Life as a Race/Event Coordinator

I was recently (last month) elected to be the Race/Event Coordinator for the UND Cycling Club. This is a position I’ve more-or-less held in some capacity for the past few years, since I’ve been trying to get more events happening ever since I got hooked up with the club back in 2008. Now that I can someday put this on my resume (ha!), I’m taking it more seriously, but at this point I’m receiving more help than opposition than any time in the past.

I intend to add “event coordinating” to the list of things I blog about here. Over the next year you will be subjected to the problems I encounter, the triumphs of successfully navigated paperwork, and hopefully even some good feedback about what else can be done in Grand Forks for this organization and others.

One of my inspirations in this pursuit is Andy Magness, director of END Racing, choreographer of the only adventure racing in the state, and top-notch yoga instructor. If I can get to the point where I can orchestrate an event with half the participants, half the sponsors, half the press, and half the general excitement surrounding it of any of the events Andy has organized over the last few years, I’ll be flying high.

As someone who is naturally not outgoing, event coordinating is a big deal to me for that reason: I have to interact with people, I have to know what’s going on, and I have to think of things nobody else does, answer questions that nobody would ever come up with, and do it all with volunteers who would much rather be racing than volunteering (but we’re working on that this year; I’m committed to this role, even if it means I don’t get to participate in the ‘cross series [beginning Halloween in Riverside Park], the icebike series [announcement coming soon!], or even another collegiate road race weekend).

Most importantly, I need to be able to take the (sometimes nebulous) ideas presented by club members and turn them into a workable event. The best mind we’ve had for this is Dave Cardarelli, who will finally be graduating this December. Whether we’ve been organizing UND’s 2010 NCCCC road race weekend (complete with conference criterium championships), alleycat races that aren’t boring, or Grand Forks’ first ever (?) icebike race, Dave has either known what to do or shouted the rest of us down when we disagreed, which generally amounts to the same thing. Now that I’ve got this role on my shoulders, I hope I can measure up.

So far this fall I’ve been in contact with more people than ever to get some last-minute fall events into place and think about the future:

  • We’re starting a three-race cyclocross series (UND’s Fall Classic, to be expanded next year) on Halloween. Instrumental in the planning of this race so far have been my geology colleague Ted Bibby as well as Dave; so much so that I have yet to visit they race course they’ve supposedly devised, even though I’ve delivered a map to the city with our request for a special events permit.
  • For the long term, I’ve been working with riders in Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Winnipeg to organize a winter icebike series next February, as well as keeping in contact with Andy Magness to make sure we won’t interfere with END-IT (which as scheduled stands to be the light at the end of the tunnel of a month of winter racing if all goes to plan).
  • It hasn’t been nailed down yet whether we’ll be hosting “Too Flat, Too Furious” again next spring, but if our roster expands as much as I hope it will, we shouldn’t have a reason not to (more riders, in my mind, means a larger volunteer pool and more people invested in making sure the event goes off without a hitch). We’ll be talking about this down the road as people start dropping like flies around January.
  • We failed to organize a late summer mountain bike series this year (although getting a ‘cross series in before the snow is a nice bonus), but I hope to get it rolling for sure in mid-August: six weeks of mountain bike racing at Turtle River State Park followed by six weeks of cyclocross (which could alternate between TRSP and the Grand Forks Greenway, to say nothing of finding a friendly farmer who will let us use a cornfield).
  • Beyond? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves 🙂

As a final note, this isn’t about me: it’s about the club and what we can do for people in Grand Forks. Cycling, running, and even adventure racing events have been on the rise since I moved here in January 2006. I intend to make this trend continue, so if you have any ideas for events, improving events, or collaborating, get in touch.



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