Welcome to the third installment from Beeston Cycling Club as they build up to their annual sportive in June 2014. This month Jim Wilson - the membership co-ordinator - talks about the changes that will be made for 2014 and why. Take it away, Jim....
Since last month, we’ve managed to get the whole sportive organising committee sat down together to go through all the feedback from last year’s event. The meeting was a long time coming as it kept getting bumped down the schedule by other pressing matters, but we got there in the end and made quite a bit of progress.
We went through the list of feedback we compiled last month and decided what we’re going to act on now and what we’ll sadly have to leave for future years. We also found the time to make some important decisions for next year’s sportive, based not just on riders’ feedback but on things we discovered ourselves during the planning and running of the 2013 event.
After much discussion we decided to introduce a limit of 400 on the number of entries available for 2014. This year we took a large number of entries on the day, so many in fact that we ran out of timing chips for riders and poor Sarah (our fantastic chef who makes the famous Sportive Soup) had to rush off to the supermarket for extra supplies while riders were enjoying the summer sunshine. By giving ourselves an upper limit we’re vastly simplifying a lot of the logistics and whilst we don’t necessarily expect to get 400 riders, we will be ready for them if they do come.
We’re also going to close advanced entries on the Thursday before the sportive (which is again on a Sunday next year). This means we can have the list of pre-entrants prepared, printed out and with their timing chips ready to roll out in advance. It’s just one less task to do in the early hours of Sunday morning! So if you want to enter, make sure you do it well in advance!
As we keep saying, we rely heavily on our members volunteering their free time to put on a successful sportive, and potentially one of the most problematic tasks is putting out the direction signs on the day before (or ‘sportive minus one’ as we call it on our planner!). There was a near disaster this year with one of the signing teams but luckily Paul, our Club Secretary, was on hand to help out at the last minute.
So, the biggest task we’ve set ourselves for the next few weeks is to drive around all three routes and make an inventory or ‘road book’ of exactly how many signs of each type we need, where the best places to put them are and most importantly, which are the difficult or problem junctions where riders often go ‘off-course’. Hopefully having a ‘helpers guide to signing the route’ will lessen any problems next year and improve the experience for riders.
We’ll be capturing our adventure for a future blog should our car make it up the infamous Bridle Lane in one piece… What could possibly go wrong!