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Old 08-23-2012, 10:22 PM   #16
RobStar
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That is me piloting the reporter this week with an ADV sticker on my helmet. I'm not so sure that NBC would appreciate the humor in me putting a FYYFF sticker in there!

As GS Dave said, most of the bikes are BMWs; lots of 1200GSs / GSAs plus RTs and a sprinkling of other brands. There's not a brand requirement but certain bike models do better at this type of work than others. Regardless of the brand, all the bikes are expected to be in tip-top condition and sparkling clean every day.

A fair number of us are USA Cycling Officials but quite a few are not. We have a lot of active and retired LEO motor officers on the crew as well. GS Dave is a higher level official than I am with a lot more experience and thus he lands the coveted job of Time Board Officiating on this race.

The rest of us who work as Marshals, Photo-Motos and TV Motos are so far down on the totem pole we're self-proclaimed "Skooter Trash".

RobStar

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeeede View Post
Who's repping the ADV sticker on national TV? NBC sports's in-race reporter fails atgatt, but his driver's an inmate!

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Old 08-24-2012, 06:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobStar View Post
That is me piloting the reporter this week with an ADV sticker on my helmet. I'm not so sure that NBC would appreciate the humor in me putting a FYYFF sticker in there!

As GS Dave said, most of the bikes are BMWs; lots of 1200GSs / GSAs plus RTs and a sprinkling of other brands. There's not a brand requirement but certain bike models do better at this type of work than others. Regardless of the brand, all the bikes are expected to be in tip-top condition and sparkling clean every day.

A fair number of us are USA Cycling Officials but quite a few are not. We have a lot of active and retired LEO motor officers on the crew as well. GS Dave is a higher level official than I am with a lot more experience and thus he lands the coveted job of Time Board Officiating on this race.

The rest of us who work as Marshals, Photo-Motos and TV Motos are so far down on the totem pole we're self-proclaimed "Skooter Trash".

RobStar
Time Board might be good, but I think you got the best... getting to stay with the breakway group and having the TV exposure!

You should suggest to the in-race reporter to do a piece about the motorcycle support. The briefly talked about Tommy Danielson's dad piloting the bright yellow mutual support bike from Mavic during stage 3, but more info on the motorcycles would probably be fun for everyone, not just the moto community!

Also, it must have been insane riding through that mess of people on the top of Independence pass! That was narrow!
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:09 PM   #18
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Word out to the KTM rider in the red Rudy jacket today who infiltrated the caravan with a "Media Parking" sticker:

The police have your tag number and will arrest you on-site and impound your bike if you show up again!

What an idiot!
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobStar View Post
Word out to the KTM rider in the red Rudy jacket today who infiltrated the caravan with a "Media Parking" sticker:

The police have your tag number and will arrest you on-site and impound your bike if you show up again!

What an idiot!
Did he do anything to disrupt the race? I'm watching yesterday's stage on the TiVo, but maybe I'll skip to today to see if I can spot him...
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:25 PM   #20
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Rob... how does one get started in such an illustrious career as a moto escort? Next year would be fun.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:09 PM   #21
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Just trying to be helpful ...

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Rob... how does one get started in such an illustrious career as a moto escort? Next year would be fun.

EddyTurn et al, hi!

While RobStar, GSDave, and company are still out on course and winding their way to Boulder, allow me to answer this question, based on my own experiences.

Firstly, as an adult, I've been in the bicycle community for over 30 years. That includes being a casual rider, ride organizer, brevet rider riding 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k, and 1200k randonneur events, and a racer on a small manufacturer's team. Ten years ago I moved to being an official moto-referee. That evolved to include being a moto-marshal, TV-moto, photo-moto, and just as important, a VIP-moto.

The process of being a moto-referee starts with taking a moto-ref course, which generally are given in the winters, regionally, and also taking an officials C level course. From there, it helps to be in touch with the regional coordinator, who picks and chooses who will be officiating at what events. In the beginning, the events that you would be doing are basically low ranking to mid level ranking bicycle races in your area.

Actually, there's a very good article written by Andrew Rosen and Domingo Chan about the various aspects of being a "Moto" in bicycling. Check this out. It's quite well written.


Learning About Motorcycle Support for Bicycle Racing









So let me share with you the practicalities of being a moto-anything. At the level of the Colorado race that you're watching, there could be anywhere between 30 to 50+ motos involved, all active in one place or another while the race is going on.

There could be 4 to 10 moto-referees, who are doing things like watching the racers to make sure they are following the rules, riding next to the support teams in the caravan to communicate with them about where they should be, as in what position in the train they belong, and/or if they are to move up to a break away because one of their racers is in the break.




Photo by Barry Koblenz



The moto-refs are also doing time-board, which means when there is a split between the main pack and the break away group, the time board moto will stop and take stop watch times to figure out how far ahead they leaders are. Then there is a rider on the back of the time board moto, and he or she are carrying a time board that they write down the split and share it with the riders in the pack and also the riders in the break away. All at the same time, the time board moto is communicating the split to the race officials, motos, team cars et al, via radios.




Photo by www.emilymaye.com





I'll post what I've written thus far and start another post to share more moto info.

Actually, I should ask, is it okay that I'm posting all this?



Liz

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Old 08-25-2012, 04:50 PM   #22
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Moto Marshals ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddyturn View Post
Rob... how does one get started in such an illustrious career as a moto escort? Next year would be fun.



To set the stage, let me describe how a race like Colorado moves along on the road.

At almost every intersection there will be a police and/or volunteer presence, ready to stop traffic when the race gets close. This is a pretty important part of the organizing, for the obvious reason of having a car or truck coming head on into the racers would be a huge disaster.




Photo by Barry Koblenz




In this level of a race the road is closed where the racers are. It's called a full rolling enclosure, meaning that both sides of the roads are closed to traffic from where the lead vehicles are on the course, to where the sweep vehicle is at the end of the race. As mentioned, generally this is a mile, to sometimes two or three miles of vehicles and racers, a big train going down the road. Interestingly, every one has a particular place they have to be, and as long as they stay in the line where they should be, and go where they are told to go, all is good. When someone deviates from that, things get interesting.

So in the lead of the caravan would be one, two, three, or four police vehicles, ahead of the race, perhaps a mile or two ahead, accompanied by moto-marshals. The police are making sure all oncoming traffic is off the road, and parked. Then there is usually a police vehicle directly ahead of the lead group, and if there's a break away, there will possibly be another police vehicle in front of the pack.






The moto marshals will sometimes stop with the pulled over cars, and/or stop in front of side roads and driveways, where a confused motorist could pull out on the course. This is very important. Believe me, drivers have one thing on their minds, getting to where ever they are heading as fast as possible, with as few hindrances as practical. Couple that with the fact they are in a 4000 pound car, which offers them protection from the world, and they don't even flinch when they access the situation, note something unusual, but not a threat to them in the cage, and then pull out on the road, only to then drive into a swarm of 150 bicyclists coming at 35 mph. You would think that would cause huge panic within the caravan. Truthfully, it raises the adrenaline for a few moments, but the motos will quickly move to do whatever they have to, to get that car off the road.








Sometimes we have to play roadway chicken with oncoming cars, trucks, and big trucks to protect my riders behind us. In this situation, there's a delicate balance between being assertive and friendly to accomplish the goal, and being confrontational and aggressive, which only yields more adrenaline and hard feelings. Most of the time, the drivers don't know what they just did. Good eye contact, a smile, a strong wave to the side of the road, perhaps a momentary stop to say thank you for stopping and letting them know the racers will be by soon and they can get back on the road, ends with good feelings.

Now I said "most of the time" because inevitably there will be the red neck truck, lights on the roof, tailgate long gone, a $100 worth of returnable Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in the back, and the driver and passenger yelling to get off the road, peppered every other word with creative profanities, while they race to get by the pack. Usually in a big race like this, they would have a very hard time getting by the police and motos both front and rear, but in a much smaller race where the road is only half closed, the errant antagonist try to get through. Typically they either end up pulled over up ahead, or they receive a 'ticket by mail' from the state troopers.

So in the front, the moto-marshals are hop skipping ahead to make sure the road is clear. In the back, they would be doing the same, keeping cars from coming up the back. Typically if a racer goes 'off the back' of the pack, or a group of racers that might have crashed are trying to catch up with the pack, there will be one or more moto-marshals, and perhaps a moto-ref, riding with them, usually ahead of the chasers, trying to keep them safe on the road.

In a race like this, there could be 20 to 40 moto-marshals.










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Old 08-25-2012, 05:23 PM   #23
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Very cool, thanks for the glimpse!
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:04 PM   #24
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Things that motos do ...

As I was just surfing for photos of motos to post in here, I found this blog post. It's about a racer who went off his bike and is sliding down to the edge of a cliff, another racer, and a moto who saved the guy. The moto is a good friend, Kevin Long, a moto from the DC/MD/VA area.

How Isaac Howe Saved A Life And Lost A Race





“Last night, [the motoref] Kevin called me to say ‘I just finally figured out who did this, I wanted to say you saved this man’s life’, and I was like ‘really? I didn’t realize that’.” said a bemused Isaac Howe of the Mountain Khakis fueled by Jittery Joe’s team, last Friday afternoon.

...

(go ahead and click on the link. it's a good read)





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Old 08-25-2012, 06:16 PM   #25
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Photo-motos and TV-motos ...

The photo-motos and TV-motos pretty much have one thing to focus on, getting the shot, the money shot, as you will. They typically are with the leaders of the race, and when there's a split, there will be some photo-motos and tv-motos with the front of the pack.

In all cases, whether it be moto-refs, moto-marshals, photo/tv/vip-motos, there's always protocols. It's so much easier when other peoples movements are predictable. Generally, one doesn't pass by another without giving a quick toot of the horn, and waiting for a hand signal to go ahead and pass.

The photo-motos and tv-motos need to get up close and personal to the racers. In a race of this size, there will be several, okay, many photographers who want to get the 'money shot'. So with the photo-motos there's a rotation going on. The driver of the bike will slowly bring his photographer up past the racers to get the shots, then the driver will pull a good distance ahead of the racers, and out of the way of the next photo-moto coming up behind them, and they will do the same for the next bike, etc. Each photographer is getting the to get their shots throughout the race.

Some motos love having a photographer on the back, and some don't like having a squirming body turning every which way, while they try to balance the bike at slow speeds, just a few feet from racers, motos, spectators, official vehicles, and more.



Taken by Alex Chiu from the back of a moto (as far as I know)


A lot of photographers have a planned shot in their minds. They want to get to a certain spot on the road, where they'll be able to shoot with the dramatic background, or where the riders will have gritted teeth, flexed muscles, and sweat pouring off them as they attack a climb. The motos job is to ride ahead and take short cuts to get the photographer to their spots.



Photo of photographer taken by photo-moto SheRidesABeemer, ADV member extraordinaire


The one thing you can count on with almost every photographer is they want the "money shot". They want the finish photo. Towards the end of the race, most motos will be focusing on getting their photographer to the finish in enough time for the moto to get out of the way, and the photographer to get set up.





TV-motos (usually two, sometimes more) almost always are with the front leader(s) and with the front of the pack. Most of the bikes are set up to carry the cameras, but also the transmitting equipment, as well as their communication equipment.




There's our boys! Well at least one, Colorado David. RobStar is that you with the camera?




Note that all the television shots of RobStar and the NBC announcer are from the TV bike, which another inmate (can't remember his ADV name, but let's call him Colorado David) is driving. That bike might look something like this, going down the road.




Photo from a RobStar post on ADV.



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Old 08-25-2012, 06:52 PM   #26
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VIP-motos ...

VIP-motos depend on the organizers. Some promoters will have a handful of motos at their disposal, to take Very Important People out on the course, to be in the thick of it all.

At the Philadelphia International Bicycle Race, we typically have between 40 and 50 motos, including photo-motos, moto-refs, TV-motos, police-motos, and half a dozen VIP-motos. The course is a closed loop of 14 miles, that the racers will go around enough times to have raced 110 miles at the end of the day.



This is the Manayunk Wall, which goes up to a 17 degree pitch!! Even the motos stall on it.


In this case, there's a spot near the moto-pit where the VIP's come and we get them on a bike. The VIP-motos have to be comfortable with anyone - and I mean all shapes, sizes, and personalities - on the bike, as well as the motos need to be friendly, informative, and entertaining. The absolute last thing anyone wants to hear at the end of a bicycle race is that the moto was mean spirited, popping wheelies, or mute, while the primary $$$$$$ sponsors daughter was on the back of the bike.











I'm smiling as I type this, because in Philly, I can't think of any VIP that got off a bike that didn't have a huge smile on their face, and huge kudos for the driver. Consider that the VIP probably hasn't been on a motorcycle more than once or twice in their life, and they certainly haven't been riding in the middle of a bicycle race caravan. To be honest, most of the time, we try not to get the VIP bikes too close to the racing action, but even from a distance the passengers get a totally different sense of 'being in the race' instead of watching for thirty seconds as the bikes go by, while they are a spectator on a sidewalk.

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Old 08-25-2012, 06:56 PM   #27
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Awesome stuff Liz Enjoyed that explanation and pics
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:04 PM   #28
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I don't feel bad about hijacking the thread ...

Quote:
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Very cool, thanks for the glimpse!
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Awesome stuff Liz Enjoyed that explanation and pics
Flood and SHAG, hi!

You're so welcome, and thank you for the affirmation!

As some people know, I get to rambling along about things that I'm passionate about, sharing my experiences, and then I start to get self conscious, thinking "... oh this is probably boring people ... " and then I start shutting down. I mean sometimes ADV inmates can be a tough crowd to please.

There's so much cool stuff about doing moto!




Liz
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:29 PM   #29
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Neutral support ...

Certainly in all the big races, and even in a lot of the smaller regional races, there will be neutral support. What that means is when a team car is too far back to get to a rider, there will be a neutral support vehicle, either a car or a moto following behind the leaders and the packs, ready to change a wheel or fix a mechanical issue.






At the local races there will not be team support cars, but the racers rely on a combination of neutral support and a wheel van/truck/car - where the racers have put their extra set of wheels and tires - to change their flats.






The two bike neutral support crews in the States are SRAM and Mavic. Both have great mechanics, who all have years and years and years of bicycle repair and racing experience.







The neutral-moto will have a driver and the passenger who is jumps off the bike as soon as they get to the flatted racer, changing the wheel, and pushing the rider down the road to get them up to speed. I want to say that most of the jumpers can change a wheel in less than 20 seconds, but probably an average of between 20 and 30.









Neutral-moto generally stays with the leaders when there's a break away, and the neutral support car will stay with the pack. But all that changes, depending on how many breakaways there are, and how many chase groups, and how big the pack is, and who's 'up the road' in the lead group. Personally, I think that no two races are the same. Everything is subject to change at a moments notice. That's one of the very cool things about being a moto, you're right in the middle of it all, as it happens.
































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Old 08-25-2012, 07:44 PM   #30
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Liz, Thanks for all the info and please keep it coming. I had the privilege to work the Vail TT last year and really enjoyed it. I've also been doing triathlon moto support for many years. I had hoped to help out again at this race, but Ed had all the riders he needed. The info provided here will help me start the work to get qualified and more involved in the future. Sounds like its going to take a few years.

I didn't get the chance today in Boulder to say hi to any of the ADV motors since I stayed down in town and just watched as they zoomed by, but maybe I'll have a better chance tomorrow in Denver.

Thanks
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