It’s Friday, and the bicycle race in question was on Tuesday, so at least this isn’t timely or anything.
SO HERE’S THE RUN DOWN of what happened leading up to the race, and the race itself. If you’re a friend of mine I’ve probably told you these tales through many Google Chat conversations, or maybe you could piece it together from Twitter like assembling really boring Dead Sea Scrolls. I’m writing this run down because Drew is just now getting good at using the Internet, and he uses exclamation points way to much.
Drew and I have been involved with the race since we were in college, as it supports a scholarship at UNH and was previously promoted by Ed Spuler, former UNH coach and fan of Eddie B’s cycling tactics. We’ve worked at the race, raced the race, announced the race and I even sponsored the race one time.
This year, Ed wasn’t able to handle promoting it, and Drew really only took over promoting it in mid-April. I was unable to help with any of the actual “work” of promoting the race – getting sponsors together, finding hay bales (thanks Dodge’s Agway!), putting up fliers, getting city and USAC permits, getting volunteers, getting the worst of the potholes fixed, getting fencing, all the other shit that’s needed to run a bike race – basically I was just Drew’s good-looking friend who couldn’t commit to anything other than shouting on Twitter, sending some emails and reminding him that he is a wonderful man.
(This last paragraph is in here because I think a lot of people didn’t know that Drew essentially did everything by himself. It was a tremendous amount of work, and he managed to do it all without choking me.)
Early on we decided it was important to have a women’s race with equal prize money, and Drew expected 25 racers in that field – because that’s roughly what is reasonable to expect from a women’s field in New England. Colonial Bicycle Co. came on board pretty early as the title sponsor of the women’s race, Exeter Cycles sponsored the men’s race, and WE WERE OFF with a high likelihood of the race not making negative dollars (positive dollars go to the Barrow/Bogart scholarship at UNH). Also Todd Rowell was a sponsor (seriously).
NHPR did a little story about the equal prize money, and it’s awesome to hear there will be equal prize money at Portsmouth!
Soooo fast forward to race day. 40 something women pre-registered (holy crap). There were a couple of day-ofs, so we had a women’s field of 50 (holy crap)!
HEY OTHER RACE PROMOTERS IN NEW ENGLAND – you can have a big women’s field. It’s possible. Some things that worked in our favor:
- Equal prize money. Doesn’t really cost that much to do, but it shows that you’re committed to the event, and that you do actually take it seriously.
- It was a women’s open, so if you’re doing a Women’s 1/2 your numbers will obviously be different. I think a Pro/1/2/3 is a good way to go to keep numbers healthy. Also, the women’s race winner was a Cat 3, and with the few opportunities to get upgrade points, there are a good number of strong Cat 3 women that wouldn’t be around to animate the race if it was a Pro/1/2.
- I politely emailed friends who are women racers, or are on teams with women racers, and said something along the lines of “We are absolutely not going to cancel the women’s race – this is not this kind of email. I just want to say that if you’re on the fence about racing, if you could make it out to our race (with equal payout), that would be totally awesome!”.
- I used to be a big fan of the “HEY BUTT HEADS PRE REGISTER FOR THE RACE OR ELSE YOU ARE A BUTT HEAD” school of thought, but JD said “hey try not doing that”, and he was right.
- So what I guess I’m saying here is do not make the women’s field contingent upon registration numbers, but do try some polite encouragement/reminders that aren’t BikeReg auto emails.
- It is part of Crit Week, so people are stoked on racing anyway.
- I took playlist requests. Most of the playlist for the Women’s race was requests.
I was announcing, Alan Cote (of Longsjo/New England Crit Week/Announcing sans Sonic references) joined me which was great because this was the least prepared I have ever been for announcing a race. Probably because this week was Sales Meeting at work, I was spending time helping Drew (NOT THAT MUCH TIME BECAUSE SCREW YOU DREW) with final things, and a third excuse.
(oh shit I just realized I didn’t have the NBA Jam soundboard at the race what the hell ryan your shit was not tight)
The women’s race was friggin AWESOME. Gabby Durrin came out and took a bunch of the early primes. There were a LOT of primes – probably $500 up for grabs in the women’s race. People were also just walking up to me and handing me money to give out as primes. We had a problem because there were TOO MANY PRIMES.
It was very active, not much “big bunch” riding – field was strung for most of the race.
Then Gabby and Becca Fahringer got off the front in some business, Becca took a $100 prime out of that move and then ground her way off the front to take a solo win!
The men’s race had 105 riders, and about halfway through Connor Jennings (TEAMMATE), Bobby Bailey and Cole Archambault got off the front and did a bunch of impromptu teamwork to stay away and take a ton of primes. Bobby won out of the group, with Cole in second and Connor in third.
This poorly written race recap was pretty pointless. You should scroll through the @exeterclassic timeline to see the fantastic live tweeting by @necyclingexpert.
Some how the Exeter Running Club was at the race and helped us marshal and take down hay bales? We had a lot of great volunteers.
This post isn’t supposed to serve as a recap/thank you post, so, um, yeah, sorry I guess? I don’t know, I don’t really blog any more. Also I haven’t had any lunch today.
I sent out a survey about the race, and have already gotten some great feedback (which echoed what I knew we needed to do for next year). Now that Drew and I know we’ll be promoting the race with a bit more lead time, things will be better planned and his blood pressure will be healthier. Also I can actually help him on it as my life is less chaotic now than it was three months ago.
Okay thanks for coming to the bike race.