Parking for athletes and spectators should be a major planning item for the start area. If parking is strategically placed, communicated, and well-marked it will start the event on the right foot. Parking should be nearby so riders can ride their bike or walk to the start. Enough parking should be available for more cars than you expect at the event. If the main parking lot isn’t large enough for your projected numbers, make sure you have provisions for an overflow lot. Schools are good sources of parking spaces for weekend events and churches for midweek races. For mountain bike events held at ski resorts this is usually pretty easy because they have many lots available, but at a road race this may be more difficult to secure so plan ahead of time. Providing well-selected parking areas for spectators discourages them from parking in places that might present a danger to riders. You should use a parking marshall to direct and park vehicles closely together if space is limited.
The start area of an event is a busy place with spectators, participants, race staff, announcers, riders, and course vehicles. A well designed start area separates the spectators from the participants, gives the participants an easy access point to the course, and can be strategically placed to highlight a specific part of the town or city.
The width of the starting area should be adequate enough to fit the size of your race and should be designed for the safety of the competitors. If your event is a mountain bike event, will you be starting the event on pavement or a trail? Making sure the width of the starting area is wide enough is important for the safety of the athletes. They’ll be competing for good position and having a wide start helps keep everyone safe. Having a turn within the first 200 meters or starting on a downhill section of road may not be the safest option for a start. There are rules related to the start for different events so read through the USA Cycling rulebook or UCI regulations, as appropriate, when designing the start. For a road event designate a parking location and access to the race course for caravan vehicles or a staging area that is off-course.
Pertinent Rules Include:
Road 3E3-3E5 covers starts at time trials
Cyclo-cross 4A5 covers the start grid
Cyclo-cross 4A6 covers start chute specs