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Monday, May 31, 2010

Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group Ski to Sea Volunteers 2010

May 30th, 2010

Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) Ski to Sea Volunteers – Ferndale +

Mt. Baker HOG has a history of giving back to our community in monetary gifts to non profits helping women, children, and families, and we help our community when we volunteer to donate our personal time to help with charities and events in Whatcom County.

HOG member Dave Lahr was the Mt. bike volunteer coordinator for Ski to Sea 2010. His job was to find thirty plus willing volunteers to give up most of their day to help in key points along the Mt. bike leg of the race to keep the bikes on the course trail and make help to make the race run smoothly. Dave worked with the Ski to Sea organizers on the race-course plan, how many volunteers would be needed, and where we would be stationed to supplement the police and paid flaggers.

The Ferndale group assembled at 10:00 AM beside behind Haggen's in Ferndale to pick up our shirts, our assignments, and our boxed lunch Haggen was providing the volunteers. Harry Andrews, Lori Crody, Dave & Lorie McNeill, Ken & Angie Williamson, Gary McDonald, Wendy Rodgers, Larry and myself were ready to go. We had warm clothing (rain proof), folding chairs, sunglasses, water, food, coffee (Starbucks nearby), now we just waited for the bikers to roll into town from Hovander Park.

Gary, Wendy, Larry, and I were at the 1st volunteer spot, with one lane of traffic blocked off and our lawn chairs situated in the middle of that lane (directed to do so by the Ski to Sea officials). At 12:23 PM #74 rounded the corner from Hovander Rd. onto Main St, making the hard sharp right corner off Main St. onto the dirt embankment, through the mud puddle, then another hard sharp corner to the left, over the bump, then disappeared quickly behind the buildings following the course marked out with cones and safety tape.

Shorty thereafter #35 and then #60 passed before us and then there was a lull before the next bikes; one or two, sometimes three would pass by. # ???? (I won’t disclose his number because he probably has already taken a load of flack from his friends for not going back and getting on the course) blew by the cones, right between Gary and me--even with our hands outstretched to show where to turn and his bike tires slipping between the cones. We yelled, he looked back and kept going. He looked up at Wendy, and continued on. Gary called in his race number to Dave L. to pass on to the officials. The first woman biker was #39.

We had one biker who had a flat just before he reached our check point and called for friends to help him fix it and then he was back on course. One biker couldn’t stop in time to make the corner he was going so fast and about 20 feet past us he got stopped, turned around, and back on course.

It was amazing how hard these bike riders were working, when they passed us they had ridden about five miles, but a lot of them took the time to say thank you for volunteering. #329 and #215 were especially appreciative, thanking us for being there, helping out, and have a good day.

Wendy was the best cheerleader encouraging each and every biker as they went by with a shout, a wave, and clapping. Even as the last biker went through the course, Wendy was still enthusiastically cheering them on.

We moved the cones out of the street, stacked what we could, arranged them in groups for the S2S organizers to pick up later and then helped out our fellow HOG member volunteers with their cone clean-up duties.

Next stop was Squalicum Park for the hot BBQ pulled pork dinner. Larry cooked for two days preparing about #30 pounds of pork, seasoned just right, and the right amount of BBQ sauce. Potato salad, chips, cookies, brownies, water, and soda rounded out the picnic. By the time we were ready to eat a light mist of rain was beginning to fall so the hoods went up and the bbq went on.

The Bellingham HOG volunteers at the barbeque included: Dave & Dawn Johnson, Kaye & Rob Hansen, Marina & Rick Engels, Monty & Nicole Brown, Melissa Bradshaw, Jan McDaniel, Mike and Jeannie Gilbert, Dave Lahr, and some of Dave L’s friends.

It was a good day! It was a good because we could help our community. It was a great day because we spent it with our Harley family of friends.

When we left to go home, we were tired, we were cold, we were not hungry, but everyone agreed to volunteer again next year.

Epilog: # ???? (you know who you are if you read this) contested the fact that he left the mountain bike course of the Ski to Sea race. His reasons; the cones were to far apart, the cones were on the sidewalk (guess he didn’t see the ones in the middle of the street that the police placed there) we were pointing in the wrong direction, he must have been listening to his mp3 player not to hear us tell him to stop, wave him back to the course, and he was the only one of 460 participants who didn’t understand where to go. I’m sorry you were disqualified and wish you better luck next year, but it is only fair to the others who stayed on course.

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