behind the scenes in putting up a 24 Hour Race

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Tails from the Trails

24 Hours of Adrenalin June 14, 2002

Let's put on a show
behind the scenes in putting up a 24 Hour Race
by Christine Doherty

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a large-scale mountain-biking event? We thought it might be interesting to give a you peek at what goes into the planning and execution of every 24 Hours of AdrenalinTM event. However, to actually cover all the details, we'd have to write a short novel that discussed everything from sponsorship development, marketing, media planning, public relations, production, regional staffing, trade show planning, distribution, website development, registration, and the list goes on.

The longest and toughest process in the planning of every 24 Hours of Adrenalin event is the selecting and then negotiating of each venue. Many of the event locations are discovered through participant feedback, and through industy suppliers and sponsors. The criteria that must be met before considering a location is extensive. The facilities must have access to camping areas or campsites, building infrastructure, power, washrooms and showers, an exhibition and staging area and proximity to a major city. The quality of the trails and the riding experience are the highest priorities, as the trails need to be well-maintained and suited to all skill levels. Most venues simply cannot accommodate all the requirements.

Venue detail is negotiated right down to who will be supplying what facilities, such as washrooms, staffing and medical personnel. Permits and leases have to be negotiated, bonds and deposits paid beforehand, and insurance is locked down with provincial and state cycling bodies.

As the event draws near, a four-person event crew in a one-ton dually truck with a 24-foot trailer and our newly acquired 53' tractor trailer unit loaded with gear and material head to the site. This hardy team travels for eight weeks at a time away from family and friends, from April to October. The eat, work and sleep together, bringing new meaning to the words "work/life balance". It doesn't exist for these guys!

On average, it takes the event crew a full week to set up for each event. Many temporary staff are brought in along with the rest of the operations crew from Toronto. In addition, generators, public-address systems, fencing, and tents are installed in the exhibition area. Once everything is set up outdoors, participants start arriving at their campsites and the offices and registration desk open for business. Manpower totals to 80 additional locally hired staff and more than 2,000 volunteers who come out to help manage the events throughout the season.

On race day, all the hard work comes to fruition and the event is ready to go. The event crews still continue to work hard maintaining the facilities: doing garbage removal, bathroom cleaning, managing parking, campsites, and the use of the facilities. The race and the results have to be monitored. The weather perhaps creates the most havoc. It pays to be prepared for anything.

When everybody has a great time, it's a sigh of relief knowing fully well that packing has to be done and the whole process starts all over again.

-- Christine Doherty


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