Coffee Talk - Challenges of club run races

Few days ago we got a plea from the Longmont Criterium asking for volunteers

Our race is fast approaching and we are still in need of a few volunteers to serve as course marshals on race day.

For each marshal shift of approximately 3 hours completed by a volunteer, a free registration is provided to enter one of the race events at the Longmont Criterium.

This is a fun opportunity to see exciting racing action, help out the local racing community, and get a free race entry! Lunch and refreshments are provided to each volunteer.

Please contact Annie at abrowncolo@msn.com for more details.

Then not so long ago the word got out that the Haystack TTT/TT got canceled, assumed to have been due to lack of volunteers. On that same page there was a lot of discussion about why such a large event as the Haystack TTT/TT could fall into cancellation. Some claimed that a simple call for volunteers could have saved it. The Longmont Criterium needs your help, will we save it?

Promoting a race is hard work/business
It's not getting easier to put on a race these days, all costs are going up, logistics can be a nightmare for a larger event and getting the help seems to be the scare resource many are looking for. Is the role of race promotion best fit with the mission of cycling clubs/teams?. Some clubs who do still run large events, have a paid staff to manage the successful execution of the event or "that 1 person" who's done it so long they hold all of the knowledge. Is that "the way of the future" for anything beyond an office park crit? But even a skilled or paid staff will not fill the void of volunteers needed for race day, does that mean increase of entry fees and less dependance on free help?

Related
- Cost of promoting a race This is from 4 years ago and was a basic event

News Item: 

28 Comments

One or the other

Not saying a team can't make money on a race, some choose to take that route, other don't. But from your comments, it sounds like you want all teams to put on at least a race. Does it have to be 1 cx race and 1 road race? Or one or the other? Judging by the number of teams there, if each team had to do 1 of each race type, we'd have about 2 weeks off from racing a year. Have the races mid week? You commented a second ago about how we have too many of those. So the teams only have to put on one race. What happens if they all want to do a cx race? Then we have zero road races all year and 50 cx races.
Dont get me wrong, I think it's a good idea to have teams put on races, but the logistics of it seems to be a nightmare

Higher Flaggers, Help with Road events to get Road Cup Points...

For Deer Trail and Weld County road races, we have hired Flaggers from a Temp company to fill the void left by Colorado going back to USAC. We used to get 2 to 4 clubs helping with road races when ACA ran things. Now with USAC and the BRAC LA, clubs don't step up to help at races. This adds cost to races and leads to less prize money and higher entry fees. Until we go away from USAC and back to a local organization like ACA was, more races will need to hire staff as less people volunteer for USAC races.

One change BRAC could make to Cup policy...

If a club wants to be eligible for Road Cup Points, then they should promote or help volunteer at a road cup event, TT, HC, RR, Crit. If they want Cross Cup Points, then they should promote or help volunteer at a Cross race.
They don't have a to lead the promotion, just have all members volunteer all day at a race. Can help with a club promoted event or a "professional" promoted event. All events, regardless of who promotes it, need volunteers to make the races happen.

But, Andy, imagine if you

But, Andy, imagine if you were a club with lots of members, not just a guy hosting races. The club could decide whether it wanted to promote a small race, a big race, just one race, lots of races, etc... Then, when it was time to put on the event, each club member would work the race and the club members would reap whatever benefits may come from the event. Small clubs would have to pair up with other small clubs, or perhaps only promote one small event. Bigger clubs could do more races, or bigger races, but they shouldn't be reduced to begging for volunteers from outside the club.

Dropping the club requirement to promote races was a bad idea.

"Dont get me wrong, I think

"Dont get me wrong, I think it's a good idea to have teams put on races, but the logistics of it seems to be a nightmare"

you know, that's how it used to be done up until just a few years ago.

The logistics of it (the coordination of the calendar, I'm assuming you're referring to) is one of the key roles of the local association. In the old days, the district rep was responsible for the calendar. For those states that had a local association, they'd fill that role. Now that all states have a local association, that's how their calendars are coordinated. It's how we do it here, btw. They have separate road and cross promoter meetings to coordinate the racing schedules. No more difficult to coordinate races run by clubs than it is to coordinate races run by promoters, or a combination of clubs/promoters as we have now..

Potential Solution

Working off what JayZ said, maybe it's us racers who don't do enough. I always look at the emails for volunteers and disregard them. Maybe teams need to start requiring that each year, each team member needs to put in X amount of hours per year volunteering at races to stay on the team. That'd probably get some numbers to help out at the races.

List of the Lame: FCCT & COTN reply

While I agree with your posting this list to 'shame' the guilty....for the record please do not include the Fort Collins Cycling Team (the BRAC club) aka '1st City Cycling Team p/b Noosa Yoghurt' as we have hosted and produced the 'Cross of the North' cyclocross race (www.crossofthenorth.com) since 2011 and will again in 2014 as a 3-day event.

We struggle each year with finding people to volunteer to cover the various duties required to make even the smallest event happen (FCCT also hosts and produces the Tuesday night 'City Street Crits' each week in July). IMHO bike racers in general have become an entitled complaining lot who do very little to contribute to the long term success of our sport.

Additionally club produced events are at a breaking point with the process of dealing with USAC related fees, charges, hoops, and general irritations.

Personally I spend HUNDREDS of volunteer hours each year planning and executing on the Cross of the North event....why? Because I love the sport and want to see it grow and lead by example rather than waiting for someone to do it. I had mentors from the generation before mine that 'encouraged' volunteering by rewarding those who did and the 'vampires' (aka racers that only race) eventually left the sport as they were cast out of the culture.

FCCT and COTN are fortunate to have strong ties into the city, county, and cycling culture 'up here' and that goes a long way when it comes time to ask for people to sacrifice their time for a silly bike race. Events wither away if the local culture does not sustain the passion for it....add into the equation the amount of support an event gets from the National (USAC) and local (BRAC) governance and it will succeed or fail.

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