I want to address directly the criticisms of and comments about Saturday’s race at French Lick.
The rains began just before dawn on Saturday. They were a surprise; the radar didn’t look bad Friday night. I spent the next few hours in the rain and mud. It began with a radar check from the hotel, then assessing the situation over at the race site and on the trail, and lastly talking with the key people involved in the trail construction, maintenance, and resort staff including golf course management. This process took a long time, much longer than I had expected, and it was extremely stressful. By the time we were able to make the assessment it was 8 am; time to open registration. There was a large amount of work needed at that time due to the wet conditions and wind damaging some of our setup. At that point I tried to update the DINO hotline but could not get in. I think the phone system was overloaded with calls from racers.
Our policy has always been “race ON unless you hear otherwise” and we do absolutely everything we can to spread the word in that case. In hindsight - yes, we should have worked harder to post “race on” status since conditions were questionable.
Obviously, we want you to be come if there is going to be a race. We will look into easier ways of spreading the information from remote locations. First, we’ll pursue options to improve phone hotline capacity. This has been, and will continue to be, the first line of updates. I’ve never been ahead on the tech curve so I do not do e-mails, twitter, etc on the race site. We do not have internet access at 95% of our race sites. I recognize in this day and age everyone wants their information immediately so we will look into ways of improving communication.
Regarding the choice to race under the conditions we had: At first I expected to postpone. However, the resort staff, the trail builders, and trail maintainers all felt that the trail would hold up well. After the race, I personally unmarked the trail and picked up trash, and found very little evidence of actual trail damage. I think you will hear the same assessment from anyone who rides the trail in the near future (after it dries out!) We also have to weigh the investment put in by racers who already made the drive and/or spent money on lodging. Additionally, postponement means many people will have scheduling conflicts, and last but not least no guarantee that the “rain date” will have better conditions.
While in general I love directing DINO, a morning like that is the absolute worst. Very little warning time, and hundreds of people are hanging on the decision, many already on the way. It’s a no-win situation. Anyone want to step into my (wet, size 14) shoes for race mornings like this one?
Thanks for your understanding… we do hear your comments and will work on improving communication avenues.