Author Topic: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion  (Read 3345 times)

holzhaus

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French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« on: June 20, 2011, 10:28:20 AM »
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.

deanarammalamma

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French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 10:30:26 AM »
Good on ya, Brian. Job well done.

rowanjones

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French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2011, 10:45:44 AM »
Brian, thank you for all of your efforts.  I am glad that I made the trip from NW Kentucky.

pedalfaster

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French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2011, 10:55:46 AM »
Quote
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.

Perhaps whomever set up the HMBA Trail Status Twitter Feed (which is super-useful BTW) could help Brian out?

All you need for Twitter is your cell phone. It's almost like it was made for your situation.

Check out the HMBA feed here:

http://twitter.com/#!/HMBATrailStatus

Dave G.

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French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2011, 12:10:31 PM »
I understand the frustration that comes with being a race director, even on a small scale like local club runs that I used to do.  Because of that, I don't second guess decisions race directors make.  Everybody has an opinion, good or bad.  My take on the whole deal was since FL is private property, and they had no objection to running the race in those weather conditions, running the race was entirely appropriate.  Racing is racing.  I'm pretty certain that 90% of the riders enjoyed themselves overall, I know I did.  The call probably would have been different if the venue was Versailles, TRTP or Muscatatuck.  

Thanks Brian for your DINO efforts

Dave
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ricdix

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French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2011, 02:18:33 PM »
Brian, well said. I appreciate what you do and understand the stress that comes with coordinating projects/events. My frustrations come from not knowing if the race was a go or no go until it was too late to make the trip. I trust the decision. I have faith in the trail design and construction and believe those that say the majority of the trail will be fine. I just wish we could've been more informed. It sounds like that's being addressed so for that, thank you. Thats all we can ask. And trust me.... I'm not man enough to fill your size 14 shoes. Ha.

deanarammalamma

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2011, 06:28:06 AM »
CRAP CRAP CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bentcrank, Can you re-post your outstanding video? I boned up when I split the topic and lost the post.

Sorry man!
Dno

jerrywr

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2011, 07:35:33 AM »
your decision was well executed and approved by property owners. you did the right thing.   try being a president of the united states- not easy and very stressful.   for those of us who chose not to drive down and race was our own choice.  off to the next venue!

Bentcrank

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2011, 08:18:48 AM »

Traci's HIFI29

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2011, 08:56:04 AM »
That is awesome that your boy did the race this weekend.......he did a wonderful job!!!!! :)
HoosierBiker

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2011, 09:12:31 AM »
Quote
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.

Perhaps whomever set up the HMBA Trail Status Twitter Feed (which is super-useful BTW) could help Brian out?

All you need for Twitter is your cell phone. It's almost like it was made for your situation.

Check out the HMBA feed here:

http://twitter.com/#!/HMBATrailStatus

I think that Brian took the absolutely correct steps and made the right call on the race. My only gripe was with communication. One other advantage of the using the twitter feed is that I believe that you can have it stream into your website, so that you do not need internet access, just cell phone access to update your website. By doing something as simple as a text message, you can keep your racer's updated in multiple forms of media with very little time and effort.

You would have a bunch of happy racers flocking to your race on days when conditions are questionable instead of calling every 5 minutes to get a busy signal on the hotline. It is a good thing that we have a bunch of racers questioning whether or not the trails are too muddy to ride. It means that the masses are educated and caring about being good trail stewards.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 10:37:28 AM by Fett »
Let me help you take advantage of these all time low mortgage rates.  Click here: https://www.mainsourcebank.com/jefffetterer.htm

antslow

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2011, 03:06:04 PM »
It was frustrating looking out the window at 630am trying to decide to chance it or not, weather.com said severe t-storms until noon, so I decided against, sorry I missed out. No fault or blame, weather happens. I realize a lot of work goes into race day and have been in the same spot when a 8am storm hit and we had no way of knowing what was coming, how long it would last and no way to alert everyone if we called it. And even if we did, there would be someone equally mad that they didn't get the message and made the drive - can't please all the people ... so, you do the best you can and move on.

Brian, what if you had a i-phone or crackberry with 3G, could you post something to a DINO facebook page for day-of emergencies? Never know, the way this year is going, we might get snowed out for Muscatatuck.

If not, see ya then!

holzhaus

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2011, 03:59:49 PM »
OK - as the first step I have set up a Twitter account. "DINOseries". This will be used only for race status updates. I will do my best to put it to good use on any questionable race day.

Next, I will work on making it post automatically to facebook and eventually the DINO website. Anyone know how to make a twitter post show up in a FB group, my own status, etc?

So... follow "DINOseries" on Twitter to get any updates.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and understanding. Certainly wasn't fishing for compliments or sympathy, mostly wanted to let you know we understand the frustration and are looking into easier/faster/better ways of spreading the word quickly on race mornings.

Paul_Arlinghaus

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2011, 04:03:58 PM »
For several years in a row, Town Run had less than perfect weather conditions for DINO races.  In those cases, I went to the trail around 6:30 AM to assess the trails.  Keep in mind that leading up to the race, many local racers put in their pay dirt time getting the trail in top shape for the race.  So the trail was in ideal condition to handle bad weather.  Also, many of the local volunteers were looking forward to racing on the home course.  And the non racing volunteers where looking forward to riders who normally don't travel to TRTP getting to see what our trail is all about.  If the race is postponed, many riders who rearranged their non-mtb commitments to be able to race would likely not be able to race on the rain out date.  Rain out dates also always seem to have a trickle effect and end up conflicting with other races, or events.  

On border line days, there really is no perfect answer.  Keep in mind that a well built trail isn't going to be destroyed by borderline condition racing.  It will require some extra volunteer work, but as long as the local racers/volunteers are willing to do post race trail work, then the trail will be no worse for wear in the long run.
  
I always felt that if I said "no" that Brian would cancel the race, and I think one year I talked him out of canceling it.  

Even with the best of decisions, Mother Natures still holds the trump card.  I've been in a number of races where a rain storm popped up out of no where.  And at TRTP, no one expected Hurricane Ike to drop down heavy rain and 60+mph winds in the middle of the sport/expert race.  We had a similar thread after that race from riders concerned that the race damaged the trail.  While there was some work to be done after the race, it bounced back nicely.  

In all cases Brian works with the local volunteers or land mangers to determine if a race needs to be canceled.  No one is in a better position to make the best call than those who work on the trails.  I am glad most of the racing community is respectful of the trails and concerned about racing in bad conditions.  But if the race is on, please feel free to race.  If a race is held in conditions that shouldn't have happened, HMBA and the promoter will work to do better in the future.  This is out door recreation and we are all human, so in hind sight there are many times we would have made a different decision, but we can only try to do our best.

Keep in mind that each trail may have different standards and motivations.  French Lick is private property.  The trail was not built by volunteers.  It was paid for by the resort and they built it to attract people to French Lick.  They also have many other events through out the year and rain dates are tough for them.

State Parks also want to see events draw people to the park to increase gate fees.  Rain dates often interfere with other park events.  The park managers would like to see the events go on as scheduled if at all possible.

Local Parks have a wide range of goals that may or may not support racing.  

So, a rain event that may cancel one race may not cancel a race at another location.  

I have put on a few smaller events (time trials and short track), and they are far more work than most realize.  Add bad weather and they start to really become a Pain.  Putting on a full race series is very difficult.  Brian and Amanda do a great job and are great partners and supporters of HMBA and we are very lucky to have them in Indiana.

Paul

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KevinG

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Re: French Lick 6/17 DINO Race Discussion
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2011, 08:53:08 PM »
Next, I will work on making it post automatically to facebook and eventually the DINO website. Anyone know how to make a twitter post show up in a FB group, my own status, etc?

you can have your twitter feed published on dinoseries.com by following the instructions here:
http://twitter.com/about/resources/widgets/widget_profile

although i haven't used it before, it looks like there is a facebook application that will take you twitter posts and publish them on facebook
http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/
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