For Land Run 100’s fifth event, founder Bobby Wintle called and said he wanted to do something special with the route. Historically, he relied on a few close friends to design the route, but this was the first year he had handpicked each and every road for the event. “These are my absolute favorite roads in the region,” he said. The red dirt roads had already left their mark on the brains and stains on the clothes of riders who had already ridden the event. This year, the roads and routes would be truly unforgettable.
Bobby was already working with blackriver for his shop, District Bicycles, and starting to import his Classic routes into the system. The very ethos of Land Run is founded on story and community, so it just made sense to him to have the route launched on blackriver.
"Blackriver gave us an incredibly beautiful backdrop to unveil our 2017 routes and also a social platform to convey our story. It also allows riders to share their stories, ask questions, and get stoked for the future and reminisce in the glory of the past events," said Bobby.
Event promoters, especially in the gravel scene, face a dilemma when it comes to releasing the route ahead of time. Gravel/endurance events often feature roads that are unpredictable and unreliable, so committing to a course too early invites complications when the promoter is forced to reroute at the last minute due to construction, destruction, or impassability. Another issue with revealing the route too early is that eager riders are going to go out of their way to scout the course for tactical advantages. Some also say that it gives local riders the advantage (ed note: they already have it). Highly contested events with decent purses are always going to face this dilemma. Because, why not? If you’re gunning to win, you want to find every advantage you can. Pro teams pre-ride the courses months in advance to map their tactics.
The element of surprise is something many gravel promoters take great pride in. The mystery of route helps create suspense leading up to the event, leading to countless debates about tire and gearing choices. Revealing the route a week or two before the event stirs up a good buzz. It also gives riders time enough to get their GPS device set up and print cue sheets.
In Bobby's words, "The anticipation and excitement that builds for a race director when building a brand new, unknown, and incredibly challenging course is monumental. Keeping the route a secret and tweaking it bit by bit and turn by turn is exhilarating. Wanting to create stoke around the release of said route in my opinion is almost as important as the physical route itself."
To make the route a star, Bobby decided to host a route reveal party at the shop a week before the Land Run. Bobby and the District crew did a great job promoting the route reveal ahead of time on social media. They scheduled an email to go out to all the registered riders at the time of the reveal that included the link to blackriver along with GPX and TCX files for riders to use on their GPS devices. During the party, they broadcasted a Facebook Live video, showed off the custom RideCards and talked to riders about their expectations for the event.
We collaborated on a special edition RideCard just for the event. The Land Run cards mimicked the function and design of our standard RideCards, but made them into a booklet so we could fit the turn-by-turn directions for the entire route. We added sponsor logos and coupons to drive traffic to local businesses. The result was a tactile takeaway that almost every rider wanted in their hands. Many folks admitted they’d be using a GPS, but wanted the RideCards as a keepsake.
"We could have just released the course. We could have just given the hard facts and numbers. We could have just handed out the Ride Cards through volunteers, but Tobie flew in and handed them to each participant personally. Instead of doing things the way we always have we did something more. We created something beautiful together and now we have given people not only an incredible route but an incredible place to remember their insane ride at one of the hardest Land Run 100 races ever, " said Bobby.
We were honored and excited to partner with Land Run this year. Our efforts created an added level of value for both Bobby and all of the riders. blackriver congregates riders around a route and gives them a place to share their ride stories. Contact us if you have an event and would like to collaborate on custom RideCards and Event promotion.