Friday, May 14, 2021

Don't try this at home!

 It's dangerous out there!


WTF? Geez, what's going on here?
No excuse for that, is there? The driver was thrown out of the race but Zio's fear is he'll be replaced by someone with less skill and experience. The CAR should be out of the race as well.

Perhaps a bigger issue is what WAS going on here? Getting jackets back from an organizer's car - jackets dropped off as soon as the rain stopped, despite the fact they might need them again. There's way too much tossing away of things in the current pro peloton whether it's trash, bottles or clothing. 

Why? Zio's view is that there's too much handing out of stuff, so riders can toss whatever they have that's not needed this very second knowing they can get a replacement almost instantly from the team car or a team staff person at the roadside. They toss bottles still full of fluids as well as food items (not just the wrappers) sometimes within seconds of being handed them and now jackets, expecting somehow they'll be retrieved and returned to them the instant they're needed again.

This needs to end.

Regarding the driving, you know if you've been on a tour with us that we're careful drivers, especially when around cyclists. Our rule is NEVER, EVER, EVER hit a cyclist! Wreck the car, scare the passengers, even shear the bikes off the roof if you have to, but NEVER hit a rider!

One of our support cars

Both of us have experience driving in race caravans, Zio's dates back to the old Coors Classic and Tour DuPont when we'd have official credentials to be out there. Zio's first chance was to be on the same day at the Coors the Campagnolo car went off the road and rolled over on a mountain curve! Luckily he wasn't out there that day but amazingly the driver of that car later called the company we worked for, asking for a job as tour guide! 
We had a good laugh about introducing this guy to the clients - "Remember the guy who rolled the Campy neutral support car? Well, he'll be driving the van you're in!"

We think this was the car that crashed at the Coors Classic

Later at the Tour and Giro we might not always have had credentials but we were out there just-the-same, most often trying to get down from a mountain pass through the race traffic. The trick was Zio at the back, would see the race caravan coming up from behind and quickly radio to the boss up front about whether he wanted to jump into the (usually) police-escorted caravan for a quicker trip down the mountain.

If the answer was YES, Zio would pull out into the opposing lane (no cars were going up the road as it was closed) and hold up the oncoming caravan briefly to allow the rest of our entourage to pull over and begin following the parade of team cars down the mountain.

Once we were all in-line and following the official vehicles things would get, well, interesting. Just like the team cars, the drivers had to watch out for cyclists on both sides of the road while trying to keep up - in a 9-passenger van with that many bikes on the roof and clients inside vs the much lower-profile team station wagons + police cars and motos.

Things sometimes got wild and wooly and a few clients feared "losing their lunch" with one memorably taking the boss to task for what he thought was needlessly dangerous activity, but this guy never volunteered to stay up there sitting in stopped traffic for hours or riding his own bike down.

The worst thing that ever happened to us was at LeTour one day. We'd jumped into a caravan and raced down the mountain until the van just in front of Zio misjudged a bridge curbing (since it was on the side of the road, nobody usually drove down the hill so that side of the road so the sharp edge didn't much matter) just a bit and blew out both left-side tires!

He found a spot to pull over with Zio just behind, since he knew TWO jacks and spare tires would be needed. Meanwhile the rest of the caravan and our entourage continued down the mountain until a guest grabbed the CB radio microphone and reported the problem. Our entourage then pulled over to wait while the boss fumed, waiting for updates on our progress.

The scene was kind of like a NASCAR pitstop as Zio and other other driver/tour guide jumped out with jacks and spare tires, working quickly to replace the blown-out tires as a client narrated the action to the waiting boss. Just as the boss was going to turn loose the clients stuck waiting in the vans, he got the word we were back underway.

Again Zio had to wait for a police-escorted group of team cars to come by, but this time we were already on the left side of the road, so it was easier to jump in and catch up to our entourage who responded with applause once we came into view.

No matter what, we always vowed to NEVER, EVER, EVER hit any riders. The Giro support car drivers should at least do the same, no?

No comments:

Post a Comment