Volunteering at the Harvest Century Bicycle Ride

This afternoon I volunteered some time to inventory and then load up truck’s for tomorrow’s Harvest Century bicycle ride.  I signed up to volunteer about three years ago at the day of the event, but the day before was just horrible, stormy weather.  The ride was actually cancelled because conditions were so treacherous, and it was the right decision.  I was able to help out the following year, helping with early morning set up from 5am – 9am.  For my time, I was able to ride the 45-mile option that same day.  It was a great ride with lots of support and a fantastic route.

I was not able to ride last year due to another conflict, so I decided that I would ride this year, especially since my cousin Lordan was interested in riding with me.  Unfortunately he is not able to ride tomorrow, so I am on my own.  I will attempt the 75-mile route, starting early at 7:00am and hopefully finishing up before they tear down the finish line at 4pm.

The Harvest Century is a benefit for Community Vision, an organization that I volunteered at almost two years ago as a mentor for a high school student with special needs.  It is a great organization and this is their biggest fundraiser.  As such, it is a huge undertaking.  Just helping out this afternoon for a few hours was eye opening the amount of planning, logistics and people power it takes to put on an event of this magnitude.  With six rest stops plus the starting/finish line, there is an incredible amount of food, signage and volunteers needed to help support all the riders.  There are just so many details to keep track of, I was very impressed with the planning and organization that Axiom, the company that is organizing the ride, has undertaken and facilitated to its employees and volunteers.  There are big trucks to rent.  Big jugs of water needed.  Roving bike mechanics.  There needs to be enough food, and enough food variety.  Is there hand sanitizer?  Enough napkins?  Garbage bins?  Sun screen?  Plastic gloves, utensils, cutting boards, Gatorade mix, rest stop signs and directional arrows — the list goes on and on.  What a difficult and complex mission that must be handled!  Yes, I am blown away at all the energies and efforts and planning and staging it takes to put on this event — but one that is so worth it.  Tomorrow I get to ride the Harvest Century and I will thank the volunteers and riders and event organizers for being part of this great ride.  I just hope that I can survive my 75 miles on my bike that I haven’t ridden in two years!

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