Sunday, November 12, 2006

Surf City # 3 CANCELLED

Just got word from Watsonville this morning that today's race has been cancelled due to some kind of issue with the maintenance crew. Stay tuned for details on whether it will be rescheduled to a later date...

Message from Sabine:

It is with great (you have no idea!) disappointment that we have to
announce that Surf City #3 scheduled for today has been cancelled.

We just found out this morning that there might be permit issues. All
of the fairgrounds representatives are out of town and unreachable and
maintenance will not let us in the venue.

We will review the calendar to see if the date can be rescheduled. We
will let everyone know any further information as soon as we are able.

I deeply apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused anyone.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who was on they're way down this morning but was lucky enough to get a call letting us know about the cancelation, I have to say we were pretty bummed. I happen to know others that make it ALL the way there from the East bay, and no doubt others came from even further.

That sucked!

I just have to say I'd pretty pissed at the Fairgrounds pople if I were Sabine and the rest of the Velo Bella crew!

I smell a lawsuit!

11/12/06, 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lawsuit is a good way to never get
this venue again.

11/12/06, 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Brij Lunine said...

Que horror, que lastima, que paso?

On the other hand:

At least it wasn't for some tragic reason.

And what a trip to see packs and packs of cyclocross riders throughout Wilder and upper campus. Too much fun to go work it out together. Our group of four probably saw over two dozen folks around.

We all missed out on a beautiful day and primo conditions. Maybe the last Surf City can be combined with the 1st Peak Season race? David, birthday boy, Gill is the man to make it happen. There are holes in the calendar in December too.

Hope the Bellas aren't out too much $. I know how much time was spend yesterday setting up a killer course.

It'll happen!

11/12/06, 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cant blame the fairgrounds. What do you want to end cross racing there forever???

11/12/06, 7:55 PM  
Blogger Velo Bella said...

Anyone who has ever promoted a race can tell you about the race day nightmare.

It takes many forms, but basically its the same dream where you can't start the race, because of something silly, like your feet are stuck in mud and you are trying to talk sense to people around you, but no one can hear.

Well, the reality of that situation is far more horrific than the nightmare.

Over two weeks ago the fairgrounds decided to make amends for double booking us by allowing us to have the Nov 12th date. They had previously denied us this date because it fell on a holiday weekend.

But the deputy manager and the facilities manager told us that they would give us the date. So we cancelled our date at Soquel High. Watsonville is more forgiving of rain damage and a more versatile course, so at the time, it seemed the better option.

We sent them the usual certificate of insurance for the weekend.

This past week we did what we usually need to do before an event and contacted the facilities manager. He assured us that we were set to go.

Yesterday, the maintenance staff greeted us and opened the venue for us. We talked about our plans for tomorrow. We set up as usual, and at the end of the day, told the maintenance staff we would see them at 7:00am as scheduled.

At 7:00 this morning we arrived to locked gates. The maintenance crew told us that the fairgrounds manager told them that no events were allowed to be scheduled over the holiday weekend and that we were not allowed in. Apparently the deputy manager had failed to notify her of our arrangement. And in addition she did not know that our insurance paperwork had been filed.

We insisted that they contact the deputy manager or the fairgrounds manager but were told they were both out of town and unreachable.

Phone calls by us to those people went unanswered.

Because the gates could not be opened, the rush of racers on the venue was causing a traffic hazard. At that time, we made the difficult decision to cancel the race so that we could turn traffic out of the area, and perhaps get the word out to those who had not left their homes yet.

At 9:05am we finally reached the fairgrounds manager. Contrary to what we had been told, she was not out of town. After discussion with Jeff Clark (the calm in the eye of the storm) and assurance that our insurance paperwork had been filed, she gave us permission to run our race.

Thats when I lost it.

Of course, by then racers and officials had been sent home and the emails had gone out.

The fairgrounds manager arrived on site about a half hour later, went into the office and found our insurance paperwork and apologized.

In hindsight, there are things we could have done to have avoided this. We made the mistake of relying on verbal promises by both the deputy manager that our date was booked and by the facilities manager that everything was set. If we had gone through their usual protocol we could possibly have avoided the communication lapse that occurs amongst the fairgrounds staff. We have dealt with flaky venues before and we really should have been more diligent before hand.

In the end, it is my responsibility to assure that all details are attended to so that races can occur as planned. And I failed in that respect. I made the choice to deal with a dysfunctional office and staff and I did no do so with the care I should have taken.

I cannot begin to express my disappointment.

My disappointment to the racers, the families, the first timers, and most importantly to all the volunteers who make this race happen (some of our volunteers drove all the way from Arnold and Fresno)

We had one of our best courses ever put together. And a gorgeous post rain crisp autumn day to play in.

In perspective this was not the worse that could happen. Two years ago, I landed in the hospital right before one of the first races I ever helped promote. I was disappointed then, but very happy to be alive. I hope that everyone found a way to enjoy today's gift of a beautiful autumn day with their families and friends.

We are looking at the calendar now and searching for options. We will have a make up race if we can arrange it. The team that puts on the Surf City race is really one of the most amazing groups I've ever worked with. If anyone can pull it off they can. And they want another chance to show their stuff.

More details as we know it.

Sincere apologies to all who were inconvenienced and thanks to all those who sent nice emails!

Happy riding,

11/12/06, 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did a East Bay race once where Bob tried to go for it on a vacant lot with no real permit. Well, all the catagories made it thru, but during the A race a few Sheriff's showed up to shut it down. It was the Sheriff who gave the 1 to go sign and that was it! Liebold just pulled it off, with just a warning from the Sheriff !!!

Another time at a Southern Mines race Bob had no site lined up, so the status was wait until the morning of the race, call the hotline at 9:00 am and then directions will be given to the location of the event, which would start at 11:00 am. When the vacant lot was found it was a small parcel and the lap time was 1 minute 40 seconds, with 1 dismount section, and a little snow! It was 28 laps for the A race. I was the winner at both those races, and it is the memories which make them special.

11/12/06, 11:47 PM  
Anonymous blackmarket racing said...

As Brij said, we all had a fantastic day in the forest, where leagions of cross riders were cruising around, enjoying the day. No, we didn't get to race, but yes, we still had a blast. Everyone understands your frustration with the race day nightmare, and everyone will be out at the make-up race. Thanks for putting in the effort, and not walking away from promoting in general, over these infuriating circumstances. We'll see you all at the next one...

11/13/06, 9:41 AM  
Blogger Brent Chapman said...

I want to say thank you to all the people who came by with words of encouragement and thanks to the course staff that had arrived to work the event even though you were being turned away.

The staff knew there was nothing they could do and their spirits were really down. The few kind words you gave helped them make it through the rest of the day of pulling out stakes from an unused course.

11/13/06, 10:21 AM  
Blogger Brent Chapman said...

I want to say thank you to all the people who came by with words of encouragement and thanks to the course staff that had arrived to work the event even though you were being turned away.

The staff knew there was nothing they could do and their spirits were really down. The few kind words you gave helped them make it through the rest of the day of pulling out stakes from an unused course.

11/13/06, 10:22 AM  
Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

just one extra phone call...

that's all it would have taken.

- - -

For all those non-locals ~ we had a puurrrfect course set up this weekend that got the kibosh at 7am the morning of the race. Then, at a bit after 9am after - they gave us a little, 'oops ... yeah, go ahead and do the event.'


Now, this all could have been avoided if i'd made one extra phone call to the facility instead of just talking the guy we'd dealt with on the first event. shyte.

- - -

it's just the sadness sitting in us today. Poor Sabine, she has to catch hell about it. The volunteers who bled bullets to make the course perfect, the prizes perfect. The sponsors who came down to catch the last Indian summer's day. The smiling racers ready to have a great time. The families ready to play. The kids eekin' for kiddiekross. The officials turned away.

it just sucks all the way around. all because one extra-phone call of confirmation wasn't made ... by me.

- - -

and now we have to try and reschedule. try and not impact attendance at another event in the area. try to get folks hyped again for this excellent event. try to get the amazing volunteers to put aside yet one more weekend to put on a race. get the officials back. etc, etc, etc.

it just sucks.

but, you've got to overcome, eh? and it will be all the sweeter when we pick ourselves up off the ground, dust off, and stand straight. we'll do it.

- - -

i've talked with the Watsonville folks this morning and everyone involved accepts that miscommunications occurred and that mistakes were made. Their staff didn't talk to each other about the authorizations they gave us, and we didn't confirm with the one person who canceled the event at the last minute.

yes, things could have been done better - but, the most important thing at this point is that we want to keep the venue available for ALL cyclists, not just this particular crew of promoters.

so, we'll do better next time.

michael hernandez

11/13/06, 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a long letter for the explanation Sabine he! No worries..those whom raced long enough know the hard work Velo Bellas invested in putting these races so you need not justify anything..Sorry for the big headaches. Thanks for the keeping the series going!

11/13/06, 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Jim Macdonald said...

Silver Lining?

I have not made it down to any of the Surf City races this year due to my personal commitment to the sac series. However, I have wanted to come down and do some of those races. Maybe others are feeling the same way. If the date pushes out far enough, a big positive might come in the form of others to traveling to check out the W-Ville fairgrounds. For me, I see it as a Nor Cal Cup Beta test. Maybe others from Sactown will see it as an opportunity to travel past the bay area to race for x minutes.  Keep ya head up.

11/13/06, 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Shauna P said...

Sabine and team, many of us know that you have been going above and beyond for a long time. It was a beautiful day and I share the same sentiments as others, I rode in the forest (which I have been missing since cross started), and I saw friends and forest views that I cherish. It will all smooth out and please know, your efforts and hard work do not go unnoticed. Please don't give it up. You support our habits and we all love you for it.
Shauna P

11/13/06, 1:25 PM  
Blogger Brent Chapman said...

I think I mentioned this in the past, but there is always something that happens at EVERY event not just the fairgrounds, and as every promoter knows even though we make every call and everyone seems to be involved there is always some disconnect somewhere.... I cannot think of one event where some random person didn't show up with a problem and or a threat to screw things up.

Unfortunately yesterdays disconnect was the one bullet SC could not graciously dodge in the same manner we had at the other events over the past 30 years.

I will be there to continue to support VB/ Surf City even though we are now -2 of a few hundred events that have changed my life.

Oh.. happy birthday D.Gill.


11/13/06, 2:36 PM  
Blogger swaggerwolf said...

Maybe the day before Districts would be a good makeup date? That would make for an Awesome weekend...

11/13/06, 5:08 PM  
Blogger Erein said...

No worries, had a great day riding at UCSC. You guys are still the best.

11/13/06, 7:32 PM  
Blogger Dave Carr said...

Sabine, Brent & crew:

Your life, my worst nightmare as a promoter. I got a flashback to sleepless nights wondering what could go wrong. I feel for ya'.

When we ran the Napa Redline Cup in 2002 (with pros, UCi points and Natz seeding on the line no less) we almost got shut down on race day by a facility guy who hadn't got the memo, showed up to find all these bikers riding around his property, and went ballistic. Fortunately that day the facility boss WAS reachable and he backed us up. But I was sweating bullets there, lost a couple years of my life I think.

I think everyone supports you and understands the sacrifices you guys make. Shake this one off and we'll be ready to race at the next one.


11/14/06, 12:59 PM  
Blogger Velo Bella said...



That happens at just about every race unfortunately.

At Soquel it was the special olympics soccer practice, or the Sunday morning bingo that no one knew about.

At Aptos High it was a tennis tournament.

At Watsonville its the horse show or the angry B$^$# in the truck that needs to haul workers back and forth because walking would take up too much of their break.

Even at our USGP race, an event I called the Watsonville office every day about and made certain they knew how important it was, there was a bingo dinner thing that asked us to stop the race so they could set up.

11/14/06, 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you build it, I will come back.

The Surf City races have been the most fun I have ever had at any racing venue, ever. I look forward tot he rescheduling, even if it is in February or June.

We all had a great time ripping it up at UCSC, so it wasnt a total loss.

11/15/06, 8:55 PM  
Blogger docketrocket said...

I was bummed to get there (driving down from SF) and see "race cancelled," but I went on a nice ride at Big Basin instead.

I've run a couple of illegal races before, and I've always had a lot of respect for people who organize the real thing. I appreciate the effort, and I'll definitely be at the rescheduled event.

11/16/06, 7:17 PM  

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