Friday, June 24, 2011

Dammit Jim, I'm not a doctor...

...I'm a race organizer. Well, tribbles be damned it was an interesting episode Wednesday night, with highs and lows, tears and celebrations, love and danger. Wait! Love and danger???
The lows, unlike shuttle disasters, Stanley Cup riots, hurricanes, and any Kardashian's career don't need to be endlessly hashed out. Suffice to say that we need to take care of eachother out there, always err on the side of caution, and communicate openly and clearly. The summary is that we had a crash in A that probably shouldn't have happened and someone was injured. Details can be found here with a bit of a discussion going on in the comments section. While the corner on it's own wasn't a big problem, situations can develop that require clear communication, quick decisions, and decisive action. While I can't always have guys on every corner and I'm not sure what an inexperienced volunteer could really have done anyway given the speed with which the situation can develop, it is incumbant on the riders to use their knowledge and perspective to marshal themselves to some degree. The experienced people with the knowledge and history to deal with it aren't usually the corner workers, but the ones on the bikes. While it is a race, there is a time to be racey, a time take it easy, and a time to hammer. If safety is at all issue at any time, then it's time to take it easy and everyone needs to do that together. When you're out there, you're one big team. Watch out for eachother like you'd watch out for your best friends.
While that was the crashy part of the evening there was another small incident that actually reflects some of the same principles discussed earlier here. A rider was dropped when he flatted and rode about 11km back to the cars on a flat front, a herculean feat that took about an hour to accomplish. While flats are a natural part of racing, like gravel, rain, and EPO, we need to know clearly if somebody has a problem out there and we'll deal with it. While we swept the course, there was some confusion as to the outstanding rider and somebody else out for a ride was confused for the guy with the flat. It was assumed that the rider had dropped out and gone home. We never heard about the flat. The flatee was riding about a 6 km/h pace that I can assure you is in no way a natural pace. I just ask that if anyone sees a flat or anything kind of issue that then make sure a volunteer hears about it and we'll check it out. I'd rather hear about it ten times than not. While it is hard to keep track of everbody while you're riding, do watch out for your team mates, and don't hang em out to dry. If you do drop out, make sure you check in with somebody and we'll have an account of you. I was out until almost ten looking for the rider and discovered him with his flat about 500m from the parking lot.
My apologies on behalf of the WNS to both riders for their troubles and I'll try my very best to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Finally, If anybody has comments, criticisms, or suggestions, let me know. While we give the series a good effort, I'm sure we could always be better, and I have pretty thick skin.

5 comments:

Callum said...

Jamie,

Thanks for all of your efforts, and for your very thoughtful comments both here and on the Speed Theory Blog.

Would it be helpful in future to have early finishers do a sweep of the course in their cars while you man the finish line.

I could have easily done that this week and would be willing to do so in the future.

Callum

Spirogeek said...

I agree. The big stress is always safety and somebody getting hurt. While we did sweep the course and I did it a second time, we confused another rider for the missing rider. The problem was partly that we didn't know who we were exactly looking for. We thought there was somebody outstanding but we were perplexed as we had two riders who didn't sign in but rode so my counts were off on the first lap. The second problem was that we had a couple of retirements that didn't check in so my numbers were further out of whack. I need to keep better track of who is in the race, and who drops out so that I know exactly who I'm looking for. I have to account for everbody. That's my mea culpa and I'll try hard to fix it for next time.

Jamie

mikehealy said...

Jami, what week would you like me and ST to host a race? You can email me at mikehealy at shaw dot ca.

lewisgitelman said...

Re keeping count, The List could be double checked just prior to each group starting to ensure riders match the list.

lewisgitelman said...

re the extra riders, The List could be double checked prior to each group starting against whose actually queued up in each group.