The TransRockies stage race has added a new kind of support to help the majority of racers who come each year with the primary goal of finishing. While riders come to the start line with ample physical and logistical preparation, the singularly wild and rugged nature of the TransRockies means that there are always unexpected obstacles to overcome along the way to the finish line.
In 2009, with the help of some dedicated members of the race's family, organizers are launching the TransRockies Ambassador program, a new on-course rider support program unique among epic events.
The TransRockies Ambassadors are a team of two riders who will ride the course each day from start to finish providing additional mechanical support as needed to help riders fix mechanical issues and get to the finish line. They will start at the back of the field and gradually work their way forward as the stage progresses. Ambassadors will carry an extensive selection of tool and spares and be easily identifiable on course with specific number plates and backpack markings.
The TransRockies Bike Sweep program was initiated in 2008 to make sure the race adhered to the leave no trace ethic after it had passed through. While the bike sweeps carried spares and offered emergency rider support, they were often hours behind the bulk of the field. The Ambassadors will offer this same support from within the field.
To keep racers from skipping out on carrying necessary equipment, a nominal time penalty will be imposed for those needing Ambassador assistance to complete a stage. The program is intended to help riders overcome the worst mechanical issues and provide assistance, advice and encouragement as needed to get everyone to the finish line.
The two riders who will inaugurate this program are five-time finishers Simon Parker and Jim Seethram. "There's really nothing worse for a TransRockies participant than getting evacuated off course to the finish line," said Parker. "The Ambassador Program will hopefully build upon the TransRockies camaraderie and spirit of cooperation and will help some riders avoid the sweep and have the great TransRockies experience they imagined when they signed up."
For more information on the TransRockies, visit www.transrockies.com.