The anatomy of a roadmap consists of two basic things: a start and a finish. The in-between of a roadmap can include as much or as little detail as you want.

If you haven’t read “You start with a roadmap“, then go do that now, then come on back.

I’ll wait!

You back yet? What did you think?

Hopefully, it got your thinking about what core processes your roadmap needs to have.

If you’re like most race promoters, you have some kind of process in your head, but you’ve never written it down, or produced a race the same way twice.

We all do it. We think we’ll have time to write down how we did something, but we never do.

So it’s time to write it down!

When you have it written down, you don’t need to do all that work over again.

You only need to document your processes once, and then modify it as you go, learning from the experience of doing it.

The real benefit to your roadmap will become very noticeable when you go to repeat your race process the second time.

All the work you put into building your first race becomes incredibly useful when you go to create your second.

This is what the business world calls a “repeatable process” or a “system”.

Just by having your processes written down, you’re already on your way to becoming a mature company.

Writing something down is THAT important to your business.

Think about it.

If you don’t document your processes, how do you know what comes next?

You may know off the top of your head, but eventually, you will forget something.

And we all know that when you forget something, it will cause you some sort of pain.

If that something is important — maybe a critical step — then that pain could be financially devastating.

Don’t ruin yourself that way.

If you have to, think of the roadmap is your brain on paper.

Your brain in a medium you can share!

Let’s begin!

#1 – Start with High-Level Processes

Your map should include all your important destinations. There might be numerous routes to take to get to that destination, but this one is your specific path.

That can be tough if you’ve never built a race before, or never built one well.

So, when it comes to race promotion, I suggest you begin (at a minimum) these high-level processes:

Planing — This is where you decide on what governance you will fall under. Will you stay independent and do it all yourself, or will you get sanctioned and follow the national rules for your race (and all the requirements/constraints each of those involves).

Building — This is where you break out your processes for developing your branding, venue, course, structure, and budget plans. The outputs of each of these plans will feed into your master implementation plan, and be used to create a presentation (or bulletin) to be included with your permit submission.

Promoting — This is where you use the time between permit submissions and permit approval to develop your processes for developing your marketing, staffing, land management, services, and emergency plans. The output from your marketing plan will be used to initiate and manage your communication, sales, and customer engagement plans, while each of the other plans will feed into your master race direction plan.

Directing — This is where you finalize all the inputs into your race day processes for gear staging, onsite setup, event execution, event services, and clean up. The output from these activities will feed into all measurements and metrics used to evaluate your race value.

Growing — This is your review processes for evaluating how each process in your roadmap performed, how your lessons learned impacts the overall roadmap framework, and how you will go about making changes to your roadmap.

The final destination in your roadmap should be the completion of all your processes. It will often be the final activity that takes place before you start all over again. It could also link into a bigger roadmap that focuses more on your strategy.

But that’s a roadmap for another time.

Let’s start with a roadmap for creating a single race.

#2 – Document Your Processes

Wow! This roadmap work can include some heavy topics.

You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. This roadmap work can seem a bit tough. Especially if you’re unsure what a roadmap is supposed to look like.

But trust me! Doing this work now will give you incredible benefits in the near future.

Are you ready to push forward?

Here we go!

I have a simple way to get you on the right track with diagramming your first roadmap.

At a minimum, your overall goal should be to document how you go about building a race.

Think about your race in sections like I showed you above.

The first is Plan, then Build, etc., in the order of how you would orchestrate any event.

For a race, start with high-level, big picture activities first.

I like to use a big piece of scratch paper, or even a whiteboard (if you have one) to draw boxes.


Yes, boxes!

You draw your first box on the paper.

What process does that box now represent?

Write that in the box.

Each additional box you draw is a process that connects or flows to the next box or process.

Now draw a second box to the right of your first box.

Think about what sequence of activities will occur after the process in the first box is complete.

What is that process called?

Write it in the second box.

Then draw a line between the two boxes, with an arrow pointing at the second box.

Boom. Your drawing, in its raw form, represents the basic form of your roadmap.

And that’s it.

Boxes and arrows.


#3 – Add in Details

Can it get complex? Sure it can.

Some boxes may connect to more than one box, but the simpler your roadmap is, the easier it will be to understand.

Still having trouble?

Then let’s think of your roadmap in terms of how you will approach your race.

It has a starting point, a middle, and a finish.

Where do I start?

Start with something easy like your “naming the race” process.

Every race needs a name! Do you have a process for naming your events?

This is where it would go.

The OUTPUT of this process will be a name.

But this box is the PROCESS for naming your race.

What is that process?

You can decide later.

All you need to know now is that you NEED to have some kind of process that results in a race name.

Now here is a more complex one.

After naming your race, you need a process for “selecting officials”.

Ok, selecting officials is a trick question!

Why is it a trick question?

Say you’re building a mountain bike race.

Will you have your own officials, doing their own thing, or will you have a USA Cycling permit (which you have to pay for in addition to your venue permit) that comes with USA Cycling officials (that you also have to pay for)?

This makes the “select officials” process box similar to an iceberg.

This box is clearly a high-level process with several smaller processes hidden under the surface.

Don’t panic! Write down all your high-level process first, then come back and start finding out what hidden decisions are needed underneath.

It may take you several drafts to get everything you think is important in place.

Remember, the goal is to write down the big stuff from start to finish first.

The details come after you have to core structure written down.

#4 – Share it with Your Team

Once you have a draft roadmap, share it with your team (or if you don’t have a team, your friends)!

Get some feedback. Ask them if it makes sense, if the order is correct, and if they think something should be added (or removed).

A few more eyes on your roadmap will help you find the holes, fill in the gaps, and spot any problems.

Don’t forget that if you build it right, your roadmap will be a working document that will change with you over time.

Each time you go through all your processes, you will discover things that work and things that do not.

You will also learn better ways to do what you’re doing now.

And when you find these things, you need to document them in a new roadmap, and share it again!

Consensus is a cornerstone of the roadmap.

With each change comes consensus.

Hopefully, after a few times through this process, you and your team will already be looking for how to make things better.

And now you know.

Posted by Kyle Bondo

Kyle started Reckoneer with the simple mission of helping those who want to become race directors and learn the mechanics of outdoor recreation engineering. Kyle demystifies outdoor racing with over 20 years of endurance and outdoor industry business knowledge. Combined with his top-rated podcast Merchants of Dirt, dozens of articles, lessons, and infographics, Kyle has made Reckoneer the premier educator in outdoor event management. Build better races today!