Today I made my way over to Stowmarket to be a Race Maker for the OVO Womens Tour of Britain. Forecast was ‘a months worth of rain in 24 hours’ so I had enough dry clothes with me to last a week. Armed with wet coat and umbrella, I arrived in Stowmarket for the volunteer briefing and had a tour of the race finish area. After a quick cup of tea, I was then designated a spot, in a car park, outside of the course area, but marshalling all the team buses and cars into the car park, whilst telling members of the public that they couldn’t park there; all whilst under the umbrella, in absolute torrential rain.
But then my fortunes changed….. I was asked to be a chaperone (1 of 4) for the UCI Doping Team. This meant that I was going to be assigned one cyclist who I was to be attached to like glue until they had given over their samples to the anti-doping team. I guess more importantly, it meant I got to sit in a campervan in the warm and dry! I was then given my athlete – I was to accompany the winner of todays race. So there I was at the end of the race, introducing myself to Jolien D’Hoore and being her shadow for the next 45 minutes. I was by her side (just off camera!) for all her press interviews, I was stood on the podium (behind the curtain!) whilst she was receiving her prizes and then I got to sit in the back of a van (which had a heater!) until it was her turn to go into the campervan to do what she needed to. Making small talk with an Olympic Bronze medallist isn’t something I do every day, but we spoke about how nice it is to sleep in your own bed when you’re away a lot and how I can’t cycle at the moment because of my little injury, amongst other nonsense that will probably come back to me over the next few days. I am now of course her biggest fan and shall be following her (virtually she’d be pleased to hear!) for the remainder of her career as she is one of my BFF’s (she just doesn’t know it!).
I had no idea what job I was going to get given when I signed up to be a Race Maker, I hoped to see closer some of the action, but to be given a lanyard that let me ‘podium side’ far outweighed my expectations for the day; and I got a free tshirt!
Moral of the story is; doing something a little different is nearly always worth it!