Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thank you's and more!

That was a crazy journey we all just went through and I want to thank the MBM members for the work they put into making it such a success. It was a leap of faith for many of you and I appreciate you jumping into my vision of a good time. The end result was an event that provided an unforgettable experience for the riders, while exposing them to some of the most challenging riding in the world. The number of “Thank You’s” and “had a great time” comments that have come my way are proof that something special happened.
A good event is made up of all the components coming together to make a whole package. The participants came away safe, happy and ready to return next year! This was due entirely to everyone who stepped up and took on the stress of organizing something that we were all short on experience with.
Thank you Brian, our MBM president, for listening to the wishes of the club despite your hesitation when I brought the idea to the MBM. You really took on many of the details and made sure needs were filled. I could list them all out, but its a pretty long list! I know all you wanted was a beer and a break on Saturday!
Thanks to Donna for organizing volunteers along with many other things. Thinking on your feet and manning the timing tent were just a few of the other bonuses we got from you. Oh and the amazing cilantro rice for the burritos!
To Stephanie for the note taking, budget watching, meal making, and timing planning. I know there are other things but you get the idea! The burritos were amazing! I’m pretty sure that was one of the best post-race meals ever served at a Sunday race. When we realized we were going to be an hour or more ahead of schedule, you busted butt to be ready for the racers. They really appreciated that!
To Jody for being an advocate from the beginning, organizing the Monday trail work, working on the timing, and helping me see when mistakes were being made. It’s true, I don’t know everything. :)
Thanks to Larry for the DCNR interaction, for being a brain to bounce ideas off of and for coming out to help with trailwork. Sorry you couldn’t be there on race day! We missed you.
To Steve for radios and chiming in with wit and encouragement. And of course race day efforts!
To Howard for the trail work and race day presence. For the course marking and the all around belief in the event.
To the Witters and Charlie for everything from trail-work, sweeping, and creation, and not strangling me (yet) for transgressions. Apologies to come..
Hey Zach Adams! Thanks for coming to the race too! It was pretty cool to see all the Michaux race promoters together at an event!
Of course the volunteers deserve a ton of thank yous. I know I’m missing specific names so I apologize to you for not getting all of you. To Dale, Hans, Vicki, Jill, Les, Alicia, Sarah, David G, Dave R! And to Sheena for the baked goods! Who else made goodies?
All the locals who stepped up and to my group of friends from Philly who came to help and spread cheer. Anna, Nick, Damien, Eric, Jeremy!
To the Gettysburg Bicycle guys for providing so much logistical support. From DCNR to insurance we couldn’t have done it anywhere near as easily without you. Your influence and risk-taking was invaluable. And you guys got to finally do a Michaux race!
To the Dirt Rag guys who care about grassroots events and believed enough to donate enough swag to choke a steam engine. They drove from Pittsburgh to do rider sweep! Thanks Matt and Steve!
Thanks to our other sponsors too for their amazing product to give away! Stan’s NoTubes rims, VP Components pedals, Lone Wolf Cycling course tape, coozies, and Bear Mountain Stickers for the vinyl stickers!

How about some apologies?
As with any new adventure we learn new things along the way and I sure had a few of those moments. It was stressful at times but the end result was a killer event and I am very proud of that.
It took a lot to make the Madcap happen. I’ve worked other events but have never undertaken a project this big. When MBM agreed to be a part of the event it was a big relief to have their support. As it morphed into solely an MBM fundraiser I took a more backseat roll than I had originally planned. I think than anyone had planned. I worked with Jes and made sure paperwork and the promotional side of things were happening. I felt like I was keeping an eye on things, chiming in when needed, and everyone was on task, but maybe people needed more input from me.

In the process of making these events happen, communication becomes the number one stumbling block. The summer became a lot more hectic for me than I had planned. Being self employed I took the freelancing job opportunities as they came. It took me away at key times, but I was confident in the MBM team. I apologize for not realizing how much direction everyone might have been looking for.
The biggest apology has to deal with trail work that I performed on Buckets. Specifically taking out logs when I should have left well enough alone. I’m really upset how this has turned out, because I originally came to the club to get their blessing to use the trails out of respect to the people who occupy the trails the most.
I know people are mad, and rightfully so, but I hope you understand my motivation. I look back and realize I was overthinking things but there were reasons I did what I did. When putting on an event I think of peoples experience and worry too much about it sometimes. On Buckets my two biggest worries were safety and flow. I didn’t intend to go out there on Friday and willy nilly remove logs. There were three that I had in mind and thought that I had some consensus with from another individual who I think of as an authority figure. One was the super-awkwardly angled log under the dead pine tree. Then there was one towards the finish that was on the side slope. And finally the built up log on the flats at the bottom before the slippery rocky built one.
When I got there I had those in mind but I also had just received dire warnings from both Jes and Rich about the issues of mountain bikers relations with DCNR and how we couldn’t afford a report or incident since we were on probation more or less. So I got carried away. I was feeling stressed and probably not in the best decision making mode. I started thinking about wet off-camber logs and racers coming down tired and stressed. I didn’t want hurt riders ruining themselves or have an unnecessarily negative experience.
I cut logs that I agonized over. Logs that I had been riding for years. Ones that I experienced their slow deterioration from an original freshness to ones worn in like the wooden handles of old tools. I learned how to lighten the rear end of my bike on these logs. How to suck it up and become a more refined rider. When I think back it feels as if I just closed my eyes and cut when the decision became too hard to debate.
I didn’t cut because I couldn’t ride them, I cut because I thought it would be safer or more fun for people (strangers) who hadn’t spent years learning how to twinkle-toe over these things. It never occurred to me before the race to actually alter any of the trails in any way. This is where I went astray. Apparently I didn’t need to worry since no one injured themselves on logs that were both off-camber and loose. ;)
To Mike, I apologize. I didn’t realize the history you had with the trail. I feel like I’ve been riding Buckets almost as long as I’ve been riding and I indulged myself in a sense of ownership. I’ll gladly come back this weekend and help drag as many logs onto Buckets as you like. I’ll reset the ones that were cut and pin them in. I have tools and carpentry skills.
Howard I believe you had a lot to do with Buckets also and I apologize to you. Really it wasn’t done with ill intent.
Jody, you deserve an apology too. I never claimed to always be right, but I didn’t always realize where I was wrong. I don’t know everything and I like feedback. Except in the form of yelling. If I’m doing something you don’t like, let me know early. I thought I was communicating when I was doing things, but I realized I was relying too much on Facebook and group emails where messages get lost. Truly I’m sorry for that. It’ll be an area for improvement for me.
I welcome the opportunity to come and have a discussion about the race.
In the end I really care about Michaux and the trails there. I think we all did an incredible job putting on another event in the forest. It was different and brought a new group of riders to experience the unique Michaux trail experience.
I'll see you out there.

Harlan Price

ps. Sorry to the people I missed!


cableguy46 said...

Well said Harlan...I would like to say out of ALL the races I have done East to the West Coast...this was one of the best....I couldnt agree more, the racers had THE BEST treatment in reference to accomadations, food, swag and most of all Incredible trails....I did the Terror of Teaberry in 2008 and that was my only exposure to this area, but these trails were AWESOME...I would really like to see more events like this if not and annual occurence at the same location...MBM is doing a great job and would like to say thanks to ALL for what you did for us rider/racers...hope to come up from Baltimore for some riding soon. Ed McDaniel

BigE said...

Hi Harlan,

Great write up man. Sorry i couldn't make event (was up north riding). As they always say there next year to make a race better. It sounds like this year would be hard to top already.

Don't be too hard on yourself when it comes to having a first event. My president from RCST took logs out of trail for one of our BASH weekend and we gave him heck about it. He did it for same reason you did for this event. Next few events he left the logs in the trails and everyone love the challenge to get over them.

For insurance reasons and DCNR being new to these type events you have to look at safety. In time we just make obstacles better and not worry about over thinking. You made a choice at a time where you felt it was in best interest of the event.

I think you won't need to put any logs back because with the way we get storms now there be alot new ones down in next month or so. Maybe we can build ramps on those trees to make it more challenge.

clownbike said...

Apology accepted.

clownbike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Howard said...

Yeah Harlan, don't be so hard on yourself. I can see why you would wanna remove some logs but at the same time, those logs define the riding that is Michaux. No big deal. Like E. said. New ones will fall.
I think that it would be a crying shame to not make Madcap 2013 happen. I'm there! I'll contribute whatever I have to as long as I can still race. Shit, I'll even make the sacrifice of sitting out raceday to make this happen again if need be. Madcap was a blast! I can't wait til next year!

Chief said...

Hey Harlan
I had a great time chasing all the racers around. I had the radio direct to the ambulance and the great thing was I didn't have to us it. Riding is always fun no matter what. Hey racers terror of tea berry is next!
Just a little note: beware the yellow jackets in the rocks and logs are really mean this year. If you have an allergy towards bee stings be sure to have your pens with you.

H said...

I'm glad to hear how many people enjoyed the race. Since I was one of the sweeps pulling arrows, I did not get to see any of the racing. So, thanks for the vidoes and pictures that were posted. I'll sweep arrows again as long as Buck doesn't mark any of the sections! ;)