After the Lake Anna Century, the ride organizer saw fit to send me an email explaining why some of the problems (ie., no food or drink for the last 40 miles) occurred on that ride. In what is quickly becoming a routine for me, I received today an email from the Event Director of Bike DC, which I include below unedited for your edification:
Subject: Bike DC Afterword
Bike DC Participants,
From the comments we have received since Sunday’s Bike DC, it is clear many of you had the great experience those of us who plan and produce this event had hoped you would. Equally clear however is that many of you did not. There were three things that contributed to the unfortunate situations that impacted some of you.
The first factor is the growth in the number of participants. This was by far the biggest Bike DC yet and some of the routing that had been adequate with a smaller ride, was unsatisfactory for this larger group. The good news is that we can make the changes necessary to accommodate a larger field.
Second was the road construction near Iwo Jima. That project grew dramatically in scope late last week, seriously impacting the ability to get thousand of cyclist through that section. As the magnitude of the problem became apparent, National Park Service and Arlington police made tactically decisions on how best to keep the situation from becoming dangerous. I cannot argue with any of the decisions they made.
The third and by far most significant factor was decisions made by DC Police. Unfortunately the Washington police officer assigned to this event for the past several years left work on medical leave late last week. Those who were left to oversee the event made some unfortunate decisions. They spontaneously re-routed the approach to the finish line, sending riders onto streets with live traffic. They re-opening of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to motorized traffic while thousand of cyclists were still in Arlington. Though both of these errors were eventually corrected, they should not have occurred.
I apologize to those of you whose ride was impacted negatively. I wish you all a full summer of safe and enjoyable bicycling in and around Washington.
It’s good to see the Event Director provide an explanation, which heretofore has been lacking on the event’s website or Facebook page. Although Mr. Bauman doesn’t give a specific number of riders, the Facebook page reports approximately 5,000 people signed up before the event and many more registered on the day of the ride. That’s quite a crowd.
While I am still shaking my head at the very avoidable problems which occurred (everything seems so much easier in hindsight), I am encouraged to see the event acknowledge and apologize for their mistakes. Perhaps they will be able to apply the lessons learned to next year’s ride.
As for me, my next goal is to participate in an event that does not enduce an apology letter from the event organizer, as my last two have done.