Race Day Support
The more people we have involved in making race day happen, the better it is for all the kids. We have the general philosophy as a team that nothing is strictly required, and we'd like you to do what appeals to you when it comes to helping out. Having said that, we encourage everyone to find a way to help out at every race. If it's the first race you've ever been to, you get a pass - spend it spectating, seeing how everything works, and figuring out how you want to help out next time. Here are the ways that we need help on race weekends
- Bike Prep / Mechanic work
- Racer Prep
- Course Marshal
- Finish Line Greeter
- Take Photos
- Team Food
- Pit Zone Monitor
- Feed Zone (bottle handups)
- Radio Contact
- Equipment Transport
- Pre-Race Dinner Organizer
Working in Shifts
For several of the more structured jobs, we will have sign up sheets because we're going to need to work in shifts. We know you want to spectate during your kid's race, and we think you should do so! During the race, take photos and cheer on the other riders on our team as well. Also, it can be useful if you have a radio and you call out our riders when you see them go by, so we know how everyone is tracking. It can be surprisingly fun to spectate your kid's race from the Feed Zone while doing bottle handups, or from out on course as a stationary Course Marshal. Then you should plan on staying after the race for at least one additional race - during this time your kid doesn't need you so much, so it's a good time to help out in the Pit Zone, or spectate/cheer/etc the next race. If everyone took a shift of some kind at the race race just before or just after their kid's race (or both), we'll do all right.
Bike Prep / Mechanic
We always need a few people to help with bike work on race day. We usually share a single stand, but we bring our own tools (because we know our own tools). If you want to help with mechanic work for some part of the day, please coordinate that directly with the team director. If everyone brings their toolkit to the pit zone, we'll run out of room pretty quick.
Extra hands hanging around the pit zone to help tie on numbers, tape on shot bloks, put bikes on trainers (and get them off again), etc. It's pretty natural to do this while hanging out at the pit zone as your kid gets ready to race. Help your kid, help other kids too.
NorCal is asking that teams take a Course Marshal spot for the entire day, and then coordinate among themselves to make sure it's staffed. Being a Course Marshal is easy and is a fun way to spectate a race as well. Your job is to hang out somewhere on course and make sure people head in the right direction, report any rule violations or help needed, relay radio messages, etc. I'd like to be able to sign up as a team for a slot this year, and we'll want to have a signup sheet to coordinate full coverage. If someone can help set this up and make sure everyone knows what do do and that all the slots are filled, that'd be awesome.
So it's a big deal to cheer on your team and take photos to share. It is especially important that people are there at the finish line to congratulate our riders. If you've taken photos, pick out the best ones and post them on the team shared album for the race day. you can find the links to our shared albums on our Pictures page.
Team Food and Pit Zone Monitor
There will be a food signup sheet, so one of the really key things you can do is sign up and bring food! There is the morning snack, lunchtime spread, and afternoon snack. We don't just want you to bring the food, we want you to set it up on the tables, open up the packages so it's easy to get at, etc. It's amazing how lazy we can be - if no one opens up the food package, it sometimes sits uneaten! The other thing that's needed that's directly related is Pit Zone Minotaur (or Monitor if you prefer). In the morning and afternoon, this means close up or cover things periodically so they don't dry out, pick up empties/trash, and open new packages of things. Keep things neat! At lunchtime, it means keeping the cooler lid closed, helping people find things and know what's available, wiping up spills, and keeping things sanitary ie keep the mayo in the cooler so no one gets sick. We'll want to include the Monitor job on the signup sheet. Ideally, one of the people who has signed up to bring food for a timeslot also signs up to monitor it.
One of the very important jobs during our races is to do water bottle handups during the races. This happens in the "Feed Zone", and we're only allowed to have 2 people in there during each race. During the earlier races, when it's still cool out and the race is only two laps, you usually only need one person, because the riders really only need a bottle if they dropped theirs (it's only two laps). During the JV and Varsity races, especially as the days get warmer, having 2 or sometimes 3 people staffing the feed zone is critical. Feed zone is an ideal job to do during the race that's after your kid's race, and is a fun way to spectate a race as well.
We like to have someone monitoring one of the team radios in the Pit Zone, the Feed Zone, and in one or two places on course preferably with one pretty close to the Feed Zone. This helps the Feed Zone crew know when riders are coming, and also can be critical when a rider needs help out on course. We usually have a small bucket of radios at the Pit Zone set to the right channel - just pick one up and join in helping us keep track of the racers.
So when we camp, we often do an on-site potluck for pre-race dinner. At venues without on-site camping, it's always fun to join with friends. If a few people take the time to plan where they'll eat and let everyone know (invite others to join) then we're all more likely to have some friends to eat with. Similarly for potlucks it can help to have a coordinator so we don't just end up with an amazing spread of chips and cookies. If you want to help in any way organizing things for pre-race dinner, just jump right in. We will probably have a slot for this on the Food Signup sheet just to help coordinate who intends to help out.
Equipment Transport, Setup, Teardown
Frank usually takes care of most of the transport with his pickup and his trailer. If you see a need and want to help, coordinate with Frank. If you are there at the pit zone during pre-ride, you can help with initial setup. The rest of the setup is often done early in the morning. If you can be there and lend a hand during setup, it goes a lot faster! If you're there after the Varsity race starts, please help with tear-down. Again, many hands make light work.
So I've covered a lot, but probably not everything! If you see a need, take action! If there is some other way you can make the team experience better that I haven't talked about, jump in! If everyone is involved, it's all going to go great. If you're not sure about whether it's ok to do something, just ask one of the veteran parents or the team director. One way or another, be involved.