By Jon Hornbeck
Event Building 101 is an ongoing web column to give you the tools to create your very own cycling event. We will follow and show all the backend work that leads up to putting on an event with this years Spandex Stampede events. With our second edition we go through picking a date on the calendar and your event venue.
With our next installment of Event Building 101 we go into our next phase of building your event. Our first two installments we covered the aspects of building your event with picking the time of year on the calendar and the host venue of your event. Once you have settled those two aspects you must now look to get your route dialed in.
In the scheme of things one of the biggest factors of a good event is your route. I have done many events where the route is just awful, littered with many stop lights and bad choices of roads to use. A smooth fun route though can make all the difference. You want to think of your course of running in a clockwise direction. The more right turns you can make the better. The less left hand turns where you have to divert riders to cross over lanes is an easier job on your participants and also better for signage lay out. Of course you will have to make some left hand turns at some point so be sure to look for safest options where you can keep your riders safe and have a smooth transition of crossing over the road.
With your route direction in mind your next hurdle is what kind of route are you going to make in difficulty level. It’s becoming very popular nowadays for the hard man, tough long rides with well over a hundred miles and 10K + feet of climbing. These rides are good but there are plenty of them out there. Also with the longer rides you need to think of how long your slower participants will be out there. This all will add up to making your event go very long into the day. With the longer routes you will need to look into implementing cut off times at certain parts of your course.
With the SPNDX events we look to make them on the shorter side to allow people to have a good ride but really enjoy themselves after. This goes into account for the very nice venue which we use. We want people laughing and telling stories about their ride over a drink and not having to get picked up off the ground.
With SPNDX Gravel vol. 1 we look to take advantage of the plethora of gravel/dirt roads through out Temecula wine country. Though there are some paved roads it’s on the lesser side with maybe ten miles out of the 50 mile route. The route is one large clockwise route which offers many ups and downs yet you won’t be out there all day. With it being a gravel route you really don’t have too much to worry about with lights and traffic. With the gravel route though course marking is particularly important. Using arrows doesn’t work too well as there aren’t many places to put them. Last year what worked well were small flags in the ground and using spray paint to put arrows leading up to the turns. You can also have a GPS route available for download. You want to make it so it’s very hard to get lost on your course. Taking the wrong turn and ending up where you shouldn’t be is a sure way to make your participants angry. I’ve been there plenty of times with fondo style events which I’ve done in the past.
Now that you’ve got your route made; I use Strava to make mine, you must submit it into the country or city for approval. Looking at your route on a map you need to see which counties you run through and/or cities. This can be a smooth process or a painful process. You want to get a start on this months in advance as from personal experience you don’t hear back as quickly as possible. The county/city is going to look at a safety perspective on approving your route. The amount of riders you have also will decide how big your permit fee may be. We’ve had to completely change our routes in the past to go in line with the county. Fortunately for us we only use one county and no city with our route only going through Riverside county. Working within a city will be more costly for you as well, at least from my personal experience. Do be friendly with these officials though as they can make your event very difficult if they feel the need to.
Event Building 101: Intro
Event Building 101: Calendar & Location