The first Ronde Van Palouse went off yesterday. It was significant because it added another dimension to the local road racing scene: The Spring Classic. And things went well.
I'm kinda proud of our little bike club that could. The OTM article this month talked about how this was the first race we've put on, but that info got crossed up somewhere, because we've done a number of races over the past few years and I think we're on that steep part of the learning curve where we're getting quite a bit better with every one we do. And we're fired up and we bust ass, so that helps, too.
Putting on a race the right way takes a surprising amount of effort. And you can't just go out and decide to do it right one time. It takes commitment combined with repetition. The good organizers make it look easy, but it's not - they've been working at it a while.
In our case, we're lucky to have Mike Sirott as the driving force, and Alan Jacob as the first lieutenant. The energy between those two guys could light up some small towns, but fortunately for us, they've focused it on making races happen. And then there's Sarah Wilson, who has her official's hat in one hand and her registrar's in the other. Tim Lentz puts in a bazillion hours behind the scenes to give us the kind of web presence we need to be legit in this day and age. And I could never name them all, but there's a whole bunch of other people that come together prior to and on race day to make all this happen.
Registration area, just after the frenzy . . .
Alan's training session for the corner workers - flaggers, who stop traffic, and marshals, who point riders in the right direction.
Mike and Alex Renner from Baddlands, instructing the Men 4-5/Masters prior to start. Alex served as Chief Referee and with his immense experience, made sure things went down without a hitch. We're also grateful to Baddlands for loaning us a bunch of their equipmnet.
My peon job? Course setup. But that sounds so bland. So I like to think of myself as the "Sign Guy". Way pzazzier. And that's Mister Sign Guy, to you.
I do take it all crazy serious, though. As the old saying goes, "If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter".
Since this was a new course that also involved veering off the beaten path, we were concerned about making sure everyone veered. Not to take anything away from our excellent marshals, but extra signage was definitely in order. I went into labor and gave birth. I was a proud papa.
They looked super-sweet in my garage, but when they got on the course, they immediately started falling apart. As I was driving the posts into the ground, the vibration was causing the heads of the sheet metal screws to pull through the pressboard that I made the signs out of. Krap. I had to go all McGyver and use paper clips (honest) to hold a couple together. Dumbass Sign Guy. Mister Dumbass Sign Guy, to you.
Oh, by the way. Some racers also showed up. 65, to be exact.
These next 3 pictures were taken during neutral roll-out (start of the race). That's about the last anyone saw of a pack. The constant rollers and wind blew the packs apart incredibly fast. Here's the Men 1-2-3 . . .
Men 4-5 and Masters . . .
Women 4 . . .
Mens 1-2 leaders (as of lap 2) negotiate the intersection at Bradshaw and Darknell. Sometime during the course of the day, a pack of riders came by so fast that they blew the stop sign over. I am not kidding.
Alan's fab awards, which perfectly captured the flavor and geography of the event . . .
Podium action . . .
It was a super-tough race and from the outside looking in, I wondered if anyone was having any fun. The post-race buzz was a resounding yes, which is extremely satisfying. Results are here. I'm already looking forward to an even better race next year.