Tonight there was a dinner for the cycling volunteers for the Empire State Games. I was invited even though I only helped a little at the criterium when my race was done. Though I guess volunteering to subject myself to four days of Open Division racing for the sake of having a Hudson Valley women's team was something.
It was nice to meet a number of the people who were out there each day making sure the riders were safe. I met the people who would blow a whistle when I came down the snaky descent on Cat Ridge Rd. This was their way of letting people down the hill know that riders were coming, or in my case most of the time, a rider was coming.
I was talking to one woman and we introduced ourselves. When I told her my name was Polly she said "Oh you're Polly on the Lightspeed. I was the one on the corner who was cheering for you, and you told me your name." I told how much I appreciated her cheering for me as I came by each time. It turns out she rides a Lightspeed too, so it was an easy way to spot me, and cheer. Thanks Mary for cheering me on in my lonely moments of riding OTB. (off the back)
I was not the only one at the dinner who had raced. I also got to meet Pat, who is 73 years old and did the time trial. In some ways she reminds me of Sister Madonna, the 74 year old triathlete who I want to be like when I'm in my 70s. Pat shared her story about Mark taking her out on the time trial course and building up from 4 miles to the complete 10. Her time was 32:43. My time was 28:32. 4 minutes seems like a lot of time, but considering the twenty year age difference and she just started doing time trials this year, I thought that was damn good. If I only 4 minutes of my time in 20 years I'll be thrilled. I've already lost well over 4 minutes on my 10K run time from 2003 to 2005. I don't even want to think about much more I will have lost when I start trying to run again in earnest.
Special thanks go to Mark Lalloo and Marlene Perez for gathering all these wonderful people to come help out. Without volunteers, races don't happen. So next time you're racing remember to say thanks. If you're not racing, then give something back by being a volunteer.
I guess I'm going to have to ride some extra miles tomorrow because the party ended with this: