Putting on a race is simultaneously one of the most challenging and most rewarding activities in the Eastern Conference. It takes an intense amount of personal effort, teamwork, patience, and luck, but having the entire conference come race on your home ground in an event you created is an incomparable feeling.
Adrian Gerrits (UPenn), co-promoter, sweeps the inaugural Philly Phlyer with Men's A circuit race, TTT, and crit wins; 2006. (photo: Cambridge College)
Hosting an ECCC race is serious, hard business. Hundreds of people are counting on you to do a good job, and failure is not an option. It is not something just any person or team should attempt. That said, neither is it an impossible task, and many teams and club officers could successfully put on a race. These are some of the basic requirements.
- You must race in the Eastern Conference. This has two meanings. All of our road and MTB events are put on by ECCC clubs. Many of them are helped by alumni and local non-collegiate clubs, but ultimately student leadership and teams organize the events. Further, we don't accept promoters or teams that don't actively race in the conference. You need to be doing more than a race or two in order to really understand expectations and standard processes.
- You must have enough people power. You alone cannot put on a race. No matter how good and how dedicated you are, you need people to help you organize and you need people to help you actually run it. Even the simplest course requires a couple dozen volunteers to set up and tear down the event, run registration, marshal the course, and so on. Similarly, it can be an almost overwhelming job to put on a race, let alone run a club at the same time. Your team needs to have a solid leadership core that can divvy up all the required tasks to ensure both efforts proceed smoothly.
- Your team must have some financial resources. Most promoters put on ECCC races hoping to break even. Although more stable and predictable than many cycling races, they are definitely not guaranteed money making proposition. Before proposing a race, you need to look into the basic costs for the venues you're considering and make sure they're feasible given ECCC participation numbers, registration fee limits, and your ability to raise sponsorship or other funding. Beyond that, if your club cannot absorb some financial loss in case of poor attendance, e.g., for bad weather; unexpected charges, e.g., damaging or losing equipment; or other problem, you should not propose a race.
- Most importantly, you must be able to commit to the effort. Promoting an ECCC race takes a considerable amount of organization. It is difficult enough to balance that alongside school, work, and life, let alone running your club or your own personal training, both of which come second to making sure the race happens. Before proposing to host a race, you need to be sure you can allocate whatever hours and effort may be necessary to make sure it is a success.
Fortunately, there are also many things you do not need to have or do in order to put on a race:
- Neither you nor your teammates need to be very experienced or capable racers. Many of our best promoters are lower category riders and some have had little previous racing experience. Designing courses and associated safety plans requires really understanding bicycle racing and its physics. However, these are easy, fun tasks that many people will be willing to help with. The real heart of race promotion is project management---staying on top of deadlines; working with police, townships, and the conference; documenting and communicating plans; and shepherding your team to get the work done. None of that has anything to do with being fast or having raced your whole life.
- You don't need to have a huge team. Many smaller teams have put on very successful races through some combination of drawing on the local cycling and school communities, and teaming up with other collegiate clubs. Even relatively large teams have to join up with other ECCC clubs as well as the local community to form coalitions for the more logistically complex and ambitious projects, such as the Philly Phlyer and Boston Beanpot.
- You don't need to drop out of school, dump your boyfriend, or stop training. Putting on a race is a huge task, but definitely a manageable one as long as you properly delegate sub-tasks and steadily work toward the event over time, rather than letting everything stack up to the last minute.
In sum, hosting an ECCC race is an enormous challenge not to be underestimated, but it is also one that almost every team can meet given care and effort. If you are interested in putting on a race but unsure of what's required and your ability to meet it, you should read through the resources linked below and talk with the Season Coordinator and Conference Director as early as possible.
The following are very rough outlines of major promotion deadlines. Many more details are in the resources linked below.
- August--October: Talk to potential venues, determining interest and support, costs, and feasible dates.
- November: Develop sketch of plans and present race proposal at ECCC Fall Meeting, submit race deposit to conference.
- December: Finalize venue arrangements, submit draft flyer to conference.
- January: Finalize flyer, submit USAC permit applications.
- February: Begin recruiting and organizing day-of volunteers (course marshals, registration, etc.).
- March/April: Put on a bike race!
- December--January: Talk to potential venues, determining interest and support, costs, and feasible dates.
- February: Develop sketch of plans and present race proposal at ECCC Winter Meeting, submit race deposit to conference.
- June: Finalize venue arrangements, submit draft flyer to conference.
- July: Finalize flyer, submit USAC permit applications.
- August: Conduct trail work, begin recruiting and organizing day-of volunteers (course marshals, registration, etc.).
- September/October: Put on a bike race!
Northeastern builds one of their trademark slalom courses at Sunday River, 2008. (photo: Northeastern)
Hopeful race promoters should read through these two guides carefully. They are admittedly long, but if you can't take them seriously then you are not ready to host an ECCC race.
- ECCC Road Promoter's Guide (2017)
A thorough guide from Road Season Coordinator Alan Atwood on hosting an ECCC race.
- USAC Collegiate Race Promoter's Guide
A more general but no less thorough guide to hosting a collegiate race.
In addition, the following may be of use in planning your event:
- Race Proposal Requirements
General requirements for submitting a proposal to host a race.
- Annual Meetings Archive
Specific deadlines and notes for race proposals are published for each annual meeting, find them on this page. Previous meetings are also archived from here, including past race proposals that may (or may not) be useful guides.
- ECCC Race Data
Participation data for over a decade of road seasons and the last several years of MTB.
- 2016-17 Race Policies
General race policies.
- 2017 Rules & Policy Summary
Specific rules and regulations applying to ECCC road racing.
- 2016/17 ECCC Flyer Template
Template with required information for all race flyers.
- 2016-17 Registration Guidelines
A guide to organizing and running race registration.
- Previous Flyers
All ECCC schedules and race flyers are archived on the calendar pages:
- ECCC Clubs
A map and list of the licensed clubs in the conference.
Race promotion is a complex and serious effort. Don't hesitate to contact your Season Coordinator and/or the Conference Director with any questions or problems as early as possible. In addition, promoters of scheduled races are placed on a private ECCC Promoters' mailing list. Don't hesitate to look for help and advice from the many other experienced ECCC race promoters on there.