Questions on hosting a race

Anyone have any experience? Tips?

There’s a deal with RenoCX that every year, state champs bounce back and forth from N. NV to S. NV and we’re up. The guy who had been doing the S. NV ones has taken a step back and we’re up to bat.

We’ve never thrown a race before and don’t want to get in over our heads, but we want to do this.

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Hosting a race can be serious business.
Who is going to ride in your race?
How big do you want it to be?
Where do you want to host the race?

You may need insurance so get a hold of a lawyer and get that disclaimer verbiage going

It will be mostly the gorup of racers from here in town, a few handfuls of people from northern Nevada, some people from Southern Utah, and maybe some people from AZ/CA because it will be usac.

I want it to be big, but not huge. Really depends on feedback.

Got somewhere in mind. The Mayor and a City Councilmen of North Las Vegas have expressed interest in hosting such an event to the local shop they frequent.

Insurance for the event would likely be through USAC. The rates don’t seem terrible, but, then again, I have no prior knowledge of what they ought to be.

Location is the most important/most difficult to secure. I guess y’all don’t have to worry as much about utter destruction in rain. And my issue was finding a place I could serve beer (as it was going to be part of the brewery series).
Many series use the same timers and USAC officials, so that stuff is usually a set cost you can figure out ahead of time.
It sounds like USAC is the easiest to do for insurance. I mean, that is basically all they are these days. WV enduro/WV mountain bike association started working with USAC for insurance help with their NICA.

Then get someone working on sponsors. See if you can serve foods/drinks there. Those are always a fun bonus for cross races.

Racers want food, so make sure you contact a couple of food trucks ASAP. The ones here get booked up on the weekends like 2 months out.

Setting up our course took a surprising amount of time. It took us about 6-10 hours to set our poles the day/night before, and then like 3-hours the day of the race. The Cat 5 folks were nervous when they showed up and the tape wasn’t up. It came down to the wire.

Tearing down the course ALSO takes a lot of time. At our races specific teams run races. If you can partner with another team, tear down goes a lot faster. You help tear down their race, they help tear down yours.

Pay the way for the ladies, first timers, and/or out-of-state-ers. We covered the cost of entry, so women and first-timers only had to pay for a 1-day license. We also gave discount codes to out-of-staters. It drove a lot of participation.

If you can time it or place it with another event (a farmer’s market, for instance) it will draw spectators by default.

Make sure your big features are spread out evenly throughout your race. Don’t load them all into the same place. Advertise your features, too.

A popular thing for the series’ around here is to offer free entries in exchange for volunteering the rest of the day.

I tried to think up all the questions I had about how to race when I first started, and answered those questions for any potential new people. Catering to new people will make things easier for even the most seasoned racers.

Get a list of volunteers with email addresses together. Volunteers can help repair the course, direct people where to start, help with registration and numbers, etc.

As somebody who frequently screws up the difference between right and left, I created this illustration to help folks understand where to put their numbers. Post them on the bathroom doors. When people are looking at the illustration, they’ll instantly understand where the numbers need to be.

Our races require a technical guide. Feel free to read through this to get an idea of what is involved:

It’s not helpful now, but we put together a video that we’re gonna use to promote the race this year. Consider getting footage from this year to use as future promotion:

You could also do a “trailer.” Even something a simple as the opener to this Land Run video would go a long way towards generating excitement:

good advice so far. securing a venue is always the hardest and most time consuming part - it sounds like you might have some political will on your side so that’s great, but depending on whether you’re in a public park or private property/what sort of municipality you’re dealing with/etc, getting permits lined up can take months. especially true if you’ll have food trucks on hand, and especially especially true if there will be beer involved. get on those things ASAP. there’s lots of peripheral things that are important to the race day experience, but ultimately i think course quality is the one thing you have to get right above the rest to keep them coming back next year. can’t tell you how many races i’ve seen fizzle at venues with great potential because whoever designed the course farmed it.

years of racing will have taught you most of what you need to know for a successful day-of, but nonetheless:

  • have your best volunteers on registration/results. best if they have lots of race experience.
  • run your tape the day before when stakes go down, just down low so animals/wind don’t fuck it up overnight. it takes two people 20 minutes to raise it day of, and racers can pre-ride as they work. one wrap, stay out of the hooks in the stake. you’ll thank yourself.
  • stay hella on top of parking for the first 3 hours or so. after that you can move volunteers to course maintenance or doing their afternoon races or whatever.
  • go spend 2-3 days riding at the venue with trusted buds to brainstorm course design. seek out quality input from others but don’t let it devolve into committee rule lest things grind to a halt.
  • give some prioritization to where you’ll direct teams to set up tents and how accessible they’ll be during course design process.
  • open up the afternoon the day before to racers who want to do early pre-rides. they’ll help you identify problem spots/corners/etc on the course and often end up pitching in. your course will ride much better on race day for it.
  • it’s super important to stake/tape your corners right. get a rope and knot off minimum course width and a few other knots at regular intervals past that to use as a tool at the apex to set up good increasing/decreasing radius turns as the course demands.
  • don’t flyer people’s cars at other races. DO flyer up porta pot doors, on the other hand.

that’s enough for right now. are you part of a local series or is this a stand-alone event?

For the state champs, it’s a stand alone event. for the other stuff we’re trying to do (which will not be usac), they will be part of a series with Southern Utah.

Well, we are going to have a meeting setup with the mayor and some people in city council.

I spoke to the guy in NNV and how he explained it, it is pretty simple outside of nailing down the location.

Since we are partnering with the series in SUT, she will be driving down and running timing and for the price of gas + hotel we get use of all her equipment/supplies.

This might shape up.

A thought on course design: create a course that forces racers to make decisions about line choice. Having a neat idea about a feature is cool, but if you route it so that there’s only one line (usually by making the course too narrow) riders will only see a choke point instead of a cool challenge. Make sure there is room for passing in technical sections so that someone with more skill in that area can pass someone who may be stronger overall but can’t corner, can’t handle roots/mud, doesn’t know when to dismount and run etc. Roadie influenced design is a big problem. There should be sections of straight, wide open course, but if it’s just a bunch of fast bits connected by big sweeping turns that require no skill, the strong roadies will have a big advantage.

Spirals are dumb, boring and no one really likes them (atmo).

spirals suck. ATEO

ATMO don’t forget about the spectators. Good spots to watch the action, food truck and refreshment locations, porta-johns, and well thought out and staffed course crossings really help the experience of those watching the races.

We have a huge 11-day race series that business district should bid for. They pull a lot of spectator stuff because it’s treated like a block party that incidentally also has a bike race.

Pulling in non-racing spectators for cross is harder because most of the time you’re not in a business district. BUT if you can put your event in a location that naturally has another draw (a farmer’s market or beer garden, for instance) you can attract a bigger party.