Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Go, Vols!

When you go to a big sporting event in America—something like pro or college football, Major League Baseball, etc.—you go with the expectation that everything will be taken care of for you. Someone shows you where to park. Someone shows you where to sit. Someone brings you drinks and snacks. And they all have one thing in common: they’re getting paid.

Cycling isn’t there yet, and it might never get there. Even when an event is overseen by a professional management company, volunteers do much of the work. The Tour of America’s Dairyland is Wisconsin’s biggest cycling event: 11 straight days of pro and amateur racing, starting tomorrow in Kenosha. When ToAD comes to Grafton on Saturday, I’ll be there for a 2.5-hour course control shift. On Monday I will work a 4-hour course control shift at the ToAD race in downtown West Bend. It’s fun, but it’s also serious business. ToAD brings out a lot of curiosity seekers who badly underestimate the speed of the racers. They can cross the course when I say so, and not before. And they can sit a little farther back from that hot corner, where experience tells me we’ll eventually see a crash.

On Saturday, July 29, one of my Team Pedal Moraine friends and I will run the last rest stop at the Wisconsin Women Century. The ride will begin and end in Cedarburg, but the rest stop is squarely on TPM’s home turf: the Cedar Lake Wayside just outside West Bend. Volunteering there isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also an opportunity to raise TPM’s public profile—particularly with women—as we continue to recruit new team members.

For our volunteer time, my teammate and I will earn free entries to the Holy Hill Classic on Sunday, July 30. It’s a hilly century ride that we’ll use as a tune-up for Race The Lake. So, our commitment to the rest stop isn’t completely selfless. Even ToAD has little rewards: free T-shirts, free food and drink, and so on. But such incentives aren’t the reason I volunteer. I’m motivated first by a desire to sustain the special cycling events we have in this area, and then to expand on them.

At this time, the Downtown West Bend Association is still short of volunteers for next Monday. There are several roles to play. If you can help, then please follow this link to sign up.

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