Monday, June 1, 2009

Volunteers Make the World Go 'Round

It was a busy weekend for me. Saturday saw me up and out the door before I would usually consider a humane hour (read 7:30am). Why, you ask? Yep, for the bicycle!

There was a race sponsored by my old bike shop and the women's racing team they support. The amateur racing scene in Minnesota is pretty big, and we live (and love) to race on the weekends.

I spent four and a half or five hours out in the sun and wind, "marshaling" the third corner. Being a corner marshal means you keep an eye out for and direct automobile traffic, and warn the riders if there is oncoming traffic in the far lane. I couldn't be happier that I did. The nasty sunburn on my face and legs was worth it to see the peloton of riders zooming through at nearly 20 mph and the smiles that I got from the organizers.

Volunteers make these races happen, actually. Without volunteers, there wouldn't be anyone at registration to hand you your number or help with the racing licences, there wouldn't be anyone to sweep the corners free of sand and grit, no one to call people/companies and ask for sponsors... Wow, that's a lot. Even the Nature Valley Grand Prix, a domestic pro race put on during the Great River Energy Bike Festival every June, depends on volunteers at all levels.

So, next time you roll up to the start-line, please remember to give a thank you to the officials and volunteers, they make all the fun possible.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

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