Sunday, May 18, 2008

Monsters wrap-up -- from an organizational point of view

Thanks to all the volunteers who showed up to make the race happen. It wouldn't have been possible without you (I know this sounds like an over-used line, but it's literally true: one needs tons of people on race day to keep the event going).

The day started with a major problem: there was a ditch on the course, on the eastbound side of the Midway, between Ellis and Woodlawn. I learned about this on race day, at 5.30am. It's totally my fault that I didn't know: I should've inspected the course a couple of days before. I wish the guys who were distributing "No Parking" flyers would have noticed.

The ditch was about one-foot wide. It was covered with gravel, but the passing cars had scattered the gravel all over the place and there were rocks the size of fists near the ditch.

Fortunately, Mickey Eder saved the day by bringing some wooden planks and taping them to the asphalt to cover the ditch. The sweeping crew promptly removed all gravel and rocks from the course. Big, big thank-you to Mickey.

The second problem arose when the Ida Noyes building manager didn't open the doors of the building by 6.30am, as they had promised (eventually they opened past 7.30). This was a big problem because:
a) The tables and chairs we were going to use were inside
b) We had no access to restrooms

I was prepared for a), by asking Devon to bring our own chairs and table. But I made no preparations for b), and this is my fault again. Lesson: do not trust Ida Noyes Hall again and rent portapotties. This is the second year that this happens. I felt like an idiot when dozens of people kept asking me for a restroom and all I could do was apologize and tell them that the building wasn't open yet. It doesn't matter that you reserve your space with Ida Noyes months in advance, as we did; that you reconfirm your reservation twice on the week of the race, as we did; that you go talk to the manager of the building the day before the race, as we did; that you call the building manager on the morning of the race to ask him to open the building, as we did. None of that guarantees that the building will be open at 6.30. JUST RENT PORTAPOTTIES.

The rest of the day went more or less smoothly. The registration table worked like a well-oiled machine, thanks to Steve and Paul.

The races were slightly behind schedule, as usual, and the officials had to shorten almost all the races. This, I must say, was not really UCVC's fault, since we were ready to go at 7.30 sharp.

I couldn't make sure that every corner marshal was where he/she was supposed to be 100% of the time, but most of the time, I think, they were. Thanks for enduring the boredom of standing on a corner for hours.

The announcer was really good. I love that he started collecting a big prime from spectators for the P/1/2 race. People were really enthusiastic and the money starting piling up fast. I think that Jon actually enjoys himself as announcer. And thanks also to Carly, who was forced to stand in for Jon for the first 15 minutes of the event. I hope some day she'll forgive me.

We had few and minor crashes, so the ambulance was never necessary.

We didn't lose any race sheets. We had an abundance of trash bins near the finish-line tent. The registration table was safe from the wind (can you imagine dozens of banknotes flying across the street?), and we had plenty of change. Basically, things that don't make an event, but avert disaster or the discomfort of the race attendees. Except for the restrooms, of course. Did I mention that WE MUST RENT PORTAPOTTIES next time?

I couldn't watch much of the racing, so I encourage people to write another post with a chronicle.

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