Crisis communication

Today, and I’m very glad that all of the riders are OK, five cyclists were seriously injured during the 1000 Warriors bicycle race. This is a race that took off along the Tour of Utah race course from Park City to Snowbird, but left 5 hours prior to the Tour of Utah and was independently organized. These are some tough riders: they’re riding for injured veterans and they’re riding and extremely tough, vertically-demanding course.

The highway patrol officer on the scene heard that the injured riders, though, were from the Tour of Utah, and naturally passed this information on to his Public Information Officer (PIO), who relayed it to any reporter who asked.

I started getting wind of the story on Twitter, and through Google’s news search, both of which I was monitoring during the race. I began by calling the media outlets, clarifying the Tour of Utah’s position as an independent race from the 1000 Warriors, and correcting the notion that these were Tour of Utah racers involved in the incident. It is through this process that I learned that the information started with the officer. I got a hold of the officer and spoke with him. He was very understanding and eager to get the facts straight. He passed the new information on to his PIO, and my side of the story got a big bolster in validity. We then preemptively called all of the other media outlets in town, explained to them the situation, and got the already-published stories cleaned up, and yet-to-be-published stories squared away.

Again, it comes as great relief to hear the news that the injured riders are OK. It was scary in there, with one of the riders being life-flighted out of the mountain.


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