Many factors came together to produce a safe event - including the pre event pressure placed on the organizers to "ramp up" course protection , the cold weather keeping a LOT of normal park users away, last minute volunteers providing additional control at critical intersections, the last minute addition of an on site ambulance, etc.
For the racers it might have semed like "safety concerns were overblown", but for us manning the intersections it was close call after close call - myself having to physically place my bike several times to actually block some pissed off cyclist or pedestrian from walking, running or riding onto the course right in front of the racers - seeing rangers actually RUN and grab people after they jetted onto the course on bikes with shouted "!@#$ off I do what I want", that sort of thing.
I think it was a great event in that no one got hurt - but many times if not for diligence, tourists, park users or dogs would have come onto my section of the course and caused carnage.
Savant personal all seemed to me (in the very brief time I spent talking to them) to be all very competent and involved, and happy to be there.
The one other volunteer I was in contact with, was barely competent and very timid in his demeanor (not a good combo in a critical position at major pedestrian crossing).
You can see him sitting down on sfpix.com
While being one of the more vocal posters about safety concerns before the race, I "put up or shut up" and went to the venue before the pro race to offer my help to the organizers . ("I am here to help - put me in your most critical danger spot" I said upon introducing myself to the race director and to the Savant owner).
So when a racer says "safety concerns were overblown", they really have little idea of the last minute safety additions that were enacted in the days leading up to the event - the main factor there was no control over, and that was the cloudy sky, wind, and cold, kept the nightmare of those of us very experienced in GGate Park skate race safety issues, from being a reality.
My action report:
Dogs physically chased off the course as racers approached - 3 . (all running loose with owners nearby and angry I chased their dog with a siren bullhorn)
Pissed off cyclists, physically blocked by myself as skaters approached , using my bike as a barricade - 2.
Cyclists I couldnt stop, who rode their bikes down the course - as racers approached - 2 on the wrong way - that the ranger chaced and grabbed after I shouted to the ranger on my bullhorn - 4.
People many times had to be shouted to STOP thru my bullhorn, after ignoring the timid volunteer at the crosswalk.
Cell phone using oblivious teenager who didnt event stop when I used a siren! I stood on front of her to stop her. 1.
Items thrown on the course intentionally to trip skaters, a handfull of 1" steel nuts, by a messenger looking cyclist with dreadlocks - 7. (Scott Dutch Dog, your group skated by 30 secs after I picked up the last nut)
I could go on but you get my point.
Pre race pressure was a factor in improving safety, in my opinion, I am sure a big pain to the organizers and cost additional money to implement.....
I noticed at my 8th street position , when the sun did com out, at 12:07, almost immediately the number of pedestrian interdictions increased dramatically...
Thanks to Savant for putting on this event! The potential of this venue is huge, and I personally saw the Savant chief Tom B, skating up and down the course during the race putting out fires... now THATS a guy who loves skating!