Monday, March 24

Tour duh Charlotte 2014

Tour duh Charlotte... from my perspective because that's all I have.

My alarm was set for 5:45AM.  I woke up twenty minutes before the blaring could start.  No excite.  Just nerves.  Tour duh Charlotte makes me like that.

I tried to have a normal morning.  Coffee, Pop Tarts, internet.  Out the door, turn around a half mile from the house, get my cowbell and Lion of Flanders flag, and leave again.  Quarter mile from the house remember that a rain jacket might be smart, turn around, turn around again.  No more going back.

I pulled into a 7-11 at 6:45AM and leaned my bike against a trashcan just outside the door.  I went in and grabbed an 18 pack of PBR and tossed it on the counter.

"You can't buy that right now."


"No beer sales before 7:00AM."

I left with no beer and even less patience for my fellow man.

I got to The Gentle Ginger's house (race headquarters) and saw more cases of PBR on the kitchen floor than they had at the 7-11.  Everything was already prepared, so getting there early was pointless except for being a good exercise in getting up early.  The sun finally came up and killed the envious moon.

People started showing up.  There was not much to do other than be a dick about people parking in front of the house.  I took that job as soon as my number plate was dry and mounted.

There were better numbers to choose from, but we can't all be Paul.

photo cred: Erik Minman
We were about to get started when a guy rolled up and asked if he could still register.  Of course the answer should have been "no," but I'm not good at that.  I told him I'd go grab a number plate and a waiver and we'd figure the rest out later.
We all safely got to the location of the first stage.  I enjoyed "corking" a few intersections on the way over.  Didn't get to do that very much last year.  Power trip of a very small order.

Some guy who must have been a party pacer looked disgruntled.  I'm thinking he's a cop or something by the look of disapproval on his face.  10:30 in the morning and a bunch of grown-ass people drinking beer (and some kids who were not drinking) standing around in the woods behind a park that's behind a school waiting for the racers to come along.  Eventually the racers started coming and he stormed off grumbling something about "I came here to ride... I can do forty miles in one day."

Strange man.

That stage ended and the crowd assembled to ride the top secret stage at the abandoned go-kart track.  I had to skip it and ride to stage three with Gwen to get it ready.  I heard it went phenomenally.

photo cred: Nik Fedele

photo cred: Erik Minman

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
Gwen and I got to the park and started marking the course.  We stopped in the parking lot, Jess brought us some pizza, and then I finished the rest of the taping.  When I got back to the parking lot, there was a park ranger.  Okay.  That's great.  Then a cop showed up.  That's better.

You see, we don't exactly ask to do what we do at the Tour duh Charlotte.  We just do it.  Generally speaking, I'm a rule follower.  I'm in the courthouse almost everyday for work and often times think how happy I am that I will never be there to handle a problem of my own.

I'm starting to wonder if that's gonna change.

The ranger left.  Then the cop.  Then the racers arrived.

I hurriedly ask the party pacers to get to their place in the woods.  They left quickly'esque.

I assembled the racers.  Then I found out that the party pacers are not moving as quickly as I had thought.  Some of the racers asked for a potty break.  Request acquiesced.   

The ranger came back.

Word came that the party pacers were now assembled in the woods.  I started the race, hopped on my bike to sweep...

A racer told me he saw some black glasses dropped at the start.  I went back to look, somehow just saw them there in the leaves, and hurried back into the woods.

I gave up on sweeping after the second lap of a four lap race.  The lead riders were already lapping the slower riders.   I stopped at the point where the spectators were and also where the racers would split off the loop to the finish after completing all their laps.  There was some confusion as to how to deal with lapped riders and who to send where and how it would mess up the scoring when the racers got to the finish...

Somehow it got all straightened out and the results were made correct'ish.

My last job was to clean up my course tape and sweep to the next stage, telling any riders that fell back that they were on their own to get there (using their race passport and a brain).

Someone in the parking lot was left behind with a flat tire.  I passed off my sweeping duties to someone else and stayed behind.  They were from Atlanta, and I felt like it would be a dick move to leave them on that side of town all on their own.

We fixed the flat and boogied over to Cordelia Park, where a keg of beer awaited along with a full-blown cyclocross course marked completely with stakes and tape (thank you, Neal Boyd).

Beer, cross racing, responsibility completely over... I was in happy mode.

Then I looked around at all the course tape.  It had taken three or four Faster Mustache guys all morning to put it up.  It would take forever to get it down.  It was only three something in the afternoon, too early to do nothing but drink.  I offered to help.

Then Kurt had a brain thing.  He announced that we could all move out quicker if everyone pitched in... everyone.  And they did.  The race was on to grab the stakes and tape so we could all get back to the party as fast as possible.  I wanted to win that race.

photo cred: Weldon Weaver
It was all done in less than fifteen minutes.  The keg was killed.  We went back to The Gentle Ginger's house.

I missed a fair amount of the early festivities.  I saw that Stephanie was (wo)manning the official Crafty Beer Guys taps, and I decided that sucked for her.  This is her first year on the team and she shouldn't be stuck behind two levers and a pile of wood all night.  I took over and stayed there while awards were handed out and ties were broken in an official manner.

photo cred: Jon Danger
I stayed until most of the beer and people were gone and then headed home to one of the most dehydrated night's sleeps I've ever had.

The end (as in, I am outta time).


Anonymous said...

Awesome job sir. And I'm happy to be in two of the pics you displayed. It's like where is Waldo, stripes and all! A.

AdamB said...

Is that you running in that pic, or a young Neil Diamond?

Rob said...

Who brought the boh?!?!