Blood, Sweat and Gears Ride Director Scott Nelson felt the 2018 edition of the event went as well as it could.
The event, which took place June 23, starting and ending at Valle Crucis Elementary School, hosted 966 riders split between riding the 100-mile and the 50-mile courses. ...
The event raised $103,000 for a variety of causes. Nelson said organizers gave away $50,000 to different organizations, including $20,000 to the Western Youth Network, $10,000 to the Hunger and Health Coalition, $5,000 to Healing Hunger Farms, $5,000 for Spirit Rides, $4,000 for Mountain Alliance, $500 to Watauga County Habitat for Humanity and $2,500 to WAMY.
On top of that, BS&G makes donations to volunteer fire departments and volunteer rescue squads in both Ashe and Watauga counties. Nelson said BS&G also donated to different departments at Watauga High School, including the Robotics Club, the Sustainability Club, the football team and the baseball team.
Another donation was made to the Valle Crucis eighth-grade field trip. The BS&G organization also donated $33,000 to the Winter Warmer Project, which is funded by BS&G riders.
“We’ll likely donate more money before it’s all said and done,” Nelson said. “I just don’t have a number on that yet.”
Nelson said there were 300 volunteers helping with aid stations, registering riders, working along the start-finish line, being timers, traffic control, providing any needed first aid or help with damaged bikes and feeding all of the riders when they were finished.
There were even students from Valle Crucis Elementary ringing cowbells cheering the riders when they crossed the finish line. ...
Nelson said the economics department at Appalachian State University is sending post-ride surveys to the cyclists, which will be reviewed after a few weeks when everybody has had a chance to form an opinion.
Nelson felt everybody involved with the ride did well, but they are always looking for ways to improve.
“We did very well,” Nelson said. “I think the survey results will be more about breaking down different categories maybe where we can improve. The hard part in doing this is when you score so high, how do you motivate everybody to do better?”
Nelson said the planning committee will meet when the surveys come back to see how they can achieve that.
Hey, I was one of those volunteers (but way behind the scenes)! I've done the post-ride survey for 7 out of the last 8 years (missing 2012 for some reason). We ask satisfaction and spending questions. I have students from the economics club do the economic impact analyses. And in return for this bit of free consulting I get to ask stated preference questions. Here are a couple of papers that has come out of this work (hoping there will be more):
- Whitehead, John C., and Pamela Wicker. "Estimating willingness to pay for a cycling event using a willingness to travel approach." Tourism Management 65 (2018): 160-169. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517717302182
- Whitehead, John C., and Pamela Wicker. Valuing Non-Market Benefits of Participatory Sport Events Using Willingness to Travel: Payment Card vs Random Selection with Mitigation of Hypothetical Bias. Department of Economics Working Paper No. 18-06. 2018. https://ideas.repec.org/p/apl/wpaper/18-06.html
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Scott Nelson is retiring as ride director and I think I'll be scaling down my post-event surveys (I did 5 in 2017, gasp for air). But one survey a year should be enough spark to keep the community-based research flame burning.
P.S. I re-read the McCloskey piece for the n+1st time (you should read it at least once) and found this:
Everyone with gifts that way should be chair of the department for a while, crummy though the job is (it is like being a foreman in a factory - neither labor nor management, chewed up by both). The work has to be done.