20“If outside of rolling enclosure please obey traffic laws, do NOT run stop signs. We have enough memorial races.” Beth Wrenn-Estes, Race Official
Cycling is full of mysterious groups, and we are a clan-like people. We form little tribes in order to battle with other tribes and celebrate our peculiar subculture. It’s a “we versus them” viewpoint, and our universe may only be as large as a local group ride.
In this rebellious environ, authority is viewed with suspicion. I’d been racing a while before I noticed an official without looking through him and only then because he’d addressed me by name startling me out of my racing stupor-superiority complex. It was much later as a team director, when I realized that I was now in some kind of parallel plane with these strange figures who wore uniforms and carried clipboards and often looked grim. It was no longer we versus them; now they were necessary to help me clarify details, gather information, and guide others. Imagine, these are people who love rules, remember details, and can spot numbers faster than a speeding bullet!
With an expanding spirit, I now appreciate the value of this skill-set and its protection of my riders and their results. Suddenly, the guy in stripes barking from a motorcycle seems justified to me because he was thinking about rider safety. Appreciation turned into admiration when I started to remember their names, learn about their lives, and realize many of them are former racers. Take a ride in 21Com One and you get it: they are our biggest fans in many ways, rarely forget what we do, and are racing along with us. They have a face, and while it may look a bit dour whilst scrawling figures quickly on a notepad, at dinner after the races – they’re laughing and swapping tales just like racers do.
Prayer for Race Officials
“Respect the authorities, whatever their level…Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity.” 221 Peter 2:12-14
We are glad for the authorities who protect our riding freedoms through order. We recognize our defensive, arrogant bent to protest/rationalize. We pray for graceful interaction if we differ, for their keen observation and fair judgment and ask blessing upon officials.
Ponder Am I knowledgeable of rules and teachable when my actions are questioned? Affirm I am strong even when silent. I am kind even when I disagree. Watch how others treat you when you treat others with respect.
20Pre-race instructions about warming up before a time trial by Beth Wrenn Estes at a race in Colorado, sometime in the 1990s. Beth Wrenn-Estes is one of the first officials granted UCI status in America. She has officiated all over the world, and was Competition Director for Cycling at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. A female in a male-dominated sport, she has been creative and resourceful in contributing to cycling’s future.
21Com 1 is the lead vehicle who transports the Chief Judge or Race Commissaire. It’s arguably the best view of the peloton and its action, short of racing in it.
22The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson