Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reflections on Putting on a Collegiate Race Weekend

Government officials say they’re “here to serve the people”, but most are in it for the money. Celebrities say they’re “here for our entertainment”, but they too, are mostly in it for the money. You see, I believe that in the modern era, there are very few of us who do things for the simple reason of giving back, for the sake of even calling philanthropy an art. As a first time Road Race coordinator, I approached my job with the aforementioned idea. I had a blank canvas, with the problem being no paint to fill it with.

Thankfully though, I had been assigned help – or perhaps I had been assigned as her help, since Janel Bedard was the brute force behind all of the race preparations. My experience was partly vicarious because of Janel’s determination for putting on a successful event. That’s not to say I wasn’t resolute in my pursuit of achievement; just that my inexperience left me slightly too bewildered to care as much.

Determination is a remedy for obstacles, but it doesn’t prevent them from occurring. Janel and I had our fair share. From conflicting ideologies with superiors, to funding, to road conditions, we faced our ration. There is a lot more that goes into a race than one might think. You have to deal with a bureaucracy, and their seemingly endless amounts of paperwork and red tape. You have to be considerate of rider safety, and still have a fun and challenging race. And finally you have to ensure that the local residences are informed and respected.

All of these hurdles were effortlessly jumped, thanks to the City of Clarksburg. From my perspective, they came out of left field and gave a homeless team a place to stay. What I mean by this is that in years prior our Road Races were in different locales, and they moved like vagabonds from one place to the next. Clarksburg not only gave us a place to come back to, but they were a tremendous help and were eager to support Cycling as a part of their community.

It goes without saying that any early skepticism I had was cured once I witnessed how tenacious a force Janel and Clarksburg were – and they were supplemented by the rest of our team, all of whom wanted to see just as awesome an event. It may have taken a few months, but the colors on the canvas I mentioned began to appear in all their vibrancy; stemming from a common source: the desire to make sure everyone had a fun weekend of racing.

There is a unique sense of satisfaction in receiving praise for effort; a sensation I experienced after seeing the last Men’s A rider cross the finish line, and Pfeiffer’s Coach congratulating me on a successful race. I knew in that moment that his pat on the back was felt by more than just me – I was just one of many in a supporting cast of individuals with a similar love: Cycling. And if anything, our labors proved what an accomplishment a Home Race weekend is. Maybe people should take note, and realize that good service comes from common a passion to better your life as well as the lives of those around you. In my eyes, philanthropy is a dying art of kindness, but it is alive and well within our club.

-Elliott Iannello

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