(David Lavenhagen takes a Todd Leedy handup at Swamp Cross 2012. Photo: Matt Staras)
So, you want to be a cyclocross promoter? Well, Todd Leedy, FLCX’s resident long-haired, frisbee throwing, college professor, has the reasons why you should do it and it does not disappoint. Easily one of the best write-ups we have seen in Florida Cyclocross and it should be shared across the internet. Plus, #1 is very true. There were several rude gestures from yours truly towards Todd come race day this past December in Gainesville.
Earlier this year, FLCX Number One Ginger provided a column on how you might put on a CX race: http://flcx.org/how-do-i-
As a complement to that piece, here are some thoughts on why you might put on a CX race.
1) Design a course – This is a real creative process. Coming up with a course that you feel your fellow CXers will enjoy (i.e. suffer through) on the limited piece of land to which you have access is a challenge and quite a bit of fun. You will have to work with what you are given but there is space to place your own stamp on a course. Someone will always say it was too technical or not technical enough or too much pavement or too easy for mountain bikes. Don’t worry, not every course in Belgium requires the exact same skillset either. But if racers are making rude gestures at the Crosscopter then you’ve probably done it about right.
2) Experience “promoter legs” – A documented physiological condition (unless you are Josh Thornton) resulting from the 2-3 days of serious manual labor you put in right before the event to set up a great course, e.g. shoveling, mowing, raking, staking, taping, etc. etc. Add insufficient sleep as you handle pre-registrations, prizes, and on it goes. And then, if lucky, you commence to racing on the weekend with perhaps 20% of your normal warmup. Oh yes, it feels so so good.
3) Build your team/club – You cannot do it all on your own so you either need volunteers (or you need to pay for assistance, see #6). Done right, putting on a race is a great team building exercise and you will find out skills you didn’t know people possessed and learn how much others are committed to the same goals. People will impress you with their generosity and that should make you happy.
4) Spend time with your family – If you have done most any race in FLCX then you know that they are usually a family affair. Spouses, partners, kids, parents – you need them all out there backing you up. Not only is it more fun, stuff gets done.
5) Become a better planner – Professors tell students “Don’t ever go into debt to get a PhD in the humanities or social sciences.” Well, don’t ever go into debt to put on a CX race either. And you shouldn’t have to if you budget and plan properly. Do this early, as in before you even announce you are holding a race, and certainly before you pull a permit. If the numbers don’t work, don’t say a thing to anyone about wanting to put on a race. Just keep calm and and keep racing. It’s all according to plan.
6) Don’t make any money – OK, you might make some money but you cannot put on a race because of this need/desire. Success is breaking even, anything more is 100% into the bonus. This isn’t your livelihood, although for a few brief days a year you might wish it was, so you do it only because you love the sport and want others to love it as much or more. Still, someone will say the second races are too expensive or the on-site fee is too high or USAC shouldn’t charge for processing online entries. So if you do make some money then you did it the old fashioned way – you earned it.
7) Become “FLCX famous” – Short of winning every weekend or doing sand angels or breaking your teeth on a barrier crash or flying a drone or growing a tremendous red beard or continually ruining the sport, it is hard to get more recognition in our small community than by putting on a good (or, gulp, bad) race. So If you like knowing FLCX people and none of those other options sound attractive or even possible, you might consider an occasional dalliance as an amateur race promoter.
8) Become a better person – As hard as we train, as many hours as we put in on the bike, it is pretty easy to just show up and race. Whether it is your first season or you’ve done a ton of bike races, until you have put on a race yourself, the planning and labor that goes into a smooth event is a mystery. You might moan about why this wasn’t that way or why that wasn’t this way. There’s almost always a reason, and usually the race director will be happy to explain it – at some point when they aren’t also trying to run the event! After putting on your own event, you will most likely become one less person complaining about races in a Facebook group. And that’s a bonus for everyone. But hey, that’s just like, you know, my opinion man.
As always we welcome submissions to FLCX! Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org!