Podcast: Dave Pryor of UnPAved Pennsylvania – Covid Safe Racing

unpaved pennsylvania podcast

Our partner in podcasting, The Gravel Ride Podcast, sits down this week with Dave Pryor from the Pennsylvania gravel event, UnPAved, to discuss how the 2020 event was executed in a COVID safe fashion. We get into the changes in format that may be here to stay and how other race organizers can learn from his experiences to execute future events.

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Automatic Transcription by The Gravel Ride (please excuse all errors)

Hello and welcome to The Gravel Ride podcast. I’m your host Craig Dalton. Today’s podcast is brought to you by our friends at athletic greens. The all in one daily drink to support better health than peak performance even with a balanced diet. It’s difficult to cover all your nutritional basis a three athletic greens will help their daily drink. Is like nutritional insurance for your body. That’s delivered straight to your door. Athletic greens was developed from a complex blend of seventy five vitamins minerals and whole food sourced ingredients and has been scientifically engineered to help fill the nutritional gaps in your diet. So how does all this come into. Play for the gravel cyclist. If you’re like me you definitely have gaps in your diet athletic. Greens has zinc which promotes better muscle recovery and better sleep magnesium for nervous system recovery and function as well as better sleep as well as red beets to improve and ginger to help reduce inflammation so daily athletic greens drinker at this point and on big ride days. I might even have two servings of athletic greens just to make sure that. I come back out of the hurt locker. I’ve inevitably put myself in in those big weekend rides so encourage you to give it a try whether you’re looking to boost your energy level support your immune system or address gut health. Now’s the perfect time to try athletic. Greens for yourself simply visit www.athleticgreens.com/thegravelride to claim my special offer today and get a free d three k. To wellness bundle with your first purchase. That’s up to a one year supply of vitamin d added to your order. You’d be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive nutritional bundle elsewhere again that’s athletic greens dot com slash. The gravel ride this week on the podcast. We’re talking to dave. Prior from the gravel event unpaved out in Pennsylvania throughout twenty twenty. We’ve seen most of the major gravel events across the country be canceled due to the global pandemic when it started to hear rumblings that unpaved was going to continue in a modified format. At first. When i saw this i thought wow it’s quite too early. But then after listening to dave and some of his partners speak about why they were proceeding with the event in what they were doing. I started to understand and be optimistic that they could pull off a successful event. They were following Pennsylvania guidelines in terms of how many people could get together and obviously modified the race quite substantially in order to make sure as as covid- safe as possible. After the event went off dave and i connected and i thought it was important for other race organizers and ride organizers to get a download from dave as to what they did the changes they made and how they felt the event went overall. I think there’s a lot of lessons. Learned for event organizers and really things that as participants we should understand about what. Our event organizers go through undoubtedly twenty twenty one is not going to be like twenty nineteen. We’re still going to have to leave in this post. Covert environment and as participants. We wanna feel safe. And as race organizers wanna feel motivated to put on all these events so my hope is can get a little bit out of this conversation and that we can get ourselves organized to have a great twenty twenty one. We’ve been having a little bit of this discussion in our new slack. Forum called the ridership user. Or you’re curious. Were building a global resource for gravel ended venture cyclists. So please reach out to me for your invite today with all that said. Let’s dive right into my conversation with dave dave. Welcome back to the show. Thanks greg great to be here. Thanks for longtime listener. It’s this is cool. It’s actually rare. That i say welcome back and you were on. We have thirty you episode thirty three when we were talking about. Would it have been the first or the second unpaved event that was i think epa first but that was my partner. My coon okay. You’re right yeah can garner listener. I don’t well then welcome to the show. I apologize for that. I feel like. I feel like i know you because i hear your name drops by selene. Oftentimes on her. Former podcast. And i hope our current podcast is going. Well it is going well. She’s doing they’re doing great stuff. They’re churning out content right now as you know. Podcasting is a is a thing. It’s really busy and so yeah. It’s going pretty well. Yeah and from understanding correctly very female focus subject matter for her latest effort so for you women athletes out there. Selena got a great new podcast. That’s really speaking to something.

00:05:00 – 00:10:00

i think. All women athletes go through obviously in their lives. So i encourage you to kind of check out what she’s doing over there. Yep it’s hit play not paused and so it’s an works does work for everyone. The rebecca rush in particular was really great. But yet there’s this large group of say over half our population that goes through all sorts of things. Yeah we should talk about it more. Yeah it’s really interesting stuff so hats off to her for doing that. The dave i mean you guys had just put on a few weeks back. One of the few big gravel events that actually manage to go off in twenty twenty In this cove era. So i thought it would be really interesting for us to touch base and see how that event went before we dive into that once. You just give the listener. Who may not know about on unpaved a little bit about the event where it is and The history behind it sure so unpaid to the susquehanna river valley. This is our year started a few years ago. That’s what three is but it feels like longer because we worked on for good three years before that to I went mike. And i could partner in this and going to his events longtime time. I started getting promotions back in two thousand thirteen with a single Across world championship. That’s a fundraise to put on your first event. Ever his tienanment blinky junkyard cross to. We had a great weekend in philly and also the year i went to dirty kanza rebecca’s private idaho and those were great times to are too few times. Just come back to mike talking him psychotic great to have on these giant gravel events that are starting to happen around the country like where we do this in pennsylvania and he said. I know exactly where we could do pennsylvania. He went to bucknell university. Which is in the borough lewisburg right dead center. They just put in a nine mile rail trail out of town. The took it to the foot of the foothills of the bald eagle state forest which had tons of perfect dirt and gravel roads. Just absolutely great with big hills which people seem to like those challenges So a lot of things kinda came together pretty quickly. We started working with the susquehanna river valley borough. They saw was happening with growl. Events bringing people into regions and we started working pretty hard on in two thousand now who is our first year. We had i think six eight hundred at that one. Last year we had a thousand in our big three distances and a couple of hundred in our three miler Land for this year was to go to twelve hundred but then this year happen so We kind of went along. Guy binds of pennsylvania’s done a really job keeping covetous under control as possible. We certainly had giant spikes early on. We had a lot of mayhem. Everything shut down. But it’s been really thorough responsible journey back in things move forward in that gets a little too far. The new scaleback Increasing really job as far as states go as keeping things as fighting the curve. I guess what we used to stay a while ago. I think it still applies So with that outdoor events they kept it in a maximum two hundred fifty people which basically plied to high school sports in college boards. And things like that. But you know we fall under that category. Because there’s no real category that works for us as far as the state goes and goodness knows busy with a lot of other things. The dealing with Running races and things like that so we stuck with two fifty and made that two hundred people to register in the one hundred twenty mile long ways because we needed but forty people set aside for staff and volunteers marshalls and things like that. So that’s what we put on. We not set in july and fill that up too long story. How did that process. But it worked pretty well because holy cow. This community is so generous. I wanna say that too but so accommodating so flexible in the as we kept throwing keep saying. The world’s learnings occur balsa overthrow newsletter in beijing. And we had so many changes to win into the event and they all with us and it was really really well received. So that’s great. I mean it was. It was definitely nice to see it. Go off and for the listener. Who’s not familiar with unpaved. Definitely go check out the website. And i can put that in the show notes. You’ll see a video that just shows how gorgeous the writing is in pennsylvania. And it’s an area that i haven’t been back to in a long time but i did spend a lot of time mountain biking in that area and it was just. It’s there’s so much to it. It’s so gorgeous and when the event was announced three years ago. I remember thinking to myself. Well that’s a no brainer.

00:10:00 – 00:15:06

This is definitely going to be a place where they can pull off an amazing event and there’s such a great cycling community you know within ninety minutes drive of their any direction you you clearly are drawing from a lot of passionate east coast athletes and athletes the country to make the trip over there. There’s no doubt and it goes on in the middle of october which is peacful and we had i think. Vp foliage day this year instagram’s on pay pennsylvania in his. Just see of what. A fall like northeast. Good governance is just outstanding and beautiful thoughts on this great pitcher so then the the longest distance of the event remind me how long the long distance one is is one hundred and twenty miles an and how much is around. Ten thousand feet of climbing niche pending on your device yet we got seven quality peaks and that no people in colorado. I’ll call the mountains but then people come here and climb the milk now the other mountains. It’s it’s nice that as far as pennsylvania goes they’re not the steepest things around but they are pretty consistent. Throw but the lead to some of the best ascending. I’ve done on a bike. Yeah i mean that’s the thing about that east coast area riding. It’s like it’s you don’t have colorado utah style climbs. But they add up. Obviously ten thousand timing over one hundred. Twenty miles is is no joke. Whether you’re from the mountains from from sea-level and especially when you count in eighteen of that israel trail so it’s nine miles out nine miles back at the finish and so in between we throw them climbs edge so obviously when kovic started to be top of mind depending on who you are and where you are in the country certainly within the first quarter of the year. Everybody was knowing that this was a big deal. And you know we got the mid south off under our bell for pretty much everything after that was dropping like flies and everybody was canceling events. I imagine at that point earlier in the year. You guys were thinking well. Gosh were in october. At least we don’t have to make a decision now and hopefully this will all pass through and we’ll be able to go ahead as planned at. What point did you start thinking. Hey this might go knock off as planned Always until the wednesday before honestly. If you’re right we. I put on another Similar but shorter in the valley called monkey knife fight and it was supposed to go off the first weekend of april and we were having in hong what to do with that and beside you know. Let’s just cancel it And that night the nba. Shut down like okay. I guess we’ve called that bright After that is when everything’s starting shutting down shutting down fortunately for unpaved we had not have been registration yet so we just pushed the opening of registration back to i may instead novus up yet. We’ll see what’s going to happen. Everyone has much bigger things to worry about them. Agreement so get back to may in. May things weren’t any better said okay. Lips sweet till july. See things get any better and by july things at least a little dauphin pennsylvania pretty well in. There was no reason to cancel it yet. As far as state guidelines went know the two hundred person two hundred fifty max people was a huge limiter versus twelve hundred and we can talk about the business side of that but it became like a. We can do something it’s different. It’s not what we had in mind. It’s not going to have a festival the day before. It’s not going to have a post party. Probably if those things can happen later of the world changes in we got a vaccine would open that stuff back up but it really became. Here’s what we can do so all right. We’ll do that and if we can do more we’ll do more but least we can do that in all along with all the registers like this can’t be cancelled any minute. Here is the plan for refunds deferrals scheduled for that. You know three days out than it’d be like you have your money back for all to accept. I think up thirty days. It was full refunded referral two weeks executives. Thirty fifty percent. Off or deferral in africa Forget the numbers right now but attentive is like a week before it was like sorry folks. We’re in this together. Yeah so it’s interesting that you mentioned that. I think a lot of events that i was referring to earlier had the challenge of the fact that they had already accepted people’s registration and and presumably in a lot of cases already spent that money on women. Or what have you. And i and i know tyrants exactly. I talked to a few other event organizers. That was the real conundrum they were in and they were looking at their registrants thinking. Well if i give you one hundred percent refund this event will go away and in its entirety. Because i will have lost ten thousand dollars. And i do this not necessarily as moneymaking adventure But more to put back something in the community and show a love for the trails.

00:15:06 – 00:20:07

I have outside my back door. So i do imagine it gave you a lot of freedom. At least that you hadn’t accepted that money. And perhaps you could as you said you just sort of shifted the registration date back to a point. Where at least you knew okay. A two hundred person event you could then go back to the sponsors and how to negotiate. Wh what exactly does that mean because unpaved has the benefit of of great sponsor support. But i imagine you had to go back to those companies and say look. It’s not going to be the same thing we still need your support. But how can we make it fair for everybody. I imagine those were really difficult conversations. They were in the weren’t at the same time like it’s the same sort of things like it’s two hundred people but you know if this does happen. At least it’s a big relevance can happen. We’ll get some exposure for things in the understood that as well and they also you know there’s a few companies did this before in stands sterling when the data for us like we committed we committed we have those conversations before we didn’t sign a contract yet but we’re in rin so they knew that it’s still important to keep these things going motivation going. Even with a chance of it not happening tourism same way salsa floyd’s gu like they’re all kept. You’re trying you’re doing what you can and we’ll do it. We can with you so that’s great. Yeah i’ve always been advocating to the listener that we have to approach this with a whole bunch of grace. There’s gonna be no perfect answer and if we want to continue we just have to roll with the punches and we have to be accommodating to those smaller event organizers who may need to keep a roof over their heads like let’s look at the long game this absolutely i mean for everyone’s like it’s not fair like you’re right it’s not fair that this is a pandemic it is absolutely not fair to anyone in any way shape or form. That’s not fair that’s Vincent could happen. It’s definite events that could not happen. The grass roots ones. That didn’t you know lost money because of all the stuff that they had to buy at the last minute. It’s we’re not a this yet. So yeah yeah. I think that’s one of the reasons i wanted to get. This conversation. Recorded a lot of event. Organisers listened to the podcast. And if we can have some takeaways from them just about how to approach the race and how you were successful in putting together a covid safe race. I think it can help. Create a framework for twenty twenty that we can be shared. Widely amongst race organizers. So hopefully we can have more of these events even if they have to be small. So you’d mentioned you sort of shifted gears and what was going. Be a twelve hundred person. Event was now going to be two hundred athletes and fifty volunteers to adhere to local guidelines. I remember when you announce that. And i to be honest. Dave had mixed feelings. Because we you know we in california. We’ve been in a lockdown situation. And i had the privilege of listening to selene. Talk about it over a couple episodes of the podcast and it was nice and i actually found myself warmed to the idea. And obviously i’ve been wishing for success the whole time but came to appreciate the types of changes you were making for the event to make covid safe and maybe it would be a good time to just sort of talk about the day. Look like for athletes and the type of rules that you enforce to try to make sure everybody could safely participate in the event and have a great day. Integrate experience. sure one big thing. Is you know two hundred people’s a lot different from thousand twelve hundred people so you are able to do a lot more quote handling a lot more Customer service in making some slight accommodations for people Tons of people. And you’re getting all those emails and phone calls right before your friday. Sorry it’s this is. What is that. I said saturday check. It must be saturday checking this time. It’s like okay. It’s saturday check in but if you need to come in sunday morning figure it out. Just be patient with us and people were because they’re also anxious to do an event. So i think they were more accommodating three to try and spread things out as much as possible saturday. Check in something we’ve always had. We’ve had a big festival parties around that in reasons to go out at night in lewisburg those things were kept act that we still had of the two hundred people. We had one hundred fifty people up on saturday like they were still happy to come in and get their things done. They didn’t have to worry about it in stand in line early sunday morning in a tight line. They definitely took that seriously. Masks were mandatory everywhere. You’re talking to anyone wear a mask except when you’re riding a bike when he got the start you could take your mask off and ride your bike when she pulled new aid station. It’s back damascus. Up unless you’re actually eating something at the time. All volunteers wearing masks hand sanitizer everywhere temperature check in the morning Code questionnaire We one thing i can pick them is the volunteers of the a station.

00:20:07 – 00:25:02

So instead of like water coolers are going would go up in like press the water dispenser with their water bottle or neath. We were planning on having the volunteer. The pressing of the water dispenser with the rider holding their model of you. Don’t touch those two things but we get pictures of water. I saw that at a quick indebted event. The volunteers at pitchers water. That works so much. Faster like how efficient way of doing things a big thing. We changed this year. That i think we’re going to stick with his segment. Timing instead of start finish timing. We did it so that people would relax in the stations and not rush in not skip a protocol in that anxious. Do that sort of thing and people really liked that opportunity to relax aid station to get their stuff together. Not forget to eat. We did pretty heavy drop bags service in so they had their own stuff. And i think we’re going to keep with that because it also relaxes pace on some of the roads know. There are some favorites in between that. Have more cars on them. So that’s not a race segment. the chose not segment which is kind of been an issue. Just because it’s sunday morning in the amish are going to church on the rail trail too so it’s great. Having racers mix amish kids riding their bikes on the road. Show so a couple of questions huge but a couple of questions in there so one as it came up on a another podcast to writer bags were you. Are these drop bags were a rider. Sorta filled it with their own nutrition. And and you told them it’ll be at mile fifty or whatever it was going to be at so they all. Riders got two bags and they were going to be a two different spots that you whipped by twice on one hundred twenty There’s a mile Ballpark thirty and then you’d also that same spot again at mile ninety and then the other one was like fifty and you hit it again Upset eighty whatever. Those numbers were so he did that. We can’t do it like dirty decay. Whatever the name will be called next where people drive out in become their support people. Because we’d have too many cars on the same roads of people are biking on. So we had the pennsylvania council. They actually did volunteering for that and a shuttled the drop bags. Does that mean that you did not have other than water neutral. Nutrition out there. We did have neutral energy Floyd’s sent a bunch of Stuffing we did supplemented with some basic snacks from the local grocery stores. Just to make sure there is potato chips and things like that some Everything prepackaged we didn’t have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We didn’t have last year. we have perogie bacon. Meatballs name out works to the whole spread out encores so limited. All of that. No espresso stop this time but right Yeah i want to unpack that a little bit. Because i think the idea of drop bags is something. That’s popularity in the sport of triathlon for example and it’s interesting to just get perspective on you know obviously there’s the logistical challenge of transporting organizing that in such a way that whenever whatever athlete you know from one thousand comes through can find their bag and pick it out. It’s a little less of a problem with two hundred but logistically did that. Work out okay for you. It seemed to for two hundred. We’ve done it the system we use. What we’ve picked up from transylvania mount by epic which coon started in. I helped her in the last few those before. We sold it off to another group. Who’s running it now. But what it is is reasonable grocery bag okay. Can you get that at the start with your number written on it. And that’s what you bring back is what you want us to dropbacks. So he’s it as our swag bag when you sign in all your swag from the sponsors in there and then the next morning you bring it filled with stuff you want at the aid station and it’s numbered so than when they get to the age station they’re laid out in the miracle order and to go from there But we set up. This time is go through it when you’re done with it the first time. Put it back in and go do that next section of the ride and then come back in the second time you’re through with it move it to the other side to get transported back to the finish. Okay yeah that creates. I’ve participated in a number of events with drop bags and it actually does create this great opportunity. You know if it’s really cold at the start you can mining your vest. And arm warmers. You can drop them in your drop bag. You can also get that one specific item that you crave on a long ride and no. It’s going to be there so i think it’s rather interesting solution. That potentially will see more of in this kind of covid era. I think what we’re going to learn from this as people this year of had to learn how to figure out their own day for the most part whether it’s a virtual challenge or whether digits doing something around like i i did my own ninety five mile. Ride just go do what i could do in food.

00:25:02 – 00:30:06

Could i pack. And that sort of thing where i could get water and i think a lot. More people are figuring out how to figure out their day. They don’t need an event to say here’s the chorus here’s whether water stops are the food i’m going to give you because they’ve had to be self-sufficient this year. So how can we apply that to grab events. And i think drop eggs are a decent way of doing that so they know i like this sort of stuff i like. You said the jackets Are starts typically fairly cold in the morning if you do hundred twenty mile right in the middle october in pennsylvania. You probably start with a coat or least a pretty good jacket. But after that i climb. You probably don’t want it for a while so you took it away at mile twenty seven and you can pick it back up again a mile ninety seven because it’s that point much cooler again you’ve got a big descent to get back down into myth lemberg and then you. There’s your jacket waiting for you. So i think these things can happen. It will be interesting to see our pull off thousand but that’s next year’s problem. Yeah it’s it’s definitely doable. I think again the advantages there. I mean you do see you know. An event like decay where you do have aid stations with self supported teams there. Were you’re coming in and you can grab the lighting system. You don’t need for the first hour you’re all sorts of things in the van for that. It was great so yeah a little less than that. Yeah i imagine the the sort of big tough thing for you guys was unpaved. I imagine how to lot of community events that sort of post race meal and beer where everybody can just share their stories from the day. How did you handle that. And how did you feel kind of emotionally can represent the emotional question of the riders that that maybe those changed pretty dramatically Yeah we handled it by not having it at all and there was none of that We because the done paved party afterwards with beer flowing from a local brewer and Where we had the as another change we made very started the event the first two years of this miller recreation center which is a giant gym facility that every community should. Have you know. Twelve basketball courts. All clement you’d ever want need classes in all that sort of stuff and they just let us use their courtyard which is at the a star. The rail trail enter kitchen maids amazing food. And there’s coffee and then we’d bring a beer with beer. Used their whole car. Urban had a great party. When i the first place i went to when restrictions lifted in pennsylvania we could travel outside of our counties was there and as i was going into the miller center to like look around and see how i felt about this really cute a couple walking in to go to the gym for the day like no. We can’t use this place like we can’t the possibility of bringing something into another community. Just note that’s out it’s impossible outdoor stuff is okay but we can’t be in their facility. Those kind of heartbreaking having the conversation with them and people loved having that sort of stuff. But it’s this year. We just made adjustments instead it. You’re gonna get a whoopie pie. The finish in a maybe a slap on the back with my glove on with our masks up in tell you can go in town to get a bite to eat and something to drink and we’ll try it again next year and for the most part people not the most everyone understood that. And for those people still happy with having a righted. but i’ve been saying is it was disappointing to have the festival outpost post party. The manner course did not disappoint that day. It was spectacular so people really happy another bike redden than manage from there. I’m sure i mean just the pent up. Demand and desire for athletes. Be doing something anything. I’m sure it was so huge by that. October that You know it was just a release of joyful energy on the course yeah pennsylvania. We’ve had a few nephew. We found a number of events happening. Since i would say july. A mountain bike races spread out or time trial system and few other small gravel vents in the two hundred rain to fifty range in so just being in touch with all of them. There hasn’t been any code outbreaks related to the events In as still three weeks now there haven’t been any positives to Any positives to come from the event that About nine Couple times like twelve riders. Please let me know. I’m just trying to do chasing letting other writers no in volunteer works universities of human got tested immediately afterwards just to be show her and he’s negative so it seems like outdoor events can happen in some shape way informed so we should continue to do them because they do help. Keep people going through all of this. I’m thankful we have a number of test cases out there between unpaved and Bwi are in utah.

00:30:06 – 00:35:00

These will be good markers for us all to look at and learn from. It’s an at least from our experience. It’s doable so you mentioned one thing i wanted to come back to. Dave was the idea of doing segment based racing of. We’ve got events like grinder. Oh that sorta started out in that format. I’m curious from your perspective. You know it’s all well and good and totally fine for amid packer like myself. I could sort of totally get behind that and really couldn’t care less either way. How do you feel how did you get any sense for. Would the front end of the pack. The guys and girls who racing for the win do they feel the same type of experience as i’m racing. One hundred and twenty miles. It’s really interesting question because we had two very different experiences are men’s winner ben right who’s youngster out of virginia. Think he’s in his early twenty s. He just went like judas racing. He finished like i in one twenty men and had the fastest times on all the segments so we had thirty miles of segment timing on one hundred twenty mile course note. I would like that to be little more mileage if we continue with us and sorry to interrupt because i was going to ask you about that because there is that interesting thing grinder. I think the sections were were smaller than that. Maybe i could have my my my memory wrong on that. I have not look. There’s done we have another one year keystone gravel. It’s been doing second racing. The their fifth or sixth year of that event. They’ve always done it in one of the reasons we didn’t because it’s a similar a month before us they do that. We’re going to do something else. You know just trying to keep events different. Yeah there’s so many ways you can do that. Yeah there is a sense that one hundred twenty mile day five six hour day whatever. It turns out to be that you know. I don’t know what the right number is. But it seems like there’s gotta be a good enough number of segments that hopefully the the strongest athlete for both the technique of each individual section which actually comes into play if you’re designing them correctly but also just having the strength and fortitude to race that extremely long day it’s a it’s interesting with segment based racing to try to find that balance right because it’s very easy to make it a hill challenge and especially with our course because we had We have so many hills and we did. We work with our timers. Or what basically can we afford to do with two hundred people in like let’s do four segments instead of six to seven because i just made it affordable so that helped limit as sort of thing one thing with our course we have this thirty miles called the difference which is typically. We have a ninety mile element. Of course you can do instead of one hundred twenty miles thirty miles loop from one eight station back to that station. It’s got four climbs. It’s got the gnarliest section of quote unquote road on our course. It’s funny that for one hundred twenty miles. Everyone talks about four miles of colonial draft. It’s is a very chunky jeep road. Descent the drives people insane. Put one of our best mechanics from the dutch royal impede hall at the bottom of it. Because he’s saved. He saved our men’s winner the first year. Because it’s derailing was up in his spokesman he fixed it guiding Macrophylla still winning the next year. Mcenroe brokers wheel on the descent. Picot him growing again at least got to the finish in this series single speeded. Someone’s gierek’s and got to the finish so we knew that had to be a segment but we made twenty miles to thirty just because there’s still some have really fast ascending with coupla corners. I didn’t want people to think this is my one moment to race. Overcook a corner. ’cause we had people were corners the first two years in. Yeah that’s where we have set up ’cause you need to but this year we had none of that because we turn those massive descent sections off and we had to bandaids administered. The entire course gets as a vip promoted. Yeah turning off. The sense is a thing. Now like the longer segments of course but safety i so i think it’s there’s gonna be a real artistry to creating segment based events were you give. The climbers and opportunity. You get the flat. Landers and give the real technical riders an opportunity all kind of factor into. Let’s find the most talented athlete of the day. Yeah it transient epic enduro racing for that as well as the thing but we also had a segment called east coast rocks because not all the trails were downhill d’oro segments than they were some of the like climbs or just flat across tussey ridge in its four six miles across it’s ridge it’s really technical and it doesn’t count as an enduro. Enduro razors will be pissed off. We made that a segment of their race. We all right. It’s an east coast rock segment so we made a different competition for that.

00:35:01 – 00:40:01

And i think with technology you can do these things and it can’t be strava am sorry But that doesn’t work for the sort of thing because they aren’t really dialed wealth for how the event should be set up in increasing a new segments of pain in doesn’t match with this other one has in yada yada yada so we went legit timing okay. So that’s what i was. Just gonna ask you timing chips and you had a timing system that could accommodate those crossing that those areas. So i’d interrupted you. You were talking about the marines winner. Who was kind of you know from from beginning to end. He just hammered the whole thing and he was not only the first man across the line but he was the fastest cumulative with the sacraments did. The women’s winner have a different strategy. They hit a very different strategy. So i noticed. When i was going through reg that three of the women in it had finished on the podium before kelly catala who’d one year before two thousand nineteen haley wicks. Who finished second or third get which the year before and vicky barklay who also finished second or third in our first year and there were only returners from putting none of our men’s for men were coming back so i gave them all numbers one two and three and typically. We’re going to do a time. Trial start at the beginning to Still treat it as a race and give them some special treatment. We’re gonna have an amish auctioneer send people to go down and said often thirty second segments but because it’s two thousand twenty. A hurricane remnant was coming up. The coast is threatening of severe rain. Thunderstorms like all right. Just start when you want in the morning. You want to try and beat. The rain started seven thirty. Am the forecast changes. And you like to start the later because it’s warmer. You can start at nine anywhere in between. They decided they contact each other like. Why don’t we just ride together. Let’s spend the whole day the three of us riding together and they had a best time. They wrote the rail trail just chatting about their year. Got to the first segment in raced up in think haley when that first segment and they regrouped and they talk to each station right afterwards. They got their stuff and they rolled over to the second station. At some point picnic. I think too and they then they went out and then they got to the start of the next segment and then they race each other and then at the end of that segment they regrouped waiting for each other in road to the next segment together and they had the best day Kelly qataris blog post on is apps and missed it up. It was so great about how the day went for her. And then i doubt that sold me on it and if she was super nervous about that whole idea about not doing a start finish time thing said it was like one of the best race day. She’s ever had. I think there’s a thing for segment racing. I think it’s like it’s real. I think the front. It’ll be happy with the to interesting but as you did not just for the other race organizers and event promoters out there there is sort of logistic of getting making sure obviously a. You’re running with timing chips which may be as a no brainer for for most of the big events but be but be you know having those sensors at the right points that they’re calculating the segments out there on the course yet it kind of depends on the size of the event to we’re trying to be one of the bigger ones. And so we’re going to invest in that tiny thing i keystone gravel is fantastic Before ours in it’s a guy puts it on in his party at his farm. We spend the day riding our bikes. We empty our tanks out on his course in refill them back in his farm having barbecue and beer. He doesn’t stop. That works totally fine to everyone’s having a good day in that’s what it is. It’s the day so it depends what you’re worth all is with kind of investment you wanna put into it in those results to be so it both will work. You do hope that as more as as more time passes more infrastructure will get created around these things that can make events safer. If that’s if we need to keep being locked down in twenty twenty one. I got to imagine whether it’s strava other companies across the board. All the things that you need as an event organizer. Hopefully you’ve got partners. Who are stepping up and creating the systems and products that you need for safe that and especially when you have to spend money on a lot more sanitizers than masks and all that other stuff more porta johns at events and things like that so yeah. Are there any other sort of weird things that sort of came up you. Just referenced like creating more porta-pottys which i guess makes sense right. Give give less traffic to any given area. Yeah spreading the. Fortunately i mean we budgeted for a lot more for two hundred. Four hundred is really kind of adamant about not being the down side of the road. So be it. A large segment of our budget set aside report john’s anyway but it was still express them up further in been events for their kind of back.

00:40:01 – 00:45:06

So you can have lines on other sides and things like that and just requires more space. Fortunately we have that sorta space where we set up our two major eight eight stations. So that wasn’t too big a restriction. Other things it’s all a blur. Now i know you you mentioned obviously you put hand. Sanitizer stations and on tears and and and athletes were required to wear masks while interacting. That will make sense. Did you do anything. Like sort of digital put your Pre-race speech online or anything like that to kind of limit. The need for people to get together. Yeah we four. We’ve done them in the local theatre which is beautiful in sweden at all the wonderful things. You want with gravel But yeah this year. We said he was gonna do them hourly on saturday and we’d had really small one point was like one on one like. Oh you’re the person here at three o’clock all right we will Talk to you about doesn’t your questions but we the friday night mike. An idea to facebook live on our the unpaved facebook page in that worked really well because we got a lot of questions and that’s been fun when stupid like some fun interaction at kept things light and lively so yeah using those digital tools are not do a digital waiver We were thinking about but then it just became respected enough time it was like two hundred versus two thousand trying to do it so you have to wonder sort of all this collective experience of us all with zoom calls and video conferences. There are not some valuable things that can be used in future events to build community prior to the event. Maybe there’ll be some nice things that come out of this bill community. Also the logistics of one thing. I’ve been things like i know. No one reads the emails in the registration page in the waiver. Because i know the questions. I get everyone needs to read the registration page before you sign up. Read the waiver that you’re clicking on and then read the emails because things are going to change constantly when the next year or two. It’s going to be constant change for events. We’re going to be jumping through hoops. We’re gonna be throwing things at you so you need to dealer aware of everything that’s going on we. I kept telling people. Well we people sign up from all of the country as like. I’m sorry but right. Now you’re on the list of pennsylvania’s quarantine for two weeks before you interact with the public. Are you willing to do that. From paved not. Will you give a refund and people got it. ’cause they’re not looking ahead of time but we need to so just flexibility but then read all that stuff. ’cause the waivers are changing one of the things you mentioned in our email conversation. If i’m not mistaken was a fun photo experience you had at the end. That may be different than you had in previous years. Yeah we Because we weren’t going to have a post bardy. We also turned off the idea of having podiums in part because i mean gone to plenty events and i know it can be a while before you get official timing of things fortunately for gravel unfortunately for unpaved we haven’t had sort of delays in results. But i knew that segment racing would could cause that sort of thing we can. We did not have the problem. That was getting messages immediately. Like that person just crossed the finish line a half mile away. We did have a timing thing for when they started finished. Just keep track of people out there. they’ll be here in the second in the fastest time so far is able to as cigarette them when we got there timing chip and gave him. There won’t be pies said. Hey currently have our fastest time. Let’s take your picture at the podium. Now in case you are winner. Worked really well for our first place because he won the first one or twenty miler in took his photo in ballots. The only when we really needed to take took a few others just in case so that helped and then people could go on with the day. I mean i know people are married. A fast person weeding around for podiums can take a while. Yes my only goal. When i did. Events is to finish in time for podium soccer photo in fort like. Oh that’s gonna take forever for them to do results. I can have another beer. So i know it can take a while and it can be frustrating for the elite athletes to head home and her thing and if we had made ben stick around stick around her until nine o’clock for putting voted with segment. Time you don’t know who’s out there. You know who started at nine. Am and stated age stations for an hour or two each took a nap between segments. You would know these things. And so i think that helped with segment timing to second racing to is just the have those things inside. You can do those announcements and stuff later. You don’t necessarily need to do them that night. The added that’s also is a non so check back with my wife and see us. She would feel about if that was her well. This has been great dave. I appreciate all the information. And you know i know. The gravel cycling event community is tight net. And there’s been great communication over the last few between people because we’re all trying to make these things better.

00:45:06 – 00:47:39

So i appreciate you coming on board and just putting out there some of the things that you guys were able to achieve with unpaved in the year. Twenty twenty and hopefully for those event organizers listening and even for future participants. We all just a little bit more knowledge and a little bit more correct expectations. About what the future will hold. Well i should also send a big thank you to all. The event organizers who had talked to him who did not have events that happened Rebecca decay lifetime crew that so many people we just like start bouncing ideas off of left right and center what we can do it. We couldn’t do. And i was really fortunate to be in pennsylvania and that the state handle things really. Well our Handle things really well so that was will we had going forward versus a lot of other places so i’m very thankful for all of them. Yeah absolutely well thanks again. Dave thank you appreciate it big. Thanks today for joining us this week and telling soul about how unpaved twenty twenty went down in pennsylvania. I sure i’m jealous of all the writing that they have in that neck of the woods. Hope to get over there some day and i’m grateful that dave has decided to share what they went through. Because hopefully other organizers will get a little bit to add to their playbook in thousand and twenty one so we can start seeing some of these great events come back on the calendar and have confidence that it’s the right thing to do for all of our communities. I also wanted to add a huge. Thank you to everybody. Who’s been joining the gravel. Ride podcast membership program. Just visit by me a coffee dot com slash. The gravel ride for details. We’ve got a number of members only perks in place including a discount on the new gravel. Ride podcast jersey which preorders are ending today. So pigmy immediately. If you’re interested in that product as always i welcome your feedback. You can hit me up directly at craig at the growl ride dot bike or come join the ridership on slack you can ping me directly for an invite to that platform or hit me up on facebook or one of the social media channels. We’ve got a lot of vibrant conversations from all over the world starting there and we’re hoping to create this global searchable database of information for gravel and adventure cyclist. So we welcome your inputs over there until next time. Here’s to finding some dirt under your wheels.

The Gravel Ride Podcast


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