This year’s ToH I think will go down as the best in the short 4 year history for this event. What looked to be a wash out from a weather perspective early in the week turned out to be full on sunshine and warm temps. Maybe a bit too warm as many suffered do to the early spring heat that reach 90 on Sunday. . . The week leading up to race was smooth. 70+ volunteers were all in place, the lead volunteers were set and ready to execute and all was set. I take a week of vacation to get things in order, sweep streets, put out fires that come up and much more. One such “fire” was the big pile of rocks the contractor at the high school placed right on the start area for the TT. Then there was the MODOT construction signs on HWY 100 that popped up on Monday along the RR course. Patience and communication is the key to overcoming these obstacles; the rocks were moved and MODOT finished up much of the work before race day. . .
Stage 1 The TT course was new this year and I was really interested in the early feedback from riders. The start area at the high school I thought would be perfect as it was completely closed off to traffic, clean and had lots of parking. The TT course was hilly but on more cycling friendly roads. With the exception of getting a few riders to the start house on time and a couple of other start issues, which will be addressed for next year, all went well. And the feedback about the course was great. You’ll see this course again next year. . .
Stage 2 There is a 30 min window between the finish of the TT and the start of the crit. Making sure the crit started on time is very important to me, I hate when races run late. Last year we were 30 min late getting started, this year we had a good plan and in the end the first race started only 2 min late. The rest of the day went well with all races on time, no crashes and lots of riders saying how much fun they were having. . .
Stage 2 is where the majority of volunteers are used; 30 in all split between two shifts. Getting them all in place on time and having a good shift change should be seamless to the riders. I had a new volunteer coordinator this year who really did a nice job making sure all volunteers were in place and the shift change was flawless. The stage ended with a great PRO/1/2 race that came down to the end. Stone Hill Winery was so pleased with the day and the event they renewed for 2012 on the spot. Can’t thank Stone Hill Winery enough for their support to this event. They have been with me from day one. . .
That afternoon I was able to meet a visitor from Germany who promotes high quality MTB, road and cyclocross races in Germany. He was here with some family members for a visit and they just happen to be in Hermann that day. It was great to compare and contrast how things are done in the US and Germany as we discussed the differences. . .
I also jumped in the 40+ race for a few laps to get the feel for the crit course. I don’t get to bomb down that hill, or take the right hand turn at the bottom at speed ever, I can’t close the streets off for just me. It was awesome. . . Saturday ended with a great meal at Stone Hill then home to bed getting some rest before day 2. .
Stage 3 New start finish location this year, back to the way it was in 2009. Gutenberg is all new and there is an amphitheater nearby that needs to used more often. I hired a local band to play during the day, placed the feed zone nearby; I think it was safe to say all were entertained well as they waited for their riders as they played the waiting game. And you get to see the riders climb the Gutenberg wall. . . The day was hot and very windy with many dropping out from cramps after 1 lap. In the end all were OK, no crashes and again we were treated to a battle in the PRO/1/2 race. . .
All three stages went well this weekend, flawless execution by so many people who helped me put on this event. Of course my wife plays a big part, she knows firsthand what it takes to put on this event, knows when I get stressed and gets to know the riders along we me. She told me this year I did not seem as stressed or uptight as the past 3. I think the reason for that is the seasoned volunteers we have. . .
Some of them have been doing this for 4 years now, they know what to expect and what needs to be done to keep the riders safe. Many of them tell me that they own their spot each year. The volunteers on E and VV for the road race are a good example. They bring a grill, tent, beer and a great attitude. They make a party out of it, have a great time and it shows. Those that did the road race I’m sure you know who I’m talking about. The volunteers along H are the same way, they take pride it the job they do and they do it well. . .
Last but not least the Baumstark brothers, these guys have been with me from day one and do the majority of the heavy lifting. They stick with me from sun up to sundown each day and make sure the equipment is set up and taken down fast. They own Hermann and New Haven lumber, so if you’re in the area stop by and say thanks and pick up a hammer on your way out. . .
There are so many volunteers that did a great job this weekend, without them the event just can’t be done. Thank you all, I appreciate the job you do. . . So with that the 2011 ToH comes to and end. Thanks to all the riders and your families for investing your weekend with us here in Hermann. Will do it again in 2012, dates are 4/21 and 4/22. .