Grumbling And 2nd Order Effects

There’s lots of grumbling in DC these days.  Let me briefly touch on three topics:

1.  Bike DC.  There have been a few follow up articles on the cancellation of DC’s only open streets ride, Bike DC.  It seems ride organizers were unable to navigate the complicated and ever-changing bureaucratic requirements of five different agencies.  The two culprits most-often mentioned are DC Mayor’s Special Events Task Force and the National Park Service.  Many cities have open street rides, including Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, Boston, New York City, and many other places.  Not DC.

There was a 2nd-order effect to cancelling the ride.  The Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) is now in a difficult financial situation.  Bike DC is historically WABA’s biggest fundraising event of the year.  It also generates more new members at Bike DC than at any other event on their calendar.  This has caused WABA to scramble for new funds, including an email drive for donations which hit my inbox last night.  WABA is DC’s major cycling advocacy group and is largely responsible for the successful bike lanes and bike share programs in the District, along with many other smaller programs and events.

So thanks again, DC. Well done.

2.  Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Registration.  Yesterday, tens of thousands of people attempted to register for the MCM and Active.Com was not able to handle the load.  The result was chaos, with Facebook and Twitter sites lighting up with horror stories of people trying to log on for over two hours, only to learn the race had sold out.  Most frustrating was the fact that the system would let you fill out all your personal information, to include credit card data, only to crash at the very end.  Some people report their card being charged two or three times.  To their credit, MCM immediately acknowledged the huge problem and issued a statement saying the experience was not up to their high standards and they would completely reassess the registration process for next year.

An inauspicious start to this year’s event, which I am certain they will overcome.  As for myself, I was very happy to have been preregistered with my completion of last weekend’s 17.75K run.

3. Spring.  The weather is getting ridiculous.  I have seen several wanted posters of Punxsutawny Phil (aka the Groundhog from Groundhog Day) for the crime of fraud.  I hope he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Last night’s television weather forecaster grimly informed us that the day’s high of 49 degrees was actually spot on the seasonal average high for the end of February.  Wonderful.  It does appear that Spring-like weather will make a brief appearance this weekend before darting away again.  Hopefully, I will make the best of it.


9 thoughts on “Grumbling And 2nd Order Effects

  1. In an time when governments across the world are warning us, we all need to take more excercise to improve our health. Events set up to promote such activity, other government departments do their best to put every object at their disposal to good effect to stop just that thing happening. Its the same the world over. As for spring, the UK is experiencing some of the coldest weather of the extended winter, with no sign of it ever getting any better. I for one was quite pleased with impending global warming. I mistakenly thought the weather in Britain would at least improve. Over the last three years its just got worce.

  2. 2. As one who’s run the MCM since before it was overly popular – it took a couple days at least to fill up back in the day – I’m proud to have a guaranteed entry. but the process seriously needs a revamp. Lottery?

    3. Good to see our prosecution efforts are back on track. As Joe Patrice puts it:

    Prosecutor charges America’s official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, for failing to accurately predict the weather. Good to know Pennsylvania prosecutors are on top of the groundhog beat after messing up the “sexual predator coaching a football program” beat for about a decade.

    1. Bike on. (Starting with one is so outdated.)

    • I ran it back in 1993 and the difference is remarkable. Packet pickup was a breeze at a local hotel. Now its a major excursion to the DC Armory. The race experience remains largely the same, which is what makes it such a great event.

  3. I am very sorry to hear about the knock on effects of the bike event cancellation and I am glad that you got your pre entry to the marathon. They have had a lottery for the London marathon for some years and you have to enter a long time in advance so maybe that is a solution. Watch out for big entries in the 17.75k event next year when people realise it’s a way to get a guaranteed entry.

    As far as spring goes, if you do get a bit of it, please don’t hog it all. Share it about.

    • This year it sold out in 40 minutes. I think it went smoothly because there was a much smaller number of people trying to register (2,500 runners in the 17.75K vs. 35,000 for the MCM). I don’t think I’ll be doing either event next year. Marathons are exceedingly difficult to prepare for and I’d need something new and interesting to motivate me to do another one.

      I’d promise to share whatever good weather we may get, but I don’t think I can trust myself to keep my word on this topic. I don’t want it to become cold ever again. Not a realistic expectation, I understand, but there it is.

  4. Hopefully, WABA will get things worked out with the mayor’s office to make the ride possible again in subsequent years. Do you thing the sequester is tying up funds that would have been allocated to security detail? That was my first thought when you mentioned this.

    • I haven’t heard mention of the sequester but that is an interesting notion. I assumed the ride would pay for itself. I’ve seen nothing specific beyond general assertions that the Mayor’s Special Events Task Force and the NPS kept changing the requirements on the ride officials or delaying a decision on their requests until they reached a point where sponsorships were put in jeopardy and tickets could not be sold for participants. To my knowledge, neither the Mayor’s Office nor the NPS has chosen to comment yet.

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