On the eve of the kickoff to the NFL football season, bike racers line up in unprecedented fall weather at an unprecedented start date for the Karen Hornbostel Time Trial race originally scheduled for March. We caught up with race organizer and member of COBRAS, Larry Potter to see how it went. Here are some questions and answers with Larry.
1. Describe the vibe from the first race after the postponement of 6 months?
The vibe was unbelievable! It was right after the snow storm, and COLD (ambient at about 40 F), and only about 125 starts, but I didn’t hear anyone complain, and everyone was happy to be there. I received a number of “thank you for doing this” personally, and my guess it was the same for the other COBRAS that were there making it happen.
2. How was the turnout despite the crazy cold weather?
Low, as I mentioned, only about 125 starts, about a 50% turnout. Not unexpected since it has been so warn lately, and a number of riders have not participated in a race for a while, or this was there first for the season. On the other hand, a few juniors came out and weathered the cold. One in particular, an 11 year old girl, Zenobia who was a first time racer made her dad bring her so she could race, even in the freezing cold! The kids just blow me away!
3. What was different due to COVID?
Everyone cooperated. We planed and worked for weeks preparing and doing everything we could think of to comply with the PHO we are under and to keep us, our volunteers and our participants as safe as possible. We had a supply of hand sanitizer at the COBRAS tent, in the bathrooms, start line and in the bib pickup area. We put in a number of protocols for our volunteers to keep them safe as well, such as no sharing vests, “radio cleaning kits” so the second shift volunteers could disinfectant the radio they took from the first shift volunteer, used a disinfectant bomb in the bathrooms before the race, and cleaned the bathrooms every hour.
I did not see one person without a mask, everyone respected the rules, came, raced and then left the park. Our event (as you most likely know) is covered by a separate PHO that requires everyone to wear masks, if around other people or not (not the same as the Gov’s executive order) and we are only allow to have up to 175 people in the parking area. When the weather improves, that will be a factor we will have to watch.
If you raced and want to see a photo of yourself go here: https://ryanmuncyphotography.smugmug.com/2020-Karen-Hornbostel-Memorial-Time-Trial-Series-1/i-j8sXKsF
4. Are you still offering the triathlete deal?
No. Couple of reasons: since we could only have a two hour start window (4:00 PM to 6:00 PM) that reduced the number of start times we have available. In the Fall, the sun will start setting earlier, particularly in mid to late October and we have to have to have last racer off the course by 6:30 before it gets dark. Plus even without advertising, the number of registration has been really high, we currently have only about 20 open start times available at the moment.
5. Any incentives for racers for the balance of the season?
We have two programs still available:
- You can purchase a single race or a block of races, minimum of 4 or the number of races left in the series. The more races you purchase at one time, the lower the cost per race.
- We have introduced a Show and Go program that is gaining traction. For $20 you can reserve a start time, we keep your credit card on file, then when you come to the park to race, we charge your credit card $30. The normal cost of a single entry is $35. No commitment, and you only pay for when you race, no minimum, no maximum.
6. How does it feel to be racing in the fall, this storm aside, I would be bet the weather might be more favorable than the spring.
I saw a lot of smiles, from freezing faces! Just to be out and on the bike racing just made a lot of cyclists happy. We had a fair number of first time racers as well, which was unexpected. We have suspended our first time program as we are not accepting registrations at the park, nor are we accepting any money transactions.
The current forecast for next Wednesday will be warm, high about 85. I expect a huge turnout next week!
7. Any chance you could offer both a spring and a fall? Might be a fun way for people to measure how they got stronger over the summer (or not)? Tune up for cross season?
Good question, and no. First the park probably would not go for it. Second, the time and effort for a seven week series is huge, and we don’t have the resources to pull that off.
Having said that, we may schedule for the fall next year. The park is planning on a lot of much needed road work in the Spring, which would have a serious impact on our course. But we are going to wait and see, no decisions as of yet. We will contact the park in late January and see what their plans are and go from there.
8. Any added thoughts?
It was a long and difficult journey to make the Fall series happen. The park management was not on board, and told us no several times, but we didn’t give up. We were able to work with Bicycle Colorado, who really helped make it all happen. They contacted park management directly and convinced them that we could do it safely and pointed them to the new PHO that had just been published with the efforts of Bicycle Colorado, BRAC and other bicycle groups. We owe Bicycle Colorado a huge thank you (and will be sharing part of our revenue from the series with them).
To sign up for upcoming races go here: https://khmtt.com/cgi-bin/khmtt_OnLineRegStart.pl?start=yes