event / race ideas?

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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Niigata
#1
What are the best things about the events or races you have attended in Japan or elswhere?

I'm helping to organise a new event in June next year. Kind of like the Giro de Hotaka or Tokyo ~ Itoigawa, using open (but quiet) roads. A 120 km loop taking in a few passes. Time cards and aid stations.

We are working with the local community in Yunotani, Niigata which also holds the Shiori Toge hillclimb in August.

Basically I'm trying to pick the best things from my race experiences and incorporate them into this event. This might be in terms of events the night before the race (to try to attract people to stay in the area), "sanka sho" entry items, raffle prizes, family entertainment, results, photos, certificates, rider support etc etc.

Is there anything you've seen and thought "that's a good idea" or "I wish we didn't have to do that" or "why don't they do that?"

Any comments gratefully received.

Cheers, Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#2
Sounds like it could be a great event--I'm sure there'll be a lot of TCC participation when it comes to pass...

Can't think of many things, because most of the cycling events I've done here have been all positive. But just for the sake of kicking things off...

1. Don't outsource hotel reservations (or gouge on accommodation)

The Tour of Chiba did this. On signing up, you could pay extra to have accommodation booked for you (it was outsourced, probably JTB but I don't remember). I elected to book for myself, and the first night I was in a hotel with a room of my own; the rest of the hotel had 3 or 4 people to a room who'd gone through the "official" booking--they were paying the same for their 1/4 of a room as I was for my private room. The second night I drank with a guy who'd signed up for the official two nights but bailed out and booked at my pension for the second night because he wanted to escape the sharing rooms fiasco. Another guy told me about being ushered into a ryokan common room filled with with cyclists snoozing on random futons...again, paying the same as I was for an individual room.

2. Attracting riders previous day

(a) Obvious thing here is per-registration. It's the main reason I always stayed over at Motegi when doing the Jan 4th 100km up there. Register the day before, get your numbers, no worries about lining up, finding the uketsuke the morning of, etc.

(b) Another idea which Motegi sort of did, but probably doesn't apply if running the event on public roads, is letting riders test ride the course the day before. Motegi only allowed this for participants who were staying at the (expensive) race track hotel.

3. Luggage

If it's not a loop (or even if it is) giving participants a way to move their luggage around is always good.

4. Have yet to see, but...

...I think a support/SAG wagon, trailing the last riders, would be a real draw for casual/novice riders (not everyone is as self-sufficient/adventurous as the average TCC rider). For many would-be participants, riding around an enclosed circuit is one thing, unknown mountain roads another...

5. Marshals/Signs/Maps

Unfortunately, I've never done a Hotaka, but I remember the first year TCC participated the lack of marshals at certain intersections resulted in a number of riders going off-course. Tour of Chiba did this well, with police and/or marshals at every corner.

Anyway, obvious stuff you probably already considered, but FWIW.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#3
1/. On the day entry! (I know this could be a nightmare for insurance but it really does help!)

2/. SAG wagon and "neutral support" nothing worse than going all the way out to an event and then having a blow out or mechanical and having to DNF. (Especailly when the average races costs about 30,000 JPY all inclusive)

3/. Not a big fan of the check points and time cards if its a "Race" Also RFID.... much cleaner and less faffing, strap it to the bike and ride as the races is pretty screwed for those that lose the time card mid course.

4/. PROPER MEDICAL SUPPORT! - not once have I seen any medical support crew at any races here in Japan, in the UK they are everywheere either Red-Cross, St Johns Ambulance or the county ambulance service.... in most cases all of the above.

5/. Race Numbers please! not bibs, helmet covers, helmet stickers or the numerous other ways

6/. Food that is edible at the rest stops.

7/. Prizes that people will actually use or want ;)

How to attract Riders:

1/. Multi-day events not just a Hill Climb event. Most people are there to ride and would rather have a Crit, TT, /HC TT etc on the Saturday followed by a 1 day stage on the Sunday than watch some local "talento" sing thier rendition of the latest J/K Pop song. I know this from personal experience, most riders just either go in to town to eat and socialise or get an early night.

2/. KIDS, KIDS, KIDS! One of the reasons why the JCRC series is so popular is because they have Kids class races all the way up to Junior High or are held on the same day as the "Kids Criterium" events so it actually IS a family event.

3/. KOM, GC, Points, U23 winners -mix it up a bit flat out first across the line is done to death. Mix it up a little!
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#4
In my limited experience of Racing in Japan , what I see more often than not is that the events really don't have to do much in order to attract participants. Every event I've been to has been overbooked well in advance. With that being said, it seems that <certain> organizations are profiting tremendously at the expense of the participants and thus they rise to their lowest levels of output. Compared to other countries I've raced in:

1) Prizes and Premes in Japan are ludicrously weak.
2) Fan participation and associated events are , well, absent.
3) KM raced per entry fee is absurd. Lack of prologues, crit or stuffing the day with at least some kind of cycling would be nice.
4) Very little offering for spouses and kids.
5) Anti-social. No morning Pancake B'fast, No Celebration Party.
6) Info packs are worthless. For example, the Ryusei one had NO information on lodging or transportation to the event (i.e. Bus Schedules, etc) Not everyone HAS a car - or WANTS to drive one! Plus, those with families or budgets need to find suitable, economic lodging.
7) General 'neutral support' like: First Aid, Mechanical, Info Desk, etc. nearly completely absent. Just ask volunteer from LBS to support this. Hell, I'd pony up a couple sets of wheels and one of my staff just for the op to schmooze with the riders!

The whole Event / Community thing needs to get a major reality check here. Riders coming into Po-Dunk towns bring more revenues, interest and longtail than anything else these communities have going on except certain entropy and decline into ghostdom. With Japanese govt putting out literally BILLIONS OF YEN to 'attract tourism' - why is it that NONE of these organizers can tap INTO THAT!?? Hell, how about offering reduced packages to FOREIGNERS to RACE in JAPAN? I know LOTS of riders at all levels that would love to do this. But there is NO MECHANISM in place for even potential (non Japanese speaking) visitors to simply search, locate and enter ANY event other than bribing a Japanese friend or their wife to do it for them.

I could go on for ages on this. As example - my homeboys in Portland, Or (a small city in Northwest of US) have regularly more than 2000 - 3000 entrants for their CX series, races EVERY WEEK, mass prizes, loads of fun, and all within 50mi of the City Center. They are locally sanctioned (ORBA). Cycle racing is booming there and is pumping loads of $$$ into the local industry and communities that support it. Why not here?
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
#5
Echo everything James and Tim said, in a sense families are most peoples first responsibility and cycling will come second.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#6
Echo everything James and Tim said, in a sense families are most peoples first responsibility and cycling will come second.
RUBBISH! It's always about the bike! :D

Although anyone that is privy to me and my wife’s agreement will know this is only true if I get a podium finish.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#7
As long as it includes an onsen and a petting zoo, my family is ok. But this severely limits the events I can participate in. My daughter is older now and can tell the difference between a live animal and a few stuffed socks thrown into a bin.
 

Doug3

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Jun 24, 2010
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Setagaya
www.tokyocyclingcoach.com
#9
I agree with a lot of the above.

For someone who usually works on Saturday and when most races are on Sunday, one thing that I don't like to see is a mandatory pre-registration on the eve before the event without the option of a morning registration. Even if I am traveling a couple hundred clicks by car and plan to stay over in the local community the night before anyway, I don't like the idea of having to get into town by 6pm to get my number. Day of the event registration, and even better, as James said, day of the event entries (although at a higher price and not guaranteed) are a definite attraction.

Discount coupons to local attractions (esp. restaurants/onsens) for participants and families in the registration packs have been welcomed by my CFO in the past.
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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Niigata
#11
Some great ideas thanks! I will definitely share them.

The same day “uketsuke” entry seems a common thing. As a racer too that's something I think is important. But yeah nobody seems to be keen. “Get 'em in the hotel!” seems to be the common consensus!

By the way though, I've never had a problem doing the same day entry at any race. These days I do it at pretty much every race. Just call beforehand and make an excuse.

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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Kochi
#12
Not that I have much experience of races here, but a couple of points to add to the others

1) If you issue a schedule stick to it! Don`t change it on the day when I have planned my preparation around it.
2) Try to avoid keeping riders hanging around, unable to move, waiting for the `off`.
3) Post-race. Streamline presentations as much as possible and get them over with as soon as possible. Easier to bring the family if you know it`s not going to last all day.
4) Let the slowest start first - mtbs, older age groups and women (sorry!) first. All the hill climbs I have done, the quickest start first (which is fine) but then you get to the top and just have to wait and wait and wait (last one it was freezing at the top) for the last competitor to make it before you are allowed to descend - the winner must have waited well over an hour and a half at my last hill climb. And please, no painfully slow organised descents. Slow is ok, just not painfully slow.
5) Different numbered entries. The second race I did had each group starting with a different number, so you can see who was in your age-group.
6) On the day registration
7) Return of fees in the event of cancellation / advance notice of non-participation! (subject to administration charge is fine)
8) Our local association has a good idea - there is a TT next month, and after the first section, the riders are reverse-started and they have a winner for the first section, and an overall winner for the second (first one back, not fastest over both legs, so even those who have no chance of winning via fastest time [i.e. me!], have a chance to aim for something).
9) Detailed course guide i.e. ride profile, including gradient.
10) Please, no pins to make holes in my jerseys