The 10th Waldo 100K is three days away. I had hoped to blog about life as a race director the last few weeks, but never found a time when my mind was not swimming with details and I wasn’t answering emails and phone calls. Throw in a three day ski patrol convention in Twin Falls, Idaho and, well, those are my excuses. My mind is still full of details. My inbox has 206 messages (hey, that’s the number of bones in the human body) in it still, but these last few days are pretty dialed in. Unless we have something big like a forest fire, the problems and issues are all solvable.
So what does this RD do the last few weeks before the race? Other than the rare private expression of frustration, which usually doesn’t last very long (right Laurie and Meghan?) and never in public, I’m generally a happy guy, and I really enjoy the building excitement as race day approaches. Each time something is completed or resolved there’s a palpable feeling that we’re getting closer and closer to putting on the great race we expect. We deal with a myriad of runner details including fielding questions about camping, trail conditions, poles, etc; taking start time, shirt size, and email address changes; and maintaining the entrant list with drops, additions, etc. These things are not difficult if you are a detail oriented person. But, if you don’t like details you won’t like this part of RDing.
Two weeks ago we had our annual captains’ meeting which included about 25 key people such as aid station captains, ham radio operators, medical folks, etc. We enjoyed a good meal and beverages, socialized for awhile, and then we had a meeting where we talked about new race information pertaining to sponsors and prizes; our first professional photographer, Michael Lebowitz; and the retirements of co-founder and co-RD Curt Ringstad (10 yrs), his wife and Maiden Lake captain Barb (10 yrs), Mt Ray captain Cyndy Meno and her husband Harlow (10 yrs), the Twins co-captains Bob Alexander and Melissa Berman (9 yrs), and Charlton Lake captain Scott Leonard (4 yrs). They were presented with embroidered hoodies. Thanks for your contributions to the race.
In a normal year we don’t have to do much if any trail work the last two weeks before the race, but this year with the big and slow-to-melt snow pack we had to do work later than normal. In addition to our big trail work weekend at the end of July, which saw more than 20 people help, we also went out the last two weekends and logged blowdown on the higher parts of the course. Our new assistant RD, Meghan Arbogast, a.k.a. The Queen, got to donate blood during her four days of trail work. Is it blasphemous that royalty had to do trail work and feed the mosquitoes?
We also got the press release out last Friday thanks to our PR guy, Lewis Taylor, a.k.a. lc. Very professional. Maybe he should go into the PR business. Should be a good race up front. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw our first sub-9 hour time. And two septuagenarians in the race? Wow, I want to be like Kent and Peter in 25 years!
Finally we worked with Ted Knudsen to get the live webcast ready. It hasn’t been used for a race with an early start so lots of modifications had to be made. This is a first for Waldo and trying to feed all the bib/split times from every aid station into the database has caused our ham radio operators (from LCSARO and Valley Radio Club of Oregon) to add resources. All splits will be transmitted voice over three different repeaters to the finish where they will be entered into the database and displayed close to real-time. In addition to the raw facts from the webcast, Alan Abbs will be live blogging here on Conduct The Juices from the finish line. And, we’ll be tweeting with hash tag #w100k
I’m sure I missed a few things but time to work on some other race details. Thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, and runners. Here’s to everybody having a great experience on Saturday. Safe travels.