Wacky Promoter Weekly

Let's get this out of the way -- this will be a post complaining about some promoters. If you're the kind of person who has trouble differentiating between "specific criticism of someone's actions" and "attack on all promoters by a naive and thankless racerhead," you may want to skip this one.

Ok. Let's get started with the Bradbury Mountain Enduro. It's a 30-mile, one lap, Le Mans start mountain bike race that was supposed to happen on July 27th. It's been around for a while and I've heard some good reviews, so I was planning on checking it out.

Then, around mid-June, it got canceled, citing land-access issues. Ok -- that sucks, but I can deal with it. Hopefully the weirdos who register for things 2 months in advance on BikeReg got their money back.

The real wackiness got started this weekend at Mount Snow when some random guy in the woods told me it was back on. Not being one to trust random spectators with beer, I headed to the internet. And behold, a search turned up a thread on the MTBMind forum proclaiming the return of Bradbury, complete with a letter from the race organizer that was sent out to the MMBA list. An excerpt:


There has been a premature report about the cancellation of the Bradbury race.
...
We got the permit from the State… all signed and official like...

It’s on.
Details will be up online very quick.


Oh sweet! Let's go race bikes! I couldn't find any of these "online details" just yet, but no matter.

But then, only a four days after that post, we have another letter from the promoter:


But as much as I tried to generate some buzz and
get folks interested in reviving this one, I got very little reply. No
reaction. I think about 3 active racers emailed me, and one called....

I'm out. I think the XC thing has mellowed a bit and I'm not sure
there's enough interest...


Whaaaaaa?

Maybe there's some backstory I'm missing here, since I only know what I read online. But unless I'm missing something, it basically went like this:

1) Promoter announces race is on.
2) No one calls about race over a four day period, that just happens to coincide with Nationals
3) Promoter cancels race.

I don't know about you, but when I hear "there's a race happening" I don't immediately call the promoter to tell him I'm coming -- I just plan to show up. So I don't know what kind of response this guy was expecting, especially since 90% of the racers in New England were at Mt Snow without internet during that time. Anyway, I'll stop beating the dead horse now, but if you're going to run a race contingent on racers RSVP'ing, you might want to tell them that.

Of course, un-canceling and re-canceling a race isn't the only way you can qualify as a wacky promoter. You could also schedule your non-series-affiliated race on a weekend when both of the New England Series have races. That's right -- New England mountain bikers have 3 choices this Sunday, a classic EFTA race near Boston, a Root 66 series race in Western Mass, or some six-hour thing in Pittsfield, VT.

Come on dudes. There's a lot of people around who would give a six hour race, on good trails, with good prize money a shot, but those same people are the ones who race a lot. And if you race a lot, you probably tend to go to most EFTA's or most Root 66's, so you're already booked this weekend. And even if you aren't one of those series-junkies, you're likely to choose a race based on travel distance, so backwoods Vermont will lose out anyway for CT/RI/MA residents, aka "Most of New England's population."

I know there's a lot of factors that go into scheduling a race you're promoting, but shouldn't people showing up be your primary concern? Know your racers, and know what events you're up against, and let that drive your schedule. It's a lot easier to draw people as the only choice than it is to out-promote your event over someone else's... especially if they're already hooked into a series.

Promoters are awesome, but sometimes they are wacky, which is why I must comment on it. If you're an offended promoter, ask yourself, "am I wack?" If you are, stop it! If you aren't, then I wasn't talk about you anyway.

Postscript:

Since I wrote this (7/27) and published it (8/1) the Peak Adventures Six-Hour race got rescheduled to August 24 due to "torrential rains." Uh-huh, I'm sure the rain had a lot to do with it, and the mere 21 preregistrants was just a coincidence. But hey, better late than never! Hopefully the new date will help attendance and confirm that I am always right.

AND, on top of that, the Root 66 race got canceled/uncanceled, because the guy that runs that felt like he wasn't being wacky enough... I guess.
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