Another fast, flat day today. The course took the riders somewhere around 120 miles between Statesboro and Augusta. The coolest part of the day, by far, was seeing a six lane freeway completely shut down so we could have a bike race. The tour is heavily backed by the state of Georgia, and the Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle has really put his name out there for the race. The state has done an incredible job in making the best race possible happen (including letting us use about 30 of their state patrol officers and cars.)
Today wasn’t an ideal day to be in the mobile PA truck. Lots of rural roads, which means not a lot of crowds. Im working with (for) Jamie Smith, the man who convinced me to start announcing, and learning a ton. I haven’t yet described what I am doing here, so I guess now would be a good time. That picture of the truck in my last post is our vehicle. There are four speakers mounted on top, and we have a CD player and microphone hooked up to them inside the cab. Essentially, we are the race ambassadors. We drive about a mile ahead of the racers in the caravan, and inform the folks waiting on the race what is going on and when the riders are expected to come in. Aside from dishing out information, our back seat is filled with sample packets of Jelly Belly jelly beans, which we hand out like, well, candy. Its a lot of fun for everyone. Jamie has deemed us the “Ambassadors of Love.”
Announcing like this took a bit of getting used to. We dont get the nice windows in between laps to explain situations like in criterium racing. Instead, we roll up, and have about 15 seconds to tell everyone what they want to know before we have to get out of the way and move up the road. I have had the most fun learning to read people and determine what they want to know. Some are there to see the race, some are just stuck in traffic, and some want to know why all those police cars just came by. A majority of the people we encounter are in the “stuck in traffic” and “wondering what’s going on” groups, which is really cool, because they get to see a bike race for the first time.
Once again, the race management has really pulled through and put us up in a fantastic hotel for the night. Another early morning lies ahead of us tomorrow, and I have a great bed calling my name. So long from Augusta.
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