||Luray International Triathlon
||Sunday, May 14, 2006
||Triathlon - International Distance
||Male 30 - 34
||Luray Triathlon Race Report by the Race Director (David Glover)
Luray Triathlon Race Report by the Race Director (David Glover)
This race started for me almost a year ago….
I want to produce a triathlon. I’ve toyed with the idea of producing my own race but have been hesitant to make the commitment. I’ve been working with the Reston Triathlon as one of the Race Directors (there’s 7 of us now) for several years so have the experience to do it and the perspective to know that it’s a lot of work and potentially a huge financial risk. The demand by the local triathlon community for more races is high as evidenced by many of the local races filling up quickly.
I decide to produce two or three race and create a budget. My goal is simply to not lose money.
After researching possible venues within an hour or two of DC on maps and Web sites, Laura [my girlfriend] and I spend a day of driving to potential race sites west of Reston. Almost all fail race site suitability factors: too much traffic; poor road quality; inadequate lake access; road to lake not paved, etc.
One of our final stops for the day is Luray and nearby Lake Arrowhead. Laura and I noticed the paved trail along the river in town (Greenway) and eat lunch downtown at “A Moment to Remember.”
Laura: “This is a cute little town.”
The park at Lake Arrowhead is beautiful and the roads are nicely paved with little traffic. Now, I need approval and support from the Town of Luray and Page County.
Me in a voicemail to Pat who heads Luray Parks & Recreation: “Hi Pat. My name is David Glover. I would like to do a triathlon in Luray at Lake Arrowhead next spring. I will send you an email with my proposal. Please let me know what you think.”
Excerpt from email that I sent Pat:
Proposed date in 2006: 5/14 (coincides with the weekend of the Festival of Spring)
- # Athletes: ~300
- # Spectators/volunteers: ~300
Pat replies that it sounds like a good opportunity for the town, but I’ll need approval from the Town Council.
In early November, I create a PowerPoint presentation for the Town Council with my proposal to run two races on the same day – an International and a Sprint – with a total race cap of 500 athletes. I position the event as a “Win-Win” for the town and the athletes. I am prepared to drive out to Luray on a weekday to present to the Town Council in order to get their approval.
Pat in email to me: “Hey Dave, great job on the presentation. No need for you to come to council meeting. They have already approved it.”
In mid November, Laura and I spend another day driving all the roads around Luray to develop a bike course. We visit the Chamber of Commerce and are pointed in the direction of Gary at Appalachian Outdoors Adventures. The store ultimately becomes our site for Saturday packet pick-up.
In late November, Greg from Set-up, Inc and I survey the lake and the surrounding roads to develop the bike and run courses. We change my initial bike course design from a huge loop around the lake to a less challenging, but safer lollipop-shape with the Sprint athletes doing one loop and the International athletes doing two loops of the lollipop portion of the course.
Greg: “This is an awesome venue!”
Registration for Luray Triathlon opens on the Set-up, Inc Website as part of the Virginia Triathlon Series. The first person registers at 12:03 AM on January 1, 2006.
I ask the publisher of my book, Rainmaker Publishing, to be the title sponsor. They help me with creating a logo and flyer for the race.
While speaking with Deri, a friend at Capital One about the race, she mentions that she’s interested in getting experience as a volunteer coordinator. “Great, I can use your help.” Deri ultimately becomes both my volunteer and sponsor coordinator.
A question I answered for the local Page County newspaper:
Q: What made you choose the town of Luray as a site?
A: There were three main reasons that went into my decision to choose Luray.
First, the minimum criteria for any triathlon venue are suitable and safe swim, bike and run courses. Lake Arrowhead makes for an ideal swim course as it’s small, clean and in a park setting that is accessible by paved roads (for bike in/out). The triathletes ride on lightly traveled roads with few course turns during the bike. The run takes athletes on the dirt trails adjacent to Luray then out and back on a lightly traveled paved road.
Second, I first visited Luray on the recommendation of a friend who has a sister that lives near Luray. My friend had suggested that I check out Luray / Lake Arrowhead as a possible triathlon venue. My girlfriend, Laura, and I visited the town one weekend and over lunch at “A Moment to Remember” said to each other, “Wow, this a cool town with a lot of character.” We had also stopped by the Chamber of Commerce and spoke with Bobby Jenkins who has lived in Luray all his life. It seemed like everyone knows each other in Luray and there is a real sense of pride and community in the town.
The third reason was the potential to create a race that was embraced by both the community and the athletes. The community would welcome the athletes and make the experience a memorable one for them such that they would want to come back year after year – it would become a “must do” destination race. In return, the athletes would choose this race over others and spend time at and provide economic benefit to the community. I think Luray has this potential. I purposefully chose 5/14 as the race date to tie in with the Festival of Spring – I think the festival will really appeal to the friends and family members who are along as spectators, as it gives them something to do, too.
So far the interest from the community and local businesses has exceeded my expectations, especially as this is the inaugural race. I have been working with the Town of Luray, Luray Downtown Initiative and the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce – all three have been very supportive and energized to make this event a success. I am very much looking to getting as many town residents, businesses and organizations involved as possible.
I drive out to Luray mid week to meet with representatives from the town and county in Luray: Luray Parks and Recreation Department, Page County Parks and Recreation, Page County Sheriff’s Office, Luray Police Department, Luray Downtown Initiative and a local business owner. Everyone is excited about the event as I walk through the timeline and the course. Registration is at about 130 for both races.
I’m at the Bonzai road show promoting the Luray Triathlon and my new book “Full-time and Sub 9” which is set to be published by the date of the triathlon. I hand out flyers on both.
I commission local Luray artist Patty Sevre to hand engrave goblets and wine glasses with the triathlon logo for top three overall and age group winners.
I make two trips to Luray this month to meet with local businesses about sponsorship and involvement.
As May 14 gets closer, the pace of preparation increases. I’m on the phone or sending emails before and after work every day trying to coordinate the race.
In early April, I give my two weeks notice at Capital One. I want to take the summer off in order to have the flexibility to train like a full-time athlete plus focus on other things like the two triathlons I am producing - Luray and Smallwood. I have no idea where I’ll land six months from now, but my goal is to not go back to a corporate cube job. My boss asks me to stay on another two weeks for transition, which I agree to do. My last day is April 28.
Deri has identified a dozen or so local businesses as sponsors and is in talks with multiple non-profit organizations for volunteer support. Getting firm number commitments from the volunteers is tough so we’re not certain we’ll have enough volunteers. Pat commits to having six or seven of his folks volunteer at well.
Laura orders 500 athlete t-shirts, 100 volunteer t-shirts, 500 canvas race bags and 144 race mugs (2nd and 3rd place finishers). Race entry is still only about 350 so we’re not quite sure where we’ll end up in total numbers but decide that having a few extra is better than not having enough.
I get an email from the regional USAT officials’ coordinator: “Do you want USAT officials at your race? You’re approaching 400 entries so will probably need two officials. You will need to reimburse us for mileage and a hotel as well.”
“Absolutely,” I answer. “I want this to be a professional event. I already have two motorcycles lined up to drive you.”
Next year, we’re planning to have an official’s clinic in the region so that we can staff race officials locally.
The last two weeks before the race are a flurry of coordination and decision phone calls and emails between the town, local businesses and sponsors.
Laura and I drive to Luray the Friday afternoon before the Sunday race for packet stuffing. We meet up with Deri and the three of us stuff 500 packets for over five hours in the basement of “A Moment to Remember.” Bob, the owner, brings us beer and chips.
We run into Aaron S. at dinner. He’s taking pictures at the Massanutten 100-miler on Saturday before heading over to Lake Arrowhead on Sunday morning to take pictures at the triathlon.
Brady drives up Friday night and crashes with Laura and I at our cabin at Shadow Mountain Escape.
On Saturday, Brady and I spend all morning and early afternoon working with the Set-up team to set up the transition area, swim course and mark the bike and run courses. Greg and I make a decision to change the run course that morning by first routing the athletes to the left as they leave the transition area. This takes out a huge hill on the road. The run course change creates a little confusion for some of the athletes during the race.
After getting most of the course set-up, I head over to packet pickup where things are running smoothly under the direction of Greg’s wife, Ashley. Hope, who ultimately wins the woman’s International race, and Deri are helping Ashley. We recruit a few more volunteers for race day at packet pickup.
In the meantime, Laura and her friend Jeff are at Wal-Mart and Food Lion buying all the food and drinks we’ll need for the race. It takes them three trips in Jeff’s SUV to bring all the stuff to the lake.
On Saturday evening, Brady and I walk downtown at 9 PM looking for a beer. Everything is quiet and closed but Bob, the owner of “A Moment to Remember,” let’s us in anyway since there are still many folks dining. He says that this was his busiest night ever.
I sleep for five or six hours that night. I’m very nervous but I realize that the race is in motion and mostly outside of my control now. I just hope it does not rain.
On Sunday morning at 5 AM, Brady, Laura and I head over to the lake. We pass Officer Steve from the Luray Police Department who is biking to the lake from the town.
On Sunday, Greg acts as race director. I trouble shoot. That is my job during the race. I keep things moving smoothly and if there are issues I solve them using the available resources.
“We can’t hear the PA at the lake,” I tell Pat. He fixes the speakers so we can.
“We need a volunteer at the bike exit,” I tell Deri. She finds a volunteer.
“Can you find Greg and ask him…” I ask Brady. He takes off to find Greg.
“Steve, can you watch the transition area exit.” Steve becomes a volunteer.
Delegation is key. I can’t be everywhere at once. Cell phones are invaluable as I exchange calls with Greg, Deri and Pat on a frequent basis.
The first wave starts promptly at 8 AM.
The only parts of the race that I get to see are the swim, the start of the run and the finish. Everything else is blind to me and I need to rely on the police and volunteers to make sure everything is safe.
The awards ceremony is a little awkward and slow – I need to have someone besides me run that next year. When I get the results from Greg, he has added a Masters category, which I had not planned for. We recognize the top M & F Masters separately but roll them back into their respective age groups for awards.
By the time awards are done at 1 PM, the transition area has been mostly taken down thanks to the folks from Set-up, Inc. I give away most of the remaining t-shirts, awards and food to the town to give to their folks for volunteering and to the Town Council members.
Laura and I leave the park by 2 PM and stop by “A Moment to Remember” for a late lunch and to decompress.
Laura and I are exhausted.
I had fun. I created something that a lot of people happy. I created an experience for them – an experience that embraces a healthy, active lifestyle.
How wonderful is that?