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Speed Events Announcements, reports, results, photos, and discussions about all types of speed skating events.

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Old August 2nd, 2007, 01:22 PM   #1
chuckboucher
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Default 2007 A2A Has Low Registration (again)

The following is an email from one of the A2A organizers to the Inline Club of Boston:

Dear skate club,
Our beloved event A2A is in crisis again, registration has been very low compared to this time last year.

At this point the decision is to have a very minimal event rather than to cancel. We have added a new 10K which should bring in skaters of all abilities. Now we need your help to get the word out.

The mailed flyers will be hitting mailboxes starting today. I had several hundred extras printed, and now I need your help to get them distributed to rinks, retailers, and wherever else around town.

I will try to get to as many local skate events as possible in the next few weeks to hand out flyers to the club which you can then pass out around town. If you would like to arrange to meet to pick up flyers please let me know. Also if you want to print your own, the original is on the web site here: http://www.a2a.net/2007flyer.pdf

For those you know who are NOT distance skaters, please talk up the 10K everywhere you go! This is an event for everyone.

On August 15th we will be having a budget meeting and will decide what we can do with the resources we have. Anything you can do to boost registration before that date will really help! We will have to make decisions about the kind of event we can have based on the trends we are seeing at that time. NOW is the time to pull together and make A2A the best event it can possibly be.

Thank you for your support,
Scott
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 02:55 PM   #2
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Another thing they can do is extend the lowest registration fee. I'm sure they're aware of that. At the moment, I'd like to go but between the foot issue I'm having and the boot crisis (not to mention that one of the metal retaining eyelets for the Z strap on my boots broke) I can't commit.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 06:34 PM   #3
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I'm just doing the last touch up's on a poster that'll be send to about 200 skaters here in Tampa Bay area.

That will give some more to sign up - I'm positive about that!! Esp. with the new 10K, who can say no then??
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 07:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birgit View Post
I'm just doing the last touch up's on a poster that'll be send to about 200 skaters here in Tampa Bay area.

That will give some more to sign up - I'm positive about that!! Esp. with the new 10K, who can say no then??
Lots of confidence there Did you put an attractive picture on the posters or something?
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 07:35 PM   #5
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Oh boy, I suspect the future of A2A is limited. If you haven't done an A2A then the time to do it is this year. You won't forget it and the memories will last a lifetime. This is much more than a race, it is a weekend adventure. Arrive in Atlanta in time for the Friday night skate, take the charter bus (not a school bus) to Athens, relax and then skate in beautiful Athens on Saturday. On Sunday you skate back to Atlanta (or any of a number of shorter distances). There are skaters of all speeds and unlike most races, groups try to stay together and enjoy the event together. The sense of accomplishment is amazing and you'll be able to say, "Yeah, I've done A2A." Don't end up saying, "I thought about it, but never got around to doing A2A. I wish I had gotton off my butt and done it."

Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 08:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_nolesfan View Post
Lots of confidence there Did you put an attractive picture on the posters or something?
Well I could tell you, but...

I guess you have to one of the lucky ones to get one of them - or just get you act together and sign up to A2A, then you will not need a picture
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 02:39 AM   #7
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I don't know how many people like to register late, but the numbers are ugly. I counted 146 registrants so far this year versus 386 who skated or DNS'd last year. That's roughly $19,000 they don't have yet compared to last year's budget. Yikes! Hope I didn't jump the gun buying plane tickets a couple weeks ago. I suspect they'll make this year happen after the debacle 2 years ago, but long term it is going to need a transformation. Maybe they should make it an every other year event? Maybe it is just doomed. Where have all the skaters gone?
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 04:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gopherfan View Post
You won't forget it and the memories will last a lifetime.
along with all the scars in your feet!
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 07:13 PM   #9
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A bunch of scattershot observations:

I've heard about what a great race A2A is and I hope to skate there someday. It would be a great loss if our premier long distance event disappeared. Having said that, if A2A can't attract participants on its own merits, isn't it accurate to say that it is not giving the skating community what it wants?

I haven't skated A2A, so I don't know what the problem is. I'm not saying it's a bad race (by all accounts it is a great race), but apparently skaters are not willing to pay the going rate for the product A2A is selling. If that's the truth, then A2A will die a natural death.

I think that skaters have a natural bias against A2A-type endurance events. Unlike long-distance runners, who are accustomed to stumping along slowly, skaters like to go fast. For many skaters, the sensation of speeding along the road's surface is the primary reason they like skating. I noticed at Montreal that the solo skaters simply couldn't stop themselves from skating fast, even though it was an obviously flawed strategy over 24 hours. This is why the skate marathons are popular -- most experienced and reasonably conditioned skaters can blaze 26 miles and feel like they put in a hard effort while still getting their speed buzz.

I think that skating slowly for 6+ hours over relentless hills is not the skating experience many skaters want to have. Maybe A2A is skating's equivalent of running's Pikes Peak Marathon -- it's for the hardcore who want to crank things up a notch. Unfortunately, the hardcore are always a tiny minority, and there might not be a large enough pool of speedskaters to support a hardcore 87-mile race (whereas there are legions of softcore runners for each Pikes Peak maniac).

Travel costs are also a huge barrier. Runners and cyclists in Colorado can choose from multiple events every weekend within driving distance, but skate events are flung far and wide. I've traveled twice this year for skating (to Phoenix for an Eddy Matzger clinic, and to the Montreal 24hr). Throw in a trip to Las Vegas for a friend's wedding, plus lodging, meals, etc., and that's the year's travel budget for skaters of modest means, especially those of us who are new to the sport and are paying the high initial costs of moving up the equipment ladder.

It seems that speedskating is caught in a vicious cycle. There aren't many skaters, so there aren't many races. There aren't many races, which makes it hard to recruit new skaters ("Hey, you look like you like skating fast... how do you feel about buying a plane ticket to Minneapolis?").

So that's what I think.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 07:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panch0 View Post
along with all the scars in your feet!
I thought you had customs? I didn't even find it peferrable to take off my Simmons stock boots after last year, but was forced to take them off before climbing up on the luggage truck. If you expect A2A to be physically easy then you will be surprised. If you want to challenge yourself beyond any other skating event, A2A is for you. Personally I'm addicted to the feeling I get right after completing an A2A:
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 09:54 PM   #11
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Totally agree with Lawrece's post!



Quote:
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I thought you had customs?
Touchť, touchť!
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 11:47 PM   #12
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Lawrence has it right, that is why A2A is putting on a 10K for the faint of heart, but it is still a great event and supporting it is a must, I find myself facing the same challenges, and the way to face them is head on, adding distances, trying to have some kind of a purse for the winners, in my case adding a free jacket no matter what division you run, hopefully things like this will keep events like A2A and NYC 100K alive and strong, I hope to see all of you guys at the 100K and A2A this year, please lets help keep this event alive, even if it by registering for one of the cheapest distances, even if you know you can't make it, I know this are events that are worth keeping alive!
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Old August 4th, 2007, 01:11 AM   #13
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What a sad display in this thread.

Lawrence, your post sickens me.

Good job.

I can't find the words to reply to it.

You win.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gopherfan View Post
. If you want to challenge yourself beyond any other skating event, A2A is for you. Personally I'm addicted to the feeling I get right after completing an A2A:

Brian, fun pic of you and Joel!! How can I get a copy for our "Wall of Shame"?

Christine
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Old August 4th, 2007, 04:15 AM   #15
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The critque of A2A is correct in that many skaters don't appreciate it, but I question the validity/rationality of the reasons. There is speed! Lead skaters average over 19 MPH, yes, that's slow for Joey Mantia, but fast for me. On one section, many skaters go 45 MPH (yes, that's downhill, you just sit and coast).

A2A is also treasured by participants for the friendships built while skating together for hours under challenging conditions. Marathon skaters just rush through their skate, relatively speaking, and miss what's most important for many people. Also, A2A skaters feel the sense of accomplishment from doing what very few other people do.

Other things about the race are also important to those who have experienced them. I think A2A has had the greatest percentage of returning skaters of any large North American race. So there surely are many great things about it, even if it's not everyone's cup of tea.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 06:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedysktr View Post
What a sad display in this thread.

Lawrence, your post sickens me.

Good job.

I can't find the words to reply to it.

You win.
Really sorry this thread is upsetting to you, Speedy. I know you love A2A and I too hope it thrives.

Jim W. is probably right in doubting some of Lawrence's analysis. I also think there are a lot of truths in Lawrence's post. Perhaps I am wrong assuming what MC's motivation for posting was, but I did not take MC's post as trying to tear anything down. I took it as trying to help people understand why a race everyone says is really great has particpant numbers issues. That scenario does not make sense. I saw MC's post as giving potential reasons to help make sense of a dichotomy, contradiction or whatever.

We can promote and help skating races in other ways, which is great, but promotion alone may not be a long-term solution. Sometimes in order to improve or save things you have to look at them critically. It is not always pretty, but may be necessary, so in the long run we have many excellent races.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedysktr View Post
What a sad display in this thread.

Lawrence, your post sickens me.

Good job.

I can't find the words to reply to it.

You win.
Speedy, why don't you tell us why you think the numbers are down?
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Old August 4th, 2007, 05:41 PM   #18
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I agree with both of MC’s posts, but primarily the second: for me, it’s travel costs. This one’s a six hour drive for us, plus two nights of hotel. It all comes down to cash. I figure for the two of us, $150 for registration, $300 for hotel, $90 for gas, plus meals, and we’re looking at $600 easy, and probably a good bit more than that in real life. So essentially it’ll cost each of us about as much as our skates did. Now consider that A2A would be our third skate trip of the year. Consider also that I’m am underpaid admin/developer at a non-profit in a small town, and she’s a full time college student.

I’m also not sure I’m ready as a skater, as I have no hills to train on where I live. So I’d be running a significant risk of a DNF even on the 38, which being a fairly typical human, kinda scares me. (Yes, I’ve read that thread. Twice.)

In short, yes, I really do wanna do A2A. I do, I swear. I also wanna do my part to keep this event alive. So yeah, maybe. Next year is much more likely for me, but I haven’t yet ruled out this year. Right now I’m focusing on NY, trying to get hooked up with free airfare. If I can pull that off, the odds of me doing A2A this year will get a whole lot better.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #19
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I haven't been to A2A, but I think I know... at least one of the reasons for the lower numbers.

When I first decided to do A2A, around April this year, I got so much flack for it, from what I thought was experienced skaters here in the Tampa Bay area. Yes, two of the most vocal do marathons, have traveled the world (Holland through Tahiti) to go skate. They never did skate A2A, but never the less I was told that "A2A is dangerous and you are crazy for doing it".

Wauww what a comment, and it was more than once I got that comment! The general attitude here is that the hills are dangerous and that comes from people, which have never actually been there - amazing!!

Where does such a "rumor" come from? Skaters that couldn't muster the energy to complete and wanted to find a scapegoat for their own defeat or? Skaters that don't want to try because they don't think they can complete and therefore instead of saying "I think its too long for me" starts rumors that it is a terrible and dangerous event?? Or??

Anyways I couldn't and can't take anybody serious that has not participated in an event, but still think they know what it's like. And I'm not picking on you MC, I don't know you and I do think you are an awesome endurance skater after what you did in Montreal - my hat off to you for that!!

So what about that everybody that has been to the event - talk it up a storm and everybody that has not been there to do the same, if they have anything positive to say. Have you not anything positive to say esp. those that have not been to the event, why don't you just "shut up and skate" quote panchO

I know I'm going and I know its going to be tough, but so many much older than me has done it times over times, so I simply do not trust, that it can't be done!

Anybody with on me on this??

Let's help the event and start talking to everybody we know and get them to sign up. I have already gotten one friend to sign up, so at least one more than the Ē146Ē on the web-site will participate.

Iím still working to get a few more to sign up Ė To Dee; you and Sam might as well just sign up now Ė I know you are reading this Ė and I know deep down you would hate if you did not do this, if I can Ė you can!!

Letís help all the I-kind-a-want-to-do-A2A-but-itís-long, get them to train and finish with a biiiiig fat Cheshire Cat smile on their faces.

If everybody that's already signed up brought 2 freinds, then there would be record participation (or close to it).

Ok ok Iíll step down from my soapbox!
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Old August 4th, 2007, 06:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Iím also not sure Iím ready as a skater, as I have no hills to train on where I live. So Iíd be running a significant risk of a DNF even on the 38, which being a fairly typical human, kinda scares me. (Yes, Iíve read that thread. Twice.)

In short, yes, I really do wanna do A2A. I do, I swear. I also wanna do my part to keep this event alive. So yeah, maybe. Next year is much more likely for me, but I havenít yet ruled out this year. Right now Iím focusing on NY, trying to get hooked up with free airfare. If I can pull that off, the odds of me doing A2A this year will get a whole lot better.
Hi Brian - you rock and we still want to see those "sausage pics" or maybe not...

DNF is kind a scary, but if you do not challenge yourself you will never know how much you are capable of! And you are capable of so much more than you think. What about instead of thinking in limitations (like not enough money, not in shape etc), think in posibilities, think in goals, think in "wauww I can do this"??

There's still 2 months to the event and if both of you put $5 in a bucket each night, suddenly out of the blue you'll have the money. What's $5 a day, one less Starbucks coffee??

See you there, I know you can't keep yourself away
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