Home Shop Classified News, Stories Events Education Ridecamp Videos Cartoons AERC
Endurance.Net Home Ridecamp Archives
[Archives Index]   [Date Index]   [Thread Index]   [Author Index]   [Subject Index]

[RC] State Fair Express - Paul

Well....... We got through it.
First time Ride Manager.
First time Ride
First time for that trail to have an organized competition type of ride.
First time for the basecamp facility to host that type of event.
As near as I can tell, the first time for a ride on a rails-to- trails trail.
Two first time Endurance Vets.
About a dozen first time riders.
Two different state bureaucracies to deal with. (One of which insisted that I was to somehow hand remove all the horse manure from the 25 miles of trail)
Given all that it went great.  No wrecks. No horses treated. The Riders seemed to enjoy it.. We introduced a lot of new people to our sport. We received good publicity from the local newspapers and made a good impression in the communities we passed through. They have all asked us to please come back again. We gave a good impression of our sport to all whose paths we crossed. Those were my goals for the ride, and they were all accomplished. Anything else was gravy.
As for the number of vets, I agree we could have used more. When we were deciding back in January how many Vets to hire, we had to look at ride attendance for spring Rides in our area, and then decide how many Vets we needed. Over the past two years, our area spring rides have had between 13 and 63 riders show up. The average turnout is in the mid 40's total for all distances. I was told a new ride could take a while to get established, and that attendance might be lower than average.  There was also concern that $4.00 fuel might cut into ride attendance.  I bit the bullet anyways and signed up three vets plus four vet students due to graduate next month. That should have easily covered the normal amount of entries we get this time of year.... Or not as it turned out.....
I personally thought we would get more riders than average as my master plan was to promote the ride to non-traditional Endurance Riders. The plan worked.  We did get good attendance . We got about a dozen first time riders. The New Rider meeting was huge. We got four or five new  AERC Members. We had 52  LD riders and 23 start the 50, for a grand total of 75 starters.   
As all Vet checks were out of camp, and the 50's and 25's had a different vet check location, we got slammed. At the finish, we had some traffic jams as the BC judging for the LD riders  was going on, more 25's were still finishing, the first 50's were coming in, while the slower 50's were still coming into their last vet check 18 miles away. We were spread out over a lot of territory. The new vets did good,  but tried to be careful and conservative. That caused them to take a little more time. That is not necessarily a bad thing this early in the year and with so many newbie's. The Head Vet, Dr Jeanie Hauser did great keeping it going as well as possible.
The Riders had good attitudes and were patient with the delays. It went fine.  The general impression I got was that we had a higher smile ratio than the normal ride.
The ride times were interesting as the Head Vet had some concerns that the ease of the trail might lead some riders to go too fast. Finish time for the fastest 25 was 2:27.. The fastest finish for the 50 was 5:13. This was on a cool day, on a perfect surface, over a basically level and straight trail. Decent times but not blazing fast.
I do have one question for other Ride Managers.  I was amazed about how little I knew about what was going on, while it was going on... I had no idea of the exact number of starters (we had 8-10 entries show up the morning of the ride).. I missed the finishes and had no idea who finished 1-2-3 etc, and the ride times...It seemed all I did was run around in circles like a chicken with its head cut off trying to prevent little glitches turning into big disasters.. Here is my question to you: "Is this normal or does it get better the next time?".... Being a RM wore me out more than riding the OD 100 and Tevis...
Paul N. Sidio
Ride Manager
State Fair Express