Thursday, October 15, 2009


Not a whole lot going on in the big Dee Eff Dub (DFW), but now that Sweatin' Burnt Orange is over, I expect to have more free time (i.e. more time to pick up shifts at work and try to make monies...). Speaking of Sweatin' Burnt Orange, it was, uh, a wash out... literally. I didn't get a chance to snag any photos, except for the Friday before when I went to the Real Ale brewery to pick up the kegs, but oh well. And speaking of the brewery, those guys live the life, I tell ya'! They live out in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country, where there is a never-ending supply of good, no, GREAT places to ride, and their job is to make beer! How much more could you really ask for? They seemed to really enjoy their jobs, and I only hope I can be in a similar position one day. But I digress...

The first ever (but hopefully not annual) Swimmin' Burnt Orange Bike Tour was crazy. But, it was great to not be 100% in charge, as there were at least 3 other people doing as much, if not more, work than I. Sean and I had the privilege of more or less being supervisors/consultants, which I liked very much. Anyway, the forecast all last week called for a 10% chance of rain on Sunday, and Josh even said the forecast on Sunday morning had said 0% chance of rain. Welll... someone fucked up... It rained, kinda hard, for about 5 minutes around 8:15 as everyone was beginning to get ready for the ride. But then it stopped, and we figured we were in the clear. Around 8:35, Jacob, our resident poet, bestowed upon the riders some eloquent words, and I led them out in Danielle's car. Well, about 10 minutes later, it began to rain again. Only this time, it didn't let up. In fact, it only got worse.

Now, the roads our ride follows are mostly smaller country roads with many turns, hills, and cattle guards. So, they're not boring, to say the least. In fact, there are spots that can be a bit hairy when it's dry. Throw rain in the mix, and you have a very, very sketchy course... I got to the first rest stop and decided to hang out there for a bit to see how things were going.

It wasn't long before I got a call from the leader of our medical support team. (A HUGE shoutout to MSET, by the way. Those guys were badass, and totally legitimized our little grassroots fund-raising ride. If you need medical support for any sort of running, cycling, or triathlon event, I would highly recommend them! Just call them early because they get booked up quick!)

Anyway, I hear from the guy in charge of our medical team that we've already had multiple riders go off the road, several broken chains, and people were having trouble walking, much less riding up the fairly steep, wet hills... This was all before the first rest stop, so within the first 12 miles, mind you.

A few frantic phone calls later, we determined from weather radar that the rain was not going to let up and in fact there was another storm cell to follow the one that we were currently experiencing. I was advised by the MSET leader to cancel the ride altogether, or at the very least hold everyone at the first rest stop until the storm passed. Given the information we found out from the radar, I made the difficult decision to cancel the ride...

This was just as the first riders were reaching the rest stop, and I was on the phone with everyone I could get a hold of, trying to get as many of our support vehicles as possible to the rest stop to SAG all the riders back to the start. We basically told everyone that if they REALLY wanted to ride, the only route we would support them on was the 25 mile route, but that we could SAG them in safely and they would have BBQ and beer awaiting their arrival (Josh got a call from Riley's BBQ who always does our catering for the ride, and is awesome by the way, and they offered to move the BBQ inside their restaurant, out of the rain, which was such an amazing thing to do on their part!)

At this point, we got all of our SAG vehicles, including the Mellow Johnny's mechanic and Tour de Cure volunteers to take people and their bikes back to the start/finish, and sent the medical team down the road to provide support for anyone who wanted to ride the full 25 mile course.

I ended up standing in the rain, wearing a 100% cotton sweatshirt and jeans, trying to co-ordinate everything on the phone, for about an hour and a half to 2 hours, and by the time I realized my mistake, I was soaking wet and freezing cold. But, we still had riders on the course, and they took priority over me when it came to getting a ride back.

In the end, we managed to get all the riders and volunteers out of the rain and fed in a timely fashion (riders a bit moreso than volunteers, but that's to be expected when they paid for the ride and, ultimately, our support) By the time I got back, there was nobody to be found as most riders had left, and most of the volunteers were over at the BBQ.

When all was said and done, I heard most riders were not unhappy with the ride, as we cannot control the weather, and they were just glad we were able to get them out of the ride safely and quickly.

After putting so much work into the ride, to have rain practically erase all of that work was rather disappointing and frustrating. But, at the same time, we had been blessed by beautiful weather for the first four years of the ride, so it was bound to happen at some point. Most of all, it was certainly a huge learning experience, and while I think we did pretty damn well at responding to the situation, especially considering we had not even thought of rain as a possibility (maybe a bit too much wishful thinking?) But, we can certainly use this for the future and discuss what to do in the event of rain BEFORE the rain actually happens, and hopefully have things go even smoother, should it happen again. But let's hope it doesn't.

Everyone who worked so hard on this ride did a fantastic job, and it went swimmingly (heh, get it?) and I can only hope that the ride grows to it's full potential in the years to come. I mean, seriously, Hotter 'n Hell, in Wichita Falls (i.e. flat, BFE) draws that many people on a hot summer day, and we can't get more than 300 people when we're <1.5 ahref="http: com=">Cyclebum has gotten stuck in my head (thus the post's title):

Yeah... intentions of posting a video, and then my hands threw up all over my keyboard. Well, I'm sure someone was curious as to how the ride went, and I suppose I could adapt it to a more diplomatic version and post it on the team's blog with photos that hopefully someone has.

Oh yes, and I am the new owner of a pair of very expensive running shoes... so I pretty much HAVE TO start running now. That should come in handy when I'm in Atlanta and separated from my bikes (I know what you're thinking, and I'm not sure yet how I'll cope either) But more on that soon when I actually have something to say about it.