Bikes. Bike Racing. Race Promoting.
Since creating the Callville Bay Classic, I have been constantly asked this question :
"What gave you the idea of a bike race at a lake marina, with houseboats, in the middle of the desert?"
Hhmm...where to begin. Well, I would say the biggest reason for the idea is that it sounded fun to us, the group of dedicated volunteers and myself. I mean, I have lived in Las Vegas for about 12 years. I love living here but, I am not necessarily a casino type guy. I love sports, the outdoors and especially bikes and racing. This sport is so easy to enjoy and so difficult to master. I won't get all philosophical about my personal reasons. Let's just say biking saved my life.
So the more we got into the sport, we realized the alure of the Stage Racing, like so many of you reading this. We also realized the untapped potential of the venue that the Callville Bay Marina offered. The smooth roads surrounding the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the relatively light traffic and the beautifully different terrain isn't found in very many other places. In addition, the weather around the venue in February is commonly 70 to 80 degrees. You won't find that in most of the country this time of year.
Combine this idea with my bike racing talent .... (pause) ... (sounds of crickets). O.K. then, that was uneventful. Well, I realized that if I wanted to make a difference in the local race community, it was going to have to be in a way other than breaking out of the peleton, soloing to the finish and winning one for the USA National team. Now, organizing and sales, that I can do. That's what a successful race promoter really is. He or she is a creator, a cheerleader. He or she with a well led crew of loyal volunteers are an organized and passionate sales force. The better they can build a realistic vision and execute the plans of a successful event, the better chance one has of creating a tradition that others will support year after year. (more crickets)...Alright enough of that. So here is how we started:
First, we were given a great amount of information by Rich and Debra Craig from ProWheelbuilder.com and Pro Cyclery. A local bike shop and wheel building company on the west side of town. They have been a respected fixture in the Las Vegas bike race and shop scene for many years. We took that information and added a few unique ideas that we thought racers would like. We set out to build a race and event so cool that even non racers would come out, bring their families and enjoy the race with us.
Second, we formulated a plan, mixed in a healthy dose of "make-it-up-as-you-go-along", and started to execute said plan. Since that day, I have found bike race promoting to be as draining and difficult as a 40 kilometer time trial. I have only done that event once and threw up twice. On the first night of the race, I vividly remember setting up cones in the marina parking lot at 2:00 a.m.. I worked by street light as two coyotes sat closely by watching and probably wondering what in the world was going on. From the start of our plan, we worked extremely hard over the roughly 4 months that we had to put the whole thing together. Now we work year round. We were very fortunate that the community rallied around our cause. We were equally fortunate that USA Cycling was patient through a few silly mistakes do to our inexperience. The general feel from the racers was overwhelmingly positive in spite of our first year blunders.
We had hoped to have around 200 racers for the first event. We ended up with 326 entrants divided into 11 different categories for 2 days of racing. Each category completed 3 "stages". The Callville Bay Classic started off on a Saturday morning. Everyone raced a 4.6 mile "Time Trial", starting around 7:00 a.m.. One one by one and at 30 second intervals, all the entrants pedaled as hard as they could from the marina and headed up Callville Bay Rd. The finish line was just over the crest of the hill and ending a bit before North Shore Rd. Professional Ben Day of the Fly V Australia Team was the fastest at just over 9 and a half minutes. For you mathematicians, that's an average of 27 mph...uphill! That kind of speed will be close to getting you a speeding ticket by Park Rangers. Some of the slowest are about double that time. The afternoon comprised of "Road Races". Each category, usually based on ability, racing a different distance. The Pro's raced over 80 miles. The youngest group juniors raced close to 12 miles.
The second day and third stage is for "Criteriums". Each category raced for a set amount of time before being notified of their final five laps.The length of these races ia about 30 minutes for juniors up to around 1 hour for Pro's. Each of the categories raced in their respective "heats", so to speak. We used the entire parking lot of the marina. In a NASCAR type of fashion, each category races around a pre-barricaded, 0.90 mile course. Some categories will have up to 100 racers racing around the course of speeds of 30-40 mph within inches of each other. Check out the '09 - Pictures & Memories page of this site and you'll see. This is the most exciting and spectator friendly portion of the Callville Bay Classic. These racers do this for the love of the sport. Ocassionally there is a prize for the first one to past a predetermined spot. Sometimes the prize is a coupon for food, a bike tire or anyone of many donated prizes. Sometimes it's a $100 bill. So, at the end of the 3 stages, each category's champion is chosen by the lowest accumulated time of all 3 stages combined. To win, you not only need to be fast, but tactics and instinct also play a big factor to winning a multiday bike race. Just ask Lance Armstrong next time you see him.
The 2010 version of the event will be even better.
There you have it. An introduction to our beloved bicycle road race, more specifically, "Stage Race". When you combine this athletic event with a uniquely self contained venue, The Callville Bay Marina and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you are guaranteed a good time. Visualize 2 to 3 days of racing, eating resting, sleeping and mingling in nature....(cue the audio and video effect of bright lights, clouds and an angelic choir, announcing a brilliant idea).
The Callville Bay Classic has been born. The hard work of our group and the dedicated and energetic staff of Forever Resorts at the Callville Bay Marina are an invaluable component of the success of the event. Make plans to come out and see us. We would love to have you. Check the "RACE WEEK SCHEDULE " page for detailed activity times.
Mike and Las Vegas