perhaps you guys have seen the discussion on the main board here, but ken getchell has a great presentation on 'course damage that's helpful to race promoters and potential race promoters. it's available here or attached below.
Good post. My experience at the Eagle Fairgrounds, which we do not have to worry about damaging as they use it for livestock shows all summer, is that the course actually grows back thicker than it's previous state in the grassy areas which were just a muddy wreck during the race. Perhaps it's some type of "airation" effect tearing up the current turf as it has grown back greener and healthier on the course track, for the most part....and CultCross was a mess for race #1 last spring....perfect!
Northern California may have a much more delicate grass condition than other parts of the country. You only have to look at a lawn sideways out here and it'll show marks for years. Local land managers, school principals, park rangers, and city officials guard these areas zealously - and why not? We might get to use a grassy area for just 1 day of the year but their regular park people are back on monday and they don;t need to see a plowed mud field where their lawn or baseball field used to be. It's not the condition of the course 60 days after the event that counts - it's monday morning that's critical to gaining a permit for the next season. Land managers certainly don;t welcome an avalanche of complaints from regular park users the day after one of our events - that makes your event a 1 year wonder with no repeats. It's happened once in our 6 years and we sure don;t want to hunt for more race course opportunities if we don;t have to.
We can utilize grass in October if gardeners haven't watered that week to make sure it's tough enough to withstand the impact of several thousand wheel tracks - but many of the courses in our part of the state simply avoid grass altogether. It's difficult enough gaining permission to use some parks for a special event and we want to come back next year with good relations. No one has to grant us access to their parks - when we complete their special event permit applications, they can always say, "No way, pal". We are pretty diligent in using and designing courses that avoid grass altogether - it's a pretty rare occasion when riders see turf. Now, weeds - that's a totally different story. 2 of our events take place on undeveloped former land fills - we can't hurt them. The other 3 are city and/or county parks and except for our October event, avoid grass totally for the course. Grass is where the Expo and Team Tent villages exist.
I remember Providence at the end of their 4-day whooop-de-doo and marveling at how tough that grass and turf was - 2,000 riders over 4 days and when the course was in the process of tear-down on sunday night there were plenty of areas with minimal traces of action. What we wouldn't give to import Roger Williams Park to the Bay Area!
Cycling on courses definitely aerates the soil. It's actually pretty rare that the soil is totally destroyed. We have had few incidents of such stuff, and most of it is related to the sandy nature of our topsoil here in Southampton.
It's important to realize some things as well. Promoters can control the amount of damage on the course by setting up the course well. Zones of heavy braking.. destroy the course. And remember c and b racers don't brake so good. Skids cause the grass to get peeled off the soil which can lead to all sorts of bad things.
Same deal with plank sections. the take off and landing strips are often chewed up a bit.
ATMO, towns don't want to see the pics of the bad stuff. It's may be honestly best to not even think about that.. In our area towns don't want to see brown stuff, only pretty green grass all year round..Wait, what about winter... yeah, then too..
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Start out early season with a round of fertilization, hopefully coinciding with some irrigation.. eg rainy season. This can pay dividends after elasped time, adn is a strategy we use often. Sometimes in high transit zones we even cut the gras ahead of time to give it another growth cycle or two (we use areas the town does not maintain). which helps keep the grass strong. Thus far we have only had to reseed twice, and select areas at that. Course modification seems to ahve eliminated one of those areas this year, we will work on the other all summer to see what happens.