The Rainbow Ride
In May, I received the email I had been hoping for – from Anthony Mortimore of Summer of Cycling Events. Anthony promotes several events in the Byron hinterland – MTB races, trail running and cycling races. I was hoping to snare at least one of his trail-running events, so I was a bit surprised when he asked me to quote to time the Rainbow Ride – a road bike event over 3 different distances.
And far from being a trip into the rainforests of the tropical North, the finish area was located in Ewingsdale – more or less a suburb of Byron Bay. I had my reservations about the system I used being able to time road bikes, but a quick test with a Tri Club mate riding over the secured mats at 45km/h eased my fears.
As it happened, the finish line for the actual race was up a hill, and unless you are towing a bunch sprint in the Tour de France, you’re not likely to be crossing this line at speed after 160km of riding.
Byron of course had no accommodation at this time of year, so it was back to Brunswick Heads for a motel stay – which suited me as it was only 15mins drive to the venue, and much quieter than Byron.
I had turned up early on the Saturday afternoon to view the setup area and get my bearings, and ended up helping Anthony and his offsider with the check in and late registration down the bottom of the hill. The venue we were to use was not available due to a wedding being held there.
We got really busy during our time there, and the huge downside was the absolute gale-force wind that blew up and threatened to take out the tent and blow all the paperwork, including timing tags, miles away down the coast. It really was quite unpleasant.
I had a lot of valuable assistance from the organisers with this setup, to the extent of running power from the local community hall all the way to the finish line. Again, the hall itself was unavailable due to a function later in the day, so a tent city sprang up at the finish area, complete with a pie stand to feed the hungry riders when they finished. Unfortunately it was this pie station that caused most of my problems, as turning on the pie ovens immediately blew all the breakers and we lost power, PA, and printer.
That problem was resolved in due course with a parallel power lead, and by the time the riders arrived, everything was functioning well, but the wind had again sprung up.
A major problem with this race was the number of riders who bailed from the longer events and neglected to tell anyone, consequently finishing it in a winning time for the 160km and 100km events, without being entitled to the spoils. It was possible to weed out the offenders in time for the presentation, but I would be sorting them out for days afterwards, following up emails and checking results. The easy solution to this problem is a checkpoint on each of the longer event courses – if a competitor is not checked off at a certain point, then he has not completed that course. The problem for organisers is that this solution requires more volunteers or staff.
As is usual when I work way up the coast, I broke my trip home at Woolgoolga, a place I really enjoy.