Running Motorcycle Lead In A Bicycle Race

Hey, going racing on a motorcycle: That’ll get your blood pumping, no? Well, yeah, I guess if it’s the motorcycles doing the racing. But what if you’re the one on a motorcycle at a bicycle race? Isn’t that kind of like bringing a gun to a knife fight? Well, yeah, if you’re actually competing against the bicycles, which I wasn’t. I was there as the motorcycle lead, the guy out in front of all these bicycle riders running interference.

Let’s back up.

I saw an ad on Craigslist looking for motorcyclists. That’s not something you see every day so of course I had to see what it was about. Turns out it was this bicycle organization that hosts races throughout the warm months and they needed people to be the motorcycle guys. First off, the judges or referees or whatever they call them are all on motorcycles. They have to be; how else would they be able to move up and down the strung-out line of racers?

That was not something I was qualified for. Those guys need a lot of training and experience. But they also needed someone on a motorcycle just to run out front. I was qualified for that. I signed up.

On race day I was up early heading east out of town on the interstate until I came to a tiny so-called town (population 13?) that had momentarily had a population explosion to about 400. I checked in and got set up and pretty soon it was time to take my place in the lead. I was advised to be sure to keep far enough ahead of the racers so they couldn’t draft off me, and to watch out, because sometimes they’ll put on a burst of speed and all of a sudden they’re not so far behind you.

It was a cool day in early spring, with a bit of breeze, but as we started out on this two-lane road out of town the wind was at our backs. Everyone was fresh and full of energy so we clipped right along. Of course I was practically idling on the throttle but the pace was steady.

The way the route was mapped out, we headed out on this one road up to a point where we turned…

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