12 Hours of Weaverville
Or "How Bigfoot spent his weekend."

In the years since entering my first mountain bike race in 1985, I've been to some excellently run races, and some that were not so excellent. Like many racers I often thought "What's so tough about putting on a race?" Well, I've spent the past three years answering that question. The answer? Harder than I ever imagined. The endless details and unforeseen needs of each event are daunting. But having an event come off smoothly and be enjoyed by all is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
Here's a glimpse of the "glamorous" life of an event promoter.

WEDNESDAY Packed the Suburban and trailer with the 2nd and final load of equipment. Made the 90-mile drive from Arcata to Weaverville (didn't I just do this four days ago?). Arrived too late to ride or do much more than pitch my tent and unload at the campground.
THURSDAY Picked up the permit from the Forest Service (what a job it was jumping through all those hoops), finished marking the course, and started to do all the set-up at Trinity High School. All was going well, weather wasn't too hot and the early arrivals LOVED the course.
Before calling it a day, I met with the four high school boys we had hired to work on-course. One pair would work the aid-station at the top of the 3-mile climb, at the ready with Cyto-Max, HammerGels, H2O and orange slices. The other boys worked the safety checkpoint. Their main job was to be there in case of a rider injury, but we carted 24 gallons of water out there anyway. I went to tent that night feeling that all was well.
FRIDAY Awoke ready to take on the last day of details: set-up the registration area, build the finish area chutes, have a friend pick up Tinker from the airport. BUT, when I headed toward town and got into cell phone range, my phone started beeping --- "3 MESSAGES."
All were from Tinker, all were urgent. I called Tinker and he gave me some very disappointing news. He wasn't coming. Tinker sounded near tears as he explained that since getting bike-jacked at gunpoint 9 days earlier, he hadn't had one decent night of sleep and was seriously spun by the whole incident. "I really hate to disappoint the fans," he said. Not being there for them seemed his biggest concern. My biggest concern was for the well-being of one of my dearest friends. I can't begin to imagine what kind of mental trauma it must be to look down the barrel of some low-life's pistol. I assured him all would be well, not to worry about the race, and to concentrate on taking care of himself.
By day's end we had checked in about half the riders, had the sign-up room ready for the morning, and had printed out and stapled up the lap boards. Called it a night at 11:30.
Saturday Got a quality 4 hours of sleep, but was ready to open sign-up when 6AM arrived. My staff and I took care of registration and by 7:45, there was no one left. Cool. We started on time, no problem. It was only 65 degrees or so as the riders departed, but as the first riders came in, it was already pushing 80! We were very surprised when Soulcraft Pro Aren Timmel put in a lap of just over 50-minutes. We didn't expect anyone to do less than an hour and had made our lap boards with room for just 12 laps. "Oh well," I thought, "they'll get slower as the day goes on."
By noon the temperature was 90 and I was so glad that we had stashed gallon jugs of water all along the exposed climb. Throughout the day as riders came into race headquarters to check the lap boards, they told us of things happening on the trails. Like the guy who had a rattlesnake strike him (luckily) on the side of his Sidi shoe (there's an ad campaign there somewhere). One of the fastest experts double-flatted and had only one tube, and so borrowed one from another rider---who then flatted himself a mile later! Sometimes karma has a sick sense of humor. Then there were the obviously delirious riders who reported seeing a rest stop stocked with just a bottle of whiskey and a bag of Mexican spice pork rinds! heh heh!
The day went by mostly without incident. Aside from a few scrapes and bruises, we had no injuries. We went through three 8-pound cans of Cytomax, 600 HammerGels, 2 cases of naval oranges, 6 watermelons and 90 gallons of water. The buzz around the pits was of how much fun the course was and what a good job our aid station boys were doing.
All in all it was a real positive day with a great vibe, that is aside from the couple who asked accusingly "Was Tinker ever really coming, or was that just some big come-on?" I was very, very tempted to answer, "Yeah. We figured we would lie that Tinker was coming to get a bunch of folks to come out, and then we'd just come up with some story about why he cancelled. Didn't figure that some smart cookies like you would figure it out." Geez!
I once watched another race promoter quietly listen to the rants and complaints of a whining racer. Finally the promoter reached into his tool belt, pulled out some wire cutters, calmly snipped off the whiney-racer's number plate, and told him "Go do somebody else's race." I'd never come close to doing that myself until Sunday. The flip side of that is the literally dozens of racers who took the time to pop in and thank me and my staff. It's those appreciative folks that make this all worth it.
As the day wound down some of the teams and solos called it a day 60-90 minutes early. See, at our 12 hour races, only laps completed by 8pm count. So only those positive of making it head out for another lap toward the end. Finally, at 7:55:25, our last rider on course crossed the line, with 35 seconds to spare!
Thanks to our staff's hard work at keeping the lap board updated all day, we had results by 8:40 and started our awards. At our events we raffle off a table full o' schwag—about $2300 worth at this race. Each rider gets one raffle ticket, winners get three more, 2nd place riders get two more, and 3rd place gets one more. So after the awards we raffled off all the goodies, and by 9:40 we were done. Whew!
Actually, there was still a bunch to do. Thanks to the help of some of the racers (including a couple who had 8-hour+ drives ahead of them), down came all the finish chutes, traffic cones, delineators, banners, lights, EZ-Ups, signs and sound system. We shoved them all into the school cafeteria, headed to camp and called it a night by 11:30pm.

SUNDAY Kathy (that lady who lives at my house) and I slept in (7:30) had a good breakfast (Nugget Café in Weaverville makes great pancakes) took some equipment to a friend's storage in Weaverville, and packed up the rest to take home.
MONDAY Talked to Tinker's mom—he's still pretty spun by the whole thing. Next week he goes to Europe to do a few races. One of them is the TransAlp. That should be good therapy…not a whole lotta gang-bangers stake out turf high in the Alps.
I spent half the day arranging and organizing Team Bigfoot World Headquarters so that I could unload the trailer and Suburban with some kind of order. Gotta leave some room—there's still one more load to go. TUESDAY Today I paid the bills, did the books, figured our profit, thought of all the hours and hours of other chores too numerous to mention that went into putting on this race, pounded my head on my desk a few times and asked myself once again," Why do I do this?!" Oh yeah, I love it. That must be it. Gotta keep telling myself that. Bigfoot Classic is just a month away!

8AM – 8PM, JUNE 19, 2004
category place name # of Laps time
Beginner 1st David Engelbrecht 7
2nd Glenn Meeth 6 9:25:33
3rd Todd Marshall 6 11:10:18

Sport 1st Don Anderson 9
2nd Richard Nielson 8 10:16:35
3rd Chris Carroll 8 10:56:07

Expert 1st David Ambrose 9
2nd Sean Buehler 7
3rd Tyler Sargeant 6

Pro 1st Eric Warkentin 10 11:24:30
2nd Matt Chenowyth 10 11:34:20
3rd Kevin Clair 9

Jr. 1st Robert Rhall 2

Master 1st Martin Fiedler 8 10:34;49
2nd Mark Patten 8 10:46:59
3rd Carl Drake 7
Women 1st Tanya Meeth 7
2nd Jennifer Durkin 4 9:47:54
3rd Angela Rose-Lane 4 10:29:38

Clydedale 1st Doug Sant 4

Singlespeed 1st Losh Brook 7
2nd Richard Gaulke 5

category place names # of Laps time
Expert 1st Team Revolution 11
J.J. Katri / Ken House
2nd Give Me Anesthesia 10
Jay Chung / Dan Goldsmith 9

Mixed 1st No Name 9
2nd Feet & Trees 8
Dobrowolski / McDaniel

Sport 1st Lassen Hot Shots 9 10:56:52
Scott / Kehler
2nd Speed Monkey 9 11:54:12
Lomuto / Robles
3rd Team Fast Lane 8
Williams / Larson
4th Knight Men 7
Knight / Knight
Pro 1st BA Racing 10
Lueders / Durkee

Super Duper Master
1st Local Color 6
Zaitz / Moleyneus

3-Rider Teams
category place names # of Laps time
Master 1st Old Dudes 8

Mixed 1st Team Slow 9 10:45:45
Bledsoe / Novak / Novak
2nd Team Mello 9 11:51:33
Mello / Ashley / Kahn

Expert 1st Visenka 11
Tam / Gilligan / Nevitt

Singlespeed 1st Soulcraft More Mangina 10 10:56:05
Nyiri / Cleary / Crawford
2nd Soulcraft Mangina 10 11:51;33
Walling / Murphy / Matteis

PRO 1st Soulcraft Sausage Kings 13
Hauswald / Meyers / Timmel

Women 1st Soulcraft Sistas 7
Bebber / Murphy / LeBaudeaur

4-Rider Teams
category place names # of Laps time

Beginner 1st RMB 8-Balls

Sport 1st RMB#4 J-Cubed 10 11:30:59

Mixed 1st The Rock 11 11:45
2nd Sosik 10 11:22
3rd Riding Blind Racing 8
Women 1st Onederful Women
Super Master 1st Young Bloods