Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Keep them dogies movin'"

No ride today. I was a bike wrangler. It's not that different than herding/driving cattle in large groups from one place to the next. Therese casually asked if I'd like to help at the Coosa River Challenge this year. ( ) It's a sort of triathlon. Running (through woods), mountain biking, and canoe/kayaking are the 3 disciplines, and there are some special challenges along the way. A compass course in the woods, a mud pit to be navigated, a rock wall to climb, etc. The finishers I spoke with LOVED it. About 270 pre registered, and 100 volunteers helped at the various venues.

I pulled a shift as a general laborer last year from about 6:30 AM to Noon. I figured I was in for the same until Steve emailed me to say, "Meet me at the rental trucks at 4:40 A.M."  (that's ante meridian, O-dark forty, in other words) When I got there (30 mins away from my house) I was a fw minutes early, and the only activity was the burglar light in the yard tripping on and off as possums and raccoons scurried around looking for tasty scraps to steal. There were 2 U-hauls loaded to the gills with mountain bikes dropped off by early registrants. We gulped our coffee and hauled them up to the staging area. Then the trucks  went back to the registration area and picked up the bikes which came today, as they arrived. Having laid 100 bikes out on the ground, some of which were $6,000 a pop, we wondered, "shouldn't one of us stay and WATCH these?" It was 50F out, and cold, and only I had a jacket on. I offered to take the pull on sentry duty.

 All in all, 5 trucks worth of bikes had to be loaded, hauled and unloaded. After announcements by the race director and a welcome from the mayor, and an invocation by I know not who, the racers all were bused up to the staging area. They were divided by gender, individuals and teams, etc.  Here is what the mayhem looked like prior to the start.

we had just two celebrity riders:

They ran first, then transitioned to bikes, then to a street run down to the boat launch and then to the boats. As they came in from the bike portion, we loaded the bikes, and now also the gear bags, BACK on the trucks and hauled them back down to the park where the boat portion would end and laid them out again:

I seem to have gained a reputation as the truck packer of choice. Rumor has it that we would need 1 less truck overall if I packed them all. Rowdy Yates would have been proud, I am sure.  I wonder what job I'll draw next year?

Kudos to my around the corner neighbor and sometimes riding buddy Rich B. Rich and his team placed well, and he rode the tough MTB route on his single speed. He rides a single speed (Colnago) road bike too, but that's no so unusual. Kudos also to the race organizers who clearly juggled a lot of variables and rounded up plenty of help to make this a great event. My co-laborers in the wheel wrangling world were great. Steve, Johan and Cedric mainly, but also the Maxwell AFB students who showed up and pitched in. My favorite part of the day? On our way back for the third load of bikes in the afternoon, when Cedric turned to me and said, "I think we can stop at Champ's BBQ for some lunch to go. What do you think?"  The pulled pork was mighty tasty, that's what I think. Could a destination for a long ride out of Prattville, in fact.

Hope to persuade my resistant brain to get into enjoying mid week hill repeats (did them this week, did NOT like them, especially in the stiff headwinds) and of course, get in a ride next Saturday. Starting to think in terms of a tweed ride this month too. I posted to our club email list to see if anyone would come if I organized one. You know, casual ride (tweed wear of course) refined demeanor, haute cuisine and spirits. That sort of ride. No replies as yet. I may have to travel to ride in fine Harris wool.


Alisha said...

I'm digging the celebrity bikers.

Fully Lugged said...

They told me that someone asked them, "Why do you have mustaches painted on?"

Therese said...

Thanks for all your help yesterday Bruce. Maybe next year my plea for help from the bike club will actually arrive BEFORE the event next year!!! I hope you had fun even though we got you out of bed too early! I'll work on getting you that SweatVac shirt!!!

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