I just got off the phone with Jim Craig. That man amazes me... Here I've been a total hardass on him and NSC Racing for what went down up at the Maskethine Sprint, yet it was important enough to him that I understood his perspective that he called me up and rationally explained it to me.
I have to admit -- when I saw Jim's name pop up on the caller ID, I was a bit afraid of how the conversation would go. But it went well -- totally civil, and we both heard eachother's opinions, both on what went down this past weekend, and also on what needs to change going forward.
I explained my opinion to him on the rules and penalties, and that I think there needs to be standard rules that are available for review by each and every competitor prior to the start of the race. Jim told me that, in adventure racing, rules almost always vary from race to race -- not just in Nebraska, but all across the country. I said that is a tough fact to accept, especially with the size of the entry fees and the purses that are being handed out to the top finishers.
On that point I think we agreed, because Jim told me he's putting together a set of 'standard' rules that will debut at his Warrior's Cup Adventure Challenge race on October 7. The same rules will likely apply to the 2008 NSC series as well. With those concrete rules in-place, my biggest beef with the situation just got taken care of.. for future races at least.
We also discussed the 'situation' of this past weekend. In short, we agreed that it was a tough situation all around, and we'll just leave it at that. Certain things likely could have been handled better on both sides, and I'm in no position to assess blame. The promoters did the best they could with the information they had, and I realize now it was not my arguement to have with them, especially in a public forum like the FFL blog.
For that I offer my sincere apoligy to Jim, Laurel and all the volunteers at the race.
Jim's call reminded me that he and his crew care about making their events fun, challenging and fair. And it taught me that, just because I know mountain bike racing really well, it doesn't mean that I know the first thing about adventure racing, a discipline in which I've never competed. So now, perhaps it's time for me to find out what they're talking about.
So it looks like I'm gonna' need a couple of teammates on October 7. Who's with me for the Warrior's Challenge? Remember, you have to be able to stand being within 50 yards of me for at least a few hours straight, so consider that carefully before you reply. ;-}
In the end, Jim and I concur in our belief that positive change will come out of this fiasco, but I can't help but feel pretty bad about being so hard on Jim, Laurel and the NSC. They sacrifice a lot to dream up and promote events that give a lot of people a reason to ride, run and stay fit. That in itself deserves a lot of respect and admiration, and the fact is that this is the first year of the NSC -- they're learning a lot.
It's time to put the past where it belongs and begin moving forward again... Thanks to Jim's call tonight, I now have the perspective neccessary to do just that.
Over the years, Jim Craig has been an incredible role model for myself and countless others. Tonight he reminded me why, and as I type these words, I feel nothing but humble admiration and appreciation for him.
Thanks again Jim.