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Doherty Tour report

by Carl Brewer last modified 2008-11-15 22:46
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I didn't race it (it's got a hill in it!) - I was a volunteer at it

First job was the website, which we set up months ago.  A basic plone site, with a logo, works like a charm.  I did a couple of maps for it on Bikely. No big deal, and all done months ago.

On Saturday, I was a parking marshal and then the start line holder and then a corner marshal.  We had everyone parking in a paddock at the base of the 1:20 such that the locals and the bogans in the area wouldn't get too cranky.  It worked out pretty well, but one unlucky woman found a star picket hidden in long grass, which took some extricating after the morning's stage.

The start line holder's job is to allow each rider to have a 'held start', clipped in and ready to go.  Most riders are pretty good with this, some need a bit of practice.  In particular, the ones that ride to the start line and want to get caught are often tricky.  It's much easier if they walk to the line, I hold their saddle, they sit on it and then clip in.  Much easier ... Maybe one to write an article on for the website?  Anyway, being an uphill start, most riders roll back a little and their saddle rests on my stomach before the start.  Generally this is fine, but those who have Fizik Arione saddles can buy me a beer!  The damn saddle has a point on the back of it, and I have a very odd bruise up my torso courtesy of this make of saddle!  It may not seem all that difficult, but after over an hour and a quarter it gets quite tiring and quite painful, even with my big guts.

Anyway, with the time trial done (at least, my job there) Bev, Chris & I went off to the second stage, we got to Yarra Glen quite early, and did a lap of the course to check it out for safety etc, and also took some chalk along to provide some on-road support on the hills.  Llama, Llama, Llama, oi oi oi!  My job at stage 2 was to be one of the corner marshals.  Turn 3 is the corner that dumps riders onto the Melba highway, it's dangerous and requires a traffic contoller to stop the traffic on the highway.  My job was spotter - I was on top of a little hill with a radio, while Neil Dundas (the TC) was down at the junction with an assistant so he could stop traffic.  The reason for the spotter is that the corner is blind, riders come down a steep drop to a T junction, and the junction cannot be seen from the approach until it's too late.  So, my job, sit there and tell Neil when to close and open the road for the riders and on their first laps to warn them (riders) of the dangerous corner.  It worked well despite the constant chatter on the radios from the commissaires trying to unravel B & C grade. You can see the view from where I was to the intersection here :

View Larger Map

We were there for some time, from a bit before 2pm until around 5:15 when the last B grade rider passed through.  I had a book (Carl Sagen's Cosmos), a small esky with cold drinks in it, a chair and some food and a sunhat, but no sunscreen, which in hindsight was a mistake, got a bit burnt out there. Anyway, job done, pretty-much everyone seemed to be riding well.  I'd chalked a bit around my corner as well (I don't do cats very well, I'm afraid, but did a good martini glass for 'the Master').  I got to enjoy a little of the Lilydale airport airshow, which was on at the time, saw some aerobatics and the Galeb jet flew overhead a couple of times too, as well as seeing a lot of the moves in most of the race, or at least, the after effects of them.

Em did very well out at Shepparton for her track racing, she's fast, that kid ... and learning lots.


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