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Old 03-04-09, 09:13 AM   #1
CastIron
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School me on race promoting:

This is probably right up CDR's alley, but anyone here putting on bike races is welcome. Can I get the beginner's course on what it takes to put on a bike race front to back? I'm asking here for the breadth of viewpoints available, understanding local logistics can be quite different.
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Old 03-04-09, 09:37 AM   #2
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i've got a checklist, it's in ms word, I can email it to you if you want, send me a pm with your email and I'll send it. or give me specific instructions on how to post it otherwise.

We're going through our flyer review for our race this year (it's in May). It's a p.i.t.a., and be 100% assured that the representation that gives the most hassle on approval is that of the races that give the least reward (i.e. Women and Jrs.).
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Old 03-04-09, 09:48 AM   #3
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Just a few tips:
You can never have enough volunteers.
Delegate.

Have fun. And thank you for taking on the task of a race promoter.
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Old 03-04-09, 09:49 AM   #4
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PM inbound.

I'm just trying to understand the process at the moment, not undertake it.
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Old 03-04-09, 10:04 AM   #5
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If you want to start out easy, promote a track race. You have a really nice track there, a great track director, and it greatly reduces the number of external organizations you have to deal with.
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Old 03-04-09, 10:07 AM   #6
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I haven't set foot on the track. Really. That's another change on the horizon.
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Old 03-04-09, 11:25 AM   #7
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shoot CDR or EventServices a PM, I am sure they will help out.
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Old 03-04-09, 12:23 PM   #8
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http://www.collegiatecycling.org/RacePromotion.aspx

We just put on a collegiate race. Get sponsors on board ASAP. Having money to play with before people start registering is crucial.
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Old 03-04-09, 12:46 PM   #9
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What type of race are you looking at (tt, crit, rr)? They all have their own unique challenges and when you are talking about promotion you do it a little differently. It is pretty easy to get riders to show up for a crit, for a TT, more difficult. Also, logistics are quite different between a crit and a RR and a TT.
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Old 03-04-09, 05:02 PM   #10
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If I understand the question correctly, you're asking if there's a pre-packaged "how to put on a race" kind of thing. If that's the question, the answer is no. There's really nothing out there to help you put on a race. It's all a jumble of figuring it out on your own, asking others for help, etc etc. It's a huge area where USAC could work on improving.

Technically there is a USAC checklist for what you need to hold a race, but like any real life checklist, there's the official checklist and the "real" checklist. USAC does just enough to cover their butt. They don't have anything to contribute to a new promoter.

This is unfortunate because it's new blood that invigorates the sport, and that means new racers, new officials, and new promoters.

On an aside, USAC seems to neglect the foundation of cycling. For example, they have no info on group riding etiquette. If you go to the US triathalon group (I forget the name) they actually have an etiquette page on their site. USAC seems to be concerned with finding the next Lance Armstrong, not trying to promote cycling as an "everybody" sport. So their news and emphasis is on finding and bringing up extremely rare and talented racers, not making cycling a more popular sport. Things that get neglected are things like "how-to's" (for new racers and new promoters), racing clinics for all Cat 5s & 4s (which includes all the various new-to-racing Women, Juniors, and Masters), and evening out the playing field for non-pro riders (i.e. Cat 3-5).

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Old 03-04-09, 05:19 PM   #11
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I hope you have thick skin. It's a thankless job in many cases (some people will always complain about something). Make sure you have liability coverage up the wazoo (one of the local promoters was being threatened with a lawsuit for personal injuries sustained during a race).

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Old 03-04-09, 06:47 PM   #12
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Let me know what you find out. I'll fill in the rest of the gaps.
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Old 03-04-09, 08:01 PM   #13
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I have been involved with the San Dimas Stage Race for five years. I'm currently in charge of registration and often act as the pro team liaison. Here is a short list of things you can start with.
  • Join another promoters event committee if one is available to you.
  • Form strong relationships with any government agencies that will be issuing permits.
  • Develop a list of small and large sponsors. Treat all of them like gold.
  • Get the local bike shops and their vendor reps involved.
  • Talk to racers of all abilities concerning course selection and layout.
  • Talk to your local reps from USAC or an Independent governing body.

The list is really a mile long. You will adapt year to year and hopefully fix past mistakes. The racers will let you know how good your doing by showing up. One last thing, always order plenty of porta poties and TP.
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Old 03-05-09, 07:25 AM   #14
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re: TP - I carry a huge pack in the van (24 rolls?) as back up, "just in case". People probably wonder if I have a problem or something. I'm down to maybe 10 rolls left, but that constituted maybe 3 emergencies.

re: sponsors - I have none. It's the easiest way to do it. Okay, I lied. I have two merchandise sponsors. One is the LBS in town, they offer some overall/GC gift certs which are usable because the LBS has an online way of buying things. The other is Verge, and they sponsor the leaders' jerseys. But neither are critical to the race - all the other expenses get paid by the race itself (hopefully) or me, if the race doesn't do well. If I lost the two sponsors then nothing would happen to the race itself because there is no $$ associated with the sponsors.

I used to have vendor sponsors offering merchandise, but after I got out of the LBS biz, I decided that it's better that I/"the race" pay for all prizes. So I bought (albeit at wholesale) wheelsets and other gear. My co-promoter went out and got free samples for the racers but it's such a pain that I decided I wouldn't do it, and he came to the same conclusion, so no free samples. Plus one company that promised cool stuff (carbon brake calipers) never sent them and that soured me on the whole thing because I was really looking forward to giving them away, and told a bunch of people we were getting them.

The other thing about big prizes (wheelset, frameset, carbon brakes even) is you have to make it available to any category racer. A Cat 2 won't care about a frameset like a CAAD9, he'll just sell it on eBay. But if you make it a raffle based on race entries (one entry = one ticket) then a Cat 5 may win it, or whatever. This makes everyone want to show up because you're allowing everyone the chance to win it, whether they're strong or not, win or not, etc. One year a Junior won his series, won the 3s, and won the Spinergy wheelset. I think he walked away with over $500 that last day, plus the wheels. (He later joined the National team and did a bunch of Worlds on the track, success which I of course attribute to his participation in the very tough Bethel Spring Series ).

re: money - This year I think I'm about $10k down so far (off the top of my head I can think of 4k + 2k + 1.8k + 1.5k + 500 + 500 + 400 + little things like 60 gallons of gas and such) for the (now) 5 race series. This doesn't include the $8k (now $7k due to one canceled week) guaranteed prize money, nor any primes, nor the weekly expenses (officials - 2 of them, police, paying four/five workers who don't race, who knows what else). As a promoter I would mentally write off everything that you spend, i.e. it's gone. That way the only way you'll be surprised is if some of that money comes back to you.

To be frank, the race usually makes a little bit of money (8.3k are one time / unusual expenses), but I bought a few upgrades this year (generators, power broom things, and fixing the heat in the van), had to fund the race account, and so I think I blew any possible profit already. Of course the tires are wearing out on the van, and at $550/4 tires (if I mount/balance them), that'll be another expense. Ditto the brakes.

And in the future I want to buy more things, but it may have to wait a few years. Or for me to get a better paying job.

cdr
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Old 03-05-09, 08:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
This is probably right up CDR's alley, but anyone here putting on bike races is welcome. Can I get the beginner's course on what it takes to put on a bike race front to back? I'm asking here for the breadth of viewpoints available, understanding local logistics can be quite different.
I'm in the same situation as you. This is my second year of organizing smaller local races. Although USA Cycling and my state association have resources online, I've found it most useful to talk to other local promotors. They can give you contacts for everything from permitting to porta-potties. And yes, you need everything in between. At least here in Spokane, the other local promoters have been very eager to help out and give advice.

Also your first race will be the hardest because you're piecing together the details for the first time. After that, it's all a question of following your own template. Good luck and have fun...
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Old 03-05-09, 09:28 AM   #16
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Interesting. ES, the gap is grand canyon sized. Literally starting with zero knowledge. And again folks, I'm only trying to learn about the process right now, not execute it.
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