“If you want to get rich quick and live a relaxing life you should promote bike races”, said no one ever.
The Kansas Cycling Association would like to thank our local race promoters for the tireless, and often thankless work, they do. Many of us have no knowledge of the months of work and planning that goes into putting on an event so we thought we’d outline those activities from a high level in hopes of a greater appreciation of our local promoters.
Venue: Finding a venue for a race is getting harder, especially for road races and state championship length time trials. While there remain good rural options, it is sometimes difficult to entice the new or causal racer to drive hours away. Urban courses have become more scarce as property owners are leery of lawsuits arising from personal injury, community leaders oppose the event or the course presents safety concerns for racers. It’s actually amazing that any races happen at all. Promoters spend a lot of time driving and riding potential courses, envisioning where barriers may be placed, working with the layers within a city government to secure permitting, drawing up a plan and so on.
Sponsors: Unless you’ve been under a rock the past two years, many of the small businesses the cycling community have historically relied on for sponsorship have been negatively affected by [fill in the blank]: global pandemic, supply chain disruption, labor shortage, economy downturn. Promoters spend a lot of time networking for potential sponsors.
Volunteers: A bike race can’t happen without a small army of volunteers. These fine folks act as corner marshals, direct traffic, answer questions, offer assistance and do it all day, often in crummy weather conditions, for free. Promoters spend a lot of time begging folks for their precious time.
All The Other Stuff: City/county/state permits, securing officials, coordinating with KCA to ensure events don’t overlap, designing a flyer, promoting the event, dealing with USAC and BikeReg, uploading results, etc… Promoters spend a lot of time doing busywork.
Sometimes you get lucky and all the cards fall into place – then only a few racers show up or it rains or it snows or… Race promoting is like having a small business that demands a lot of your time for little or no reward. It’s like having a second full time job and you have to pay your employer. I would argue that most of us wouldn’t voluntarily enter into such an arrangement…but some do. Why? Because they look in the mirror and ask, “If not me, then who?”
We salute the “If not me, then who?” folks in our cycling community both past and present. Thank you.
CALL TO ACTION: Want to help revive bike racing? Get involved. Send us a note and we’ll get you plugged into an event that needs you. firstname.lastname@example.org