My first time as a volunteer for MS Summer Cycle and I'll be back.
Have done this a few times as a participant early on and decided 2014 is the time to give back to something.
Originally I was posted as a course marshall, then 2 weeks ago upgraded to manager of the 3rd rest stop and then last week upgraded again to manager of the 2nd rest stop (hyde street yarravaille) which controlled the vollies from the bridge to Napier street and everywhere in between (long story on that one with several vollies pulling out at short notice).
As a team leader I had to do 1. 90 minute induction 2 weeks ago one evening @ MS' nerve centre in Blackburn and then spend 2 hours yesterday (saturday) getting all the gear required and set up as much as I could - so it's not just a 4 hour one day job if you want to be a team leader (won't even mention the 30minute online video training).
Up @ 4:30am (after getting to bed @ 12:30am), so I was running on adrenilin for most of this morning.
Spent 2 hours setting up on Saturday and locking it down with security on site overnight
Then spent a further 2 hours this morning getting all the vollies organised into their respective sectors with their associated sector managers, before the first riders came through. Apparently the first 2 riders beat the lead vehicle back to the finish line as the lead vehicle couldn't cut through the racecourse.
Interestingly, the first 20 or so riders were MAMILs before the first under 40 rider and female came through.
For those of you who were wondering: I was the guy in the blue vollie t-shirt @ the 2nd rest stop on Hyde street with the Greenedge cap.
No major incidents to report apart from a few bumps and scratches reported in the first aid tent (apparently a few wobble stacks early the piece but no broken bones to speak of). Nothing over the radio except a few missed turns here and there on the course. You would have seen the St Johns ambos on course, but there were a couple of Ambulance Victoria ambulances sitting just off the course - but weren't required on the day.
Had several chats to the rest stop bike mechanic who doubles as the shop mechanic @ SBR on Punt Road. Found out a bit more about the Total Rush launch saga but that's another story for another day. Needless to say, that mistake is hurting his business apparently.
Apparently over 200 bikes needed their tyres pumped up just at the start line
The major issues @ rest stop 2 was buckled wheels, loose handlebars and stuffed gears. Apparently there was one guy who'd obviously bought his son a bike in a box and put it together himself. It was a stack waiting to happen. Saw one bike that had the rear derailleur broken off, which was deftly converted into a single speed for the remaining 15kms. Saw many unoiled chains and a few punctures.
Saw 2 trailers with kids in and the usual token unicyclist.
Just quietly, some of those kids are fitter than their parents
The sag wagon/ ute came through around 11:30am and I was the last to leave around 12:30pm when the marquees were being taken down and the final vollie bus taken back to MS' Nerve Centre in Blackburn.
It was a very long day, despite being finished by 12:30pm and I am knackered.
Despite drinking plenty of water and having sunscreen on, I've got mid sunstroke and feel physically drained.But I had a really enjoyable day.
The attitude of the riders was mostly enthusiastic - few complaints they had to pay for coffees @ the 2nd rest stop and a few lamented they'd missed the 30km turnoff and wasn't sure how they'd get to the finishline - despite breaking the back of the ride.
For those of you that rode through the 2nd reststop - you can blame me for putting "only 49.9km to go on the sign @ the 35km mark
or the other side "now put it in the big chain ring"
I walked around continuously and spoke to quite a few cyclists - some were seriously struggling by the 35km mark - but they were having an enjoyable time all the same. For many it will be quite an accomplishment and good for them - I think there'll be many satisfied and happy sleepers tonight
Seems quite a few missed the 30km turn off and were quite peeved with themselves when we told them @ the 2nd reststop they still had 15km to go
. Some even offered to pay extra for riding the extra distance - I told them to donate a bit extra to MS next time they donated.
I'll give the feedback on the toilets (5) at the 2nd reststop and the queues in the next few days and see if we can get another toilet or two for 2015.
I apologise for the over zealous 2 female vollies @ the 2nd reststop - we did get several complaints and I did have a quiet word to them and ask them to tone down their enthusiam - which they did, to their credit, for the later riders.
Generally the vollies were good and created a positive atmosphere for the event.
Met/ spoke to Ridinwithdale for a few minutes - if only I was technologically minded to build up a bike like his.
Missed out seeing Steve Bracks, but then really wasn't looking for him
I had a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment afterwards - more so than I would have if I was riding it - the challenge for me was staying on top of my game, being postive, leading others, offering assistance where I could, generally being enthusiastic (it's tough on a sunday morning trust me) and engaging the riders. I actually felt appreciated and took that away with me. Quite a few riders gave a big verbal thanks, high 5s or a wave of appreciation as they rode past.
From what I heard they had around 3100 riders and raised near $400,000 for MS Society so the riders should be applauded for their efforts.
I'll be back next year for sure as a vollie (although I'll be putting my hand up for the MS walk/ run in June as a vollie).
Having now seen volunteering for these events first hand, I have a massive appreciation for what those guys do - and also how much the riders appreciate their efforts - which is great to see.
PS: if you left your black cycling gloves on the footpath @ the 2nd reststop - PM me and I'll put you in contact with the person who should have them