Tuesday, June 04, 2019

On Podiums- Or Not

Dismay at the 100% no-show for the DK200 Pro Men's podium awards shown by Rebecca Rusch's Tweet
Podium ceremonies are often held at the end of competitions in many forms of sport. Cycling being one of those sports, of course, and so why wouldn't a big event like the Dirty Kanza 200 have a podium celebration? I mean, if you are billing yourself as "The World's Premier Gravel Event", you probably should have a podium ceremony for the winners. 

Well, I have actually attended the podium ceremony for the DK200 a few times. I have noted no-shows before, and every time I went, there were more than a few, usually from amongst the age groupers. The "premier" over all podium ceremonies were almost 100% attended, as it should be for all podium ceremonies, not just the so called "top tier" event performers.

So, I noted this Rebecca Rusch Tweet Sunday evening and thought it was kind of sad. I would think that anyone signing up to do this event would bother to get to know the details of said event and plan ahead. (It's no secret that the DK has a podium ceremony, by the way) But I've seen it go the other way before. People not having a clue as to what they signed up for and then getting into hot water afterward when their actions didn't align with the stated rules or, as in this case, procedures, of the event. 

 Sometimes winners and placers cannot be at a podium ceremony, but if you are gunning for the top step, well, this ceremony should be the pinnacle of the event for you. Or at least part of the "Top Five" moments for you. I get it. Sometimes things happen, (and one of the Pro guys had owned his no-show publicly), but if you sign up with no intentions of doing the podium, if you earn it, then that is kind of an affront to the organizers. I guess most of the top male racers are offenders then, based on the image shown here today. If that is correct, that is a sad state of affairs.

Personally, I think podium ceremonies are goofy and infinitely boring to attend, but I can see the other side. Those riders earned that privilege.  The recognition of their achievements by their colleagues can be very rewarding. The organization went out of their way to provide a venue and set up the physical podium, PA, obtained the services of an announcer, and publicized the hoopla to the masses. The Dirty Kanza has a history of doing this ceremony. Most premier races have such events. If not showing up when you were expected to isn't an affront to all of that, I guess I just don't get it.

The Tweeted response to the "no-show" Pro Men's podium from the DK200 organization.
 That the organization knew ahead of time that some "travel & accommodation nuances" were going to affect the participation on Sunday morning, and that they bothered to even have the announcement Sunday with no Pro Men there is , on one hand, bad optics. On the other hand, the announcer is there, so "why not?" Then again- why should everyone else be expected to show up Sunday? (All the Pro Women showed up, by the way.) This is a messy looking deal, from where I sit, and I expect it will get ironed out. That said, if you are having "early podium" availability for media and what not Saturday evening, (and the DK200 promotions team did actually announce this on social media), and then you have a Sunday deal "for everyone else", that doesn't look like "equal participation across the board".

Then yesterday this appeared from Peter Stetina's Twitter feed

Again- It looks bad when you don't show up, whatever your reasons are. It also seems rather incredible that not one person organizing the Saturday "podium shot", nor any of the photographers on hand, told any of the five podium guys on Saturday night that there was a Sunday morning gig. That seems.....unlikely. Especially when it was something I had seen announced on Twitter Saturday evening. It's hard to believe not one of the five was told, or more than one of the five, but whatever. It is what it is.

Like I said, podium ceremonies are goofy. But what do I know? I'm just some dude in Iowa who wasn't there. So, there's that.....


Ari said...

Sorry I don’t believe a pro would not know about a podium ceremony. That is just plain “Pro-ness”.

Rydn9ers said...

As a mid to back of the pack rider we often miss the events "after the race is over", I guess this means if you aren't a certain speed you aren't really IN the race but more traffic obstacles like on Need for Speed's advanced mode. During registration those of us "not really in the race" are told that in order to win any of the prizes, awards, etc. you must be present to win... perhaps this could hold over to the podium celebration. Go as fast as you want but miss the celebration and your spot goes to the next fastest person who was present to win.

Stud Beefpile said...

I concur with this comment. In two races this year, the raffles were held within the time cutoffs for the races, and participants out on course were not awarded raffle prizes that they were told they were eligible for.

I love seeing podium winners conveniently win raffle prizes that they will promptly sell or give away (since they have nice stuff and/or sponsors to begin with), when the slower folk who would appreciate and/or use the raffle items are excluded.

onoffrhodes.com said...

On the flip side of the argument....a podium on Sunday morning (a good 12+ hours past the finishing times of the fast people I assume) seems a bit odd. I can totally buy into the idea that people have travel plans. DK is an event recognized around the world and it attracts people from around the world, some of them have long drives or flights to get to, maybe jobs to be at for Monday morning or in the event of our top placers other races/events they need to attend for sponsorship reasons. I think both the podium placers and organizers are at fault here. Place the elite podiums at a reasonable time on Saturday and you're sure to get the finishers there.

Rydn9ers said...

Given the fact that the cutoff time for the race is 3 am on Sunday morning, a podium presentation later on Sunday doesn't seems all that outrageous to me. I've always thought it was a little exclusive to hold celebratory events while the event was still going on, because slower folks apparently don't want to experience that part of the experience I guess. At $200 and entry it would be good to not forget that the slow folks make up most of the field if you want to grow an event. Besides, all of the women podium finishers made it and I am sure they have all of the same concerns as the men did as far as travel, work, etc.

Unknown said...

Podium ceremonies as soon as the podium finishes. Then the doping test.

CrossTrail said...

Another brick in the wall.

blooddoc23 said...

They should hold the pro podium shortly after the pros finish. I can guarantee that the vast majority of the riders still on the course when the pros finish, could care less about their podium. And if they do they can just check out the roster and pictures later. That way the pros can split, the podium ceremony and its associated honors can occur, and dignity will be given to all. I also think that photo op will be good for DK, and pros careers alike. There is a lot of potential for value there!