Sunday, October 15, 2006

What To Do About The Weather?

Well, it looks like Trans Iowa V2 wasn't the only event this year to get modified by Mother Nature. I was gone most of the day and when I got home, I checked into the 24Hrs of Moab to find out the event had been called due to a tremendous amount of rain that made the course a mess. Much like T.I. or 24Hrs at 9Mile this year, there are already signs of a disgruntled group of participants and observers starting to surface. It seems that there is a call for promoters to have a "contingency" plan for inclement weather in place before the event starts.

First of all, let me say that Trans Iowa is a bit different in it's set up than your traditional 24 hour circuit race, so I'll not try and compare with that. However; having been in a similar situation, I feel somewhat qualified to make a few observations on the subject of contingency plans for inclement weather.

I think that it's a slippery slope. Once you install a "plan" then you have to live or die by that "plan". That usually means less flexability in running your event. While that may not matter 95% of the time, the 5% that it does could be a major pain in the neck for promoters, and event participants. So what? So what's different then now, except for "The Plan"? I do not see that it will 100% solve your problems with the weather and potentially, it could create new problems.

Problems such as my interpretation of "The Plan" versus yours. For instance, if "The Plan" says the race is called due to inclement weather that might be of harm to the participants and that includes lightning, how close is "one mile away" if that's what "The Plan" stipulates? See what I mean? What if you are about to overtake the leader in the solo class, and the race is called, with the results of the last completed lap used as the final results. You are going to say the lightning was 10 miles away at the closest, while the winner is going to say that his hair was standing on end, and he's glad no one got killed. It's a potential mess. A different mess, to be sure, but still a potential mess.

My point is that we obviously have no control over the weather. Any "contingency plan" devised in advance is going to be a potential nightmare to enact and interpret fairly by all concerned. I say, let the promoters use their common sense and do what is right for their event in any particular situation. They make an on site decision, and you live by it. The decision can then be based upon current conditions, whether or not they look to improve, and if the course and the participants can continue on and be safe. Too many variables to say, "this plan will work all the time".

I know that it's a really difficult subject, since you really can't postpone an event like this, and stopping and starting again later even is unappealing to the spirit of the format. Sometimes you have to play the hand that's dealt to you, ya know?

All I know is "The Plan" ain't gonna make things better!

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