Well the 20th Annual Cool Mountain Bike Race is officially over. Mary and I have been a part of this race for 18 years of it's existence. We raced the 3rd, 4th and 5th years on our tandem and have done most of the structural work of putting the race on for the last 15. Working together with Lisa at Auburn Bike Works has been a great experience.
Mary has had the tireless job of organizing the volunteer base and handling anything related to personnel and race day jobs or co-ordination. This is really a tough and time consuming job and I am thankful she has done such an incredible job, she has just the right balance of personality and organizational skills to make it happen flawlessly.
My job by comparison has been pretty easy. I secure the permits, meet with State Parks, get the infrastructure stuff going, do the course layout and the staging area set up. Nuts and bolts stuff, just what I'm really good at.
These are the behind the scenes stuff that nobody knows about unless you do something like this. We enjoy doing it in almost an anonymous capacity, we've never done it for the attention, it has always been a labor of love. I would hope that those of us who worked behind the scenes for so many years, some in not very easy conditions, will also take pride in their accomplishments.
I'm always amazed at how much people give to this event, we have had a fairly consistent group of volunteers for the past 15 years, some have been to every one, many have been to at least 5, for that we are eternally grateful, our jobs would have been so much more difficult without these wonderful people. I always give a silent chuckle to people who think they know what goes on behind the scenes in the making of this race. "Wow that went really smooth!" they say only because they have no idea how much stuff went wrong that they will never know about. I just smile and say, "Yeah, it just runs itself...."
This year has been a bit of rough go to say the least. We started this endeavor to make sure the original intent of the race, as a fundraiser for the construction and continued advocacy of multi use trails within the Auburn State Recreation Area, continued. The race has raised tens of thousands of dollars towards that goal and we feel much pride in that. Without monies from the race it would have been very difficult to build the Foresthill Divide Trail and the Connector Trail, wonderful additions to our park and a real benefit to the local MTB community.
The function and personalities of the race have changed and the benefits of the race really don't match what we feel are areas worth the considerable time and money that we voluntarily contribute. I think both Mary and I wanted to make it to 20 years, well we made it and it's likely time for someone else to take the reins. I think we may have said this the past few years on Monday morning, especially if it was a wet year, but this may actually stick this time.
It was great to see all the racers and it ended up being a pretty nice day, I was completely soaked from setting up the course in the early morning rain, but by the end of the day the sun managed to poke out a bit and I think I even saw my shadow, a rarity for the Cool Mountain Bike Race.
Perhaps that's the way I'll always remember it....