Monday, December 27, 2010

Email Exchange Between Battenkill and RMM Subject: TOUR OF THE BATTENKILL PRO/AM

Below is the text of an email exchange between me and the Battenkill Registration staff that started about 12 hours after I registered for the cat 3 race. The exchange took place over a 4-6 hour period. It appears that I have more than one interloculator based on textual cues such as terseness of language and lack of punctuation in some of the emails, while others are well composed and grammaticality correct. Originally, I hadn't planned on posting this exchange online, but a few of my friends expressed interest in seeing it, so here it is.



Battenkill Registration:

We are surprised
.



R. Michael McKittrick to Battenkill:

I hope that I am pleasantly surprised by an increased level of racer support. If I am, I will note it on the internet
.


Battenkill:


Mr. McKittrick,

To be honest, we are very confused and a little suspicious of you registering, especially after your comments here and here. We would be pleasantly happy to give you a refund right now if you are in any way unhappy with the race staff, participant support, or the organization of the event.

We also don't have a record of you being a registrant in 2010. We think you would have been pleasantly surprised,then, at the level of racer support; wheel support (3 cars for many fields) and 5 Mavic pits on the course and at the starting line. There is no other race in the US that provides this level of racer support.

That said, if you decide to decline a refund, I hope you race well and enjoy the event in April.

Amy
Registrar
Tour of the Battenkill
www.tourofthebattenkill.com


RMM:

Suspicious? Are you kidding? Put on a good event and I will say good things. If your rider support is inadequate, I will say so too. Honestly, I would just prefer that your event goes well, so that I could enjoy it.

It is offensive that you suggest that I accept a refund for an event that I registered for less than 24 hours ago.





Battenkill:



We think you'll agree that your comments online are much more offensive and defamatory toward our event. Our suspicion remains and we reserve the right to offer a refund to anyone who we think could present a threat to the safe operation of the event.

Be well,


Amy
Registrar
Tour of the Battenkill
www.tourofthebattenkill.com



RMM:

Are you accusing me of being "unsafe" for your event because I have commented that your event may not represent a good value? Seriously?




Battenkill:


Calling the promoter an "A _ _ ho _ _" in public makes us very suspicious of that, yes.
[please note that midway through this exchange, I called Dieter Drake an "asshole" twitter]

-
RMM:

Um...name calling is a far cry from a threat. I have no ax to grind. I just want to race my bicycle.


Battenkill:


then shut up and ride it.


RMM:


You should concentrate on running your event. I'll concentrate on training.

Need I remind you that YOU started this conversation?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pre-twisted knickers and customer service do not mix.

They were on the lookout for you, it would seem.

plum said...

Wow. Remarkably unprofessional.

Speaks to the caliber of people organizing this event. Not people who should be handling the kind of sums they are commanding. It's little wonder they couldn't make it work at $50 a head. There's no maturity behind the scenes.

Based on what I've written this year I can only imagine what kind of response I'd elicit.

What else is there to say. Road racing gets more and more unappealing by the minute.

Lily said...

This is totally ridiculous and hilarious;

Seth said...

Your going to have to have the most "neutral" of support of all.

Provided you dont end up racing in disguise

RMM said...

Seth:

I may have ruined support for the whole CB squad.

As always, I am a god-damned liability to the team.

Connie K. said...

Seth and RMM,

We'll make sure your field has a good support vehicle driver. To race spectators, CB might appear to be a team from Cambridge NY (the race location), not MA. So please don't look for shadowy undertones if you get extra applause too!

Plum - regarding your comment in RMM's last blog, entirely agree that higher fees will push some people away. Is that worse than the races folding? I don't know for sure, but I suspect not.

For all future road race promoters out there, read this link:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/french-races-saved-from-disproportionate-cost-increase

So the French are paying about $4/hr for cops at races, and they bitched about an increase to $15/hr. Guess what, State Troopers cost about $100/hr on flat time (if you can get them), and about $150/hr on OT (cars are $100/day extra). By current NY law (and probably soon in NE states too), we're now required to have police staffing at all intersections where the cyclists need a right-of-way that doesn't already exist (about 40 locations at our race).

If you want to reduce the cost of road races, get us the same deal as the French. Hell, if you can do that, we'll even let you race for free!

Connie

Constantine Kontogiannis
Tech Director - ToB
518-441-2319
ckontogi@nycap.rr.com

plum said...

Well you've posed an interesting question.

Is it better that the ToB exists for perpetuity as a rich man's bike race, or has a shorter/more inconsistent lifespan trying to be a more inclusive event.

Depends on where your head is at - why you're running the event in the first place.

Why are you running the event?

Is it for us?

Or is it for some selectively honest "professional" who shows up a week later to grab a podium.

Connie K. said...

Plum,

I guess I'll answer this from a broader perspective than just the ToB - I'm also involved in 18 other cycling events in the Northeast each year. My club, CBRC, promotes eight of these. Dieter's club (FTC) promotes most of the others, and we both provide unpaid assistance to other events from metro-NY to Fitchburg.

Due to the higher costs of promoting cycling road races (compared to a crit or CX) many of these events only make a profit with a perfect combination of weather and attendance. If Dieter has a good year and chooses to dump the profit into the UCI race, so be it. That's far more than most other promoters would do. BTW, he also funds a kick-ass junior program through the race proceeds - I guess someone's going to have a problem with that too?

Whether or not we like it, races only survive if they are run like a business. Not just any business, but one with a tremendous amount of risk. So if these races are going to be successful while external costs (cops, marshals, permits, etc.) continue to rise, entry fees are going up. Expect about $1 per mile for the immediate future in upstate NY. It's just business, and so far this model isn't killing the sport, rather it's sustaining it.

But the expectation that Dieter or any other promoter needs to put their profit in one place or another is misguided. If a promoter has a shitty day and loses a whole bunch of money due to weather or another unforseen circumstance, would we be trying to make up the loss for him?

Connie K.
518-441-2319
ckontogi@nycap.rr.com

RMM said...

Connie,

While we appreciate your taking the time to set us straight on the financing of a road race, you are off topic. You write eloquently, but fail to address even part of the topic.

The issue in this post is the immaturity and paranoia displayed by members of the Battenkill staff. Care to comment?

Brad said...

Seriously? This whole blog is the pinnacle of immaturity. Calling an event promoter (of an event you PAID to race) an a-hole on your Twitter feed is the prototype of adolescence. I think Dieter and his staff responded appropriately to your child-like behavior.

Give it a rest.

RMM said...

Brad,

I called Dieter an asshole over Twitter AFTER the emails began. And I stand by that assessment. Dieter has made an ass of himself on the Internet for as long as he has been hitting up comments sections on blogs.

Second, I never intended to post this exchange until a number of my FRIENDS asked to see it. Remember Brad, you are reading a personal blog, where I post my personal business related to bicycle racing.

My intended audience is MY FRIENDS and FAMILY, you are neither of those. So if you are do not like what you see, don't read it and don't follow me on Twitter. As for me, I am not in the least concerned about what you think, as you are neither a friend or a family member.

Brad said...

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Your Twitter feed shows a Dec. 21 "asshole" comment at 7:41 PM

"@velocb I wouldn't be surprised. Dieter is more of an asshole than anyone here in New England. I registered under an alias."
7:41 PM Dec 21st via web in reply to velocb"

That's 41 minutes after registration opened and presumably before you actually got in. It looks like (and you stated in your blog) the race staff sent you a message AFTER you registered and the a-hole comment clearly preceded that. What are you standing by now?

Jackass. Do your friends and family know? I hope they're reading. Posting your idiocy on the internet for the world to see serves you well.

Connie K. said...

RMM,

Having seen the original e-mails, I tend to believe the race staff were replying to your use of some choice words on Twitter. But frankly, I really don't think that's important - the core issue here is about value and you've said that yourself on more than one occasion.

I think some of your readers (like Plum) are upset about getting priced out of road races. And I think that you (or a teammate) had a bad experience in 2009 at this race, and you (and others) had some legitimate issues that we worked hard to address in 2010. And I've tried to provide a different perspective on road race promotion. Whether or not it matters to you, I know some of your readers will consider what I've said - not that they have to believe any of it, but sometimes a counterpoint is good.

And since I'm telling you what I think, I don't believe we're all really that far off - it's a matter of degrees at most. We all love this sport, we all love road races, and we all want good value from our events.

Personally, a little name calling doesn't bother me - maybe it bothered some of the race staff that hasn't been doing this for 30+ years. So what.

What bothers me is going to a funeral for a local cyclist killed by a drunk and drugged driver (like I did last week, and last year, and the year before). I think this was number 20 for me. Hell, I've even seen two cyclists killed at a single event by two separate drunk drivers.

So you want me to get involved in a discussion about name calling. Sorry, that's not what I'm interested in. But I do enjoy your blog, and I hope that you do not mind my comments.

I look forward to meeting you in April. I'll be at the start line, next to the official with the semi-automatic starting pistol.

Connie K.
ckontogi@nycap.rr.com
518-441-2319

plum said...

I'm "upset about getting priced out of road races".

Okay. That is so not my point.

"We all want good value from our events" - you just said this.

Amateurs subsidizing a UCI event they have absolutely no part of or even opportunity to observe is not good value.

RMM said...

Brad,

I am glad that I made your day. You take my comments section VERY seriously. Congratulations.

But do you realize that Dieter and I have been "debating" on the Internet since 2008? I have plenty of evidence from which to draw a conclusion about him.

Connie,

While I can come across as abrasive, I appreciate your well reasoned and detailed responses.

Brad/Connie,

Please note, that at no point in time have I been rude to or dismissive of Connie. While she has strongly argued against my line of thinking, she has used solid logic and data all while remaining polite and reasonable.

Plum,

I have always been against my lower category race fees supporting UCI/Elite events. And I retain that opinion even after racing (poorly) UCI elite in cyclocross this past season.

Seth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seth said...

Once you know RMM, you realize that he is a person who can argue with you without raising his voice.

D2R2 proves that you can run a similar event, charge a similar price and have everyone involved come away happy. If this also can happen next april it will be a great day for angry internet-ing.

and RMM, i was more worried that once you were spotted there would be a dedicated car stalking you with a spare bike and wheels. because if they can get you write a glowing review afterwards I fully expect a press release to go out to Velonews, Bicycling Magazine AND Roleur!