2014 - Deer Trail Road Race

Race is Postponed - Full Refunds if you can't make the new date
Weather went from bad, to Epic, to Dangerous for riders, officials and volunteers. Rain, 40s and 25 to 35mph Winds (with gusts to 40mph)

Registration Closes Friday evening, at Midnight, April 25 or when categories fill up.

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Date: 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

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55 Comments

it snowed sideways at

it snowed sideways at Candelas and there was 30-40mph wind and we had 5 people in our field but CU Cycling held it anyway. The difference being they had to hold their event owing to collegiate conference requirements.

honestly the collegiate races have kicked butt this year, it's too bad CU got shafted by weather at Candelas because the venue is pretty sweet.

I remember the Uni Hill Crit

I remember the Uni Hill Crit a few years ago put on by WOL. It was snowing on half of the course and freezing rain on the other half in the morning. Our field sizes were tiny, but the show went on. I'm pretty sure the promoter lost a ton of money that day with city road closures etc. Deer Trail is dying the same death as Hugo did two years ago with no accountability on the part of BRAC. They won't penalize a race for cancelling, but racers will penalize them by not attending the following season. Does anyone remember Barry Lee in 2013 putting two races on the calendar that never happened? I'd like to hear some solutions from promoters and club leaders who promoter races?

Anybody want to step up with a new road race???

Did you see that the last day of BRAC Junior Camp was cancelled due to snow. So, BRAC would need to penalize themselves. This is Colorado, stuff get's cancelled due to weather. Three CCTTs last year. Remember the year Koppenburg got postponed/cancelled three times?
I was very glad not to drive the hour out there to just get sent home. A few races will get everybody to line up, start and then cancel it, just so they can keep the riders money. I already got a refund from Deer Trail. Remember Deer Creek Century and their lack of refunds.

Yea, no more Uni Hill Crit due to all the money they lost running it only 100 riders. Too bad, it was a good race when it was dry. I skipped it that day, as I like my body in one piece.

Hoping somebody comes up with some new road races. BRAC is very thin on the road races. Anybody want to step up with a new road race???

Hoping somebody comes up with

Hoping somebody comes up with some new road races. BRAC is very thin on the road races. Anybody want to step up with a new road race

The problem is that holding road races in the Front Range is both expensive and logistically challenging. Forget any kind of real profit; most local / club promoters who put on bike races in this area are struggling to break even after all their various fees are paid. Here is a sample of the many obstacles road race promoters have to deal with here (n.b. I promoted a couple road and crit series ages ago back East):

Rider preferences. For an amateur mass start race to have a decent turnout on the Front Range, it has to hit a number of "sweet spots" of rider preferences, in no particular order:
1) It has to be less than an hour's drive from major metropolitan centers.
2) It can't have too much dirt or be too flat or too hilly.
3) The weather has to be perfect (n.b. if races back East cancelled for bad weather/low turnout/bad karma/whatever justification as often as out here, they'd pretty much never have bike races.)
4) It has to be familiar / well-known (first year events never seem to have good turnouts here).
5) it has to be a "Cup" or series points event; barring that it needs some kind of decent prize list (c.f. Bannock, Wheels of Thunder).

Infrastructure. There isn't a high density of suitable rural roads for road racing in the Front Range, particularly not close enough in to major metropolitan areas to limit drive times. Most of your paved roads, even the rural routes, are main county roads that connect a number of communities (e.g. CR23 in Larimer County). This means they are too busy to hold a safe race on using open roads / yellow line rule, which is the cheapest and easiest way to hold an event. Most of the secondary routes here are dirt, narrow poorly-maintained chipseal or else dead end up the side of a mountain, so it's not easy to create a safe circuit course from them. You also need adequate space for parking, restroom facilities and a staging area for the start/finish. Can you sometimes get away with half-assing this stuff if you're running a small event in a very rural area that only sees 150 entries? Maybe. However, for the bigger events that see north of 500+ entries, particularly considering junior participants, absolutely no way. Things like safety and resident perception become major, major concerns if you want to keep your permit for subsequent years.

Municipal permits and police. Municipal permits are expensive and difficult to obtain here. Most permit approvals require police presence at every major intersection, meaning you have to pay them an hourly rate, and it's not their normal rate but overtime pay. Not to mention in this particular region there are a huge number of other events competing for permits on the limited road space we do have. Every weekend from April 1 - October 1 is a snarl of competing triathlons, footraces and charity rides. And, bottom line, why hold an event where you're going to lose money owing to things like high permit costs, police fees or EMTs. I was told we would basically never get Stazio again past April 1st as the hourly cost to rent all of the ball fields for the race duration now has to be included in the permit package during softball season. Haystack is only marginally profitable because the costs for police are so high. The current administrative / political climate in Larimer County coupled with some very restrictive local bicycle code pretty much guarantees you won't see many mass start open road races there. Gebhardt/Carter was required to be run so early because it's before the marina opens (traffic concerns).

As far as solutions for some of this, I think races like Candelas and Superior show where future potential lies as these are venues with good community involvement and road infrastructure that lends itself to either easy closure (very wide 4/6 lane boulevards in Superior) or low traffic / low impact detours for the residents (Candelas). I can think of other communities (Erie, Louisville, Niwot) that might have similar potential for a circuit race format. Granted, that's not "long road courses" but it's better than another office park criterium. The main challenge is that holding these sorts of events takes a lot of promoter outreach and community buy-in to pull off, and most cycling clubs just don't have that kind of expertise and bandwidth from a volunteer event director. So this indicates professional promotion, not to mention a tie-in like a community festival (Superior) or other community-specific alignment (Candelas is marketed as an outdoor recreation community so holding cycling events fits their business model).

tl;dr: it is neither cheap nor easy to put on a road race. There's also a lot that goes into bike race promotion that Joe Cat 5 will simply never understand. I'm pretty sure this is one of the main drivers behind why cyclocross is growing so much in this region; the comparative low cost, simplicity and ease of promotion are tough to ignore.

honestly I think one thing

honestly I think one thing that could help would be for the promoters and participants at "edge case" events like Gebhardt / Carter to provide good positive feedback to the municipal decision makers involved. Particularly in Larimer County where the prevailing attitudes inform the people in charge of approving the permits that "yeah, no, bike racers are a pain in the ass and a controversial political liability", even little things like a thank you card from a constituent can go a long way towards smoothing the waters for next year's event. I made sure to talk to the police and thank them for helping out at the event when I was there, and it seemed like the event directors already have plans for better finish line logistics at next year's race, assuming it goes forward.

More Road Races

Your input is greatly appreciated. We do need more road races... and support for road races. Colorado has grown up in some pretty funky ways, housing developments have sprung up in the middle of nowhere. Courses that were once open road are now speckled with driveways and roads. Also, a huge point of interest (this one works in all different directions), the squeaky wheel gets the grease. A single off-put, vocal resident can wreck a good/great thing. At a recent race I witnessed riders (who had finished at least five minutes earlier) slowly creeping down a main street of the host town, a local Harley rider lady (on a tri-cycle) rode up behind the riders, honked her horn and swore like a sailer (a really dirty, really mean one, did I mention really hateful?). I passed the riders, kindly suggested single file, and mentioned that they hadn't made that local happy. The response I received was, "I DON"T CARE." Riding our bikes on these roads (within the law) is a right, taking them over for a race is a privilege. We, as cyclists, have to respect this privilege and serve as ambassadors for all cyclists to these communities if we hope to ever borrow their roads for our sport. I'm a 100% certain that cyclists have a right to use the roads, I also 100% know that we do not own 100% of the roads. We need to earn our turns (stolen from skiing).

On a separate note, we may need to travel beyond 303 if we hope to have legendary races. The Colorado Mini-Classic held in and around Silt, Colorado this weekend pretty much nailed the racer experience. Quality competition, courses, and community. The trip was pretty manageable and the rides were extraordinary. If you want more road races, give me a call, let's make it happen.

Colorado Mini-Classic

We took our Junior to Silt for the Mini Classic. As Boups mentioned, Silt was a solid venue, and really underscores the fact that getting out of the 303 might be the key to inking more road events.

The course was interesting and challenging, the volunteers effective at controlling traffic, and the community seemed happy enough with their "guests". in our estimation the result was a safe and fun three-day road event. FWIW, we spent about $400-500 in and around Silt that weekend and our son had a solid racing experience. Isn't that the goal? Community wins, participants win. Hat off to everyone involved.

Now, at the risk of ruffling feathers, Boups's comment about rider etiquette struck a chord with me. I think the friction that exists between drivers and cyclists (at least in Boulder County) is fueled from both sides, and the outcome is not making it any safer for children or adults riding on the road in any setting, be it racing, training, commuting, whatever. Here's to _actively_ cultivating a more simpatico relationship all around.

ok so here's your daily

ok so here's your daily controversy: one of the best bike races I've ever done in Colorado was the one time they held a crit up in Cripple Creek. It was all kinds of awesome, the course was fantastic and the locals were WAY into it - they were lining the course 5 and 6 deep most of the way along Main St just to watch the Cat 4 men and women's races. And the reason they were way into it was because a bunch of the locals and tourists were stepping out of the little casinos all along the course to ask about the riders, get some inside tips, and then make side bets on the outcome. I thought it was fantastic - all these folks were actually interested in learning about criterium rules and tactics. I know this sounds cynical or whatever but it's probably the only way to really make cycling popular ever again. In fact, the last time cycling was wildly popular as a mass market pastime in the States was NOT the Lance era actually, it was way back in the Madison Square Garden era of the 1890s-1900s when betting on track racers was legal and seen as harmless fun, like betting on the ponies. Then prohibition and the mob era hit and gambling was demonized as a dangerous vice.

They gamble on Keirin racing in Japan, and on 'cross races in Belgium and this probably informs the popularity of both disciplines in their respective countries - any 'cross race you go to in Belgium there are bookies with chalkboards standing around taking 1 and 2 euro bets. I think they even limit on-site amounts to keep it in the realm of "entertainment" and not "hard gambling". I see no problem with this since it's about as serious as kids playing penny poker, but it's the kind of thing that would never pass here in this day and age and raise no end of fuss about ethics and whatever but c'est la vie.

I raced that crit and slid

I raced that crit and slid through a few corners. It helped me sharpen up my East Coast rainy-crit skills which had been languishing ever since I moved out here.

take it from someone with lots of experience: crashing in a cold, rainy spring crit is considerably less traumatic than you'd expect - you don't get anywhere near as much road rash since the coefficient of friction is so much lower on wet tarmac that you basically just slide along it, and you've got more layers on anyway, so there's more protection. Typically you just get your kit dirty and take a free lap. Racing in the rain is actually pretty fun.

For better or worse cycling

For better or worse cycling is one of the only sports that has events run by clubs. Mountain biking, triathlon, obstacle races, marathons are all run by businesses in competition with each other to keep upping the ante. Having raced many different types of events over the past 20 years it's clear that road cycling is stuck in the mud with this model. No local associations for marathons, triathlons, and mountain biking but those scenes continue to thrive. #justsaying

Not exactly. Lots of cycling

Not exactly. Lots of cycling events are run by promoters, but they're typically charity rides and/or Gran Fondos. These events do super well. Road racing under the USAC model, not so much.

I read just this morning that the UCI is looking at getting more involved in the Gran Fondo movement. One thing I'll predict, the Gran Fondo movement will lose a large chunk of it's rank and file participants if the bulk of the current road racers turn to Gran Fondos instead of USAC races.

......"I know of a few clubs

......"I know of a few clubs that have put on events that do more than break even. Perhaps it would be great to get them together to generate a list of best practices and share that with other clubs interested in putting on a race."

This is a great idea, most of the people involved have other jobs/lives and in the true spirit of camaraderie, meeting to share best practices, etc. would raise the level of all of the races. Great idea!

Great news

Now that June 21 opened up on the calendar, Deer Trail is taking the spot on the calendar AND is now the Senior RR championships. This should bring enough racers for Swift to break even, maybe even profit a bit.

Muy excellent.

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