Sunday, April 15, 2012

Motorcycles and a Race Director Interview!

I don't usually talk about what I do in day-to-day life on this blog because honestly, my life is made up of a whole lot of Excel spreadsheets, surfing the net, and watching Game of Thrones.  Not exactly fascinating material.  But this weekend, I actually did something worth talking about:

This weekend Anthony and I rented a Harley and drove up to Malibu.

It was amazing, terrifying, and tiring all at once.  Between me yelling things like "Please stay under 60!!" and "Isn't this where John Wayne died?!?!?!"  (I meant James Dean - and apparently he died in a car, not a motorcycle), it was actually a blast.  There are some roads up in Malibu that have some of the most beautiful views I've seen in a while.  And that pic in the lower-left?  It's some secret biker bar. Cool stuff.

While I'm not about to buy a hot pink bike and go joy riding anytime soon, it was a pretty cool experience.
Just don't tell my mom I did this.  It would not end well for this blogger. 

For the second part of this post, I wanted to post an interview with the director of Hot Chocolate San Diego  15k, Brandon Presern.   

Brandon did a pretty kick ass job directing an inaugural race and I thought it would be interesting to hear a little more behind the scenes information (And ask him about USATF certified distances.  Haha).  I'm sure Brandon had a ton of pressure to put on a flawless race, as Ram had definite issues in some previous races (DC).  Directing Hot Chocolate can't be easy because it attracts a lot of first-time racers and people who are looking for a elaborate experience - not just a no-frills race.

Ask A Race Director: Brandon Presern
How long have you been in the road racing industry?
I've been with Ram for two years.  Prior to that I spent 11 years working Operations and Logistics for the Chicago Marathon.

What do you do when you're not race directing?
I'm 35 and married to my wife Kristina.  We have two daughters and live in Illinois.  In my off time I like fly fishing, running, cooking and of course spending time with my family.

I am sure there are many challenges to putting on a large race that runners don't see.  What is something that is surprisingly difficult or complicated in putting on a race?
The most challenging part of organizing a large race is ensuring the runners safety.  Between road closures on the course and emergency medical communications there is a lot going on race morning.  In addition we're always watching the weather.  If it's too hot or too cold we have to engage our emergency extreme weather plan.

How did you decide on the course?  Will it stay the same next year?
Hopefully the course will remain very similar next year.  The course went through lots of revisions over the past year.  We try to minimize our impact on the local community when possible.  We certainly couldn't have come up with such a great course if it wasn't for the guidance and support of the SDPD Special Events Office.  They are great to work with and very patient.

I thought the on-course organization of aid stations, and clocks with mile marker was very good.  What sort of crazy logistics go into making that happen?
Aid stations take lots of planning and education.  We have a small team out on the course to the help the aid stations along but it really comes down to having hard working and dedicated volunteers.

One thing that runners often say (even with certified courses) is that courses were either long or short according to their Garmin.  Is this ever true?  How common is this in races? 
It happens at every race.  People take wide turns or their reception gets blocked by a buildings.  Gamins are great but they're aren't nearly as accurate as having the course USATF certified.

What is the most rewarding part about being a race director?
I like watching the runners reaction as they cross the finish line.  Some cross the 15K and keep running because they're training for a marathon and sometimes you see someone cross the 5k and they have a look of amazement like they can't believe they did it.

How much did you sleep in the days before the race?   :)
Never enough.....

Thank you Brandon!


  1. Awesome wknd! Oli is going to be so jealous of your motorcycle adventure!

  2. So fun! Riding on (or driving!) a motorcycle is unlike anything else, isn't it?! :)
    Glad you had a great time, girl!! :)

  3. PS Your outfit is cute!

  4. I'm telling your mom! (I am going to DC/VA this weekend.) Also, Where is Ant's blazer? Perhaps I should volunteer at this chocolate race. I would sign up for the chocolate booth :).

  5. This is seriously CRAZY. I've never ridden a motorcycle and I (guess?!) I'd like to someday, but it is TERRIFYING to me. Go you in doing it!

  6. Oh dang, I have a motorcycle, but I would NEVER ever ever ever ride on the back of my husband's motorcycle. (Mostly because he wouldn't listen to my pleas to stay under 60. And he's a terrible driver). It's when I read things like this that I really miss Southern California (I lived in Pasadena for 4 years). <3 Malibu!