Monday, May 09, 2011

5-7: PMBAR

 I saw a notice that Eric, the race promoter was looking for a volunteer to be out in the woods all day to play cop, making sure that no one used FS rd 5015.  I thought about it briefly and after a quick e-mail to make sure the location would allow the wife and kid to come visit without having to stay all day, I committed. 
 Then I started thinking about how long 12 hour in one spot really is and wondered what I should do to pass the time.   I settled on pancakes for the racers.  I started making a list: batter, plates, forks, knives, napkins......syrup....  The list got long and my motivation for that idea waned.   I continued to chew on the idea and settled on grilled cheese sammys and Cokes.

I went shopping and dropped $150 of my own money on groceries,  ouch.  But it was for a good cause so I let it go and was thankful that I had the means to provide a smile for so many people ( groceries are ridiculously expensive).  10 loaves of bread, 2 giant packs of cheese, 6 bags of chips, grapes, 75 cans of coke - the real stuff, 6 packs of sandwich cookies, one pack of butter, and a few other things and I was ready to go.
 I got to Yellow Gap just before 8 am and got set up.  It took about 30 minutes.  Then I waited, and waited and waited some more.  I tried to read, but it was chilly with a cool breeze blowing through the gap.  I wandered around, then started to second guess myself:  was this the right day?  Is the race tomorrow?  I knew how long it would take for the first riders to get out there, so I decided to wait a little past that time, and if  I had not seen anyone yet, I would form a plan. 
String of Cowbells
 Finally a little after 10am the first team rolled through.  Stopping briefly.  2 minutes later the second team,  about 5 minutes later, the 3rd team.  After that there was a steady stream of people rolling through until around 6pm.  One cool thing about this unofficial rest stop was that it was at the bottom end of a lollipop loop.  The racers had to go out and come back through, so anyone who went for this checkpoint, had to come back through. 
Pisgah Oasis
 So I started grilling and kept the sammys coming until I ran out of bread,  approximately 111 sammys later, and I closed the grill.  I still had some chips and cookies left and people continued to enjoy them until the last team came through right at 7pm....and they still had 3 hours to ride!
The set up
 I have never been on this side of the table at a rest stop before, and I never knew just how much fun it could be.  Would I rather have been racing?  Yes, I was glad that I could be involved.  See, for me racing is not all about winning or losing.  There is more.  It is about community,  meeting new people, hanging out with old friends.   Encouraging each other, helping each other.  Cyclists (road and mtb and other...)  are a large group of people with common interest,  we have all been brought together from so many different places, so many interesting situations.  Some are running from something, others are running towards something,  but on race day, we are all headed towards the same goal,  and it is good to be a part of that community.
End of the day
As the last team rolled down the road, I had 1 hour left.  I was fairly sure that no one else would come by, but Eric had asked me to stay until 8pm so I did.  The bright sun had gone down over the ridge and the green glow started to dim.  I sat back in the plastic chair and closed my eyes, soaking it in.  Thinking back on the day and smiling to myself.  Rumors of grilled cheese and coke had apparently spread across the forest, and had possibly helped some people make it just a little farther in this race.  And that thought made me feel good, because that's what I love to do:  help people.

That is why I started Trips For Kids WNC,  to help kids in my community.  To help kids who are less fortunate,  who have the capabilities and talents but not the means to get on a bike and ride into to forest.

So, if you were one of the lucky ones, to roll up to the Pisgah Oasis at Yellow Gap,  and enjoyed a grilled cheese sammy and cold Coke,  it is your turn to consider helping me out.  Please consider making a donation to Trips For Kids WNC so that I can continue to get kids on bikes.

Have a great day!


clay said...

Thanks for guarding 5015! My partner and I weren't stopping for anything all day but those sandwiches and cokes sure looked good as we rolled past the second time!

brado1 said...

Nice Work Stephen! You trained well for that one! the world needs more people like you.