Thank Youby Dave Stewart
It doesn’t take a lot to put a bike race on. Just a few people who pitch in at the right time. Good weather helps but isn’t absolutely necessary. You want a good venue, of course, and the Waterfront Park/eMain course right in Downtown Louisville, Ky., received rave reviews from everyone who raced. This is the criterium site we’re proposing for the Masters National Road Race Championships in 2003. So, with an ideal venue and hot, dry weather all it really took was a few people to make a successful Tour de Gil Criterium happen yesterday. And I want to recognize and thank those few people.
First, there’s Gil Morris, for whom the event was named. Gil “No Red Stuff” Morris is the Father of the Modern Louisville Bicycle Club. Gil, his summertime “Tour de Gil” rides and hot dog roasts, and his shop have been a fixture in Louisville for years.
Andy Jugan, Executive Director of the Greater Louisville Sports Commission spearheads the City’s efforts to effectively clear the major obstacles that promoters face when putting on a sporting event on city streets. Working with Andy to help us produce a fine event were Carol Behr, Special Events manager from the office of Mayor Dave Armstrong, Bill Herron, Director of Public Works and Major Burbrink, Commanding Officer of the 2nd District. Ashley Cox of the Waterfront Development Commission got out of bed early on Saturday morning to help us deal with an issue. (Ashley and Kelli Gibson of the Sports Commission are working closely with Brad Wunderlich and Paul Muething to arrive at a venue for a CX race at the Waterfront in October. Watch for more details.) A detail of four officers showed up bright and early on Saturday and did a magnificent job of controlling a very active venue. Sgt. Harlow led the squad. Their professionalism and experience were very welcome.
Michele Miller, American cycling’s answer to Phil Liggett, produced the flyer that all of you saw either on-line or in paper form. She was also “THE VOICE of the TOUR DE GIL” with a running race commentary.
Moe Kilroy did an admirable job of coordinating the event with the merchants and businesses on the course. Janine Mura did some good PR groundwork with an 11th hour push to bring Slugger Field and Browning’s Pub at Slugger Field on line. She established some good relationships there that will bear fruit during events yet to be announced. And Cheryl Brawner, having done this type of thing before, helped tremendously with her work to find barriers and coordinate the City’s efforts with us to secure the venue.
Once the day got under way, it was Dave Blackburn who prepared and held the pre-race criterium clinic. Not only was it well attended by a number of first-time racers; the race following the clinic consisted of approx. 30 Citizen racers. That’s a tremendous number and highlights the importance of a local venue and mentorship from experienced racers to bring new racers into our midst.
One of the new riders mentored by Dave was Bob Lochhead, the Post Master for U.S. Postal Service. Bob competed in his first race, finished and had a great time. That’s a bad sign; it means he’s hooked and will never get off the bike now. Through the courtesy of Bob, the U.S. Postal Service donated a $300 bicycle to the winning Junior racer. Jennifer Wills, a woman also new to cycling but really interested in racing picked up the schwagg generously provided by Bob and Susie Peters at Clarksville Schwinn as well as the U.S. Postal bike.
While discussing prizes, we should also thank Larry Woodridge of the Downtown YMCA for donating a 6-month free membership to the YMCA. David Schaftlein was kind enough to pick up this prize and some other nice ones. Michael Seiler (justsocks.com) of Team Louisville snagged the 6-month membership. A number of you received free Body Mass and Fitness Analyses courtesy of the YMCA. Republic Bank helped with money for the primes. These people support cycling and bike racing. Please thank them and support their companies.
Jude Clark, Mark Luking, Kathy and Ian Schill, Brad Wunderlich and Neal Jackson joined these people in volunteer efforts. Neal is a volunteer from the American Red Cross. My thanks to Stephanie French of the Red Cross for broadcasting the need for volunteers through that organization. Mark Luking also was the one who donated the use of a generator to provide power for the PA system and the computer system for officiating and registration. Marilyn Minnick made lunches on Friday for the volunteers, officials, workers and police, led her own Touring ride on Saturday morning and then delivered the lunches to Waterfront Park by noon on Saturday.
We had good help from Sam Schad and 2WheelSports who handled registration (and provided the music). Rachel Fagerberg worked with the USCF to provide our officials. We had experienced, competent, technically adept help from the officials, Mike Hewitt and Bill Rich.
There’s really not much to putting one of these events on if you have a few good people. A few people in city government, a few volunteers and a few racers and you have a good race, right? Actually, it takes quite a few. Everyone one of you made a difference. Thank you.
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web posted: 9 September 2002
last updated: 10 September 2002