Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Very Sag Story, Indeed

My humblest apologies for the days of non-blogging....I have gotten a few 'where's your blog' from some of my followers and I'm so's why, but I warn you, it is a very sag story and occurred over about 12 hours. 

After my last blog, and my failing energy, I woke the following morning to find my back in spasm, and was barely able to get out of bed.  As such, I called my  friend, Karen, and offered to trade SAG driver days with her.  (She had really wanted to ride that morning with a friend from last year's ride, Kathy Kirby, who was visiting.) 
Southern Tier 2010 riders,, Rita Rowe, Mary  Drennan, Kathy Kirby, Karen Cooper, and me
Since I was in no condition to ride, Karen may as well be able, too. Right?  So, with the switch made, I checked off the riders  as they departed in the early morning light.  The weather looked promising, though we were still riding into the stiff headwind that has plagued us continuously on this tour.

So, let's take time out right now, and talk about being a SAG driver. There are four SAG drivers on this tour, and we take turns driving, or 'being on duty'. I thought long and hard before I signed up for the job.  It requires giving up a fair amount of free time to be in service of the other tour members.  The latter part of that statement appealed to me--being in service; I enjoy being able to support the others in reaching their goals.  We are also given a substantial discount on the cost of our tour- that too was appealing. (I am already eyeing a new bike with the money I am saving)

SAG, to most, means Support And Gear.  On this tour, the SAG is responsible for the riders and the SAG vehicle.  While the riders are on the road, the SAG makes sure they are all accounted for by checking each rider in and out of the rest stops.  At the rest stops, aka SAG stops, we provide food and water as well as sunscreen, toilet paper for the Green Room and emotional support.  Everyone is happy to see the SAG!   Enroute, we help with flat tires, and give the cyclist a ride if they encounter any mechanical or physical issues.  In short, when the riders are on the road, we do everything possible to ensure their safety and comfort, short of riding the bike for them.

There are duties, however, that aren't as obvious; after each day, the SAG driver has to service the vehicle, which is called BoPeep.  This involves cleaning it out, throwing away trash, restocking the food and water, topping off the ice, removing gear bags and getting gas.  Still, the day is not done....we also do the clean up detail after dinner.  This is my least favorite part.  I like being in support of the riders, but I hate doing the dishes.  So, in short, the day a SAG person is on duty can be very long.

So, with that long explanation, you now know what I do when I am on SAG duty.  Having traded with Karen, I was responsible for the riders during the 87 mile ride on Thursday. It turned out to be a 3-H, humid and headwind. After 40 miles or so,  many of the riders chose to ride in with the van and trailer, but a determined few rode the entire route.  On long, difficult days like this one, the riders tend to get very spread out.  This can be for a variety of reasons--how fast one rides, how often one stops to take pictures or use the bathroom, how long one stays at the SAG stop, or if one stops at a restaurant for lunch.  Today was no exception.  At times. there were several hours between the riders....some way in front, (called the front runners) and some way in back.  I also had a few stray off the course, and had to hunt them down.  (Hence, the name of the car, BoPeep....has lost her sheep...)  So the day was started at 7:30 and I didn't come in until the last riders were in, which was around 5:30 or 6....then I still had to service BoPeep, and do the dishes after dinner.....   My SAG day, on this particular day, didn't end until around 8:00............ a long day, but it was worth it to see Bev, Ramsey and Hille complete the ride in its entirety.   (I still don't like doing the dishes)

So that is my SAG story, and I'm sticking to it.

Scenery during my day as SAG---somewhere in Eastern Illinois.....

Like this car, I didn't know if I was coming or going today as I ran up and down the roads looking for riders
Huge tornado siren......with so much distance between farms, I wonder how effective it is

Windmills for as far as the eye can see.  If there is a tornado, do the windmills spin so fast that they make a lot of electricity?  Things that make you go 'hmmmm'.
Just a cool picture. 
Historic gas station in Odell, Ill on Rt 66....
There was sky was very overcast, which created a lot of glare in the pictures.  Very hot.....
Even the cows were hot, and decided to cool off.

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