Wednesday, April 2, 2014

XPot Reflections & A Green Smoothie

This weekend was by far the most challenging and exhilarating race that I've ever been involved in planning. While some events go well because everything going according to plan, this was the first time that I've run an event that was a success despite all odds. The first day of XPot 2014 went according to plan, with excellent conditions for the ITT in the morning (some sun and calm winds!) although rain in the afternoon made the sharp turns in the crit course less than desirable. Looking at the forecast for the next day, the volunteer coordinator (remember, Sam the guest blogger? That's him!) and I worked out plans that would allow us to run our Sunday RR race safely despite ice, heavy rain, and flooding. We felt great about it!

The next morning, I drove out to the RR course before dawn in heavy rain, but wasn't worried, because we had a re-route of the course planned to avoid any potential flooding. I started checking out the course, at the point where I thought flooding would be the worst. Not too bad, but personally I wouldn't have been thrilled to race in it, so I went on to check out our re-route. This was where the disaster started! The flood-proof re-route basically looked like there was a waterfall running down the street. At this point, I still didn't panic because the original course wasn't so bad and the rain was easing up, and one of our plans allowed us to postpone races until the afternoon. I made some calls and let people know that we'd be postponing start times. For good measure at this point, I drove back to inspect the whole course from the beginning. Well, I was in for a big surprise! At the bottom of our big, fast descent a river was running across the road! It was deep, wide, and moving fast enough that I was worried about driving my Subaru through it. There was no way in h*ll that I was going to let people race through that! While there was a small chance that it would dry up, I knew that we needed to find another course asap. Immediately, I remembered the course 6.5 mile we used for the TTT last year: it was significantly uphill from the planned RR course and offered rolling terrain that wasn't as awesome as the planned course, but wouldn't be completely terrible. I set out to check out those roads and found some hope! No flooding and only 1 sandy corner.

I returned to the school where the rest of the committee was congregated and delivered the news. We got ahold of the police chief (bless his soul, answering our phone calls on a Sunday morning!) and somehow convinced him to give us permission to run the races on these roads. Mind you, this course included a few miles on a major road aptly named "Central Turnpike" so I'm not sure how we did it! We rearranged the schedule and the volunteers yet again, collect the signs from the original course, set out signs for the new course, sent out people to sweep the corners, and the announcement was made that the race would start at 11am on the new course.

That all sounds good and miraculous, but it wasn't time for a happy ending yet! At 10:30am on our way out to put the police and officials in place we found that... surprise! There was now flooding on course #3 of the day. Things looked pretty bleak as I drove around looking for more options. There was a beautiful climb uphill from the school, but the roads were in no way in good enough shape to run a mass start race. The only other option was to run the race through the town center, on roads that encircled the police and fire stations. Given how picky the citizens of the town were about our race, I figured there was no way that we were going to get away with running the race. I nervously returned to the school and reported my findings to the officials and ECCC coordinators. I told them I thought we'd need to run a TT. I was told that we would have to cancel unless we could run a mass start! Seeing cancellation as failure, and knowing that it wasn't an option, I found the courage to persuade the police that running the race through the town center and for three miles down "Central Turnpike" would not be disruptive, since the roads were wide and there would be no change in the traffic flow. Somehow this worked! Thirty minutes before the start of racing, we got our permissions, found an extra police officer, replanned volunteer schedules, sent people out to mark & sweep the new course, and re-put officials, officers, and volunteers in place.

Races went off at noon with wet roads and a light drizzle. None of the categories even had to be cancelled, and the feedback on the course was that it was "fun" and "safe." Not bad! Even better, at the end of the day the conference coordinator suggested that next year, we could run a circuit race, rather than our dreaded crit. The first ever XPot Stage Race! While this was supposed to be my last year as XPot promoter, I definitely now want to stick around to see that to fruition.

Me in my XPot shirt standing in a waterfall last summer. Strangely appropriate, as the water rushing over the flooded streets looked just like this!

I'm still winding down from that exciting weekend, and have been distracted all week thus far by the prospect of my own racing season starting soon! But I wanted to share a very simple recipe. My first green smoothie! This simple beauty contains mango, spinach, vanilla protein powder, and almond milk. Before my Ninja blender, I had bad luck with adding greens, but with the Ninja, I found that the spinach nicely balances the sweetness of the mango. Starting last summer, smoothies have been my thing when I get back from rides. You can't beat 'em as a recovery food!

Green Mango Smoothie

3/4c frozen mango cubes
2c fresh or 1/3c frozen spinach (I like it better with fresh!)
1/2 scoop unsweetened vanilla protein powder
1c vanilla almond milk

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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