From the indications I saw as a Western Nebraska Bicycling Club volunteer on the sidelines, the first Robidoux Quick & Dirty gravel race through some of western Nebraska’s most scenic countryside was a great success.
I’ve participated in running races, and I’ve ridden on some long bike tours, but I’ve never participated in a bike race, so I was interested to see it all unfold.
I’ll unroll a bit of commentary and more than a few images here from the perspective of the three places I was stationed (or decided to station myself). This inaugural year, there was the 76-mile race as well as a 28-mile “fun ride.”
Part 1: The Meet & Greet
All race participants needed to check in at the start/finish area of Five Rocks Amphitheater during the meet & greet, and the community was invited to come out, buy a brat or a beer (Good beer! – they had Kinkaider!), and check out the bikes. It was a great evening.
I still don’t know that much technical stuff about bikes, so I pretty much just looked at the pretty / interesting ones.
Part 2: the official start
The RQ&D racers got a rolling start, traveling 1.5 miles from Five Rocks Amphitheater to the official start of the race on County Road R east of Highway 71 behind an escorting Gering PD vehicle.
I positioned myself at the CR R / Hwy 71 intersection to take pictures. Once I got there, I decided that the official start needed a claxon or something to announce the moment. No claxon had I, so I gave it a go with my (genuine South African!) vuvuzela. Thus was how I came to be juggling my camera and blowing the vuvuzela at the same time, which is why many of the pictures aren’t well framed or focused. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. (Hereafter called “the vuvuzela excuse.”)
OVERWHELMED BY A MASS OF BICYCLISTS!
I missed a bunch of the first riders. Vuvuzela excuse!
Yeah, there were some super-speedy cyclists who train on Colorado mountains, but there were a lot of recreational cyclists and some families, too, who were just out to have a good time.
Part 3: Rifle Sight Water Stop
This was my official volunteer assignment: the 12:30-3 shift at the Rifle Sight Water Stop. I’ve never worked a water stop before at any kind of race, so I found myself a little nervous. What do I need to do? What should I say (or not say) to the tired riders as they come up that looooong hill on Rifle Sight Pass Road?
I was so wrapped up in providing sustenance, for a time I completely forgot my other duty: to take pictures of the riders.
My photographer memory was jogged by the water stop mascot – an attention-seeking black-and-white cat.
The cat got plenty of loves from the cyclists.
And now, the few action shots I was able to capture between the time I remembered my duty and when I was relieved at the end of my shift:
And one last picture, of Matt Hutt, the WNBC brains and brawn behind the organization of the event, ringing a cowbell at the finish. He was everywhere on race day. Props to you, Matt!
And a parting shot for you cyclist readers of this post: check out the next WNBC-sponsored race: the Oregon Trail Days Hill Climb on Saturday morning, July 9, 2016, up Scotts Bluff National Monument. Casual riders welcomed!
Copyright 2016 by Katie Bradshaw