Race advice needed.

-- Last Updated: Mar-09-14 5:10 PM EST --

I am working on putting a race together on Lake Jocassee in western SC on May 17. I already have buy-in from the Devil's Fork SP manager and I have questions since I am not a racer.

1.How to best get the word out?
p.net is a start and also yahoo meet-up groups. I'm thinking of putting fliers in the local outfitters and big box outdoor stores.
Other ideas?
2. Length of race?Jack L. tells me 10 miles is a good distance.
3. Categories? I know people who race canoes and kayaks and don't want many sub categories.
4.T-shirts? They are nice but take a lot of work.My inclination as the race committee of one is not this time.
5.Prizes? Trying to keep the cost per racer down but would like to have something for the winners and participants.Suggestions?
I appreciate your input. And help if you would like to volunteer.
We are also having a Jocassee rendezvous that weekend.

Tough job…
You have to set classes by size (yes it counts), type and gender and sometimes age.

Prizes for winners, T-shirts are expensive. Expenses add up quickly.

Most people are happy to just have a chance to compete.

Forget “Everyone deserves a trophy”, they don’t…

info from other races
Here are some info from some races in my area (northern CA), which might give you info on what they do for categories, classes, etc.:

Wave Chaser series - a series of mostly surf ski and outrigger (and more recently, SUP) races. These folks are also the folks who put on the US Surf Ski Championships. http://wavechaser.com/

California 100 - this is for the second annual 100 mile downriver (flat water, but some current) race. http://www.riversforchange.org/california-100/

From the NC Piedmont
I’d like to participate. Maybe I can convince my fellow road bike/kayak “friends” to come along, too. For us, the big draw would be paddling on Joccassee. I’ve heard how beautiful it is but never made the time to go see for myself.

Up here in MN, the hard core group of racers populates the majority of our races. Getting the word out to the racing community in your area is key. Triathlon groups are active in our area too, so you might put the word out to them. Also, any distance racing groups in the area like biking, marathon, or (up in MN, cross country skiing). Most of this is done by word of mouth, but posting on boards or emailing directors to send out an announcement for you works too.

Length: 10 miles is good. that’s 90 mins-2 hours depending if you have a stock boat or pro boat. Shorter is more approachable by casual racers; longer will tend to attract more experienced folks.

Classes: I like the hoigaards paddle derby breakdown:

Pro: 3x27 pro boats and 4x32 cruisers

Stock: 17’-18’6", min 32", no weight restrictions (boats like MNII, Jensen 18, Sundowner ect)

Recreational: Max 17’ min 60lbs

All classes have Mens, Womens, and Mixed subclasses

Maybe include a 55+ ‘golden years’ class?

Prizes? we dont race for prizes! We race to beat the other guy! anything works. A ribbon is common up here (1st 2nd 3rd). Some of the bigger ones get some free shirts from Wenonah, or maybe savage river or grasse river since you’re on the east coast. Ive seen a coule get $10 or $20 gift certificates to local businesses too.

Good luck!

Thanks for organizing.
I receive e-mails regarding different NC races. I think he just keeps a list of past race participants that he, or maybe others as well, have organized, and uses it to announce upcoming races.

You may try shooting an e-mail to: wlrmcduffie@gmail.com

Perhaps just ask if he would be willing to send out an announcement for your race. I’m guessing he could reach a good portion of the NC racing crowd.

There have been kayaks, canoes, and surf skis at just about every race I’ve been at. The ocassional outrigger canoe as well.

10 miles sounds good to me. If you want to try to draw some less-than-regular paddlers, a 3 - 5 mile option might be good. I suppose it depends upon who all you’re trying to draw in for the race.

I can announce and add it to the calendar of the clubs I belong to. Let me know if you would like me to do that, and the information that you would like me to post. I can announce the race, the weekend, or both.

Kudzu, I hope to see you there. The race will be fun, but I’m mostly looking forward to a nice weekend on the lake. I’ve never been there either. I’m planning to arrive Friday, and leave Monday.


– Last Updated: Mar-10-14 10:31 AM EST –

Some suggestions.

Why: Are you just racing to race or are you benefitting a charity? As a racer, I prefer to benefit a charity, but then your cost will need to be enough to cover whatever expenses you have and then make a gift to the charity. Also if you find the right charity they might be able to provide volunteers to help check people in, verify boat lengths, serve as spotters, finish line, etc.

Insurance: Usually enough red tape to sink most events. Maybe ACA is an option for a one-time event? not sure about the details and who sanctions such things?

Classes: This can get complex once you start splitting into age groups, male/female and boat type. From experience you'll get a lot more recreational paddlers than elite racers. Also if you split the categories too much you might find you only have a couple of racers per class and then may have to combine.

Classes II: SUP's, Canoes Recreational solo and tandem, Canoe's elite solo and tandem, Kayak 14" elite which will pick up those people who show up in Epic's, surf Ski's or 19' race-like hulls. See how quickly even just basic groupings can explode and then if you have a male and female category for each, double it. On your sign up info, put that the race director may group categories as needed on race day.

Race Course: 10 miles is a good distance. Long enough without being too short. I'm assuming you're thinking of an out and back loop? Not having the finish where you started would be a PITA. Will you have spotters or checkpoints the boaters will come through? It is easier if you issue some type of sticker with a number spotters can see and racers put them in a visable spot on the boat.

Race Course II: I've done races with mass starts and I've done races where they let you go in 30 second intervals one by one. It all depends on how you want to do your timing.

T-shirts: I've done races where I've gotten them and where I've not. If you're a new racer, it's nice. But if you've been doing years of running, paddling, tri's etc. your closet if full of t-shirts. Maybe particpants get something unique to your area like a gator tooth or something that symbolizes the region. Maybe a sticker for their gear/vehicle. I got a bandana from one race and I carry it in my gear and I'm always using it for something on trips. A bandana has many uses.

I really appreciate the input and
you will not regret seeing Jocassee.

Got my campsite
Will race or just be a safety boat as needed. Patty can help with the registrations and timekeeping. All we ask is a good pot luck supper!

dont forget
Make sure you get Insurance!!! ALl races have it!!!

Thanks Randy!
Insurance paperwork is on the way.

check out soundrowers.org
in the greater seattle/puget sound area. Sound rowers puts on races for 10-$20 a piece. A cheesy ribbon for 1st/2nd/3rd and some soup/stew and snacks at the end is what we get and everyone’s quite happy.

Their boat category system is a good one and it’s fairly based on the length/width of the boat. They have a list of sea kayaks and other boats and which cat they fit in on their site.

As a regular racer, I can tell you a few pet peeves to avoid. Mark the Course with good size floats and have a large map showing the turns relative to landmarks. Nothing is worse than doing ‘bonus miles’ and losing a place or two. Have a racers meeting 45mins before the start to explain it all and give people time to warm up.

Check out Webscorer.com for timing. It’s an Ipad timing app. All the local races use it and it’s super easy to use.

reserved a campsite. I wanna see Jocassee.

I told you "10 miles was a good distanc:

– Last Updated: Mar-17-14 6:41 AM EST –

but I also told you that you should have a shorter, like, 5 miler for the rec canoes and kayaks.
There are more smaller kayaks, and heavier canoes than faster longer, skinnier ones, and they cannot do ten miles.

"T" shirts are a must. Everyone wants their "badge of courage" !
You can get ribbons for next to nothing at the dollar store

The lower you keep the cost, the more entrants you will get.
Get to all the restaurants, stores, etc and beg for swag for a drawing at the awards ceremony. Every one loves that.

Jack L

Five Miles
Much more likely to get my “friends” to come along for a five mile race. Uhh… come to think of it… more likely to get ME to race.

prize donation
I have only been to a couple events but you might get some persons that might volunteer to donate paddle or nonpaddle related prizes. Kinda like a pot luck where you end up with a selection of items for each category that winners choose first and so on. These items should be new or very litely used

Tee Shirt, Bandana, Etc…
The local triathlon has been giving small printed towels out. About the size of a bandana but made of terry cloth. Something to consider. I think for the most part new participants would like a shirt. Veterans; not so much.

Hey, I only have eighty two…
at last count, and love everyone of them

My favorites are the ones with none of the donors plastered all over the back.

Several of the racers are now giving poly ones and they said they cost the same as cotton

Jack L

I think you are the exception. I KNOW you are exceptional.

(my closet and dresser don’t have ROOM for 82 shirts!)