Howard, that is a good question, and a fair one. Here is the answer... 😎
In the days of yore, the information about the following years' ride would be presented at the Finish Banquet of the current year, so that riders at the Finish Banquet would know in September what the Start and Finish locations for the next years' ride would be.
That has NOT been happening the past few years. 🙁
For the past few years, the decision making for all the things needed for this annual ride has been taking longer and longer, which means the riders have been waiting longer and longer to receive the information. 😕
Knowing in advance that next year, 2020 is one of our 5th anniversary rides, which means it is an extra day of riding, and extra miles, and we go a little bigger in all the activities, from the Start, to the Finish Banquet, it helps to get the ball rolling on this......THIS early in the game. 🙂
The "fault", as it were, is not in our "early" prepping for next year, it is in the late execution for this years ride. 😉
We, the Minions of the Three Flags Classic, are trying to get this event planning "back-on-track" as to how it was done for 35+ years, and get the riders...or potential riders...the info delivered to them at the Finish Banquet, so they can plan for next years ride that far in advance.
This does NOT mean that all, or 100% of all the work for the 2020 ride will be completed by the time of the Finish Banquet for 2019. It simply means that decisions will have been made as to the Start...and Finish locations for 2020, including the Start and Finish HOTEL info, and a basic understanding of the Route for next year, including Checkpoint TOWN locations, without being specific as to precisely which motel or dealership the Checkpoints will be located within.
Those finite decisions and contract agreements can be finalized in the months AFTER this years Finish Banquet.
But by having the base information available to be presented to the riders at the 2019 Finish Banquet, as we did for 35+ years, it builds an excitement in the riders, and they can ride home from this years' event, and begin planning next years' ride, knowing WHERE they can make reservations for their hotel stays at the Start and Finish, as well as plan their Route, and where they want to stay along that Route.
Yes, there will be the "official" Route, but riders are NOT required to take that "official" Route, all they are required to do is make the specific Checkpoints along the way from Mexico to Canada.
The "official" Route takes a lot of work, done by volunteers, and there is a lot of work that goes into making sure that every mile/kilometer is something that can be done, no issues with it, and makes for a fun/exciting/pleasurable ride for the masses to ride on. It is a good Route for riders to choose, if they are new to the Three Flags Classic, or want others to plan the riding route for them, or is a route they have not been on personally, so they can see new roads.
There is a misconception that if a rider does not take THEE official Route, then they haven't done THEE Three Flags Classic. That is a bad falsehood, and could not be farther from the truth. 😮
There is NO technical obligation to ride THEE official Route. There are some riders out there that have a LOT of personal experience with the roads in the Western half of the USA, as well as the Western half of Canada. Or, a rider may look at the proposed official Route ad say to him/herself that they have already done THAT route many times in the past, on their own riding, and they now want to try something new. 😛
THEE official Route may not work for everyone. It is there as a suggestion, a helpful tool, etc, for those that don't want to plan their own route, new to riding, or simply want to let someone else do the work involved.
The "official" Routes are generally pretty darn good, and take the riders places that are intended to be good roads, and places of interest.
But each and every rider should make that decision for themselves, do the "official" Route, or do their own Route......as long as they all make the required Checkpoints.
Yes, we are still waiting for finalized information about this years ride, for 2019. But for the most part, any information that the riders need for 2019 HAS been put out there, in E-Blasts.
The only details that still linger...to my knowledge..are the finite specific locations of exactly where each Checkpoint will be located, at which motel/hotel or dealership, etc, and the TIMES that those Checkpoints will be operating.
We are fortunate that this year Paul Lax is the Checkpoint Coordinator/Director, and the man knows what he is doing. Paul Lax is a many, many years veteran of the Three Flags Classic, a rider will a LOT of miles to his credit, but more importantly a LOT of common sense and logic. 😎
Howard, I hope this answers your question, albeit a book length reading.
The work for 2019 is 99% in the bag, and we need to get rolling on the 2020 ride, so we can feed that basic info to the riders at the Finish Banquet this year.