‘Not enough time in the day’

By on January 30, 2014

No bike race or Zombie Run in 2014

The bad news: there’ll be no Lititz bike race or zombie run in 2014.

The good news: both should return in 2015, according to sponsor Rock Lititz.

Andrea Shirk of Rock Lititz announced Monday that major obstacles have forced the sponsor to cancel the event this year.

Those obstacles include scheduling conflicts by key staff member Rich Ruoff, not enough time to grow the events as desired, and an avalanche of activity that has Rock Lititz focused elsewhere.

“It is important to understand that we were not just a sponsor but we ran the events as well,” Shirk said. “For 2014, we have decided to focus our resources &tstr; specifically people’s time &tstr; on the development of our campus.”

The proposed one-million-square-foot Rock Lititz campus project received conditional approval last month from Warwick Township for the initial phase of building.

The monumental task &tstr; to construct space for Clair Global, Tait and Atomic Design in a specialized industrial park on a 96-acre farm on Newport Road &tstr; is projected to create 500 new jobs over the next 15 years.

Ruoff in November informed Rock Lititz that he was putting together The Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival for this summer.

“There’s just not enough time in the day,” said Ruoff, who put together 13 bike races last year.

“It was a wonderful event (bike race) last year and I was looking forward to doing it again,” he said Monday. “But the reality is that a couple of things changed.”

After last year’s event in April, Ruoff and Rock Lititz agreed the race had to be expanded from a one-day event to attract bicyclists from outside the region.

“We planned to develop this race into the largest Pro Am bike race in the East,” Ruoff said. “But if you live far away you don’t want to drive a long way for one race.”

In previous years Ruoff had done three-stage events &tstr; including a weekend road race on Saturday and time trials and the criterium on Sunday &tstr; in Ephrata, Lancaster and Philadelphia.

“So we said if we’re going to do this we’re going to do this right,” Ruoff said. “If you do a weekend, (racers) will stay in a hotel and we will get the numbers up.”

Plans called for adding a bicycle tour for non-competitors, a running race component, and an increased focus on music.

“We did small concerts with nice staging with Tait Towers, Clair and Atomic, but we wanted to grow that component and getting larger bands and more bodies in (to Lititz) that way,” Ruoff said.

Ruoff said logistically pulling all of that off would have been no sweat for him had he not started The Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival, “a really big monster.”

Since Rock Lititz decided to take a hiatus on the spring bike race, it made sense to push the reset button on the fall Zombie Run as well, said Karen Weibel, Lititz Borough Council president.

“I think the organizers of the Zombie Run were just overwhelmed by the time commitment,” Weibel said. “They all have careers, families, and in the case of the folks who actually work for the Rock Lititz entities, they work in an industry that never sleeps and has deadlines unparalleled in other industries.”

Both Weibel and Shirk say Lititz’s council and Rock Lititz will support the return of both events in 2015.

“We’re taking a year off for these specific events, but we’ll be back,” Shirk said.

Shirk said Rock Lititz will also seek out other interested sponsors as “the more the merrier.”

“In the meantime, we will continue to support and sponsor events good for Lititz, like the Fourth of July event we have supported for many years,” she said.

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