Author Topic: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)  (Read 7460 times)

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Offline Sal Atticum

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This relates to this year's Too Flat, Too Furious 2011, but it should work for just about anything else.  Hopefully this can turn into a helpful guide for the future Race/Event Coordinator for UND Cycling.

Scheduling
This should be pretty simple: when scheduling, do it on a day when the most people can show up and you'll have the best weather and volunteer support.  Don't schedule on a day when UNDCC members would rather be doing another race--the annual END-AR race on Labor Day weekend is the reason we didn't host a mountain bike race last year (however, it would be sweet to have a collegiate division in the 12-hour mtb race this fall...). 

If multiple events are going on and they have to be on the same day, coordinate with the other race directors to promote them as a package, or share supplies and registration, or something similar.  If there are other events going on a week before or after, try to swing some "free entry" deals given away as prizes.

Watch out for hockey games when scheduling things on weekend evenings.

Location, Location, Location
You can't have a race until you have a place to have it.  For road races outside of town, we've used our own judgement and not needed to contact anyone, but for races inside town you need to go through the Grand Forks Public Information Center.  The form has a lot of simple things to figure out before you can submit it, and then they take care of talking to all the relevant authorities (landowners, police, fire, parking, etc.).

For races on UND campus, you ALSO need to contact UND directly using the special events form from Campus Police.

When requesting a location, it is good to have things figured out beforehand: date, time, how many people, etc., and then you should contact the owner/proprietor of that location directly before submitting additional paperwork (this is different for locations like the REA where we want the streets around the outside, in which case we're going through UND and the City directly).  For events on the Greenway, you can contact Kim Greendahl (kgreendahl@grandforksgov.com), who has been a big friend to UND Cycling for the past couple years.

A note on insurance: some locations (like the Greenway) will let you slide on insurance as long as you have a waiver that indemnifies them (and us) in case someone gets hurt, but others (like Turtle River State Park) require proof of insurance for events.  This is a prime reason to go through USA Cycling because insurance is included in the permit, and especially for mountain bike is really cheap.

Things to think about when choosing a location:
* Good riding surfaces for the purpose of the race
* Minimized number of dangerous spots on the course (road intersections, bad trail design, etc.)
* Bathrooms
* Water
* Shelter (including heat if it's balls cold out)
* Registration area available, or place to set up tent and table
* Interesting course
* Able to be found (directions in the race bible are encouraged)
* Close to lodging (less than an hour; ideally less than half an hour)
* Permission
* Place for prize ceremony
* Things we shouldn't do, like urinate on the premises, park on the grass, make too much noise (although this is a deal breaker I think), etc.  Ask if there are special rules of which we may not be aware.  Put these in the race bible too.

Basic Information
Before you can have a race, you need a flyer.  It should have this info on it at minimum.  See attachments for some example flyers (KSU, Marian).
* SPONSORS (names, logos, whatever--just get them on there prominently)
* Date
* Place (that has given you permission)
* Name (make it a good one)
* Entry fee (for each category/collegiate/noncollegiate/etc. if different)
* Registration times and/or online registration information (take into account people who haven't done online reg before)
* Race categories.  See attachment of KSU flyer that has a good setup to mix collegiate and USAC races.
* Starting times for races
* Time of prize ceremony
* Race distances
* Prize list, even if it's just "schwag" or "points"
* Permit number
* Contact information (UNDCC website, message board, email address, phone #, something that will get checked)
* Special instructions (no water on site, no bathroom, no parking here, etc.)
Other information can go into what is called a "race bible," including (but not limited to) the following.  See attached for an example (Purdue).
* Course descriptions
* Course elevation profiles
* Directions to the course and parking
* Nearby (sponsoring?) hotels/motels
* Contact info for whoever is organizing homestays (and deadline for requests)

Budgeting
We've been using an Excel sheet to keep track of budgeting for th past few races and it has worked fairly well to keep track of everything.  Contact me if you'd like to see or use it.
Things to worry about when budgeting:
* Race entry fee - is it high enough to make our money back, yet low enough to entice new riders?
* Cost of prizes (good reason for sponsors)
* Cost of supplies (signs, stakes, tape, race numbers, food for registration) (good reason for sponsors)
* Cost of USAC official(s) including travel, lodging, board, and salary
* Cost of USAC permit, insurance ($3 per rider), and late fees
* Cost of t-shirts or other schwag for racers (Ink, Inc. for shirts is reasonable and also local)
* Percentage back to Race/Event Coordinator
* Percentage guaranteed profit to club

USA Cycling Races
For races sanctioned by USA Cycling:
* This is a good place to start, but a little overwhelming.
* Most important is the Schedule of Fees, which tells you how much it costs to put on a race.
** Watch out for late fees!  Closer than six weeks means late, and close than two weeks means really late!
** For this year (2011), we're running collegiate plus non-collegiate (Class E), so the fee is $25 per day PLUS $100 late fee (or $50 if we get it in before April 1st).


Promotion
You need to promote your race in a way that makes sense to your target audience (although broad-spectrum doesn't hurt, sometimes it's overkill).  If you want to get new kids out riding, advertising on Twitter might now work because they don't follow us; if you want people from Winnipeg to come down, putting up flyers in Gamble isn't going to cut it.  Email shops, email past participants, email current members, post the race to your Facebook status twelve times a day, Tweet every few days (or hours), put up those flyers, mail some to shops, tell all your friends, stop people on the street, anything you can think of to let more people know you have a race going on.

Sending out a press release is something that should happen either a) as soon as the race is on and everything is squared away or b) two weeks before the race (more likely, since it always ends up a problem at the last minute).  Again, see "Promotor Resources" on this page for help with press releases.  Send out a press release after the event too, to let people know that the event went off, it was a huge success, and they missed out if they didn't go.  Examples of pre- and post-event press releases are available at the previous link.

The obvious: the earlier you get stuff squared away, the more time you have to promote, and the more people will show up.

Volunteers
Volunteers are the most important part of a race going off well!  Without extra people (be they club members who are not racing, community members, friends of the club, sponsors, whoever) around to help out, our races would not have been able to go off.  Those of you who have been around have seen this but may not realize how difficult it is to convince people to commit to standing outside for a few hours to watch a bike race.  It's tough!

We need volunteers at races in order to control potentially dangerous situations (e.g., intersections where cars are not expecting cyclists), to help with registration (a volunteer is more focused and therefor better than a frazzled race director), to run errands when we're short on people, to help set up (and take down) the course marking and other supplies we have, to help drive following vehicles when necessary, and generally to cheer on the racers.  If none of those things convince you, maybe you shouldn't be organizing races.

Generally we send out an email to our entire list a few weeks before, as well as contacting directly those people who know different groups to ask for help with the race.  The basics need to be figured out: date, time, place, and how many people needed, but you also need to keep on people about it, especially those who you don't know personally.  We're going to have a hard time of it this year for TFTF on Saturday because of the Newman Center bike ride and The Big Event going on at the same time; these are things that are unavoidable under our current schedule, but in the future we can try to eliminate distractions for potential volunteers.

We have not done free t-shirts for volunteers before, but it wouldn't be a bad thing to work in sometime.  A thank you is always appreciated.

Supplies for Race Day
You will always forget something, and so this list will not be complete.  Do your best.
Registration supplies:
* Table
* Tent
* Numbers
* Waivers
* Prefilled waivers if online USAC registration
* Annual license forms
* Cash box with change
* Paper and markers to make signs
* Pens/pencils
* Clipboards
* Notebook to record start list for each race, including name, number, and category
* Snacks if you want
Course supplies:
* Signs to the course for drivers (a BIG help when you are from elsewhere)
* Sound system if wanted/needed
* Stakes
* Tape (for CX, MTB)
* Signs for riders (left, right, straight, down, up)
* Signs for other people ("race in progress")
* Lap counter/bell
* Wind feather, banner, or start/finish marker of some sort (makes directions much easier)
Post-race supplies:
* Prizes need to be figured out (which to what place) beforehand, then assigned to actual winner in a timely fashion
* Prizes
* Food
* Bags for tape, or some way to clean up quickly (you're hungry and people are leaving and you want to join them)

Master (or Mistress) of Ceremonies
Someone, be it the Race/Event Coordinator, another club/team member, or a celebrity brought in for the purpose, needs to act as Master of Ceremonies.  These duties have been taken by the R/EC or the President before, but could easily be done by someone else with better speaking abilities.  It's fun if you like it, and you might get to use a megaphone or loudspeaker.  This person is usually also in charge of entertainment or music while the races are going on.  If you know a professor who absolutely loves being in front of people you might ask him or her.  Keep in mind that this person usually just needs to talk, and someone else should be made available to relay information to this person (it's hard to listen to updates on the phone and announce at the same time).
Things to be announced:
* Ten-minute warning before each race (call to starting line)
* Last-minute calls for people who haven't showed up
* Any highlights/updates that come in from the road or trail (people finishing up, prime winners, mechanicals, etc.)
* Awards/prizes
* Anything else that people need to know ("Car with license plate . . . please move" etc.)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 03:35:32 pm by Sal Atticum »
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Offline Plantains

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Re: How to Organiza a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 11:58:07 am »
This is excellent. It's nice to see you finally did it after asking me to do it like 30 times. lol!
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organiza a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 11:59:19 am »
It started as a "how to make a flyer for our race weekend" and was only supposed to take 15 minutes.  1.5 hours later...
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Offline Plantains

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Re: How to Organiza a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 02:00:09 pm »
This is a great resource though. It may be something that would be easily adaptable to your website?
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organiza a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 02:21:42 pm »
This is a great resource though. It may be something that would be easily adaptable to your website?
That's a very good point.  It needs more editing, but especially for people who are new to this sort of thing it would still be a good start I think.  Could start some good discussion.
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Offline Alaska Unicyclist

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Re: How to Organiza a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 02:08:35 pm »
great job!
"It never gets easier, you just get faster" - Greg Lemond

Offline Plantains

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 09:46:24 pm »
Hey Beek... as I just mentioned to Jordan. It would be helpful if we could have all of our previous fliers posted with some sort of "expired" or "copyright" type of watermark over them on this thread as well. It would be sort of neat to see how they've progressed and may prove a valuable resource to new peeps trying to model a flier?
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2011, 09:47:04 pm »
That would be good.  I can get on that.
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Offline Plantains

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2011, 10:25:01 pm »
Well someone. I didn't mean to imply you other than that its your thread. Collectible fliers might be cool?
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2011, 08:01:50 am »
Hahahahaha, yes.  Maybe someone will get around to it someday.
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2011, 05:04:16 pm »
Jordan, don't forget we're out of race numbers.  I'm not sure where to get them in town, so you should probably look online at http://rainbowracing.com/ unless RoadID will ship (free numbers) rather quickly.

I also have a box of stuff for you in my office if you want to come get it one of these days.
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Offline Riley

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2011, 05:48:14 pm »
Sweet. That website might be easiest? Do we have safety pins?

Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2011, 08:43:57 pm »
We'll need pins too.  Good thinking.
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Offline Riley

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2011, 09:56:39 pm »
okay sweet. now the question is do we want just plain numbers or sweet custom numbers with UND Cycling on them? I'm not sure how long it takes for the custom ones to be sent out but it would be cool. Thoughts anyone?

Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 11:25:38 am »
We should get sweet custom numbers.

Addendum: In case you get questioned as to why we're running races through USAC, the best response is usually because we get cheap insurance.  After that, you can say advertising, and then maybe something about being part of the national ranking system.  Ideally, though, you can just send people to this document: https://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=6859
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Offline Alaska Unicyclist

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2011, 12:21:33 pm »
sweet custom numbers
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2011, 01:29:35 pm »
Another thing to remember, after looking at the results again from Bikecicle 2011:  If the race flyer doesn't say anything about age categories and people aren't expecting age categories, don't put the age column in the results file for USAC.  It splits up the regular categories by age and then assigns ranking points based on those age groups, not the on the regular categories.

I'm debating whether to try and fix that race with USAC at this point.
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2011, 02:53:29 pm »
Another way to get people involved: waive race entry if they join the club: http://sandwich50.blogspot.com/2010/01/sandwich-50.html
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: How to Organize a Race (including How to Make a Race Flyer)
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2012, 10:44:35 am »
This email is a great example of how to get volunteers: tell them what you need and how many, tell them when to show up, give them as much info as needed so they can commit: http://mad.ly/e1aef2?pact=11188163707&fe=1
JUST EXTRA POLISH. I DO SOME WORK WITH EXCELL SO I KEEP THE CAPS LOCK ON :-P

 

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