Greatness Versus Perfection

Since Storming of Thunder Ridge, the charitable cycling event I marketed the first half of this year, I have been exploring ways to take it to the next level.

I’ve sent out surveys and engaged those riders who had issues and complaints.

I’ve brainstormed how to promote the event more effectively and geographically wider.

The event director and I have even ridden several organized rides including Mountains of Misery, Tour de Greene and Air Force Cycling Classic Crystal Cup to see how other events stack up.

I’m starting to conclude that we need to spend less time pursuing perfection and more time seeking greatness.

There’s a big difference.

A Tale of Two Cocktail Parties

I attended a party whose hostess had gone through great lengths to ensure her event was flawless and perfect. The house was immaculate.

Servers with drinks and canapés appeared at just the right moment. And a conversational din filled the space.

Then, without warning, the lights went out.

Disaster, right? Nope.

The perfect party suddenly became a great party.

Under candlelight, the room grew more intimate. Jackets were removed, ties loosened. And laughter filled the space.

When the lights came back on, the hostess intuitively knew to turn them off. Her party had accidentally become a memorable and great event.

The Yearly Pilgrimage

The Seagull Century cycling event inSalisbury,MDis chaotic.

It’s huge – more than 8,000 cyclists of all abilities rode it last year.

It’s dangerous – ambulances are dispatched throughout the course due to the high number of accidents.

The rest stops suck – they’re so crowded that it’s a combination of herding cattle and morning rush hour.

It’s inconvenient – it’s at least a two hour drive for the nearest of my friends; most of us drive five to seven hours to stay in over-priced hotel rooms.

Yet, our group has ridden this event – warts and all – for over 12 years. Why?

It’s the beer tent that brings us together after the ride for one day each year to share laughter, tell stories about our cycling season and meet other cyclists we encountered on the 100 mile course.

For that reason, Seagull is a great event.

ISO: Je Ne Sais Quoi

I submit that for Storming of Thunder Ridge to become truly memorable and attract new and repeat riders year after year, it needs to become aspire not to perfection but, rather, greatness.

Riders will continue to have issues with the course marketing and/or SAG support no matter how perfect we strive to be.,

What we really need is that special thing – that je ne sais quoi. And what that catalyst or secret sauce is remains to be seen.

We think it’s the long ascent to Thunder Ridge.

Or, perhaps, our idea of themed rest stops a la Zappos.

Maybe it’ll be something serendipitous.

We’ll know it when we see it. And so will our participants.

Your Turn

Have you managed or attended an event that was truly great? What made it great?

Was it also perfect or did it have flaws? Tell me about it!

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