Oh the WEMS series... In a nutshell the Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series is comprised of some of the best single track in the midwest. However, a good portion of these courses are in State Park territory. Therefore, WEMS is married to the WiDNR to some degree. That is to say, if it rains there's a good chance the race is going to be cancelled.
Now, being a series participant one must be cognizant of possible cancellations when planning a summer of racing for myself and my wife, Amy. A series racer must complete 5 races in order to be counted in the Series standings, there are 9 total races scattered all over Wisconsin (mostly southern Wi.). So, in my case I am only able to compete in 5 WEMS races this year due to other races being scheduled as well as Amy's marathons and 1/2 marathons. A long story short, if it looks like there is a possibility a race may be cancelled due to weather conditions, I still have to go, just in case it isn't cancelled. If I miss a race by choosing not to go I'll be out of the series standings due to not completing 5 races.
The weather for this weekend's 12 Hours of Blue Mounds looked 50/50. We had to go! I checked and re-checked the website. At 1:45 p.m. Friday I checked for my last time. There were no indications that the race was in jeopardy. We packed up the camping gear, bike gear and hit the road. 7 hours later we arrived at our campsite to wet conditions and stories from other campers about a severe rain storm that moved through just a few hours ago. The weather looked good at the time so I figured I'd be riding in a bit of mud the next day, but the forecast looked good. I figured things would dry out by afternoon and it would be a race similar to the others.
We departed the tent at 5:30 a.m. I attached my number plate to my bike, brushed my teeth and we were heading to Blue Mounds State Park. My head was right for this one. I could hear the "Eye of the Tiger" playing over and over. I had my pit strategy dialed in my mind. I could feel that this was going to be a good day.
We pulled into the parking lot and something seemed strange. THERE WASN'T ONE CAR IN THE LOT!!! The only thing in the lot was a WORBA trailer and some coiled up yellow marking tape.
CANCELLED!! Yes, the race was off. My spirits crushed.
I hold no ill feelings toward the race directors, they can't control the weather. I do however feel that WEMS personnel could tweak their communication protocol a bit to aid those of us who travel great distances to participate in their races.