|photo by Dominic Barth|
It is not a secret that our first race was hit with extremely severe weather. This is the first year that we've had weather of this magnitude. Cyclocross being the sport it is, the event did not suffer in attendance. For that we are grateful to everybody that came out to participate, volunteer or spectate and our sponsors. We are perpetually surprised by the support that we get for this event.
What came out of this culmination of weather and normal attendance was significant amount of damage to the turf in the park. There are areas where ruts, caused by heavy bicycle traffic, are inches thick and span for very long sections that the course was on. While this should heal back to it's normal beautiful self, it will take a notable amount of manual labor to ensure this. Further, any more traffic on these areas could compromise the full and healthy return of the grass in these areas.
The City Parks Department has been very generous in the amount of support that we have received over the five years we have run this event. It is safe to say that we cannot do it without this help. This damage has incurred unexpected labor costs for the city to make these repairs. In their usual gracious way, they have not come to us to cover these costs. They have merely expressed concern over the damage, asked us for volunteers to help with the labor and want a contingency plan for future events.
It is important to note that the City Parks, nor has any other faction, asked us to nor pressured us to cancel our event. We made that decision internally for a number of reasons.
The first and foremost, is that this event is run as a fundraiser for a non-profit that supports and upgrades the park. We have always thought of ourselves to some degree as stewards to the park, being one of the few sources of income for this group. We cannot think of ourselves as stewards if we knowingly run an event that could potentially damage the park. Considering how spread out the damage is in the park, it would be difficult to use any of the turf in the main portion of the park without further damaging it before it heals.
The second reason that we have chosen to cancel our event is the lack of a good contingency plan. The City Parks wants assurance that the same thing will not happen again in the future. For that reason, we need to have a second course in mind for inclement weather. In the time between our two races, we cannot easily come up with a course that is fun, safe and will completely meet all constraints the Parks Department have laid out. We will come to the event next year with a proper "Plan B."
Lastly, we chose to cancel our event to help stem any complaints or bad press that we might receive from this situation. We never intended on doing any damage to our beloved park. It is the most important asset to this event and our community. We feel that if we do not cancel this next race, that it may look as though we are neglecting the damage. If we do that, we may loose any community support that we harbor.
We plan on taking several actions in lieu of running our event. We will be refunding the entry fees for the second race to anybody that has paid for both. We will be awarding half of our cash purse and merchandise prizes to the winners of the first event. We will personally be helping with many of the repairs and will be gathering volunteers to expedite these repairs. Finally, we will be exploring options to fulfill the requested contingency plan.
We appreciate your understanding in this matter. It was not an easy decision to make as we enjoy running this event as much as you enjoy participating. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.