On my pre-ride of the 400km, a friendly face at the Maltby control (~340km) did wonders for my attitude and helped me to complete the ride. I hoped to return the favor by spending the evening and night there during the scheduled brevet yesterday.
I helped the volunteers (John Morris, Thai Nguyen, and Erik Andersen) set up the secret control on Dubuque Cutoff Road. I stayed long enough to see the three first riders (Chris Ragsdale and Urs Koenig, setting a smoking pace, and Peter Beeson not far behind). Then I went shopping for cookies, ice, and drinking water and set up shop in the parking lot of the convenience store at the control. I missed Chris & Urs, but was there in time for Peter at 5:45PM. I stayed until the last rider came through at around 3:30AM.
The day had been tough for many riders, who faced temperatures near 100 east of the Cascades. That's tough enough under most circumstances, but especially so for NW riders who haven't seen any warm temperatures this spring. Most of the participants were feeling better by the time they arrived at Maltby in the relative cool of the evening (or night). I pushed electrolyte tablets to the riders with the most salt on their shorts. My supplies of water and cookies were well received, but many riders seemed more drawn to the comfy camp chairs.
Of the 60 starters, only five would DNF. Four of these were probably attributable to heat/fatigue, but one rider crashed in a drainage ditch just a mile or so before reaching Maltby. In the space of a couple minutes, I received a e-mail and a voice mail from ride organizer Brian Ohlemeier and an alert from incoming rider Mike Norman about the accident. The rider was taken off in an aid car before I got there, but I picked up the broken-framed bicycle. I spoke to him today and he's resting at home after his concussion. Tests (x-ray and CAT scan) were negative. We hope to see him back riding with us again soon. Thanks to Galvin Chow, Shan Perera, Robert Lagasca, and any others who assisted at the scene.
As always, I enjoyed the opportunity to see the ride from the other side. Only in support do you get the chance to talk with all of the participants. It's nice to see new members and old friends and to witness the spirit and determination shown by randonneurs. The mother of one rider had come from out of town to see first-hand her son's new obsession. She and the rider's wife brought cookies and good cheer.
I don't know if I helped any riders to complete their 400km, but I did remind myself yet again how much I enjoy our club and our sport.