Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Special Thanks to 2009 Volunteers and Organizers

The Supermarket Street Sweep was founded in 2006 by local cyclist Jenny Oh, and has grown every year since its inception. With this steady growth not only comes the benefit of collecting more food, but also the need for reliable people to do the dirty work and make it happen. With all of the help and publicity the race got this year, we were able to break another record for food collections. 7,507lbs of food is enough for more than 6,000 meals.

SMSW stats:
2006: 80 racers brought in 1,172 lbs of food!
2007: 110 racers brought in 1,595 lbs of food!
2008: 150 racers brought in 5,266 lbs of food!
2009: 198 racers brought in 7,507 lbs of food!

When Jenny Oh said that she was unable to lead the organizational process this year, I knew that the race had to happen anyway, and I happily set about laying the groundwork and finding people to help. Jenny made herself available to assist with sponsorship, and she also did an extraordinary amount of advising and handholding as I tried to pull it all together. I had never organized an alleycat before, and wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into, even though I knew the race had to happen again this year!

Luckily, many of the original volunteers and organizers for this race still continue to be involved year after year, and I called upon them for their experiences, expertise, and willingness to make it happen. Without Jenny, and without the many hands it takes to publicize, collect prizes, count food, and manage a myriad of other details, this race couldn’t happen, nor could it be so successful.

Jonathan Koshi has been a part of SMSW since the beginning and has done a meticulous job with our logo, press materials, and any design work needed for the Sweep. He is also responsible for a huge amount of photography for the race, including this year’s famed bicycle portraits. Koshi designed our t-shirts, had a hand in keeping the blog active, getting the spoke cards made, and he also designed the custom Crumpler bags that were awarded to our first place winners.

Brian Raymond was a vital part of making our blog so active and rich with content this year. He and Constance Cavallas spent many hours researching and writing all of the pieces for our 2009 Spotlight on Sponsors series. Sponsorship is a huge part of this race because it allows us a wide range of prizes to reward racers for their efforts, and it helps to attract participants. Brian and Spencer Mike were also instrumental in keeping chaos at bay on race day. They’ve been around since the beginning, and this race wouldn’t be the same without them!

Brian and Spencer rally for our cause in food costumes at the race finish. (Photo courtesy of Brian Raymond.)

Yuko Chapman has also been involved in SMSW since the beginning. This year, Yuko teamed with Alex Mouton and together they made the food counting and weighing at the finish line run seamlessly. Their insight and organization helped us to check in racers and verify that rules were followed in an orderly and timely fashion. Their experiences from past races were really valuable in developing this year’s systems. Incidentally, Yuko also donated that copy of Adobe Lightroom that was on the prize table at the after party!

Victor Urritia helped with race day operations last year, and was also responsible for getting his hands on a PA system we could use to make announcements. He did the same again for this year’s race, but went above and beyond by also helping with sponsorship, collecting prizes, and publicity. In addition, Victor also threw in a couple of his own handmade Archive bags for the prize table. He has a great attitude and is very much a pleasure to work with!

Claire Lopacki was this year’s publicity guru. Once our posters were printed, she quickly distributed all that she had. She was extremely reliable in publicizing the event, but also was very flexible in being on call for any last-minute or tricky situations, like collecting prizes during Thanksgiving week when my family was visiting from out of town! Claire also held down the fort at Sports Basement during the race, keeping an eye on the prizes and kegs, answering questions from racers, and reminding everyone about the shopping party to raise money for the Food Bank.

Justin Plue, a local bicycle courier, was responsible for the manifests. He developed both the Speed and Cargo routes, in addition to also being on call to collect prizes, and with publicity. His knowledge of the city helped to make the race interesting and mix it up a little from last year. As this race happens each year, it becomes more and more difficult to introduce new and exciting tactics to the manifest, and Justin made a success of that. The route was tough, but not so tough that people couldn’t participate, and also included some smaller local stores. Justin also used his helmet cam to film some of the race in progress, so keep an eye out for when that footage is released!

Adam Schwarcz, Clare Crusafi, Marc Brandi, Patrick Crawford, Melissa, Alex Morales, and Nate also helped out with food counting, setting up for the after party, and just about anything else that needed to be done on race day. Clare was able to score a megaphone for us to use in making announcements, and she also helped make some of those announcements. Bennett, a well-known local fixture in the Bay Area cycling community, also kept us sane by helping to check in racers as they crossed the finish line.

A race this size can’t be done by one person alone, so I’d like to personally thank everyone who had a hand in making this year come together. Thank you!

From left to right: First row: Claire Lopacki, Kacey O'Kelly, Yuko Chapman.
Second row: Victor Urrutia, Melissa, Clare C., Spencer, Marc Brandi, Nate.
Back row: Justin Plue, Brian Raymond, Alex Mouton.
(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Koshi.)

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