RM Director’s Corner with Solvang Century Race Director Randy Ice PT, CCS

The Man Behind the Solvang Century Bike Ride since 1983

RM Director’s Corner

Rancy Ice PT, CCS

Event: Solvang Century, Metric & Half Century, March 14, 2015

Event website: www.bikescor.com

Social: FB www.facebook.com/solvangcenturyandprelude?ref=hl

Instagram @solvangcenturyandprelude

In this day and age of multimillion dollar events and corporate management, it’s pretty refreshing to get a chance to hear from an event director who’s event dates back to 1983 and has been directing the event since that time.  Those of you who like your rides long and scenic, then you probably already figured I’m talking about the Solvang Century bike ride (not a race) and Randy Ice, the longtime event director.  With a few weeks to go until one of the greatest rides on the West Coast, see what Randy has to tell us about over 30 years in the bike riding business.

RM: What was the first year of your event? RI: 1983

RM: How long have you been the Race Director? RI: Since 1983

What’s your competitive background?

RI: Former HS Swimmer & Cross Country Runner, Recreational cyclist and weight lifter and 44 years as a So-so Golfer

RM: When/how did you get into Event Management?

RI: I started directing in 1983 with the Solvang Century. Subsequently we added the Solvang Prelude in 1989 as well as a variety of the events (Desert Bike Classic, Whittier Hills Bike Challenge, Women on a Roll, Grapenuts Cycling Challenge, and the Guacamole Grande), all of which have come and gone. Currently the two Solvang events are all that I currently direct.

RM: Tell us the history of your event? How did it come into being?

RI: The SCOR Cardiac Cycling Club did a transcontinental cycling relay ride from Century City to New York City in 1982 to publicize the benefits of endurance exercise for people with coronary disease, and incurred a $2000 debt. We had been riding the Solvang Century route as a club ride since 1977 and decided to offer a public participation ride in 1983 to raise money to pay off the debt. We had 300 riders and netted just enough to pay off that debt. That seminal event became the foundation for a yearly Century ride that has grown into one of the largest and most organized rides in the USA, now in its 33rd year.

RM: Describe your race, what is the course like? Are there unique points along the way? Has the course changed over the years?

RI: The 2015 Solvang Century, Metric and Half Century ride will offer 100, 63 and 50 mile routes. These routes are 90% rural in the Santa Ynez Valley, Lompoc and Santa Maria areas with scattered rolling hills and fabulous scenery and lightly traveled roads. The 100 mile route has had minor changes over the years based on road conditions and SAG stop location availability. One unique well-known aspect of the Century route is "The Wall," a 500 foot climb up an 8% grade hill at mile 85 just before the last SAG stop. From there on, it is mostly downhill to the finish line at the Hotel Corque in downtown Solvang. Of course, Solvang is a unique town in and of itself with a variety of interesting shops, wine tasting rooms and restaurants.

RM: How many riders do you expect this year?

RI: 3000 - 3500 riders

RM: Describe the typical participant of your ride?

RI: Our rides attract recreational riders from all over the USA who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, software developers, etc.

RM: Does your event support any charities or non-profit making organizations? If so, discuss how your relationship with them came about.

RI: Being a heart disease cycling club, we began donating money generated from our Solvang rides to Camp Bon Couer ("good heart" in French) in the early 1990's. This a summer camp specifically set up for children born with severe congenital heart disease who can participate in a variety of camping activities under medical guidance and supervision, and modified to their specific physical condition. These children due to their fragile health cannot participate in normal summer camps and Camp Bon Couer in Louisiana was the first to meet the needs of these special children, many of who have very short lifespans. Camp del Corizon was set up on Catalina Island to serve the needs of the same kinds of kids in Southern California in 2003 and Camp Taylor in Stockton California was established in 2005. Our club donates to all three summer camps with the proceeds of our two Solvang rides.

RM: What is unique about your event?

Our ride is held in Solvang California.  A Danish tourist town is a major drawing card for our event due to its beauty and unique rural character.

RM: Are there any great parts of your race or surrounding area that you would suggest people visit while they are here for the event?

Many wineries have popped up in the area. The Santa Ynez Valley is becoming the Napa Valley of the south. The Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez has many well known comedians and musical groups throughout the year in addition to gambling.

RM: What about Prizes? Swag? Sponsors? What should the racers expect?

RI: We will give away a patch, CLIF bar, SPIZ samples on the route, a goody bag, a Tyvek wallet and a bike tail light as part of the entry fee. Our sponsors include: SPIZ, Mahatma Rice, Hotel Corque, Chamois Butt'r, Pace Cycling Wear, Pat's 605 Cyclery, Cannondale, the Solvang Bakery, Vintage Medical Group, Radison Hotel and Brodesigns.

RM: How has the evolution of the sport evolved and affected your event?

RI: The event has gone up and down in participation over the last 32 years as the popularity of cycling has waxed and waned. At the moment, in Southern California cycling events are losing their appeal and participation rates are generally falling.

RM: We don't want to get too negative, but what’s your biggest headache as an event director?

RI: Most all directors will say obtaining permits from city, county and state agencies. Our club has not had many problems as we are well established and have had very good relations with all of these entities for many years. However around the country, bureaucrats are making the permit process more and more difficult as well as charging higher fees, making the financial viability of events more precarious. The cost of liability insurance is also skyrocketing making putting on these events every year more problematic. The other headache are bandit riders........free loaders who show up at an event and take advantage of all the services, police controlled intersections, SAG stops etc. while not paying the nominal entry fee. These people are also compromising the profitability of these kinds of events and are contributing to the disappearance of many recreational rides. Finally, riders who do not follow the rules of the road and ride in an obnoxious aggressive manor annoying other riders and are a danger to themselves and others as well as irritate the locals that live in the area are a real pain. Such behavior almost ended this ride in 1996 and required heroic efforts on our part to convince the town to allow us to stay. We prevailed, but every year some of these "racer mentality" people show up and continue to ride as if they owned the road that day.....which they do not.

RM: Besides this race. Do you have a dream race you want to create? Please share!

RI: Not really............we are living the dream right now!

Thanks Randy! If you missed online registration, Day-of-Event Registration will be available on Friday evening March 13th and Saturday morning March 14th, IF they have not reached their 3000 rider limit by then. Follow the Solvang Century on Facebook to keep updated on the status of registration numbers. Day-of-Event Registration fee will be $130.00 for a single rider, $210.00 for a Tandem Bicycle Team.

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