HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Volunteering is a great way to get involved with the race, support Seby B Jones Cancer Center, and enjoy more insight to the sport. There are several ways to volunteer for the High Country Tour Du Life:
MARSHALS:A marshal is a traffic director of sorts. Many people are needed to direct the riders and regular road traffic at specific corners during the race. We also will have aid stations where racers can take a break and refuel, and Marshals will be responsible for helping us keep track of all the riders who pass through, so we make sure everyone finishes safely, as well as helping hand out snacks, offering encouragement, and keeping the rest area tidy.
PARKING AND REGISTRATION:
Volunteers help before the race to control the parking area so that cars can get in and out easily, and help get racers signed up and in the right place, and then help get racers lined up for the start of the race.
Want to get an up-close view of the racers for more than a few minutes at a time? Support drivers patrol the course, keeping an eye on racers, communicating information about any crashes or other emergencies, and operate the all-important “Broom Wagon” responsible for “sweeping up” racers who decide they’ve had enough and are ready to get off the bike. Support Drivers are right there with the racers all the way from start to finish, and their experience of the race itself is second only to the racers’. Support drivers may occasionally assist racers with a mechanical problem, so we are looking for either drivers co-pilots who are comfortable dealing with minor bike issues (flats, broken chains, the occasional loose bolt). Depending upon how many co-pilots are available, support drivers may handle both jobs. While experience is helpful, it is not required. After all, you’ve gotta start somewhere, right?
If you’d like to drive a support vehicle or ride along as a mechanic, please contact Andrew Stackhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you’d rather not drive but have an appropriate, reliable vehicle that you’d be willing to allow someone else to drive, we’re looking for those as well. Again, contact Andrew. Andrew will notify you, usually by phone, of your specific assignment, and will notify you if there are any changes in assignment. For this event, its important that your vehicle can handle driving on steep gravel roads, so Jeeps, 4x4s, and smaller SUVs and pickups that are okay on narrow roads are best. Motorcycles (Dirt Bikes) and ATVs or Side-by-sides would also be very useful, especially for Shawnee and Buckeye Ridge Roads.
LEARNING THE ROPES (SPOKES?)
Volunteers meet for one evening a few days before the race for instructions. For being such a vital function, driving support and being a marshall are both actually relatively simple. Drivers will be issued color coded “credentials” which identify your vehicle as an official race vehicle for a particular category of racers, and you’ll be taught how to navigate the course, how to communicate with the race organizers and medical support, and some very simple but important record-keeping.
You’ll be expected at the starting area prior to the start of the race. You’ll be issued a sign for the rear of your vehicle, and a radio for communication with the other support drivers in your group. Bring a pad or clipboard and pencil to keep track of racers you may have to leave behind, and an envelope for keeping track of wheel tags doesn’t hurt. It also helps to carry an old, clean blanket to protect your vehicle’s seats should you need to transport a mildly injured rider (This is relatively unlikely, but possible. Emergency vehicles are available and handle most such needs.) Bring snacks and soft drinks, and it’s nice to have a few bottles of water with you in case a rider really needs one.
THE RACE ITSELF
There’s no way to effectively explain what the driving itself is like and what all it involves. Suffice it to say that you learn as you go, and there’s always someone there on the radio to ask if you have any questions once you’re rolling. You simply have to pay close attention, use your head, and do as COM 1 (the main support vehicle for each group) tells you to – and enjoy the race and the ride.
Thanks to the Tour of the Gila for providing their volunteer information