I believe one of the most important things in life is the act of giving back. There are thousands of ways to do this but it usually consists of giving time, money or both. With that in mind, I spent a good chunk of last Saturday giving back to the cycling world that has brought me so much joy.
Carmen, my good friend and fellow cyclist, convinced me to help out with the Steven Cozza - Giro Bello Classic charity ride last Saturday. It wasn’t very hard. I’ve ridden in numerous fun rides over the years so I am happy to step off the bike and volunteer my services so other riders can enjoy the day. My role was to provide SAG coverage throughout all three routes – the fun ride of 29 miles, a metric century of 68 miles, and a full century of 102 miles. Needless to say, that’s a lot of road to cover.
I was actually on the road with Coach Tim as my co-pilot. This was primarily due to my complete ineptness as a bike mechanic. So, Tim and met up at the registration area at 5:30 am to begin our day. Initially, we drove the route and place a few sandwich boards warning drivers and asking riders to stay in single file. Then, we went to the first two rest stops to ensure they were open for business.
Now it was time to SAG. As we drove the course, very slowly, making sure riders where doing great, we were also constantly on the phones talking or texting away. I’ll never know what’s it like to be the Director Sportif of a real race but I think I got a taste of it on Saturday. At numerous times we were on both phones and I’m sure if we had a third phone we would have been on that also.
Fortunately, all of the calls and texts were about pretty simple things. We had SAG vehicles starting between 7:00 and 9:00 am. As each driver checked in at registration they would give me a call to see what part of the course they should support. It was all pretty routine thanks to some outstanding ride management by Carmen and her team of volunteers.
However, there were a few interesting instances that kept the lines buzzing. My good friend Jeff called to say that a tractor-trailer, that was over 8-feet wide, was coming up the single lane road on the Geysers that our riders needed to go down. So, we immediately start getting the word out to all SAGs and rest stops to pass the word along to riders to use caution.
There were the metal road panels on Chalk Hill Road (the ones they put down over holes and trenches when there still working on it). Not only did they take up the whole road, they were at the bottom of a descent. Although we did our best to warn people, numerous riders blew tires by hitting them to fast. So, we left one SAG vehicle there just to help all those folks.
Of course, we finished the day by driving a few people back to the start. There was one humorous incident in this regard. We picked up a rider at the last rest stop and then we heard there was rider with a blown tire 2-3 miles back. So off we go. Well, we never found them (we learned later that another rider got them going again). Just as we were turning around we heard the desperate shout of SAG!!! behind us. We looked back and saw a woman waiving her arms. I drove a couple of yards to park and she thought we didn’t hear her. She told us in the car that her tears of sadness as we looked like we were driving away became tears of joy when she saw us park.
All in all, it was an awesome day. The weather was perfect, Tim and I had a blast driving around and helping out, and most importantly, I think all the riders had a great day. In the end, I logged 170 miles and countless laughs and that’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday.