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Old August 6th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #41
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As a former runner who has competed in a lot of road races...I think Scott makes a good point. A lot of us are so used to events that are plentiful and easily to get to...and coming to the skating world it's a big adjustment. I love the long distance stuff myself and I'm fortunate to have a 60 mile skate/bike event that I did yesterday.

This event, which in the past few years I have mentioned many times on the forum, had about 12 skaters. A couple of years ago I started a thread here asking for suggestions on how to improve this event...I got one response. It's a tough sell. As usual I was the only "local" skater within a 50 mile radius to participate in this event. There are many, many skaters in this area but most would rather do a few laps inside a rink.

There are so many factors making these events difficult to promote. My first race experience for example was at the ill-fated Toronto Marathon which had about 60 skaters. My first impression was that the bulk of the racers were a group of unfriendly, elite skinsuited weenies. That's a problem too...the perception by rec skaters that they don't fit in.

Having said that, I drove 2 hours to find some hills a couple of weeks ago to see if I might be able to be up to the a2a challenge. It didn't go well as my groin injury that I've been nursing for about 6 months reared it's ugly head again. No a2a this year...but I'll continue to try to be a good ambassador for the sport....but it's an uphill battle sometimes.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by dcuper1 View Post
it seems like you cheated if you participated in the Athens to Atlanta competition, but you didn't really go from Athens to Atlanta.

What I mean here is that the main attraction of this race is going from A2A and if you do the 52 or 38 miles, even though they are really long and it takes a very good skater to finish them, you didn't really go from A2A. This makes less people willing to go to this event if they won't go the distance of 87 miles.

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The distances that A2A offers are because they are between good starting/stopping places. A 42k, and a 21k would start/end in the middle of no-where.
Don't they just measure 52 miles from the finish and start the race there and do the same thing to the 38 miles? Couldn't they do just the same thing for 42k and 21k? Am i missing something?

Daniel
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Old August 6th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #43
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The 38 and 52 mile rolls start and finish in cities, so there's parking, restrooms, refreshments, etc. There is space for people to hang out and relax, more than just a roadside, where much parking would be too dangerous. Not likely there are such facilities at the 21k and 42k marks; the facilities are why the distances were selected.

For some people, the main attraction is skating between Athens and Atlanta. But for other people, the main attraction is being with friends, even friends they never met until the event. And for other people, skating 38 miles is their year's skating goal. (As someone else said, a rookie shouldn't try to skate the full distance, but work up to it, in a series of major accomplishments.)
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Old August 6th, 2007, 06:04 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by skaterdog View Post

My first race experience for example was at the ill-fated Toronto Marathon which had about 60 skaters. My first impression was that the bulk of the racers were a group of unfriendly, elite skinsuited weenies.
I hope your second impression is better.

C
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Old August 6th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #45
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I hope your second impression is better.

C
Well....I have done another one...the Wolverine Inline Marathon and it did turn out somewhat better. I think the Toronto race was populated mostly by Toronto skaters and some of the elite skaters who travel around and form a tight group. This was two or three years ago...hotter than heck and they set up their own tents etc. Not good. A friend and I drove all the way to Toronto, excited about our first race and it was not a good experience.

From all accounts the A2A event is one of the more friendly and welcoming. Proof that they want all level of skaters is the variety of distances they offer...that pretty much says "we want you here rec skaters".
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Old August 6th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skaterdog
There are so many factors making these events difficult to promote. My first race experience for example was at the ill-fated Toronto Marathon which had about 60 skaters. My first impression was that the bulk of the racers were a group of unfriendly, elite skinsuited weenies. That's a problem too...the perception by rec skaters that they don't fit in.
I agree. When I first started speedskating, I looked up the local club and attended one of their practices. There were about 10 skaters at the practice, and when I rolled up on my 4x80 rec skates and running shorts & jersey, they all looked at me like I had an infectious skin disease. Nobody wanted to talk to me. I went to practice the next week, had the same result, said "screw those guys," and stuck to training by myself. Since then I've met a few skaters from the club and found them to be perfectly friendly people. While skating with one of these guys, I mentioned that I had come to a couple of club practices and been treated shabbily, and he reacted with surprise... until I mentioned I had been on rec skates. "Well, that's why, then," he said. Yeesh! Bad news for our sport if this sort of thing is common.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 02:06 AM   #47
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I think the Toronto race was populated mostly by Toronto skaters and some of the elite skaters who travel around and form a tight group. This was two or three years ago...hotter than heck and they set up their own tents etc. Not good. A friend and I drove all the way to Toronto, excited about our first race and it was not a good experience.
Really sorry to hear that about your experiene at the Toronto race. I'm certain that I was there in a volunteer capacity because Joel (my husband) & I did for the TISC marathon. Most of the skaters were from Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal. It is true that we are a tight group, but it is only because there are so few of us. I hope that you will come to another race in Canada (Montreal 24hour or Ottawa Festival) sometime, because we really are a friendly group.

I might mention that I am definitely not an elite skater (probably the slowest skater of all of them) and Joel is at the advanced level. We have been most welcomed by all those skaters (some of which are Olympic medalists in short track ice), although you are correct, it can be intimidating seeing people in their skinsuits sociliazing with each other. It was for us the first time or two we went to an event. But, for the most part if you introduce yourself around, you'll always find a friendly person or two, or three in the crowd.

Christine
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Old August 7th, 2007, 02:18 AM   #48
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[QUOTE=More Cowbell While skating with one of these guys, I mentioned that I had come to a couple of club practices and been treated shabbily, and he reacted with surprise... until I mentioned I had been on rec skates. "Well, that's why, then," he said. Yeesh! Bad news for our sport if this sort of thing is common.[/QUOTE]

Sorry to hear that Lawrence. The people I know from Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal don't care what you skate on (3 different clubs). Joel & I skate on hybrids (K2 radical 90's) which are essentially high end rec skates and none of our skating friends care, and I might add some of them are the best in Canada (Olympic medalists in ice). Hopefully you can find another club in your area with skaters that don't care about the equipment but care about the skater.

Christine
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Old August 7th, 2007, 03:13 AM   #49
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While skating with one of these guys, I mentioned that I had come to a couple of club practices and been treated shabbily, and he reacted with surprise... until I mentioned I had been on rec skates. "Well, that's why, then," he said. Yeesh! Bad news for our sport if this sort of thing is common.
Have you been back now that you have speedskates? I think dropping into club practices in the middle of the season may be problematic, but the coach should have explained to you and made you welcome.

Don't get discouraged though because you'll meet people (mostly your age group:-) that will have similar level and objectives, and it'll be fun and your technique will improve. Also take a group lesson in the beginning of the season is a good way to be introduced.

By the way, same thing with cycling club I dropped in recently, but now I could go skating with their intermediate level rides (minus the climb:-) although not everyone is thrilled. I don't mind all I need is to be able to draft one guy:-)
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Old August 7th, 2007, 03:23 AM   #50
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I emailed to find out details of the 10K as they are not posted to the web yet, but I got a response overnight. This kind of reponsiveness is extremely impressive and shows a very high level of professionalism of the folks that run this race.

thanks to Scott Jones

The course has to be approved by the city before we can consider it final, but it is on the flattest part of Piedmont Park. The drop before you get to the parking lot is the only area where you can pick up speed.

Here is the course we requested from the city: The route starts at the parking lot, goes toward park drive, around toward Charles Allen, right and then parallel to 10th Street, right at the visitor's center, take the low path, then on past the bathhouse. In other words the flat part of the road in Piedmont Park going clockwise viewed from above.

Skaters have to do 6 laps and then turn up the hill by the tennis court to the finish on the 6th lap.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #51
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Really sorry to hear that about your experiene at the Toronto race. I'm certain that I was there in a volunteer capacity because Joel (my husband) & I did for the TISC marathon. Most of the skaters were from Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal. It is true that we are a tight group, but it is only because there are so few of us. I hope that you will come to another race in Canada (Montreal 24hour or Ottawa Festival) sometime, because we really are a friendly group.

I might mention that I am definitely not an elite skater (probably the slowest skater of all of them) and Joel is at the advanced level. We have been most welcomed by all those skaters (some of which are Olympic medalists in short track ice), although you are correct, it can be intimidating seeing people in their skinsuits sociliazing with each other. It was for us the first time or two we went to an event. But, for the most part if you introduce yourself around, you'll always find a friendly person or two, or three in the crowd.

Christine
Thanks. I wasn't a rec skater in the sense that I was on rec skates..I had speed skates...just a back of the packer (1:37) and a newer skater. Of course the Toronto race failed to draw enough people to survive and I was using it as an example of a failed event to contrast it with A2A which has a long run of success. I just think we can learn things from the failures as well as the success'.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #52
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I just realized that the A2A race is on the same day as the FFW Publix Cypress Gardens race. With less than a dozen races a year in the Southeastern US you would think that they would not have two of them on the same day.

I guess that makes my decision easy, no A2A 10K this year. Maybe next year.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #53
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I just realized that the A2A race is on the same day as the FFW Publix Cypress Gardens race. With less than a dozen races a year in the Southeastern US you would think that they would not have two of them on the same day.

I guess that makes my decision easy, no A2A 10K this year. Maybe next year.
Just fyi, A2A needs a lot more support than the Publix races do - they're part of a series that includes other races, triathlon/duathlon/swim. Usually the local indoor skaters come out and skate the Publix races, so they're doing just fine right now. Being a purely skating event A2A really needs your support.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:07 PM   #54
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I just realized that the A2A race is on the same day as the FFW Publix Cypress Gardens race. With less than a dozen races a year in the Southeastern US you would think that they would not have two of them on the same day.

Unfortunately this happens more often than not. For example almost all the FFW Publix races coincide with another event: Ft Lauderdale coincided with Indoor Nationals; Ft Desoto coincides with St Paul; Cypress Gardens with A2A. A few years ago the St Augustine race coincided with Disney.

Promoters have to look at many things when planning an event not only when other skate events happen but when are the facilities they are going to use will be available and what fits into their schedule best. As with many multi-sport events the FFW Publix events have to not only look at skating (which is not their biggest draw) but running, cycling and triathalon events. Plus they've been runnig these events on the same weekends for as long as I've been participating.

A2A although they routinely hold their event on the first Sunday of October, if the University of Georgia, which is in Athens, has a home game that weekend, guess what the event doesn't happen that weekend. One year UGA had four home games in a row so A2A ended up like the last weekend in October.

It not easy to schedule and promote a race. I feel for those guys. They put in a lot of thank less hours.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 03:51 AM   #55
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I love the long distance stuff myself and I'm fortunate to have a 60 mile skate/bike event that I did yesterday.

This event, which in the past few years I have mentioned many times on the forum, had about 12 skaters.
Was that the Pere Marquette event?

-Brian
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Old August 9th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #56
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Was that the Pere Marquette event?

-Brian

Yes..that's it. The PM trail has another event on September 8 called the Spirit Challenge which is another 60 mile bike/skate but this event is pretty cool because there are a large number of hand cyclists at the event. Sponsored by fni.org.

Would be nice if more skaters would participate in these events.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #57
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I know it is selfish, but I would like to attend every event I possibly can afford to. Combined with so few events to begin with, it is frustrated to have them overlap.

Having been an officer of a Running Club twenty something years ago, I know that hounding sponsors, "managing" police and begging for volunteers is a completely thankless job. The kicker was that after doing all of that work, you could not compete in the race on top of it! I guess that is why their are professionals to handle that now.

And since I get on my soapbox about the lack of races, having to choose to intentionally miss one never helps my cause!
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Old August 9th, 2007, 06:28 PM   #58
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Would be nice if more skaters would participate in these events.
How are they publicized to skaters?
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Old August 9th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #59
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I know how hard Peter, Gillian, Wayne and everyone else at The Toronto Inline Speed Club worked to put together The Toronto Inline Skate weekend and other racing events (like the Rolling Rampage and this past weekend's Criterium), and hopefully this kind of constructive discussion can only help improve things.

I'm going to chime in as a Toronto skater who had very similar experiences to what skaterdog and More Cowbell describe, in my attempts to transition from rec to speed skating. My girlfriend had started running in Marathons, and I was absolutely delighted to discover that there were inline events at the Casino Niagara Marathon (starting in Buffalo and ending at the Canadian Falls) and The National Capital Marathon in Ottawa. I participated in both of those and had a grand time. Imagine how happy I was to find out that there was a similar event in Toronto! It took me about an hour to travel via TTC out to the industrial park in Missauga (on a Sunday when transit was scarce in those parts), and upon arrival I discovered that I was one of only a handful of skaters on rec skates. I ended up skating dead last and alone around and around the loop on that hot summer day.

Almost as disheartening was my first year at TISC four years ago. Don't get me wrong, folks like Peter Doucet and Herb Gayle had always been very friendly to me, but I felt very alienated as a rec skater shambling cluelessly around the track at every practice I went to as everyone in skinsuits and speedskates zipped past me. Until there was one practice that Eric Gee had stepped in to coach (I believe this was during Worlds). He took my girlfriend Jen and I aside in our rec-skates and talked to us as beginners about technique and drills. This was exactly the kind of thing that TISC needed to encourage newbies! Unfortunately Eric only coached that one session with us and things returned to "normal" the final time I attended TISC practice that season.

I've returned to TISC this year, and things have turned around tremendously. The past two years Eric's been coaching a seperate rec/fitness group, and under his TLC there has been a great many new skaters that have entered the community and made the successful transition from rec to speed skating. How I wish there was this level of coaching for beginners a few years prior! I give huge props and applaud all the folks working behind the scenes at TISC who recognized the problems and realized that there was a need for this kind of program within the club in order to help grow the sport and the community. Having jumped into the racing-group, I also realize now what a top notch speed program they have always had... we are very fortunate to be coached by world-level athletes like Aaron and Peter (as well as Mike Murray this season) and these folks continue to improve as coaches and are very conscientious about that process.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 08:44 PM   #60
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As a rec skater who has started skating in these events for the past 18 months, I have always found out about the events through web sites -

active.com
buttar.com
inlineplanet.com
racereports.net

I suspect that I miss some, but I'm not sure of any better method.

It is a good question though, how does someone who is not on a team find out about events?

I wonder what happened to events - like last year I skated the Avalon Park race and this year it seems to have just disappeared.
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