Yesterday I did my part as a volunteer moto-marshall for the Park City Cycling Festival. It was great!
For the first two races, each 120 miles, I was the mechanic bike. I had a Shimano mechanic on the back of the bike and we had to tail the lead group of cyclists. When someone had a problem, we had to do a live pit-stop. The mechanic would hop off the bike and change the wheel on the rider's bicycle, then hop back on and we'd have to pull alongside the Shimano support vehicle. He'd then exchange the dead wheel for another one while we were doing 30mph or so - he always had three on the back of the bike with us - one front wheel and two rear wheels (one 9-speed, one 10-speed).
We had police escorts all around the peloton and the lead riders, and as moto-marshalls, we were deputised for the day. It meant that we pretty much had the run of the road - we could blow through lights, stop signs etc, and drive all over the road. Our aim was to keep the riders in check and keep the other traffic away from them. The best part of the day was when we had to do our second race. 5 minutes after we got back from the first race, the second peloton left with no support vehicles. The Shimano support truck left 10 minutes later and got stuck in regular traffic, so I got a police escort and we went the wrong way around the road circuit to meet the peloton coming the other way. We caught them at Kamas, just as one of the cyclists had a blowout. Because all the traffic was stopped and backed-up because the police had closed the Kamas intersection, we had to blow past all the traffic on the wrong side of the road, horn blaring, all lights on, with the mechanic waving a wheel over my head to indicate we were support. (I had official stickers and support paraphenalia on the bike too).
The driving was very technical - I had to hold station with the support truck a few times, doing 30mph or so. I had to mingle in the pack without hitting the other riders and without giving any of them the advantage of drafting me. It was too much fun, but 8 hours in the saddle was sore, to say the least.
Sucker for punishment though - I'm off to do it all again on Saturday next week.


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