Put Something In The Box
First off, this is an incredibly bad ass video of this year’s Tulsa Tough race in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The drone use here is superb. Every year I see a recap of this beer-soaked hedonist festival of debauchery, closer I get to want to attend in person. Because who doesn’t want to combine beer, hedonism, debauchery and spandex?
What I see is a race that has integrated the surrounding community to the extent it takes on a festival-like atmosphere. It makes me wonder what my local race series, the Air Force Association Cycling Classic could do to increase the number of those who attend. Which, in turn, opened up a mental shit storm of questions I have neither the time or the energy to pursue. But they’re interesting to ponder in relation to any race.
Why does the race exist? It it put on by cyclists who love racing simply to have a race? Is the race supposed to do anything besides provide a place for people to race? Is the race promoting something? Is the race supposed to make money? How is the race received in the community? Have the community been asked to participate? Have the local businesses been asked to participate? Have businesses been asked as a collective what would be most beneficial for them?
I see races like Tulsa, Athens Twilight, and a host of others who are getting it right. I’m sure there are problems and challenges with all of them, but outward appearances say otherwise. When the local non-cycling community looks forward to a bunch of skinny dudes in spandex repeatedly riding themselves inside out, something’s been done right.
Change the time—it has to be later. Clarendon’s a brunch town on Saturday and Sunday mornings. While it has its charms, mimosas and champagne spritzers with eggs benedict don’t exactly mix with the intensity of bike racing. Later crowds are rowdier and moar funner. Let’s incorporate the brown flip flop legions of brodom. The course is surrounded by bars and places to eat that also serve alcohol—get them involved. Drink specials for those outside in the beer gardens. Yes, beer gardens. There’s a MASSIVE space in front of Mister Days sports bar, make that the rowdiest corner in all of racing. Whitlows and Boulevard Woodgrill can have an epic burger battle on their respective corners. You’re getting the point, right? At this point it’s more of a nuisance than an event of stature. Rather than being something you want to be over and out of the way before the crowds come, why not stage it when the crowds come?
I see an epic all day party starting at noon or later. The lower cats can get some mid-day exposure (heh, yeah, ‘dat heat) and the pros shine at twilight when everyone’s ready to party. Why can’t it be a public draw rather than something you walk by on your way to something else? Something to think about.