Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mullet 2014 Accounting...

This post is made to have a transparent journal of the 2014 Mullet Accounting.  Race Directors are always searching for the proper balance to provide a great event, keep everyone happy, and break even when it comes to expenses. 

A big race is always a tremendous undertaking - both financially, and with one's time, energy, and effort.  Some years I lose money.  Some years I break even.  And some years I have quite a surprise surplus that is either donated to a local trail cause (CITA), or rolled over to help with expenses the following year.  I rolled over the leftover cash from 2013 to this year's race ($900) knowing that I had some things I wanted to provide at this year's race.

This year appears to be no different than past years in that regard as I had 8 fewer racers than last year show up at Lake Ahquabi.  Combine that with there being a number of free entries via the Series Winners from last year, and giving a discount to the Iowa City NCJC youth - meant the "entry fee gate" was a bit under from the prior 2 seasons.  Medals went up in price (USAC provided them last year which in turn, was spent on new number plates for the bikes), and Resource Revival raised their prices from the last time I ordered the same amount by well over $100.  I will have to study the bill, but some of that was due to being charged an artwork charge to change the year from 2012 to 2014 on the medal, and an extra charge for what they considered a "rush order" even though I really thought I had ordered the medals with plenty of time.  Reminder to self:  Get everything listed on your timeline of things to do for the race in order to avoid extra charges!!!

In addition, the toilets have increased in rental price as well from prior years.  Since the DNR closes the restrooms on October 1st, it is a requirement that I have toilets there - so this expense could only go away if I held the race before October 1st.  I moved from 2 toilets to 3 a couple of years ago, and would hate to cut back to 2 as I think for our numbers we need 3.  I had the Lodge rental expense this year because I wanted to make sure we did not conflict with an event being held there had somebody else rented it for race day due to the route going up the hill, and down the hill, and up the hill again by the lodge.  ;-)  I also wanted it in case of bad weather to house the potluck or possible start/finish line area.  The biggest expense was my decision to provide a prize table with much of it at my expense (I hate tapping out the same usual places that always provide Schwag), and hired chip timing which, when combined, was about the same cost as the t-shirts were last year.

All of that combined meant a dip into the carryover cash from 2014 race to stay solvent.  One never knows what the turnout will be, of if the weather will cooperate.  Regardless, I can use the lesson of this year's cost structure to tweak some things and improve for next year.  2011 was a similar year in numbers (155 that year) and expenses, as I had a $1,100 carryover from the 2010 race.  I had a carryover from last year of $900 which I used to cover the expenses for this year.

2014 Mullet Accounting

Race Timing:  $724
Motel for Timers:  $84
Cash payouts for Marathon and CAT I:  $1140
Resource Revival Award Medals:  $478.04
Prize Table:  $1216.79
Water:  $35.94
Food and Beverages for Volunteers:  $147
PiPi's Toilet Rental:  $220.60
Gas for Mower/Generator:  $6
U-Haul Rental:  $112.35
Registration Supplies:  $16.56
McKay Insurance: $512.50
DNR Permit: $25
DNR Lodge Permit: $90

Total Expenses:  $4808.78

Sponsor Cash Scheels: $200
Day of Race Registrations:  $1380
Payment #1 from Online Registration Processing Center: $20.00
Payment #2 from Online Registration Processing Center: $385.00
Payment #3 from Online Registration Processing Center: $1965

Total Income:  $3950
Carryover Cash from 2013:  $900

Income & Cash Balance: $4850
Less Expenses: - $4808.78

Ending Balance: $41.22 (rolled over to use for 2015)

Donation Money for IMBCS website/domain name fees:  $120.57 (goes into a separate holding account)

How to save money and budget for 2015?

• The prize table expense this year was a conscious choice on my part not to tap the same sources I have tapped before, ended up being the deal breaker.  Whether it was last year's expense of the t-shirts, or this year's prize table - that is an area worth cutting back on in expense.  Seeking out sponsor schwag, or skipping it all together is always an option to staying solvent.  In spite of how cool it is to have everyone walk away with a nice prize via the raffle ticket before the race started, or providing a t-shirt - it is a huge expense.  That being said,  huge word of thanks goes out to Rob Versteegh of Oakley, Scott Sumpter of Bike Iowa, and Scheels for the sponsorship support I did receive from all three for prizes.  Thank you very much!!!!   And for those of you who raced - consider all three sponsors when it comes time to buy eyewear, and to buy some cool cycling gear.

• Award Medals.  I need to look for an alternative, and much less expensive solution for the medals.  As neat as the Resource Revival medals are, they are not within budget as prices have increased and with all of the various age groups - that's a lot of custom medals.  Enough said.  Either a group purchase of IMBCS medals with the new IMBCS logo for all race directors that are interested, or me finding a lower cost solution - or even creative arts and crafts could be in order next year for medals.

• Cash payouts for Marathon will change next year as we move from my experimental phase of including a Marathon Category, to there being an actual series within the IMBCS Season of some Marathon races at events which will be up to each race director how they want to handle the awards on their own accord.  Medals.  Cash.  Prizes.  Or any combination of that.  I paid out pretty well for the Marathon, so that expense will change going forward following a very similar payout schedule to that of the Pycowpath Series Marathon events...


• Cash payouts that I have used for CAT I have been pretty high (compared to what other series around us use as well), so I might have to tweak that a little more in line with the Psycowpath Payout to stay solvent...

Category 1 racers (men and women); Top finishers regardless of age (up to 5 when total field size is more than 10) will receive cash prizes according to the Psycowpath Cat 1 Payout Schedule 2013. Of those not recognized among the top overall finishers, the top 3 finishers in each age category will be recognized and receive medals.


Following the Psycowpath Marathon and CAT I Payouts - I would have paid out $555 instead of the $1140 that I did for a savings of $585.  That, combined with having had 8 more racers for 8 more entry fees to match last year's numbers - could have made quite a difference and left enough for a donation to CITA.

All in all, there are ways to adjust next year's budget, and features without dumbing things down too much.  Again, my goal is to break even, and not make any money on the adventure.  So I was happy to payout the carryover of $900 from the 2013 race in this year's prizes and cash payouts.

I just wanted to post up the transperency of accounting for a race so that all can see, understand, and hopefully for future race directors learn what to do, or what not to do.

The Mullet Fall Classic History of Participants

2014:  160 racers (broke even)
2013:  168 racers (surplus carried forward to 2014)
2012:  172 racers (surplus given as CITA donation)
2011:  155 racers (surplus given as CITA donation)
2010:  133 racers (surplus carried forward to 2011)
2009:  61 racers (broke even)
2008:  41 racers (in the red)

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Game day folks!  

The course is in perfect condition for racing.  

Bring your bike.  Bring your potluck.  Bring your party.  Bring your business.  The Mullet Fall Classic 2014 is here!!!

Here's how you calculate mixing business and pleasure...


Friday, October 3, 2014

Prize table - come and get it!!!!!

Come and get some at The Mullet Fall Classic on Sunday....


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thanks Doc Finck, Bob Matthews, and the DNR Staff!!!

A big thanks to Bob Matthews for doing work on the gravel climb/descent over on the SW corner of the loop.  He fixed the erosion ruts at the bottom of that hill.  As you can see from the picture and this view looking down the hill, the line is on the left side.  The right side is a major erosion rut that formed immediately after the gravel was dumped there and without regular maintenance using big machinery to keep moving the gravel from the bottom of the hill back up into the rut, Ma Nature will always win.  The DNR is looking into a permanent solution with a re-route of that section which would be worth it.  Anyway, thanks to Bob for getting it race day ready.

SW Corner Gravel

Thanks also to the DNR crew for helping with the mowing and getting things in primo condition for Sunday's race.  It has been a joint effort this year with volunteers removing trees, mowing, lopping, grooming, moving earth, and the staff at Lake Ahquabi doing mowing (as well as lots and lots of tree removal and chainsaw work) to finally get the trails back into good condition.  To say the weather has been challenging this year would be an understatement.   Anyone who maintains trail in the Midwest knows what the routine has been this year with all of the rain, and the amazing amount of growth in the forest.  Lake Ahquabi experienced a tornado in July that took down a lot of lumber and required much attention from Bob, Doc, Kevin, Ron, Al, Christine, and all those who have put in time to keep the trails open for all park users.  I'm to the point of mowing, trimming, lopping in my sleep these days.  Bottom line:  Lake Ahquabi is open for business again!!!

Another big thanks to Doc Finck for meeting me Tuesday morning with his Bobcat.  We took on three eroded sections and fixed them.









Pretty pleased with that final picture as we got that section filled in really well, and improved the safety of hitting that coming out of the corner at full race speed.

Everything survived Wednesday's rain just fine.  More rain coming today, then we have Friday and Saturday of cooler temperatures and wind to dry everything out and get it ready for race day.   Forecast for race day is pretty much identical to the past two years.  63 degrees and sunny.

If you have yet to register, follow the link over on the right column of this page to get signed up before online registration closes Friday night at 8 pm CST.  Race Day registration will also be available if you are a procrastinator - so no worries.  Just allow enough time for standing in line on race day which I predict will run smoothly with the volunteer staff I have assembled to help me.

The course should be marked by mid-afternoon on Saturday and course conditions updates will be provided.  Most likely things won't be dry and solid enough on the entire course until late Saturday or maybe even until Sunday race day.  Updates will be posted here and on Facebook.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Saturday morning we had a great crew of 20+ of us there to groom and trim the Lake Ahquabi trails for next weekend's race.  In spite of an unexpected morning thunderstorm that dumped some rain, we were able to hold the 9-12 work call as scheduled.

Tara and I got up early and made scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage.  Fresh onions and green bell peppers from our garden got chopped up in the eggs, and we loaded the eggs and meat into our 2 crock pots to take out to the Beach House Shelter to plug them in and keep them warm. Fresh bagels and cream cheese, fresh cinammon rolls, coffee, and orange juice rounded out the breakfast buffet for the volunteers.

Pick a tool!


The CITA trailer was in the shop on Saturday getting the lighting re-wired, so Brian Sheesley took enough tools out of the trailer for our work call and I loaded them up in the back of the Element.

We had a list of things to tackle on the trail from erosion, to trimming, to grooming, to tree cutting all in an effort to get the course ready for next weekend.  So everyone took on a task and we had at it.

A few shots of post work parking lot gathering...


Rick and his girls (who worked pretty hard raking for a few hours!!!) in the parking lot...


David, Stephen, and Joe...


Rick, his girls, Tom, and Andy post work...


Thanks to Kim, Sue, Nick, Bob, Pete, David, Jason, Rick, his daughters, Andy, Tom, Andre, Rob, Cheryl, Tara, Christine, Ron, Al, Bruce, Joe, and Stephen - we got the trail groomed and ready for The Mullet Fall Classic.  The trail was riding fast by Saturday afternoon, and after a lap on Saturday, and one on Sunday - I did a few more hours of trimming and grooming to dial in everything for this coming weekend.

The prizes are ready.  The awards are here.  The Schwag is here.  The potluck is organized.  The course is groomed.  All we need is you for The Mullet Fall Classic.  A reminder to get registered online this week to save yourself some money.  The link is over in the right column of this blog. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Race Course Grooming Week...

I took a reconnaissance lap Tuesday morning before going to work so I could see the status of the entire race course loop and devise a plan for trail work this weekend.

The Dos Niner was still in the car from Sunday's race, so I rode it on the dew covered trails only stopping a couple of times to remove branches from the trail...


I was pleased how the north side was riding after all the grooming work I did on Saturday afternoon.  I was also pleased with the overall condition of the entire trail.  Some erosion work needs to be done on Saturday morning with McLeods and rakes, as well as raking much of the trail due to the build up of debris from all of the rain runoff.  That kind of debris can cause traction issues as well as wreck rear derailleurs and spokes.  A little housekeeping will go a long way to improve everyone's experience.  A couple of sections need a bit of trimming as the Queen Anne's Lace has grown so tall and is falling over into the trail's path.  Mowing the grass for the line in sections to speed things up will complete everything and should easily be accomplished this weekend.

For those interested, a work call at Lake Ahquabi will be held this Saturday morning, September 27th, from 9 am to 12 noon.  Bring your bike, of course!  Meet at the Beach House Shelter parking lot, and we will deploy from there.  I will bring the tools we need from the CITA trailer (McLeods, rakes, trimmer), but if you have your favorite rake or loppper - bring it along.  We could use a chain saw or two (or hand saws) to take on a few trees if you own one.  Just send me a message that you are attending so I know how much breakfast food to buy (bacon, bagels, and eggs!!!).  I promise not to wear everyone out - especially those that might be planning on racing at the Oakley Night Cap in Des Moines Saturday night, or on Sunday.  I will be camping out at the park on Friday and Saturday nights to have easy access to do trail work.

Finally, for those racing - get registered online to save yourself some $$ and race day hassle of standing in a long line.  Registration is here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 race plans are underway...

Just a quick note to say that plans for The 2014 Mullet are underway.  There was a chance in July that the event would not even take place due to storm damage.  However, everyone owes a huge shoutout to the crew that removed 70+ fallen trees from the tornado/wind damage that occurred on Monday, July 7th.  Thanks go to:  Bob Matthews, Ron Cooney, Al Boone, Doc Finck, Steve Shird, and Kevin Welsch.  And of course the DNR crew is still out there on a daily basis cutting up the fallen trees all over the park.

I am doing trail grooming work several days a week during August (mowing, lopping, raking, grooming), and the course is riding very well at the moment.  There is more work to be done between now and the race, but compared to how it looked on July 8th - one can only say that there has been an amazing amount of progress.  There will be some course routing changes this year in conjunction with the land management plan.

Chip Timing is back via Elivish Consulting from Illinois!  This means that results will be posted very quickly thanks to the electronic timing system and the printer spitting out results as fast as possible.  

Since the race is the season finale for the IMBCS, Rob Cook and I have agreed that the points tracking system being used combined with the chip timing will allow for us to present the 2014 IMBCS Winners during the Awards Ceremony.

I will be arranging for the online registration process this week and next, so be patient for all of the details to unfold.  We are still looking for volunteers to help with the kids race, potluck organization, course set up/tear down, etc.... .  Get in touch with me or Bob Matthews if you would like to volunteer.

Get out and ride!