The 2015 City Slicker Classic "From Skin-Suits to Kickstands"
September 26, 2015
Clay, Mitch and Houston hatched the idea for a NYC off-road race while on our shop ride to
The idea was to increase exposure for NYC trail and off-road riding.
October 9, 2015
So, Clay has been on me for over a year to host a race. Ideas ranged from a Super Mario Kart event to a trail race in Prospect Park. I am not sure exactly when the idea for the
came seriously into my world, but I know in the last 2 weeks it became real.
It seems that during our
a few weeks ago, this got more real. Maybe it was the clear mountain air, or the charcoal chested vision-questing, but we came off that mountain with a sense of clarity about this event.
Houston, a great friend of the shop, called in a big favor and got his friend to design our race poster. The design of the poster went through a few iterations, mostly centering around making the taxi drive figure less aggressive and more supportive. In addition, creating a female figure, dressed as the Statue of Libertty and carrying a slice opf pizza is a true testiment to the artist. With that in hand, we opened registration on 10/9/15.
October 11, 2015
Cunningham Park race trail scouting.
"Last Sunday, Houston, Mitch and I met out at Cunningham with 5 copies of the park map, 3 Sharpies and a cream cheese bagel. The first major decision was to include both portions of the park as they each have their own things to offer. We knew we were going to be seeing a handful of different kind of bikes and riders at different skill levels so we kept asking ourselves questions like, could a cross bike make it through that? Would a beginner to safe to bomb that section? Advanced hardtail riders will still have the upper-hand but we tried to make it as even as possible"
"We then pre-rode each difficult or expert off shoot sections to make sure they were all passable. Criteria was pretty loose but we only cut off one and half because they were too tame. We then came up with a strategy to make sure no one class of rider would have an advantage over the other, nor would people be able to turn down a chance at an obstacle without taking some form off alternative time punishment. We couldn't make it more than 1000 yds without someone asking what we were doing and wanting to sign up. 4 hours later we had the course outlined in a Sharpie rainbow across 3 maps with hazards, obstructions, check points, and medic team all clearly detailed and appropriately spread out"
Initial sketch of race course
"We ran it one last time with a stopwatch going just under race pace and guessed the average finish time will be around 45 minutes. If you ride it faster than that -- which we hope you will -- you will ralphing before the finish line. We have a pretty good course set, we're pretty sure your going to love it or die trying" (Clay)
Cunningham Park "Overpass"
October 12, 2015
I have started the process for getting sponsors involved and have been overwhelmed by the response. This list is a who's who in the mountain bike world, and can be found
October 13, 2015
Registration is booming today, we are at over 40 racers with 3+ weeks to go. We also leaned there is
out at Cunningham (BikeLane!), and we are both making plans to accommodate each other. This event has gotten so big that we are bringing in a medical staff and purchasing walkie-talkies!
October 15, 2015
Race Committee Meeting (Joe, Aaron, Boss-Ass Mitch, Clay, Houston, Alfred). Our race committee met at least 4 times in the lead up to the race.
Oct 15 Race Meeting
October 25, 2015
Our last Race Committee meeting was mostly about the details
Oct 25 Race Meeting (tough guy pose)
October 26, 2015
Very early on, we determined that we could run a time-trial event, where each rider leaves and is timed in set intervals. We just didn't have the equipment or time to mask it happen. We decided on a LeMans start, with heats no bigger than 25, figuring the running start would string riders out enough.
We found a great company (
) that prints bibs/numbers for about 30 cents a number (black and white, with custom graphics)
We also determined that we needed walkie-talkies and a bullhorn. In this age of smartphones, playing with walkie-talkies is just plain fun. In the end, our equipment didn't reach the far ends of Cunningham Park, so we had to use a relay system.
The biggest issue we face were permits and insurance. We initially retrieved a 20 person permit from NYC. Through alot of haggling, we were able to secure a 100 person permit (reasoning that although we had 150 racers, no more than 100 would be there at any given time.
We also need to acquire insurance and develop a
The insurance company wouldn't issue a certificate until we had a race waiver. This waiver needed to be vetted by a lawyer from NY, familiar with these documents. Insurance was issued oin a cost per rider/volunteer basis, and turned into our biggest expense. Thanks to a donation, we were able to cover this and keep the entry fee free.
In addition, we also felt strongly about creating a
with an Emergency Action Plan
October 29, 2015
Insurance and Permits. These 2 issues were probably the biggest things that kept the Race Committee worried. Our initial permit was for 25 people, which needed to be amended to over one hundred. Getting recommendations form
(Concerned Long Island Mountain Bikers), we were able to present a thoughtful plan to the city in terms of trail and staging land use.
November 4, 2015
Race Maps. Great care was taken to design 3 routes that would allow advanced mountain bikers, cyclocross racers and novice riders to have a safe an enjoyable time
One of three course maps
Race Day! 11-7-15
Race day dawned clear with temperatures in the 60's. The 718 crew loaded our demo bikes and equipment starting at 4am, with the van arriving at Cunningham Park at 7am. The course marshals left to tape the course, and arrived back to link uop with other volunteers and medical tream to have a volunteer meeting at 8:45am
Pre-Race Volunteer Meeting
Registration opened at 9am for the first heat of racers, who were racing at 10am. The registration tent saw some real hero's step up.
We developed a semi-elaborate sticker system, to determine which racer was in which race. This helped finish line marshals determine finish order
Taping course maps to side of truck...pro move!
We had more registrants than we ever imagined, which caused to have to put alot of effort into setting up race heats. In addition, we had a number of racers who wanted to borrow bikes from our demo fleet. To add to the complication, we developed 3 different courses and tried to match riders skill level to to a race heat
Because we had so many racers, and no timing equipment, the idea of running the event as a individual time trial was thrown out the window. The running starts, down 300 yards of trail, served to add some run to the proceedings as well as space out riders as they dove into the singletrack trail
- 10:00am Mountain Bike Open Heat 1 (Full Course)
- 10:30am Mountain Bike Open Heat 2 (Full Course)
- 11:00am Mountain Bike Open Heat 3 (Full Course)
- 11:30am Female Mountain Bike (Full Course)
- 12:30pm Open Cyclocross (Half Course x 2)
- 1:30pm Mountain Bike Open Championship (Full Course)
- 2:00pm Novice Race 1 (Novice Course)
- 2:30pm Novice Race 2 (Novice Course)
- 3:00pm Novice Race 3 (Novice Course)
The racing can best be described as a ton of friends winding around a course. Things were competitive, but in a way that makes you feel good about the human spirit. When riders went down, people stopped to help. When new riders were getting ready to go, they were encouraged by the more experienced group.
A small group of the volunteers that made thsi event possible
(Keep your calendar clear in the middle of May...)