Well, things are going fairly good for the races this weekend. It's been
something to put this together as quickly as we have! This will be a bare-bones
event. Nothing fancy. We will have water and Gatorade at the parking area and a
couple of Port-a-lets. Here's some things for all of you to look over:
1. Bring your own shade like tents or the hatchback of your SUV. The temps
should be pretty good, so far a predicted high of 88 degrees with lots o' sun
and lows in the mid-60's both days. No idea what the humidity will be and how
that'll affect the heat index. Suffice it to say that it'll get warmer as the
day goes on.
2. If you can't make arrangements for handups at the feed zones (no neutral
feeds will be available), then be prepared to carry your own aqua (that's water
to those of you at LSU - sorry, I'm an ULM fan! Man, ya'll kicked our butts!)
and food. In some of these races you'll need it! You cannot ditch your empty
bottles!! Put it back in your pocket or cage and carry it home with you. Auto DQ
for pitching trash on the race course unless you do it in the designated feed
zones. That includes gel packs.
3. There's places to eat and to get food in Benton. There's a Brookshire's and a
small grocery store in town. Also, a couple of pizza places and a Dairy Queen.
Take time to spend some cash there if you will.
4. LAMBRA rankings: If you want to qualify for points as a masters racer, you
must sign up for the 35+ men's group. There will be champions medals for the
other age groups on Saturday but you'll only get points if you sign up as a
35-pluser. For example: you can be 47 years old and you can sign up for the 45+
group (no points) or the 35+ group (points) but not both. You must specify this
on your rider release form and make sure the worker at registration knows what
you've signed up for.
5. There has been one change on the course that applies to all the races. As you
return to the finish, when you are heading south on Seven Pines Road you will
continue to go straight instead of turning right onto Cycle Plant Road. As you
continue to go south you will come to Highway 162 and turn right for a straight
shot back to the finish. This change eliminates a left turn, also gets rid of a
hidden spot at Butler Hill Road/Hwy. 162, and will be a lot safer for the
racers. It'll be faster, too. Remember, Cycle Plant Road will NOT be used for
the return. Go straight south on Seven Pines and right on 162. I'll send out a
revised map in a day or two.
6. There will be a couple of motorcycles or cars cruising the course looking for
anyone who bonks or needs a ride in. They'll call in for someone to come out to
pick the racer up. Since these courses are not repeated loops, it won't be as
easy for cyclists who have problems to come in right away.
7. This race will be hilly! Having a 23- or 25-tooth cog on your Zipp wouldn't
be such a bad thing. It can be done well enough in a 21 but ain't it nice to
have more options?
8. If you get dropped by the pack and the wheel vehicle passes you by, don't
feel lonely. But be alert when you come to intersections. The road is always
open to traffic and if you're not with the main group, you are obligated to slow
down at the turns and look for traffic unless a course marshall waves you
through. Many of the turns are marked with yellow arrows painted on the road or
with vertical signs with arrows. There should be course marshals at every
intersection or turn, but you have a responsibility to keep your head up and pay
attention to them and to the traffic around you!! This is just a district road
race (with medals and little money), it's not the world championships. Keep
everything in perspective here and be careful!
9. As always, volunteers are appreciated and if you or someone with you wants to
be part of the event as a volunteer, WE'LL TAKE 'EM!!
10. The finish line will be at the now-closed North Calvary Church about 200
meters east of Benton Elementary on Highway 162. When you cross the line, keep
going and turn into the parking lot right after your finish. GET OFF THE HIGHWAY
AS SOON AS YOU CAN!
11. Speaking of parking: please park in the gravel/grassy field across the
highway from Benton Elementary. This is the north side and park as far from the
road as you can so we don't get a bunch of cars crowded up near the entrance.
There's some nice big trees out there and they provide nifty shade, so head
towards them. Registration will be at that parking lot and so will the race
start. Trash cans will be at registration, too. Register as soon as you get
there, don't wait 'til the last minute. This is all day-of-race registration and
the line might be long.
Well, that's all I can think of for now. I hope you have fun and get a good
workout. I figured since this was a championship race, it should be on a tough
course and thanks to Terry Milam I think it is. It'll be up to you whether you
agree or not. Maybe Hodges is tougher, maybe not, but our roads will be better
(there are a few homages to Jon Anderson out there, you'll find them).
If you have any questions, please let me know. In the meantime, I'm waiting for
the race permit to arrive.............