Rolling With A Crew

DSC_6426Justin Bieber has a crew.  His crew saunters. There is no saunter in RAAM.

Race Across America is exactly as it sounds.  Racing bikes from the pacific ocean straight shot to the atlantic.  When I said yes to “crewing”, I had anticipated more riding than racing but I was wrong.  Four guys taking turns riding all day, all night, Maryanne.  Like turns on a swing when there is only one swing.  I was part of the group that pushed the swing.

Two crews of six.  Four vehicles.  Countless bikes. Four riders. Two hundred and sixty seven stylish cycling outfits.

There is no “off”.  There is no “break”.  Unless one happens by the grace of God or epic kack-up in navigating.  You carry a heavy load of paying attention.  Awareness is the glue that keeps a team together.  There is no head up your ass culture nurtured here.  You’re there to look after the riders.  You think The Biebs has to worry about what he’s having for lunch?  Riders first, crew second.

Not to be dramatic,…….yes to be dramatic … have the lives of the riders and sometimes the other crew members in your hands.  Night and day. This is where aware and alert snuggle in together. Sure it sucks to sit in a silent car and listen to stinky snoring for a couple of hours with your radio off, lights out, hands still.  But like a live performance, you open your candies before the show starts.  If the guys don’t grab sleep they are at greater risk of crashing.  If you don’t get yours, you’re at greater risk of crashing into things living and inanimate.

Exciting skills that you never knew you needed or even held surface.  Having a wee out of a moving van door for example.  Not going to say who but leaders lead.

Frying bacon in a moving vehicle.  A skill not to be done in shorts.  Skills and lessons.

Trying to be quiet is louder than just being quiet.  American city planners screw with you by naming one street two times.  Like a kid who goes by their middle name JUST TO MESS WITH YOU!

You can get pulled over from driving too safely in America. Knowing that shame in advance of your 80’s is hard to bear.

Red Bull makes you feel like you’re plugged in.  To Tokyo.

Going from picking clothes by what might be nice for that day fades to cautiously smelling things to make sure they are passable.  Sometimes not and in extreme cases thrown in a roadside trash bin.  At this point in the blog I would like to submit an official apology on behalf of Team Make It Happen to any dumpster divers in our wake.

We had more wet naps in our convoy than John & Kate & The Duggers combined.  These perfect little squares of dewy freshness are an asset on the road.  Accent on ass.

Best part hands down for me was the gratitude oozing from exhausted riders.  There’s something really special about a tired, worn down, stressed athlete noticing how beautiful a sunrise is.  Coaching the other riders to look up from the handlebars and breathe in what they were experiencing.

I’d say yes to all of the above again.  Minus the “breathe in”.  Never again through the nose.

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