Two days ago I participated in the 30th annual El Tour de Tucson. I started riding as an adult about 35 years ago and in that time I estimate that I've completed between 30 and 40 century rides. This beat them all. The organization was impeccable, from the distribution of your entry packet, ("Excuse me, I'd like to change my distance." "No problem, just fill out this sheet."), to the entertainment at the start, the frequent aid stations and rest stops and the finish. Wow, it's obvious why 9,000 riders chose this ride.
Additionally, for the past seven years I've been privileged to be a traveling road marshal for several AMGEN ToC's as well as one Tour of Missouri and, this past year, the USAPro Challenge in Colorado. I know a thing or two about how a race should be marshaled. This race/ride easily equaled the best. Police at EVERY major intersection stopping traffic to allow the riders to go through. Additionally, I got the feeling that all of them were on my side, not just stuck with a duty they would rather avoid. I tried to remember to thank them when I went through their intersection but even when I didn't they were pleasant and enthusiastic. Thanks to the numerous law enforcement agencies involved and the great job they did!
Having worked so many races, I'm used to race fans and there were race fans aplenty. I'm not big on being cheered on, I prefer to suffer in silence and obscurity, but these folks really picked me up. Cow bells, signs, cheering, it was exhilarating. I can't tell you what a lift it gives you to see a young person about nine or ten years old cheering their head off and holding a sign saying, "You inspire me !" Thanks!
I did the ride with a wonderful group of fellow Rotarians including the General Secretary of Rotary International, John Hewko and his wife Marga, the District Governor Randy Brooks and his wife Deb and a host of other dedicated Rotarians from a variety of states and countries. Together we raised, at last count, over $379,000 for the Rotary Polio Plus campaign. The dinner we had the night before the race/ride was exceptional and awards were given to the top three fund raisers. John and Marga together raised over $209,000! I want to take the opportunity to thank all the wonderful folks who donated for my ride, this year together we raised over $2,000.00. Thank you so much!
The picture above is a group of Rotarians getting ready to cross the finish. John and Marga are in the lead. I'm at the tail end holding up our, "We're this close.", kind of a Rotary gang sign.
One of my first questions I asked after finishing was, "Where do I sign up for next year?" Gary Hirsch, the coordinator for Rotary this year,who did an outstanding job, was quick to answer, "Don't worry, if you rode this year, you're on the list to be contacted for next year."
Sign me up now.
Well I'm back from a GREAT time at the USA Pro Challenge, the racing was all we thought it would be! Colorado is a beautiful state and certainly a great place to hold a bike race. Hope to do it again next year. A couple of my Rotary friends have asked how to make their donations to Polio Plus by credit card on the web. For my club, I'm willing to match donations of $100 by up to ten people with 100 recognition points. Here's a brief summary of how to donate, if you have any problems, please contact me. Go to the Rotary log in site.
This is where you log in if you have an account. If you haven't created an account, this is a good time to do it, it just takes a few minutes. Once you're in go to Member Access and select, "Contribute to Rotary Foundation". It should be in the column on the left. On the next page you should select Polio Plus Fund, then make sure the "Polio Plus" button is selected on the subsequent page. I guess they want to be really sure you want to contribute to Polio Plus. Select continue and verify on the next page you have selected $100.00 in U.S. dollars and the contribution is for "one time". Select continue and verify your personal information and select the credit card you will use. Verify everything in the fourth or Summary page and proceed to actually pay. Once you have paid, let me know and I'll fill out a Recognition Transfer Request Form , verify the information with the donor and mail it to Rotary. That should be all it takes. Check back for updates on the event and my training. Thanks!
I'll be out of town, and not riding, for a few days. I'm going to be working as a traveling road marshal at the USA Pro Challenge. I've worked the AMGEN Tour of California four times and the last Tour of Missouri and enjoyed all of those experiences. The USA PRO Challenge should be great, seven challenging stages, awesome climbs and a star studded field of riders. Here's a link (http://usaprocyclingchallenge.com/) to their website. They also have a great app for the iPhone.
It looks like I'll be rooming with Pete, my roommate at the last ToC, a great guy with an encyclopedic knowledge of cycling. We got along great in May despite my occasional snoring.
Anyway, I hope to post on Facebook while I'm there and put a recap here once I'm back. So if you are checking this page and notice I've logged zero miles, that's why.
A few days ago I got this email from the Rotary Club in Tucson. Exciting stuff, looking forward to riding with John and his spouse Marga.
We are excited to announce that John Hewko, General Secretary of Rotary International and his spouse, Marga, will be in Tucson, Arizona participating in the El Tour de Tucson/Rotary Ride to End Polio. This is exciting news for our District's and our contribution to the effort to eradicate polio by raising $200,000 this year during the event. Again this year cyclists and Rotarians will travel to Tucson from around the world to be part of this amazing event. Last year 85 Rotarians joined us for this ride raising more than $100,000. This year we hope to welcome 200 riders. John will be riding the 109 mile event and Marga has not chosen her distance as of yet. Governor Randy Brooks and his spouse Deb will again ride the 42 mile leg of the race.
The Rotary Club of Marana, Arizona has seven members that plan to ride and another 12 that are working an aid station for the race. One Group Study Exchange (GSE) participant from Rotary District 4540, Brazil will be riding as well - the remainder of the GSE team will be working with the Marana Club at the aid station. Consider joining us for fun, exercise and friendship during this wonderful event. We have confirmed riders from several countries, and two of the three districts in Arizona.
This will be an event you do not want to miss - please join us, November 17, 2012. Visit the Ride to End Polio Website for information, to register or to make a donation.
If you cannot ride please sponsor a rider. Each participant is being given the opportunity to raise $1,000.00 to donate to Polio Plus. Those that contribute will receive Paul Harris Fellow credit for the effort and more importantly, a child, someone that you may never meet, will be able to live a life free of a crippling disease. It does not get much better than this. Register today.
One ride I've always wanted to do is the Tour de Tucson. I can remember looking at the great art work and hearing stories of the superb organization and thinking, "Someday, I'm going down there and tackle that ride." When I saw that the local Rotary club in Tucson was involved, it was too much to ignore. I'm an avid Rotarian and a member of the Rotary Cycling Fellowship. Shortly after I signed up, the Tucson club contacted me to ask if I would act as a point of contact for the ride in my Rotary District. Mind? I'd love to. This year the ride is on November 17th so we have plenty of time to get into shape. If you are interested in doing the ride, DON'T GO ON LINE AND REGISTER!! Wow, how often do you read something like that? To participate in the ROTARY version of the event, you have to download a Rotary application and send it in. It's a fill-able PDF file Yes, I know that seems like kind of a Stone Age thing to do but that's the way they have it set up.
Once you have filled out the application and mailed it off, please let me know.
That way I can add you to the rolls of the folks from our District going and act as a liaison between you and the Tucson Rotary Club doing the event. If I forget to say it, thanks for your interest, I hope we'll be riding together in Tucson.
This blog is taken from a memo from a senior bureaucratic, Mr. Screwspoke, to his assistant, Mr. Wormwheel. It seems that Wormwheel was preparing for a meeting with a new cycling advocacy group. Here is Screwspoke's guidance.
- Get them to fight amongst themselves. Start a discussion about bike helmets, bike lanes, paths, on or off road facilities, priorities and stand back. Hopefully they will alienate one another in the subsequent fight to the extent that they will never be able to work together again.
- Present the cyclists with such an overwhelming number of bicycle “shortcomings” in the community that they will get discouraged at the sheer magnitude and give up. On the other hand, while attempting to set priorities, they’ll fight (see above).
- Ensure that each group in your community understands that their interests are diametrically opposed to the interests of every other group. Seniors vs. cyclists, motorists vs. pedestrians, this is a zero sum game. You can use this if #1 above fails. With all groups at an impasse, you can do pretty much as little as you want.
- Use jargon and denigrate those who don’t understand. Traffic is a complex and difficult subject, best left to experts. If cornered, use as many arcane terms as possible and look pained at any response from the cyclists.
- Present a huge, expensive and totally impractical bicycle engineering plan that will never be implemented. You’ll probably be long gone before ground is scheduled to be broken on phase one.
- If forced to build a “bike facility” give the project to your least experienced/motivated designer and make sure there will be cost overruns and nothing budgeted for maintenance. Nothing takes the starch out of a bike movement more than a poorly designed facility that is unusable within months due to lack of maintenance.
- Never, ever, ever allow a connection between “their” taxes and the funding you utilize. People can get pretty upset when they think you are wasting “their” money. It’s amazing that they never make the connection that, as a government bureaucrat, every penny you spend is their money. If pressed, you can always say the money came from a “grant”. “Grant” money usually translates as “free” money to most folks and you can get away with the most amazing amount of waste if you are using “grant” funds.
- Cite “lack of personnel” as the reason you can’t respond to their requests. Be vague about your job description and use statements like, “I’m not sure I’m allowed to do that.” or “I’d love to do that but I would get in a lot of trouble with my bosses.”
- If you’re forced into having a bike position on your staff, hire someone with no interest, qualifications and initiative. It’s amazing how little people expect out of their “public servants” and how quickly they will become accustomed to expecting little or nothing from the “bike person”.
- If all else fails, just be unavailable. Don’t answer your phone, or respond to email or letters. If pressed, cite “meetings” as the reason you can’t respond. It normally works. Look around, some of your colleagues have probably made a career out of dodging the public. If skilled enough, you should be able to retire on a nice pension with the knowledge that you have done little or nothing for the public in general and specifically those pesky cyclists
There are a lot of other “tricks of the trade” to marginalize cyclists. You’re only limited by your imagination, initiative and energy. Of course, if you had any of these qualities…..