Who would be an events organiser ??

After  a week spent setting up our latest cycling event – including 2 whole days and some 260 miles of driving round the routes twice attaching some 300 odd arrows to every signpost on or near each junction along the way and getting ready to do it once more to to erect the large warning signs for motorists – while all the time keeping an eye on the weekends forecast – i had a horrendous decision to make yesterday

Each days check of both the BBC and the excellent Mountain Weather Information Service forecast brought little joy – and after a sleepless thursday night spent worrying about hypothermic riders shivering out on the wild Bowland fells – waiting for our broom wagons,  I checked once again first thing Friday morning and found several horrendous forecasts for Sunday 16th September – predicting heavy rainfall all day throughout the area of our sportive

Our plan for Friday was for Chris to go round the routes once more erecting the warning signs while Lynn would purchase lots of snacks and fruit for the feedstations and muffins for the finish line

I felt compelled to make a decision whether we could risk riders safety by going ahead   as planned regardless of weather conditions – call the event off and give entrants a couple of days notice or go ahead as planned and see if weather improved by Sunday – then go ahead or cancel on the morning after folk had travelled to Lancaster

I have never had to make such a decision – I lead a lot of outdoor  activities and would wrap folk in layers of waterproofs and chose a low level / shorter route  faced with a similar situation or go out another day – neither options were available – so I completed one of the risk assessments we use prior to every adventure activity {see photo) and got a score of 64 out of 68 – using the information available first thing Friday morning – which is an unacceptable level of risk  so took the heartbreaking decision to call the event off – as I could not stand up in court to justify running it with knowledge I had to hand

So Friday morning was actually spent personally e mailing each and every entrant to tell them of my decision and offering them a place in a future event instead – standing down our team of fantastic helpers and informing British Cycling and asking them to put “cancelled” on the online entry system

So its now Saturday afternoon – all signs were taken down in a long day yesterday – the weather forecasts don t look quite so terrible and we all feel sick and worried that we or rather I made the wrong choice and disappointed a lot of good people – and maybe some people will still turn up in the morning due to not getting the information or expecting to enter on the day

So who would be an event organizer ?? well me actually – because at the end of the day its just a bike ride (all be it an amazing one) and nobody’s life will be at risk  tomorrow – nor will I have to stand up court to explain why I let an event take place after getting the highest risk assessment score  ever

So I am happy that I have done my job as both event organizer and safety officer and am more than grateful for the kind messages of support from both riders and Top Dog Team members I have received – and most especially Lynn who has taken a weeks annual leave this week (as she has for the last 2 x events) to help me set up the day – only to take it all apart again !!

We will learn from the experience though and are thinking about much improved sportives next season – and hope to see old and new friends there to share these stunning rides

Sorry folks ……..

Chris Packman @

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