbing. In the case of our RR, map my ride moved the road about .5 miles north of the actual location which caused it to "believe" the race went over a huge hill instead of through the canyon next to the mountain. Added about 1000 feet of nonexistent climbing (out and back course).

    If you want, I can email you a copy of the detailed RR map.

    You can see our race bible at www.deaddogclassic.com and click on the race bible tab.

    Also looks like you are doing a USAC race. Go here, http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=91 and look over the "collegiate competitive event checklist" and the chief referee forms iif you have not already done so.
    Last edited by RockyMtnMerlin; 12-07-08 at 02:21 PM.

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    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Read my screen name. Let's talk.

    PM me.

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    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Merlin you put on Dead Dog? Fun race, many thanks for the work you guys do.
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

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    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    If any of you guys can answer this, I've always wondered why more crits aren't held at major stadiums parking lots?

    We have the California Speedway out here which is completely empty for 300 days out of the year, and the parking lot around is a perfectly paved 5 mile loop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
    If any of you guys can answer this, I've always wondered why more crits aren't held at major stadiums parking lots?

    We have the California Speedway out here which is completely empty for 300 days out of the year, and the parking lot around is a perfectly paved 5 mile loop.
    because venues like that are not interesting and racing in them is boring.

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    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    because venues like that are not interesting and racing in them is boring.
    Gotcha.

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    Senior Member brett_beddow's Avatar
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    6.02x10^23
    We learned about that number in chem the other day.

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    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
    If any of you guys can answer this, I've always wondered why more crits aren't held at major stadiums parking lots?
    Cost.
    The Palace of Auburn Hills wanted a truckload of money to allow use of their seemingly under-utilized parking lot. If they can find a way to make money when the stadium is dark, they will.

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    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeCanon View Post
    Merlin you put on Dead Dog? Fun race, many thanks for the work you guys do.
    You are welcome! Hope to see you this summer!

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    Eventservices, count on a PM from Snoboard. We need all the help we can get. We need this race to succeed on many different levels.

    First and foremost we want to put on a good race so the racers can have fun and be safe and they don't have put up with crap that comes along with poorly put together races.

    On another level, we would like to impress the upper level desk guys so we can continue to get a race year after year.

    Thanks for eveyone's input.

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    You should be able to pester your local rep with questions about holding a race. They ought to be ecstatic to help you out, especially if you have some ideas and have town approval. The rep can help you with various things like figuring out details on what you need regarding hosting a race. Personally I'm not as good in the "getting town approval" part, but I have some experience with the "holding the race" bit, at least a smaller one.

    The first thing to get, other than the course, is town/municipality approval. That could be a huge undertaking in some locations, a minor one in others. To do this you need to understand your exposure to liability, which then educates you to the town's exposure, and then allows you to understand what USAC provides for insurance. Usually this is a huge, huge point for a town. They generally won't care about a bike race unless someone gets paralyzed and sues the town, or the possibility exists that someone gets paralyzed and sues the town (they're worried about the suing part, btw).

    I'd put mapping the route as one of the last things on the list of things to do. However, you may need to present your race proposal to the town/city. For presentation purposes a local guy used Google Maps (with course specific notes and features added). He's used that to get approval for a two day TT/Circuit/RR stage race in north-central CT for 2009 covering multiple towns and two states. A total nightmare that I wouldn't want to attack but he did it and he has a full time job (!).

    To get to the "how to map the route" stage he already dealt with the costs of race vehicles, insurance, which categories, race lengths, race start/finish times, costs for registration-bathrooms-parking-numbers-permit-officials, even the cost to become a promoter in USAC. There are other things too, but they can be dealt with later - volunteer race workers, marshals, which officials, various contacts in various towns, etc.

    As a racer and a promoter, I'd start with the following ideas -
    1. Figure out a hole in the calender. If there are absolutely no holes, figure out a weekend where the races are really far away. In CT I wouldn't have qualms about competing against a race in Maine (5-8 hours drive), but I'd rethink a race that competes against an MA race (0-2 hours drive). I will end the 2009 Series a week early to allow racers to go to Battenkill without "skipping" the Bethel Series. I wouldn't step on another promoter's toes because it's just plain impolite, it's wrong, and it'll kill attendance numbers at both races.

    However, if the current race has nothing going for it, then you may be able to justify it. I say this because the Bethel Spring Series (now my race) got started in competition with another Series. We didn't want to go to a race that, in the early 90s, cost $18 to enter, and gave no prize money. We felt a race ought to be under $10 and give cash prizes. We put our time, energy, and money where our thoughts were. The race was $7.95 (including insurance) and we gave a minimum of 3 places a race. To be nice we didn't send any flyers to a 45 minute radius of the other Series, and mainly targeted NY/NJ riders. Two years later we were the only Series around.

    2. Figure out a venue. Even if it's a boring stadium race, if it's held on a day when there is no other race, folks will go out to it. If it's such a race it would make a good weeknight crit training series - I went to one regularly this summer.

    This is where you get the town's approval. Then you move forward.

    A biggie is money. Aim low. At the Bethel Spring Series we aimed for 30 riders in a field for 5 races (and one race was a combination of 3 categories). The first year we made $180 after 7 weeks of hell. I think one day we combined the first 3 races and had a field of 25, then combined the last two races and had a field of 21 or so. Now, 15+ years later, I consider it a weak day if any field is under 50 (including the Cat 5s, which have two races scheduled to accommodate the expected 51+ racers). We had, at the peak, waiting lists of 10-12 riders on top of a 100 rider field. But we always, always figure that we'll get 30 racers when we budget things. Below 30 we just pray. Oh, and for Juniors, we figure if we get 3, that's a great day. Women, who have their own race now, we hope for 20+.

    Promoter and CT state rep,
    cdr

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoboard2 View Post
    Right now, I'm drawing up the criterium and road race/time trial course for reference to submit to the proper authorities for approval.

    First question: What's the best way to draw up a course map?

    Do you print off a map of the roads and draw on it? Is there an online mapping service you find useful?
    Google-maps is great for this. Take an all-encompassing snapshot of your course. Then zoom in and get closer-up images and take 8-10 snapshots as necessary and paste them together for a detailed map.

    Also helps get some help from previous organizers. They'll be able to tell you all the pit-falls to watch out for. Quick checklist:

    - barricades, snow-fencing, signs and cones
    - insurance
    - food for volunteers
    - ambulance service
    - police as required by city
    - permits, etc.
    - folding tables & pop-up tents
    - coolers, ice & drinks
    - computer station & printer
    - mechanic's station
    - van or two
    - lots of volunteers, I typically need about 20-30 per day
    - etc...

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    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    Cost.
    The Palace of Auburn Hills wanted a truckload of money to allow use of their seemingly under-utilized parking lot. If they can find a way to make money when the stadium is dark, they will.
    That makes sense, local racing isn't exactly a money making venture in the first place.

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    google maps + ms paint
    Cervelo Soloist Team (Rival)
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    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin View Post
    You are welcome! Hope to see you this summer!
    You will for sure I'd tell you what kit to look for but I don't even know yet
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  18. #18
    County sign fanatic snoboard2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin View Post
    Best bet is to see if someone in your club has, or can tap into someone with, computer based mapping experience . We are lucky enough to have a person who works in that capacity for a local environmental engineering firm. They have access to excellent topo maps and mapping software. I tell him what I would like and he does up a proof and we go from there. He can put in all the medical and radio relay locations and even the highway mileage markers. We submit those to the sanctioning body (ACA in our case) and put abbreviated versions in our race bible. We also give the detailed version to police, medical, lead follow car drivers, traffic control volunteers etc. Perhaps someone in the the U of A geography department could assit you. Mapmy ride is pretty good too. Elevations, however, can be way off in a few areas on a long RR course with lots of climbing. In the case of our RR, map my ride moved the road about .5 miles north of the actual location which caused it to "believe" the race went over a huge hill instead of through the canyon next to the mountain. Added about 1000 feet of nonexistent climbing (out and back course).

    If you want, I can email you a copy of the detailed RR map.

    You can see our race bible at www.deaddogclassic.com and click on the race bible tab.

    Also looks like you are doing a USAC race. Go here, http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=91 and look over the "collegiate competitive event checklist" and the chief referee forms iif you have not already done so.

    Great advice! A buddy of mine on the team's dad does geo mapping I believe. If not, i'll check out the university geo dept. Thanks!

  19. #19
    County sign fanatic snoboard2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brett_beddow View Post
    We learned about that number in chem the other day.
    someone did their homework

  20. #20
    County sign fanatic snoboard2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    You should be able to ...

    Promoter and CT state rep,
    cdr
    Helpful as always, thank you sir!

  21. #21
    Ride First, Work Later!!! af2nr's Avatar
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    snoboard2,
    Why don't you get with the guys, and gals, at Velo City? They have done a pretty good job of putting together the TdT the last couple of years. There should also be some "old school" guys, maybe in DCBC, that would have knowledge of the race when it was on campus. Is this a collegiate race? Good luck!!!
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the exam first, the lesson afterwards.
    Vernon Law

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