Maybe you would legitimately ride 473 miles through the Rocky Mountains alone. You’d pack gear on your bike and water upon your back. You’re a mechanic, survivalist, and (be honest) a total loner. If so, great. But I’m afraid we’ll have nothing to talk about over coffee, you and me.
I couldn’t ride past my own driveway if my husband didn’t maintain my bike. The prospect of changing a flat (which I did in fact do… once) is enough to make me abandon the sport altogether. Me reaching the top of a mountain would be impossible, were it not for the beckoning embrace atop said mountain, of a DJ blaring John Denver, and a friendly man cooking me hot bratwurst next to immaculate portable toilets and hand sanitizer.
After Ride The Rockies, we all wear the logo with pride; casually dropping our achievement into conversation and basking in self-satisfaction. But it would not happen without the VAST support of a phenomenal organization and the many people who accompany the tour as supporters.
If you know a new support driver, eager but unsure what to expect, thank him and share these tips. Both my dad and I were once helpers. Now it’s mom’s turn. (Supporters in our family have a way of catching whatever illness it is that makes you become a rider.)
Wendy’s Support Tips
DO be patient. Event staff have many responsibilities on their shoulders. It’s a traveling circus on bicycles, you understand. Riders need your patience too, for they are dead tired and irrationally hungry.
DON’T expect evening activity from riders. Resting is as much a part of the journey as riding. For many of us with busy lives, the break from non-stop action is exactly what we seek from Ride the Rockies. No, I will not take a hike with you.
DO be energetic. When riders are weary, your support means so much. Running a load of spandex to the laundromat is an act of great love and service. If you haul luggage or set up a tent, your riders will owe you for years to come.
DON’T forget to take pictures! Riders love to have photo documentation of their friends and the beautiful ride, but pictures are hard to take while breathing so hard you almost die.
DO be the brains of the group. Find the hotel or campsite, nab a restaurant reservation or takeout menu. Get necessary supplies and remind riders to take medication or hit the ATM. Riders aren’t thinking clearly the week of the ride. They’re mostly consumed with the function of their bikes and bodies. Relief from other worries is probably why they signed up.
Topeka, KS; Memorial Day Weekend will be our third ‘Cottonwood 200’ tour. The last 2 times, Greg rode a recumbent. This year he is on a new road bike. He’s ready, I have no doubt. His ambitious multi-faceted daughter? Hashtag: Nervous.