Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Mullet Fall Classic number trend...

It is always been difficult to accurately plan for a race in terms of the turnout. I over-extended myself this year trying to figure out just how many shirts, hats, prizes, and what not to purchase. I certainly tried again this year and based it on studying the previous three years attendance of 155-172. Weather was great. Trail conditions were super-excellent. PR was not lacking. Series numbers were on track to meet our IMBCS goal.

However, the numbers fell off the chart this year at The Mullet. We only had 133 entries (17 of which were trail runners who raced for a $10 entry fee which barely covered the insurance and swag for them). Add the other 7 of the total 140 number which were in the free kids race. So what I was really staring directly in the face was a drop from 160 MTB racers in 2014 down to 123 for 2015. That's a drop off of 37 racers or, a full 23% year over year - and a drop of 28% from the peak in 2012 of 172 MTB Racers. The 23% drop from last year alone is enough to sink any boat when 1/4th of expected entry fee income is yanked out from underneath one's planned budget.

All in all, the combination of the expenses (chip timing, porta-potty rental, permits, insurance, awards, prize money, water, snacks, and my choice to have swag for all participants with the "Everyone Loves a Mullet" theme) was all selected on a budget model from the three prior seasons numbers. Obviously, I needed more racers than we got to break even and missed the mark. The event was still fun for those that were in attendance, but it was an epic failure on my part as an event planner. I chose the date a year ago, but the schedule has become rather crowded and may be contributing to the trend in numbers turning south since 2012. And there may be others who simply chose not to race the event because the been there, done that factor has kicked in at this point after 8 years of this event.

The Mullet Fall Classic History of Participants 

2015: 140 racers (in the red)
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)

Regardless of the event this year, it does give me pause to study the trend in the numbers; where the race falls within the calendar year; what went right; what went wrong and contemplate the future of the event for me. Obviously, there is no need for everyone getting a prize at registration which alone would have made me solvent with the lower number turnout. Ordering one less porta-potty, or utilizing the State Park facilities only by scheduling the race earlier in the season to avoid the toilet expense. Simply planning on a smaller turnout from the get go. There is plenty for me to chew on and come up with a decision going forward.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Course is marked and ready for pre-riding this week!

Thanks to Bob Matthews, Mia Gehringer, and Kevin Welsch the entire course is marked for pre-riding a week early. One group is gathering on Tuesday at 5:30 by the Beach House to take a pre-ride. Feel free to join that group, or come out at any time this week to ride the route in the counter-clockwise direction.

The entire loop can be seen here.

White stakes with orange arrows point you in the direction. A Zig-Zag-A-MAZE-ing section in front of the Beach House will be staked out and marked on the morning of the race to be crowd spectator friendly.

Don't forget - this is a potluck post race party. So bring a dish to contribute, and your favorite beverage (cans please) for the community beer garden.

All details for the race can be found HERE.

Tara sporting some of the Everyone loves a Mullet prizes for this year that just arrived...


Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 Race Participation Prizes...

Special participation prizes have been ordered. Much like last year's race where you checked in and received a ticket for the prize table - this year all participants will receive a participation prize immediately when they check in at the registration table on Sunday morning, October 4th.

How about that? A prize before you even do your race!!!

Post race, season ending mountain bike party for Central Iowa begins immediately following your race.

Remember to plan ahead what you are bringing to the potluck to share with everyone. A hot dish? A cold dish? Fruit? Salad? Meat?

It is potluck for all - so everyone needs to chip in with a dish.

There will be a contribution Beer Garden as well (canned beverage only please). Plan ahead what you are bringing to contribute to the garden.

Water will be provided.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trail Work Day Grooming Success....!

We had a group trail work day on Sunday, September 13th.

A big thanks to Kurt and Becky Needles, Ron CooneyRick Blackford and his two daughters, Jeff Riemenschneider, and Steve Shird who all came out to help me today to clear debris, trim, rake, and do some dirt work to get Lake Ahquabi Trails whipped into shape for The Mullet Fall Classic. Also thanks to Bob Matthews who has joined me the past few weeks logging in plenty of hours out at Ahquabi to get all of the trails open, trees cleared, and debris removed. This benefits all trail users - hikers, bikers, walkers, nature lovers. The DNR has done some good dirt work on some problem spots and things finally look really good out there in a difficult weather year. It's ready to ride and enjoy for everyone. One more final mowing and leaf blowing the week of the race, but it's nice to have everything opened up and looking good.

Get out and run, ride, walk, hike, enjoy nature on the Lake Ahquabi trails.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Trimming and Trail Preparation is underway...

It's hard to believe that it actually took me until the month of August to begin trail work out at Lake Ahquabi this year. Not until August? Well, plenty of things contributed to that late beginning of trail work including me being involved in doing a lot of trail work at Banner as well as Center earlier in the summer. Toss in weather issues making it too wet earlier to get out there, and finish that off with me being out of town for all of June and up until mid-July. However, my attention is now on getting the trails at Lake Ahquabi in pristine condition. Bob Matthews has been at it as well and is doing quality work to get the trail system whipped back into shape.

It will come as no surprise that the amount of rain this year has contributed to incredible growth of the side and top canopy, weeds, grass and of course erosion. Last year, the tornado that hit Lake Ahquabi required massive attention on removing all of the fallen trees. One of the large trees left over from last year could be ridden under last season without removing it, but this year had fallen enough to require removing. Bob and I took it on with his Stihl chainsaw. He taught me how to use the tool and I am hooked!


I opened up the rest of the East Loop using my Earthquake Viper...


I've used the Viper so much this summer at Banner, Center, and now Ahquabi, that the bushings on one of the wheels are shot and need replacing!

This year is not as challenging as last year in terms of all the heavy tree removal, yet it is challenging to remove all of the trimming that has been done to open up the trails using the sickle. The trails are now open, but clearing of the debris is underway with plenty more debris to remove from the tread and toss into the woods. It takes about 2-3 hours every 100-200 yards to clear all the debris in the northern loops, so it is slow going up there. The main loop should go quicker, but I am also raking the tread to get rid of all the collected small twigs and sticks that can ruin derailleurs and spokes. Manual labor intensive - yes, but the end result will be worth it.

Bob Matthews posted up a good video on the Facebook Page of the progress he made after 5 1/2 hours of debris clearing yesterday in the east Mickey Mouse ear loop.

We could certainly use some help out there clearing debris. If you go out for a ride, you will quickly see what it is and where it is. If you can spare an hour or two of your time to throw the trimmed branches and limbs off of the trail and deeper into the woods - that would be great and much appreciated by all trail users (hikers, runners, bikes). Or even if you stop during your ride and toss two or three branches or limbs off the trail - that would be great as well.

Grooming and debris removal will continue as the next few weeks unfold.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Mullet Fall Classic 2015 Plans are Underway!

IMBCS season number 13 is just about to hit the midpoint of our season this weekend with the Sugar Bottom Scramble. I turned my trail work efforts to Lake Ahquabi this past week with mowing, trimming, and tree removal getting what was not whipped into shape - whipped into shape. I am happy to say things are looking good. One more section of trail to trim with the push behind string trimmer, and some clean up from the sickle that will then lead to meeting with the Ranger to decide on this year's actual route.

New for 2015 will include a Trail Run race at 9:30 am. So if you like to run - this could be a good way to start your day off getting some fresh dirt on your sneakers. It's one of the training grounds for the Simpson College and Indianola High School XC teams, so it is a natural fit to offer a trail run race this year. Both the Summerset Shootout and The Mullet Fall Classic are using our events as a testing ground for Trail Run Races to see how it goes with thoughts for future inclusion of this category at IMBCS events. If you have a spouse, friend, colleague, family member who likes to run - bring them along to try out the Trail Run Race.

I am also bringing back the special Fat Bike Race this year (2 full laps). Although it is not a recognized IMBCS category for tracking points, this is just a fun race for those who want to come out and race for the fun and prizes with other Fat Bike aficionados. You can also race your FAT Bike in any of the XC or Marathon categories for series points and competition for the medals and prizes in our traditional categories and age divisions. You do not have to be in the "FAT BIKE' division to race your FAT BIKE, but a special category will be there again racing for big meat awards (just like last year).

In addition, the Marathon is back. Kids Race is back. Chip Timing is back. PiPi's Toilets are back. Pot Luck is Back. Beer Garden is back. Post Race Party and fun are back.

Fall Racing. Prepare....

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Third Annual Readers' Choice Award...

I am humbled to say that for the 3rd year running, The Mullet Fall Classic was elected as the readers' choice top mountain bike race by Iowa Momentum Magazine. Thanks to all those who raced in The Mullet Fall Classic and felt it was your top choice.

Top Mountain Bike Race
Mullet Classic
Sugar Bottom Scramble
Summerset Shootout

The 2015 version of The Mullet promises to be more of the same - and then some...