It’s been almost a month since The Exergy Tour and we’ve quickly transitioned from a cold and wet Memorial Day to hot and dry July 4th. My thoughts go out to everyone dealing with (or hoping to prevent) destructive forest fires. It’s a little scary right now, hopefully we get some rain soon and people are smart and leave the fireworks alone this week.
A lot has happened since last Sunday, let alone the 33 days since we finished up the last Exergy Tour stage in Boise. I’ll get back to this last week of activity in a future post, but as promised, I wanted to explain a bit more about my volunteer position as a Traveling Course Marshal (TCM).
|Exergy Tour - Prologue Start/Finish - 24 May 2012|
We are fortunate to have family and close friends in Boise, so we stayed out in Meridian with Sharon, Rob, & the Pups. Since we arrived on Wednesday evening and check-in wasn’t until Thursday afternoon, I was able to check in with family right after breakfast. I arrived at my brother’s house and immediately jumped on a bike to join my parents and nephews on a “Tour de Parks”. Picture a 6yr old cycle cross event where the goal is to ride fast, but make sure you go up and down every driveway, on your way to a neighborhood park. At that point, you quickly throw down the kickstand and helmet and depending on the playground equipment, engage in full-on swings, sleds, or the monster game. We only had an hour, so this “Tour of Parks” stopped after 2 stages, but was a hoot. In just a few more years, they’ll be joining us on the single track!
|Tour de Parks - Family Outing|
I headed back to the house and had to hurry into my chamois in order to squeeze in a couple hour ride before going on duty. The 4 of us rode from the house and our return route included the Time Trial course featured in Stage 2. Still not fully understanding what my duties would entail, I kept a lookout for spots along the course where I might be stationed.
|Exergy Tour Attire|
A quick lunch and shower, then Sharon and I drove to the hotel where I was supposed to check in and meet the other TCMs. There were 4 large vans and a truck with Exergy Tour graphics and 40 people standing around in bright orange shirts. I picked up my shirts, hat, and race guide and waiting for instructions. Next step was to meet the team leads and break up into 4 teams. The 20 experienced volunteers had already chosen and Van 1 felt like a good fit, so as soon as David did his intro speech, I signed up with his team. We were given some directions on flag waving, crowd control, van etiquette and safety, and told to meet back in a couple hours for Prologue roll out. The vans are part of the race caravan and follow a very strict schedule!
Since Sharon was also volunteering for the Prologue Stage, we drove downtown and I hung out in the Media Room while she learned her duties for the night. After an hour or so, I walked to the Start/Finish and found my TCM team. We put on our orange vests, tossed our whistles around our necks, grabbed our flags, and some cones and got going. The basic premise is that the 4 vans with 10 TCMs each cover all aspects of the course with a goal of protecting and directing. The pro women racers need protection from spectators, rude drivers, dogs, and caravan vehicles. They also need directing, but for the most part, the team cars are so focused on their riders, they need the most directing so they stay on course.
Since the Prologue was short, the 4 teams only had one assignment for the night and we had the 1st section. Shawn, our van driver and a very experienced TCM, took the busy corner onto Capitol Blvd and I covered the next section where the ladies came out of the corner and started hauling. My first assignment as a TCM was pretty intense with lots of whistling, telling people to get their body parts back onto the sidewalk, working with the motos as they led the racers out of the corner, photo motos doing u-turns in my coned off driveway, and convincing people to stay on our side of the street rather than trying to cross over during breaks in the action. Needless to say, I had a blast! I got to see every single racer up close and cheer her on with a whistle and then see them all again across the street as they came flying into the finish. The crowds were relatively behaved and the atmosphere electric.. until hometown favorite and last rider Kristin Armstrong crashed and had to abandon. Boise fell silent.
|Prologue TCM Post - Notice my clean street, feet up on the sidewalk!!|
I went back to the Media Room after the race where everyone was huddled around a laptop watching Kristin's fall over-and-over waiting for official news on the injury. A few moments later, the top 3 finishers came in to speak and since most of the media was clamoring for Kristin and Team Exergy Twenty12 reaction, we had prime access to see the 3 Canadians speak about the Prologue and their chances for future stages. When they were finished I talked briefly with Clara Hughes and Sharon snapped a photo! One of the highlights of my Exergy Tour experience since I'm such a fan, she is amazing attitude and incredible athlete. How many other athletes have medals from both the Summer and Winter Olympics?
|Prologue Top 3 speak with the Media |
(from left: Tara, Gillian, Clara)
|Prologue Media Room - Clara Hughes rocks!|
Prologue - you just read it, hope you enjoyed!