Diablo Challenge Volunteering
I arrived at the start line at 6:45 am, and checked in with the coordinators Anne-Marie, Julie, and Chuck. The hard core riders were already there warming up on their trainers. Rick showed up about 7:30 and I wished him good legs, I also saw TBV and a few other celebrities... but Flandis was a DNS.
My task as a volunteer was to haul people's stuff up to the Summit. I think the organizers figured each rider would maybe have a jacket and sweatpants but a lot of them had full backpacks that weighed 20 pounds. Confounding this issue was the glitch that this year the riders had to park several miles away since the Athenian school was re-surfacing its athletic fields, so people couldn't put last minute stuff in their cars.
Julie and Chuck figured everybody's bags would fit into 5 bike boxes and all of it in my truck. They both have had experience with this and I hadn't, but 5 boxes for 1200 registered riders seemed a little short. All 5 boxes would have fit in my truck if they hadn't been stuffed to overflowing. My assistants Briana and Linda were very nice and helpful but they couldn't help me lift the heavier ones. When my truck was full there was nothing else I could do, and it was 8 minutes before the start so I told Chuck I just had to get going and he'd have to figure something out.
I drove up to the Summit pretty fast. The sun was warming things up and it was perfect weather for the race. The folks at the aid stations along the way looked really bored and it made me think that my job was the best because I could see both ends of the event. At the Lower Lot I unloaded some of the stuff and then walked over to see the first riders start up the Wall. Briana and Linda told me that Chuck had announced "the ride will not start until we get some riders to help load the bags into the (Briana's) SUV" and that pretty much did the trick... almost everybody's junk made it to the Summit.
At the bottom of the Wall PizzaMan Chris Phipps came past looking like he was barely into Zone 4, and he was followed by 13 seconds of empty road before the second place guy came by - and it was another 90 seconds before #3. Chris really stamped his authority on this one; 45m48s to the Summit, sheesh.
After that I unloaded the rest of the truck and helped people find their stuff - not easy at first since there was so much of it. Rick rolled in and said he did a PB but he needs to find another minute and a half somehow if he want the sub-hour shirt (he does)... I suggested the Zipp 202 sew-up wheels in the Pegasus booth. He said he was about one minute off his goal at the Junction and then he really punished himself to keep speed through Blue Oak Speedway.
Afterwards, I was in a caravan following the last group of riders down and we came upon a rider who had two flats and ran out of tubes so I gave him a ride down, he was a nice guy who'd been riding road bikes for 30 years so we had a nice chin wag the rest of the trip.
A fine event and I got to see it from the inside... I'll probably do it again next year too.