Posts Tagged ‘Mad Anthony Cyclocross’

Detroit bike racing: a hit and a miss

Friday, October 15th, 2010

The Hit — Mad Anthony Cyclocross

October 23rd is the second annual Mad Anthony Cyclcross race at historic Fort Wayne on the Detroit River.

The course features the usual cyclocross mix of grass, dirt and pavement,BUT there are also “150-year old cobblestones as well as the famous ‘TUNNEL OF TORTURE’, a 25 meter tunnel thru the walls of the old fort.” Sounds painful.

Last year’s race was super successful as this video shows.

The Miss — Thunderdrome

This was a great idea — bring some racing back to the city of Detroit’s famous Dorais velodrome. The promoters and Mower Gang have put in some serious effort to repair the old concrete track.

Unfortunately they didn’t put that same effort into getting approval from the city’s Recreation Department. The event is a “no go” according to the Recreation Department.

We thought it was odd to read about this event in the Detroit News when the promoters hadn’t yet spoken with the city about having it — and the event was less than three weeks away. Also, their claims of not being able to “reach the Detroit parks department” rang hollow. Detroit’s mayor, directors, and city staff had never been more available during the previous couple weeks with the Detroit Strategic Framework public meetings.

We tried helping out by emailing our Recreation Department contact information to the promoters. We also sent them some leads on event insurance since they didn’t have any.

As it turned out, Alicia Minter, Director of the Recreation Department had read the same Detroit News article and contacted the promoters to “assist them on event requirements.”

Yesterday, we sent another email to the promoter to make sure they’d gotten everything worked out with the city. Their response: “Yes, we met the city’s event insurance policies and we are all set.”

Not true.

According to the Recreation Department, “They have not met the requirements.” And the deadline for those were yesterday.

Minter responded, “It’s a no go. Did not receive any information.”

UPDATE, 10/15/2010 at 12:18pm: We just got an email from the Recreation Department saying that the event is now a go.

It’s really a shame the event promoters didn’t plan this properly from the beginning, work with the city, and have a successful event like Mad Anthony. They tried building and hyping an event before building a good foundation — ironically one of the problems with the velodrome, too.

Someone mentioned that it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission, but this isn’t about being right or wrong. It’s really about liability, which is pretty significant for motorized competitive racing that charges fees and serves beer.

In a city that is self-insured, the money to defend lawsuits and pay settlements comes from the same fund that pays for police and fire. This city — actually any city — is in no position to increase their risk.

People don’t sue for forgiveness.

UPDATE, 10/15/2010 at 12:18pm: We just got an email from the Recreation Department saying that the event is now a go.