I apologize for the low-tech nature of this forum. I contemplated adding this to the existing Yahoo! Groups discussion board, but I'd rather condense and present the info myself. Plus, not everyone (Donald & Jess) can access the group. This allows me to start off with my own thoughts for each topic based on what I think people have already mentioned. Hopefully, if I devote some time to managing the discussion this will save you all time and we can reach consensus sooner.
The way this works is that you just send me an email commenting on one of the topics and I'll add it to the site with the rest. I know I haven't thought of everything so feel free to add your own topic.
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This list is not meant to be exhaustive. If you have any additional topics just let me know.
If you're wondering what the logo next to my name meanse, I see myself as the referee so I gave myself black and white stripes. :-)
Next Year's Date
DOUG: Easter is April 16 and Passover is April 13, 2006. Click here if you want to see for yourself. I think the first week in April works for most. However, we've been so lucky with the weather (not). Pushing back one week or so would make loads of difference, but will conflict with holidays. But as always, I look forward to your input.
ELLEN (Brandeis): Obviously our spring break (April 13-21) could be a big problem (about 1/3 of our kids are observant Jews and go home for Passover). Either of the first two weekends in April would be much better for us than the third. Regardless, if the race is not during our spring break, Brandeis will be there.
DONALD (CMU): The spring break dates are correct for CMU. I agree that first week of April works well. But given the greater good, I think that most can travel.
CAMERON (WashU): I think the Date 1st weekend in April should be a standard for us to work from.
|Team||Spring Break '06||April 1-2||April 8-9||April 15-16|
|Brandeis||Feb 20-24, April 13-21|
Next Year's Location
DOUG: I anticipate this issue raising the most debate. First off, Emory expressed interest in hosting next year's race. If we continue to hold the race, we owe it to them to make it down there once. They've driven up north twice without complaint. They get tons of respect from me. That said, the other logical options appear to be Indy and Lake Arthur again. They are centrally located for most schools (except either Rochester or WashU). If the east coast schools don't show again then Indy makes sense. The folks in Indy loved having us and were incredibly accommodating. Aside from the wobbly lane buoys and potential for wind, the site is perfect and cheap. Everything is taken care of for us. If the east coast schools commit now to coming, we may consider Lake Arthur again. Donald's done all of the leg work figuring out what needs to be done. Frankly the site is amazing. On any other body of water, we would not have had a race that day due to the weather. I've promised a driving distance survey based on Will's work last year, and I will add it in the next few days.
MEG (Emory): We would love love love to have the race down south!! An idea the Emory coaches bounced around was to have all you guys come to the Lanier Sprints Regatta (it was the weekend before URA this year). That way, all the teams get a lot more competition than if just our 5 or so schools come, and we could re-score and award medals just for the URA teams. Two regattas in one! Plus--a big plus--is that all the leg work and organizing is taken care of! All we have to do is get our rowers on the water! The location and course is great, if you've never been down there. Olympic course from 1996--fully buoyed, stake docks, professional timers in a finish tower, loud speaker announcing system, grand stands, bathrooms, etc. The only really negative thing I can think of is that entry fees will cost more. I don't know what we paid this year, but it was more than $100.
So, I don't know if that's something worth considering or not, but we'd love to have it down south. And even if this idea isn't well received, we're still interested in having an only URA regatta here and we'd do the work of getting it organized.
DONALD (CMU): I think that to add to Lake Lanier Sprints is an interesting concept. I do think that it would take away from the UAA feel that we have worked for these past two years. However, given who is organizing and the location, it can be considered a possiblity. I like the specific UAA only racing though. Whether it be Lake Arthur, Indy or travel south is fine.
ELLEN (Brandeis): We go to Lake Lanier for a week of training in February and it takes us two full days of driving to get there(about 10-12 hours each day). Realistically, I can't imagine my team missing 3 days of classes to drive down to GA (driving Thur & Fri, racing Sat, driving Sun & Mon). But I agree that Lake Lanier is an awesome site and would have a lot of benefits.
DOUG: This is not a straightforward problem. As I see it, we have three possible locations for the 2006 year race: Indy, Lake Arthur, and Lake Lanier. Each location has pros and cons. Might I suggest some options...
1. If NYU and Brandeis "guarantee" they'll show up, then we have it again at Lake Arthur. Cameron at WashU already said he'd be okay with driving that far again (I might have just caught him in a good mood). I'll plan on getting written and verbal confirmation about attendance this year. Once NYU and Brandeis see the worthiness of the race we could possibly look farther afield in 2007. Assuming the East Coast schools show, this is my favored choice. If they don't, I'm indifferent between the next two options.
2. If NYU and Brandeis don't show, then Indianapolis gets more attractive because it is the least overall driving for the schools that have come the last two years.
3. Emory has driven up north both years without complaint. At some point we, as a group, need to make the committment to them that they have given to us. Whether it's this year or not is to be decided. The Lanier Sprints is a cool idea. Of course, knowing our luck the one year we choose Atlanta will have unseasonably crappy weather.
CAMERON (WashU): Lanier is fine. We are willing to drive but I do not like the idea of combining with another event or adding non-UAA schools.
MEG (Emory): If it comes to Indy or Lake Arthur (which realistically is probably what's going to happen), we'd much rather go to Indy. Indy is about 10 hours and Pittsburgh is about 15. We drive them both in one day, but the Pittsburgh drive is considerably more taxing.top
DOUG: I think this year's packet was complete except for the regatta fees. We were late posting them since the final cost of the porta-johns was unknown until about a week before the race. There really wasn't much else that could've been done.
DONALD (CMU): It is good for all to read the packet, and cut down on the necessity for long coach's/cox meeting.
DOUG: The team results were much closer and appeared to be fair. I would like any input you may have. The events themselves were also much more competitive than last year.
DONALD (CMU): I think this year's points system was well done.
DOUG: The schedule was much like last year's. I think everyone that wanted a race got one. There was a snafu early on the day due to the equipment breakage in the Women's Novice 4+ race that backed things up a bit. I agreed with the fix and re-run to allow the teams to race, but it mucked things up for hot seating crews. Possibly, we could have re-scheduled that event until later to prevent the knock on effect for the other events. I don't really know. I wasn't on shore to coordinate and communicate, but it worked out thanks to some quick thinking by Will and Tim. I think there was enough time between events and the order worked out well. One suggestion may be to have an event order, not necessarily times. The problem with that this year though was everyone was in their cars staying warm and couldn't hear Tim on the bullhorn. Tim made the calls, but teams didn't come down, which delayed things a bit too.
DONALD (CMU): Where the race got behind was due to the novice crews starting out the day, and normal challenges getting novice crews lined up. I think that our schedule is aggressive with the number of events we put out. Where there are backlogs are with teams hotseating shells, namely fours. It only takes one race to be off and the reprocussions are felt throughout the remainder of the day.
DOUG: It was surprise that the park only opened at 7am (the required gate), not dawn as stated. We were told at the site the night before, but I don't think it affected anything too much.top
Race Course Installation
DOUG: This seemd pretty smooth this year since Donald and I spent the night before setting the main start and finish buoys. The final buoys at each 500m appeared to be no problem the morning of the race. No lanes to straighten this year, and we had enough people early enough to sort it out.top
DOUG: All in all, the race was a success. There were a couple snafus with delayed races and schedule conflicts, but I think people had a good day (except for the rain). There was an equipment breakage early in the day, which screwed up the first half of the schedule significantly. Once that was sorted, it seemd to flow pretty well and we were only an hour behind at the end of the day. The main question I have is how to fix the race-day communication. Cell phones weren't reliable in the park and marine radios often don't have the range. We also don't have any money so I'm open to comments and suggestions.
The biggest difference this year was that I rowed. Last year I didn't and I was able to direct things a bit on shore to get things running. I wasn't around this year and things were a bit unorganized. It was my last-ever collegiate race, and I wanted an opportunity to win one of those cool medals I designed. But next year, I won't be racing, and I will then be able to do damage control and coordinate things much more effectively.
CAMERON (WashU): I may be able to rent proffessional grade emergency radios. We have a source.
DOUG: We were behind from the very first race. The first event, Men's 2-, was up at the start for almost 20 minutes before the starter's launches got up there (I know b/c I was in one of the pairs). This was unacceptable. There were also reports of abusive language and delays up at the start. I will let other weigh in before I continue. With me not rowing next year, I hope to help the regatta get kicked off a bit smoother next year.
DONALD (CMU): In the future, we need additional personnel to assist getting the next race ready to go. Much delay was spent in trying to round up crews that had gone off on their own to the far reaches of the lake. If we are able to be more specific with rolls and duties of chase launches, aligning launches and que-area launches, this can achieve greater efficiency.
DOUG: There was almost an infinite amount of launching area, so there didn't seem to be an issue getting on or off the water. Hopefully people brought enough socks since I notified people it was a beach launch well before the event. Most people were in their cars out of the weather so they couldn't hear Tim making the calls. Short of getting a full-on PA system, I don't know how to change this situation (money is always an issue).
DOUG: This is where I was particularly disappointed. I spent significant time with the person in charge of the Finish Line and my directions were not really followed. There were enough watches and what I thought were enough volunteers. However, a few races in, the decision was made that only one person would take finish splits on land with one watch. I think Cameron was also getting splits in the launch for all races, not just the 1st place time. I was told that not all the splits from both watches matched exactly. This is why you have people assigned to each lane. I don't think the finish places were wrong, but I suspect the margins could have been more accurate. Certainly for close races like the men's 8 where the first three places were less than two seconds apart. That's difficult for one person to split. Since I'm not rowing next year, this will be one area that gets my direct attention.
DONALD (CMU): Again, where efficiency is to be gained is for this seemingly thankless position, to have specific rolls and zero deviation.
DOUG: I think people knew where they were stationed this year, and I think we had enough people. Next year we need to think through the communication a bit between the different areas (money vs. equipment trade off).
DOUG: I remembered to bring coffee. Otherwise, I don't think food availability was an issue this year since I think teams came prepared (except Chicago).top
DOUG: I hope the students liked having medals this year. They were heavily subsidized by alumni. I liked the design and the thought, but let me know your thoughts on whether it would be good for next year. It seems that for many athletes this may have been their first and only medal for awhile. Of course, I really enjoy the anticipation of swapping shirts. This is one thing for me that I like about the race. The poor weather and teams forgetting to bring shirts didn't facilitate people meeting each other, but it did last year and I hope next. I like saying the practice was expected but not mandatory. Any thoughts?
DONALD (CMU): These were great- thank you.top
DOUG: We might want to consider getting alumni involved. Either begin inviting local alumni clubs for each school to the race. Also, alumnni may consider sponsoring various aspects of the race or add more challenge cups.
DONALD (CMU): I think that we can have the alum of each team organized much, much earlier. It would help if we can generate a momentum to allow the benefits of economy of scale for funds, excitement and participation.top
The UAA (URA)
DOUG: I think people "get" the concept of the URA. It's our own little conference championship, but the question is whether or not to include other schools. We may consider making this like a D3 IRA-type race (see next topic). Just a thought.
DONALD (CMU): This consortium is key and very empowering for the programs. I support whatever efforts are necessary for continued involvement and organization. The benefits for the student-athletes and programs are immense.
CAMERON (WashU): Loved everything about this year's race. Every year we are over comming more obsticles and learning and making the regatta a better experience for the athletes.top
Teams to Invite
DOUG: There seems to be consensus that as long as the UAA still exists, the race should be an invitational for only UAA schools. At this point, I tend to agree. However, the only issue I see with that is if NYU and Brandeis continue to not show up or for a desire to hold a more professional race were wanted (more cost overhead). If the East Coast schools don't come next year, we may want to consider adding one or two schools (competitive Dad Vail speed D3 clubs) to the race. What are your thoughts?
DONALD (CMU): I think that to invite any greater number of teams, then the amount of work and organization goes to a greater level. It is already an immense amount of effort to keep costs down and a manageable atmosphere as it is. More teams and a larger event requires a more professionally managed event.top
I want to thank all of you again. The weather was poor, but we persevered. I think people enjoyed the race, and I hope next year is even better.
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