THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Thanks to YOU, our sponsors/partners, racers, and fans, last year’s Aetna Silk City Cyclocross was a huge success. We had more riders than ever (nearly 400) and all their friends and family at the event throughout the day. We have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback about the event as a whole and we are already looking toward next year to make things even better for the participants, spectators, and our sponsors. We have also managed to set aside a generous donation to the Manchester Community College scholarship fund making this event a huge win for the both cyclists and the greater Hartford area. Our goal, as always, is to work with our partners to forge stronger communities by uniting people committed to active lifestyles in positive ways.
Planning & Race Day:
After a huge planning effort, that included building an event website, creating a registration page, promoting the event on social media, and of course building a course to name just a few tasks, we were lucky enough to enjoy a day absent of any problems or unforeseen circumstances. The course was in excellent shape despite drought-like conditions, the road closures were smooth, and vendor, racer, and spectator parking was well organized and easy to access. With nearly 400 racers converging from around New England it was a serious logistical undertaking to be sure!
Once racing was underway we had lively, and spectator friendly racing that was both fun and entertaining. We had announcing by a local cyclist with a gift for gab (and the occasional hilarious one-liner) as well as some strategically placed obstacles and seating to ensure great views of the action. Sponsor tents and banners were set up right along the key portion of the course. Spectators and racers could get food, a massage, and chat with some of our merchandise sponsors all while taking in the action.
We had top-notch competition at the Aetna Silk City CX. The Master’s fields were some of the largest, indicating the continued growth in cyclocross’ popularity amongst the 40+, 50+, and 60+ age groups. The women’s pro field attracted some of the best riders in New England. We also had an extremely strong men’s pro field, in addition to many other amateur categories. Finally, like every other year of the Aetna Silk City CX, there was kids race, always a big hit amongst both the participants and their parents!
Aetna-Expo rider David Hildebrand takes the "Hole Shot" in the 40+ race.
The women's Pro field was stacked with the best CX talent in New England
Announcer David Wells kept everyone entertained at the Aetna Silk City CX
Community Outreach and Response
We did extensive work to spread the word about the Aetna Silk City Cyclocross. In addition to promoting the event on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we also promoted the race, along with our sponsors, prominently on our website, and on the bikereg.com page where anyone seeking information on the race can go and find out about it. Sponsor logos were included on both pages and all logos linked to sponsor websites.
Additionally, we partnered with the Connecticut Series of Cyclocross to ensure that our event was first in their series, and we coordinated with USA Cycling, the official sanctioning body of all amateur, professional, and Olympic cycling events, to have our event be the Connecticut Championships for Cyclocross.
Overall, we feel our promotional efforts were very successful given the huge racer turnout we had. Outside of the major professional cyclocross events in New England typical racer turnout hovers around 200, so with nearly 400 racers, plus family and friends we had quite a crowd! We had a wonderful write up in the local paper, the Journal Inquirer, and cycling blogs and websites were abuzz with positive feedback about the race.
Next year we plan to do even more by making sure the event is on statewide event calendars and in lists of things to do around Hartford in local papers and other media outlets. We also want to ensure more presence from vendors, sponsors, and other partners to maximize the event experience for both racers and fans.
If you are interested in working with us on this please contact our sponsorship coordinator for this event firstname.lastname@example.org.