Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moose Cross from an organizer's view

Peeto is setting the bar high for race annoucing at Moose Cross

A good team is always stronger than its individual members and our Moose Cross team proved that again this year. I am proud to work with such a passionate and close-knit group to promote diverse cycling opportunities here in Victor. This was my second year as Co-Organizer and Course Director (fancy title for chief shovel guy, re-bar pounder, and course-marker) and this post is from my organizer’s view of the weekend.

A quick word on why we do it. Every cent of profit generated by our cyclocross races goes back into Victor Velo and specifically the Victor Bike Park. We try to make our races affordable and attractive for both locals and the traveling racers.

We didn’t penalize folks for registering the day-of so our pre-registration numbers were not that great. Therefore, we didn’t really know what to expect on race day. I got to venue early to setup the timing tent, the PA system, the generator, and finish a few course markings, and it was alarmingly quiet. But as our first race approached the parking lot swelled and most of the 107 adults who would race on Saturday were out and about. The grand stands were filling up, people were in lawn chairs on the grass section, and others positioned themselves on the infamous double-barrier to run-up section hoping to witness carnage. There were people everywhere and it was awesome!

The kid’s race was again a highlight of the day and this year we broke it out into two separate races. The first race, the Tiny Tots, was for the wee little ones on the strider bikes and training wheels. We set up a short grass course with two tiny logs for barriers and a “ride around” option. Every tot who raced got a bright yellow Moose Cross cowbell. The under 12 race was half a lap and was at least 30 strong. We had serious little cross racers as well as little ones on BMX bikes with full-face helmets. They all got cowbells too.

As racers began to pre-ride I overheard positive comments on our improved course and this made all of the hard work worth it. There were some excellent adult races and an especially strong women’s field comprised of Montana’s and Idaho’s heaviest cross hitters. The largest field of the day belonged to the Men’s 4/5 race where 32 men lined up and the race came down to a sprint for the top three. With half a lap to go it was anyone’s race and hearing our two MCs go nuts on the PA while the tactics unfolded really got the crowd into it. Pulling out the win was our own Gabe “Fiddee Cent” Klamer. Speaking of the PA system, we were able to raise our PRO level up a notch thanks to Andy Williams at Grand Targhee who loaned us their sweet Peavy Amp & speakers. We were rockin’.

Mike Piker navigates the "Grassy Knoll"

Once Saturday’s racing was over the fun was just beginning and we entered a new phase of the Moose Cross weekend. We quickly moved from the park to Pierre’s Playhouse, an old-time theatre in downtown Victor, for awards, pizza & beer, and video highlights from the day. Yeah, that’s right…video highlights from the day. We had a determined film crew of three volunteers scrambling around all day capturing video footage and madly editing to create an eight minute highlight video that had Pierre’s Playhouse cheering. Greatness. The top three racers in each category accepted their prizes on the stage, in front of the packed theatre, on our homemade podium of giant stumps. 35 pizzas and a keg of beer later, the evening was winding down and racers began to think about Sunday’s races.

Our own marquee welcome

Saturday's Elite Men's podium

Pierre's was built in the 1940s and was an original Paramount Theatre

Fitzy teammate, new dad, cross nutjob, and I/O Bio Merino Director of Marketing, Tim Kelley

Sunday’s racers numbers were down a bit from Saturday but a drastically different Day 2 course kept the racers from getting bored. We eliminated the far end of the Day 1 course and chose to weave the course through two ball fields closer to the Start/Finish line and this made for a spectator friendly course. It also resulted in a course that favored a powerful rider as the spongy grass was relentless on the legs.

Elite cross'r Sam Krieg, who is nursing a hurt shoulder, decided to give it a go on Sunday and unleashed his fury on the Men’s 1/2/3 field and took the win. Sam always brings great energy to an event and his compliments were greatly appreciated. Heal up fast Sam!

Sunday night, while details were still fresh in my head, I created a Google Doc for Moose Cross Post-Race Notes and jotted down improvements/ideas for next year. I had moments before the race where I swore I would never put on another race but once it all comes together it is magic and I love the feeling of giving back to cycling.

I think we lost some spectators to the Church on Sunday, but the stoke level was still high

A sincere thanks to everyone who supported Moose Cross this year!

1 comment:

Mark H said...

It was a very fun event - thanks to you and all who put in the hard work. I'll be back next year for sure!