Beverly Park weather issues and IMBCS Rules/Guidelines…

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Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

I applaud Noel Kehrt, LAMBA, all of the volunteers and the decisions that were made (yes, they are tough decisions when it comes to a sudden storm that shows up, but the rules and guidelines were followed). Those that waited out the 2 hour delay were treated to excellent tacky XC racing conditions that were perfect for racing. Somewhere around 105 raced today, and I’m sure we lost quite a few who were either not aware of the 2 hour delay, or made a choice not to stay.

The Kids Race at 9:30 lined up with a good looking group of youngsters…

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Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

The rain hit during the running of the Juniors and CAT III divisions, yet they were able to complete their one lap race.

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Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Juniors enjoying their race…

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…until it got wet and dangerous…

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Photos Courtesy of Angy Snoop

The Marathon Category had begun at 10 am, and the rain hit during the first lap, and worsened as many began their second lap when the severe lightening and thunder rolled in prompting a suspension of racing. Kevin Betters and TJ Fort were leading the charge in the Men’s Open Category for the Marathon at that time…

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Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Things got nasty quickly even before the lightening and thunder started. Men, women, juniors all were hitting the deck…

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Photos Courtesy of Angy Snoop

Kudos, praise and thanks to Noel and LAMBA for throwing a great showdown, super fun course, and really knocked it out of the park – including how they dealt with and handled the severe weather issue.

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Fortunately, the 9:30 am Kids Race was all completed before the rain hit.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

This race was also the debut of our Endurance Marathon Race Series sponsor, Hammer Nutrition.

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Goodie Bags seeking shelter underneath the registration table/tent when the rain hit.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

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Mixing the Hammer Nutrition HEED for the racers.

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Photos Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Lots of speculation, thoughts, comments are being made with regard to the weather suspension (lightening) and resumption of racing after an imposed two hour delay decision that was made between the Race Director, LAMBA trail managers, and the IMBCS Director.

Step one was to immediately suspend the race due to the danger of the lightening that was passing over to protect participants, volunteers, and spectators. That decision was correctly made following our guidelines/rules.

Step two was to ascertain, once the bad weather had passed, what the conditions of the trail were to decide if a rain delay would be worth it and leave the trails in suitable shape that bikes would not damage the tread, and that quality racing could be obtained. In addition, the option of using the rain date was discussed, as was altering the course enough so that racing could continue following the delay. Noel and his trail managers knew the soil conditions, the history of that tread, and how much work is involved in repairing damaged trail. There was also an issue with the software being used to score the race in terms of timing a race with a restart (the marathon). This was all a very fluid discussion that required time to figure out. They came up with a workable solution. Again, the decision was correctly made following our guidelines/rules.

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Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

The puddles that had formed during the shower, had all soaked in and were gone following the two hour delay.

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Marathon Category racer Kyle Sedore all wet and muddy, but smiling! He looked much different with Nathan Hicks in tow before clouds rolled in and started to dump…

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Photos Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Even the spectators were soaking wet as they were out supporting their friends and family…

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Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

With 100+ people swarming around to ask questions while this process unfolded, patience was required (and always will be if it happens again).

Rules and guidelines exist for a reason, and here is the section with regard to what we faced today (right from our website, in the Files section on the Facebook page, and in the 2015 folder at the Yahoo Groups page):

WEATHER/CANCELLATIONS

All IMBCS events are subject to inclement weather that could delay the race, postpone the race to the announced back up date, cancellation of a race, or require an alternate race loop from the original plan. Updates on race conditions will be provided on the IMBCS Facebook page and the Yahoo Groups page as soon as they are made available. Promoters reserve the right to alter start times, combine groups, alter the course length, reschedule, and cancel events.

In the case of extreme conditions due to weather or other circumstances that prevent the ongoing scoring of the event or create a racing environment that is deemed dangerous for participants, the race may be called off as of a certain time. We will calculate the final results in one of two ways (as determined by the race official and race director):

1) The race is considered over at the point it was called off, and the results will be as of the last completed lap.

-OR-

2) The riders can finish their current lap after the race is called off, and the results will be as of that lap. In the case that the race is stopped and restarted, we will use the combined results of both parts of the race.

The latter part of 2 was used today – the marathon race was stopped, and restarted. All other races were completed as normal without any stops and restarts – Kids Race, Juniors, CAT III, CAT II, COMP, CAT I. Many lessons were learned today dealing with a difficult issue, but it may come up again.

Once the sun came out, the breeze went to work, and the trail was dried and ready – racers were met with excellent trail racing conditions. Kudos to Noel and the LAMBA trail crew for figuring out an alternate course route (I think we only lost about .25 to .5 miles of the original course as a result of the reroute).

Smiles all around, for the most part…

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Photos Courtesy of Angy Snoop

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Kevin McConnell bringing home the win in the CAT I overall on the now perfect racing condition trails after the 2 hour delay.

Photo Courtesy of Angy Snoop

Historically speaking, I do remember a race at Camp Ingawanis being stopped after the first lap or so due to torrential downpours. It was not restarted as rain continued and conditions were too dangerous. I also remember a race that was stopped midway at Lake Manawa due to an injured rider. After a delay, the race was restarted. In both cases, the same sort of rules and guidelines were followed, and it took time for a final decision to be announced and understood by everyone.

CAT I Overall Podium

CAT I Overall Podium for the Men

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CAT II Men’s Overall Podium

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Marathon Overall Podium

Photos Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Although it is rare for an event to be stopped mid-race and restarted, it does happen and the rules/guidelines explains the process clearly. Consider it a normal part of racing, although keep in mind it is only occasional. I have seen it employed several times in the Minnesota and Wisconsin series over the years due to their race rain or shine policy where they use delays, course alterations, stops/restarts, etc. when dangerous weather arrives.

In your free time, feel free to read the IMBCS Rules/Guidelines so you know as a racer how things will unfold if bad weather strikes a venue again in the future. Always wait for the official announcement from the Race Director and or the IMBCS Director (acting as the Race Official – or the USAC Official if it is a sanctioned event) above all other information you may hear before making your choice to stay, go, or discontinue racing. Unfortunately, one cannot make such a decision within the first 5 – 10 minutes (or even longer) as heads are put together, options are weighed, and the best solution is figured out. Even then, a final announcement may not be made until it is clear that the trail is or is not able to be ridden.

Kudos again to Noel Kehrt for keeping a cool head, finding a workable solution with his LAMBA trail managers, altering the course, using the delay, and getting remaining events all up and running to complete the day. It really was nothing short of a resounding success in light of the difficulty of figuring it all out.

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Thank you Noel Kehrt. Talk about an amazing debut as an IMBCS Race Director! Cool, calm, collected to work through a difficult situation on top of an excellent, and well planned event. Great job, Noel. I think we were all excited to hear you announce that LAMBA will be back next year with another event. We’ll be there to support it!

Thank you again to all of our sponsors for the IMBCS, as well as those that Noel and LAMBA had for support!

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Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca