Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Cyclocross has what is called The Pit. In it are all the spare bikes for all the racers. In a low key race (all of the Cross Crusades for example) I put my spare in The Pit and if I need it I just exchange it myself. This happens when you have a flat, broken derailleur or just a full muddied up bike that has quite working. In the photo above you see my Pit crew from last weekend's USGP race, Karen and Robin. It is cool to have a Pit crew. They hand you the bike, take the old one and clean the old one. If you look closely you can see hoses and buckets. The bikes were filthy this weekend. Our team doesn't have professional pit personal. It is for teammates to help one another. On a warm day this is not a problem, this weekend it was tough. We raced, got wet and then tried to get warm and then we went to the pit. Not only was it raining but we also had to hose off the bikes. It was wet and cold. I needed Karen and Robin both days and they were there waiting for me. On the first day I flatted, lost one place on the way to the pit and held on to second. The second day my shifting just plain quit working. Once the again there they were with my clean bike. Oh joy. I have had Pit helpers in most of the national races I have gone to (6 times) and once, when I traveled to Great Britain to do the worlds hardest cross race (The Three Peaks) , my friends from Scotland drove down to Yorkshire just to help me. Having a Pit crew is great.
I have pitted for most of my friends also. Sometimes they use my bike even. It is a great feeling to be able to help someone keep going in those kind of conditions.
This last weekend I kind of messed up. The Pit was located in the middle of the course with two different entrances. So we had to keep going from side to side. I had three teammates in the race, and I love to cheer my friends on . But when you are in the Pit you need to keep track of your man. I lost track of Damian and was on the wrong side when he came in. I was too busy being a fan and not taking care of business. He wasn't winning and in the big picture not much harm was done. But cross in not about the big picture it is about the moment, and having teammates and people you can count on. I felt really bad, Damian was upset ( I would have been also). He wasn't really mad at me just upset that in the middle of a race he had to stop and find me. Once you enter the Pit you have to get a new bike or get DQ'D. The next day went much better, we did lots of flawless exchanges and now I feel better.
I am a professional mechanic and doing things right is important to me. I messed up but I did learn something and now I will be a better Pit person. Life goes on.
Sunnyside Sports
A Bend Bike Shop

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