Velogal's Blog

Saturday, April 30, 2005

I’m hearing talk, which if it happens, will make a whole bunch of us very happy! I’m hearing that Lance may be at the SF race on September 4th! Nope - not racing, but maybe in the announcer’s booth, signing autographs and making appearances. So, get your plans together for SF in September! That will be really cool, since the SF race has been Lance’s signature end of season race ever since it started.

I remember when the Threshold folks contacted me about working on planning the course marshals for the route of the Inaugural SF Grand Prix in 2001. Dan Osipow had already spearheaded the planning of the actual route, and so Chris Spaeth came out from Threshold HQ for three days to plan course marshal placement and positions. He and I drove the planned 10 mile course dozens of times, studying the traffic and pedestrian patterns of crossing and usage. This kind of planning involves a ton of stops, left turns in No Left Turn areas and quick U-turns: I drove, since I know SF fairly well, and boy, did we receive our fair share of honks and one-finger salutes. Howdy SF, here comes The Race! ( We also did the same thing for 10 days and 600 miles to plan the course marshal placements for the first Tour de Georgia.)

Course marshals are the most prized and precious necessity for a cycling race. It’s all volunteer and done for the pure love and support of cycling. We can’t give anything but lunch, a tee shirt and vast appreciation, but we can’t do it without our volunteers, either. It’s a “They gave a race in SF and all I got was this tee shirt” thing. Insert Philly, or Georgia, or Sea Otter or Cat’s Hill, and it’s the same thing. BUT... the course marshals are really the folks who keep those racers safe, alive and accident-free.

Whether it’s Lance, or Tom Danielson, or Chechu or whoever, what stands between them and a vehicle coming on the course in front of them, or a pedestrian deciding to cross with the peloton flying around a corner is.... Yep.. the course marshal. It’s a long hard day of standing, and you may never really know it, but you kept someone on the Webcor or Healthnet or Jelly Belly team from crashing and missing out on their season. So, if there is a cycling race anywhere near you, and especially in Philly and SF - Just Do It - volunteer to be a glorified crossing guard/course marshal and be a Cycling Angel....


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