Season 1,

What I wish I knew before my first race – MOD002

October 16, 2016
Show Notes

Welcome to the Merchants of Dirt Podcast, hosted by founder Kyle M. Bondo. his is your insider’s guide to practical recreational engineering where I teach you the art and science of building, promoting, and directing off-road races. In this episode, I walk you through the top five (5) things I wished I had known before I built my first race, and help you avoid some of the more painful trail and error lessons.

In This Episode
  • 0:01

    Podcast Intro

  • 0:20


  • 0:55

    Avoid Trail and Error

  • 5:43

    Lesson #5 – You Will Never Have Enough Time

  • 10:34

    Lesson #4 – You Must Stay Humble

  • 16:55

    Lesson #3 – You Must Build Repeatable Systems

  • 23:19

    Lesson #2 – You Must Always Be Selling

  • 28:12

    Lesson #1 – You Are The Only One That Cares

  • 33:41

    Announcements and Conclusion

  • 34:30

    Podcast Outro

Avoid Trail and Error

When you decide to build a race, you discover just how alone you are. Unlike tuning a car, creating an app, or even planning a barbecue, there is very little information on how to build a race. Are there any good guides? Not really. Tips? Far and few between. Lessons learned? They don’t seem to exist — that is unless you’re trying to build a marathon for 30,000 runners. While getting advice from a national marathon race director can provide some highlights, it’s akin to learning how to build a software company by going to hear Bill Gates speak. Sure he’s going to be insightful, and he may inspire you to follow in his footsteps. But can you really start a company based on his big picture ideas? No. Same goes for the marathon directors. Good advice, but it will be the kind that I just cannot use to build an actual race — especially one that does not include pavement.

Race promotion should be fun! I mean, what other job requires you to work outside and build recreational activities all day? Exactly! So I’m going to try and make your race promoter journey more enjoyable, by share with you the five situations that made my journey a challenge. But during my first race… and during my second race… and my third, fourth, fifth (you get the idea) I learned the art of race building the hard way: trial and error. Trial and error is NOT fun. Hopefully, these five (5) things I wished I had known before I build my first race will help you avoid some of the more painful trail and error lessons.

Lesson #5 – You Will Never Have Enough Time

What is your time worth? Did you know you needed to pay yourself for doing this races? It wouldn’t be much of a business if you didn’t get paid for doing it. How can you ever think about quitting your day job and do this full-time, if you never think about how much your time is really worth? The truth is, you can’t. Your time is a resource you cannot afford to waste. Only through managing your time with techniques and processes that actually work, will you ever hope to keep your race profitable.

Lesson #4 – You Must Stay Humble

There is a risk in this business – as in any business – that it may not work out. Most race production companies do not make back the money they put into it, and 1 out of 2 go out of business in the first year. Do you want to know how to really protect yourself from the crushing results of your own overconfidence? Easy. Start with the first principle of profitable racing: Keep it small. Small races are the best kind of races to start your career as a Reckoneer with. Building small races allows you to learn the flow, do some experiments, and keep your costs down. Going all out for your first race too risky. Hedge your bets by creating a small race you can control, then add to that experience by making your next race better.

Lesson #3 – You Must Build Repeatable Systems

A big part of race building is figuring out how to do something right, be able to repeat it the same way, and never have to relearn it again. The only way to do this is write everything down. What works, what doesn’t work, and keep it in a race building journal that you constantly review. Then and only then, can you teach these steps to someone else.

Lesson #2 – You Must Always Be Selling

Selling your race — that fun promotion part — is an all encompassing job that never ends, and your number one job as a race promoter. But the truth is that selling a race is no different than selling anything else. If you have a good product, and a means to convince people the value of that product, people will buy it. The same goes for races. If you CAN find enough racers that want to come to your race, your race will be successful. Every part of your race requires some sort of sales, and it is your job to get good at selling, sooner rather than later.

Lesson #1 – You Are The Only One That Cares

This is your race company, and you are the only one who will care how it is built. If you don’t work on it, no one will. No one else will put the same amount of passion and effort into your race like you will. And if you give up, your race will die. You have to want to build this thing into a business. Care about the details now while you still have control. Only you can build your races into a business the works.

Now You Know

I have a few things I want you to do right now:

Action #1 — Join
Go to SLASH Join and drop your email in the box so I can tell you when a new episodes has come out.

Action #2 — Feedback
Did you learn something useful? Is there something I can do to make them better? I would certainly like to hear about other race promotion pains you might have. If there is a topic you would like me to cover, I am @MerchantsofDirt or @Reckoneering on Twitter, or you can contact me through my blog at

Action #3 — Review
If you liked this episode, I would love if you would go to the Merchants of Dirt podcast page on iTunes and gives me a quick review and a 5-star rating.


Thank You for Listening!
Scroll to top
Get the Dirt!
Sign up and never miss an episode of the
Merchants of Dirt Podcast!
Plus get Exclusive Content from too!