- I am a MN Cat 4 bike racer on the new Grumpy's/LGR club
- I volunteered for a plethora of races before I even started bike racing, and I have volunteered for a bunch since I started racing
- I am the co-founder of the local Velo Bella club and I promoted the State Crit/Campus Crit for two years as part of that club (and helped promote a third race, the Withrow TT)
- I attended almost all of the MCF meetings while on Velo Bella (~ 3 yrs), and never once left early (not that I have a problem with that)
- I helped start Midwest Women's Cycling Made Real (MWCMR) last year, and I kept track of all of the points for that series throughout the season
- I am involved with planning for MWCMR for next year
- I was part of the 3-person committee who started StartBikeRacing.com (and I created the original website which is now being updated by StevenCX)
- While I agree that the MCF should do more to help race promoters, specifically first-time promoters and/or new clubs, I think that promoting/encouraging new racers, especially women and juniors, still deserves some attention from the MCF.
- Women's racing here in MN is not like men's racing. Imagine rolling up to the line for your very first race, along with only 10- 15 other women, and when the race starts and you're trying to clip into your pedals newbie-style, Teresa attacks. Your race is done before it really even started, and this is not uncommon for a women's race here. Women's Open races do not promote growth in women's cycling. Or imagine doing an Opus race with only 6 - 12 other racers - there really isn't any such thing as "sitting in", and "tactics" rarely come into play (unless 5 women on one team are ganging up on the other 4 women who are all on different teams). The MCF was involved in helping start MWCMR which provided Cat 4 only races for women. Like Cat 4/5 races for men, women's Cat 4 races are an integral part in growing women's cycling, and while MWCMR has made some progress and hopefully will continue to make progress, the MCF has helped make that happen...both through funding and support.
- While the StartBikeRacing.com initiative hasn't gone as far as we originally planned, I still think there's more that can be done with it, and it could eventually serve it's original purpose - to provide general cycling information (e.g. licenses, rules, types of races, etc.), to provide information for new racers to make racing less intimidating, and most importantly, to connect new racers with local clubs. We did recognize that getting people on local clubs will give them the support system and encouragement that they need. The StartBikeRacing.com initiative has also been funded and supported by the MCF. (note - sometimes it's difficult for a lot of the experienced racers to remember what it was like to be a newbie)
- Juniors - I'm no expert on juniors racing, but there are currently very few racing in MN. Why is that? I'm not sure what the answer is here - but I do know that I was a very athletic kid, yet I wasn't exposed to serious bike racing until I was in my mid-to-late twenties. Cycling is expensive, it's not a high school sport or even a club (with a few exceptions), and very few kids get exposed to it. The junior discussion used to come up a lot at MCF meetings, and the bottom line was just that there were no "adults" willing to volunteer their time to help out with the juniors program (after Banning left). Dag has done a great job this year, but I'd like to see the MCF sink something more into a juniors program - any ideas?
- I think it's great that the MCF is willing to consider the "First Time Race Loan" that Super Rookie had proposed. When we first started Velo Bella and wanted to promote the state crit, we had $0 in our bank account (like Cat6, VB doesn't have membership dues). A few teammates and I had to front a lot of the money with hopes that we'd be able to get that money back. Amongst many costs, the police for the race (which is required by the U of M) cost $600. We were lucky enough to have a big cash sponsor (which was awesome, but is obviously not the norm), but we didn't get that money until after the race. That first year, I was truly amazed/overwhelmed by the costs and efforts that go into race promotion.
- I didn't know what the hell I was doing the first year I promoted the state crit - but I was lucky enough to have one of the previous promoters hold my hand through the whole thing. I think it would be great if the MCF did more for promoters, but what are your ideas? They've been doing the "Promoter's Clinics", and I attended one of those before promoting the state crit the second time around, and I thought it was really helpful...so I'd like to see the MCF continue that, but what else? If you think that race promotion is the biggest thing the MCF should be working on, what are your ideas?
- I don't have any great ideas (just yet anyway) for doing more for race promoter's, but I'd love to answer any questions about race promotion.
One last thing - I know this has been said before, but if you've been to the MCF meetings over the years, you know there's one common theme - there are not enough volunteers to help make all of the great ideas come to fruition. Say what you will about the MCF, but remember that everyone on the MCF board is a volunteer - and most of those people have been volunteering for years. I'm by no means saying that there's not room for change/improvement...of course there is, but cut these guys some slack.