If you have ever done a charity ride, and all of you should at one time or another, then you know there are two kinds of volunteers: those who are interested in the charity, and have no clue about cycling and those who are cyclists and feel the need to be a giver rather than a taker on occasion. The Red Poppy Ride is about me giving back to charity rides. I guess cycling in it would also be giving back, in terms of the portion of my entry fee going to the charity, but I prefer to lend my cycling experience to help offset the other volunteers.
Not that Rest Stop #5 has any non-cycling volunteers (not counting the spouses of cyclists who understand what's going on). #5 is staffed by the Georgetown Cyclopaths. What I like best is the plethora of people who come out to help. This makes for a stress-free environment. We were able to set up quickly and then stand around and visit while waiting for the first riders. There is a story attached, but between the 27 mile riders and the 50 mile riders, we had to move the whole shebang about 150 yards up the road. It was accomplished rather quickly and easily, with minimum muss and fuss.
When the 50 milers arrived, a herd of longhorns came over to see what was going on in their neighborhood. That was cool. Some of the riders took pictures of themselves with the longhorns.
This year we had cloud cover the whole time. We also had a stiff south wind that gave riders a pretty good buffeting. But with the temperature holding, we had lots of ice, water and Gatorade left over, not to mention oranges.
It was a long work day: 8am to 2:30pm. Didn't sit down the whole time. Was unofficially in charge of water and Gatorade. Greeted lots of riders, did bike valet duties (holding the bike while the rider refreshed). No one needed air in their tires (usually a half dozen require assistance). Only two people needed to SAG in the last twelve miles. If you haven't volunteered previously, make it a point to give up a Saturday (or Sunday) ride and assist others enjoy their cycling.