Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I remember early on I wondered "What the hell is SAG?" I had never been a part of an endurance race and didn't really know what people were talking about. So I just continued to train and then racing, pretending I knew what it was. Then I figured out that SAG is the people who help you during a race. Simple enough. After my 3rd gravel event, my friends and are sitting in a Mexican restaurant and someone asked, "What does SAG stand for?" Finally after years of hearing this word I'm going to find out what it means.........

Nov. 2, 2013

For some reason I can't sleep. I'm up making coffee and 3 am. Because of a bulging disc I'm not able to ride today, but I still have an important task, SAG. I start to load the car with everything I'll need. 10 gallons of water fro everyone. A cooler with snacks, soda, and rice cakes I had made for the team. Gotta have my toolbox and floor pump. Then the extra bike rack in case someone can't make it in. I go ahead and pack all of my ride gear in case one to the guys forget something. The HHR is LOADED.Then I think, "Do I use this much shit?" Who cares. The team will have anything they might need. So at 5:45 am I'm on the road.

I'm the first one at Jowler Creek Winery. The Chamois Butt'r tent is set up and Timothy Place is getting ready to start handing out race packs in the dark and cold. For his first time Tim really had things moving smoothly.  Once my teammates started showing up, I get them to the tent and get their bikes ready. Man it's cold. Like mid 30's cold. I'm a little glad I'm not going on this ride. The clothes I'm in don't feel like enough. I feel a little sorry for everyone as they line up. Looking again at the course map I remember what the riders already know, with almost 6,000 ft of climbing in the first 58 mile loop, they won't be cold for long.

Once all the riders are gone from the start, Tim and I go out for our first photo stop. We knew we would barely get there but we could barely get out of our cars before the first group was coming down the hill. So the first few shots were shaky with no tripod. To me it feels colder, but the riders are looking good. Everyone is chatting and excited when the ride by. I can tell that the guys on Dirty Dog Race Pack are getting settled into their rhythm for the day.

As soon as the last rider rolls past it is on the the next stop. The way the course was done this intersection will be a perfect place to set up. Not only is it the 25 mile mark, but it is also the 40 mile mark. As the wind picks up and feels colder I think, "I'm glad I'm not riding in this." Then tim happens to see some riders on the road behind us. Crap, they miss a turn. It's Black Coffee, (insert real name here) Bobby Smith, and Don Daly. They pull up and hang out a bit, watch and laugh as the lead pack comes through. I hear them talking about getting back on course so they head back the way they came. Man I'm starting to wish I was riding away with them.
I'd be tired too if i had just add 6 miles to and already tough course.

More riders tear ass down the hill facing us and grind it out up the other side onward Tim and I I start to smile because throughout the camera I "feel" the looks on the faces. The heavy breathing, the cold wind, the burning legs, and the loos of determination. I want that feeling. Why can't some one else be taking pictures of me? Why can't it be two other guys at the top of the hill cheering riders on?

Then my other purpose for coming today starts. The lead group is back to the intersection and turning to the last 20 miles of the first loop. Everyone up front is a strong rider. Their bodies are more efficient, and they carry plenty of food and water. They won't be out as long as some others will.

Now we are starting to get close to 4 hours on course. This is a hilly, tough course. I know a lot of the people out there and they are out longer than I thought. People are stopping to get the water brought. I quickly drop a scoop of Skratch Labs in if they want. They grab rice cakes or bananas. We add air to tires that are going low. I make sure they still have cue sheet and are feel fine. I end up with leg warmers, a backpack, a pannier, and layers of clothing. After all it is about people figuring out how to pack also. Now I'm starting feel glad that I'm not riding. Do I look that rough on hilly courses?

I pack up and start back to the winery to cheer people in. About 5 miles out I see a person ti the ditch. My job isn't done yet. A rider is just sitting there. I get out to talk with him. He tells me he's fine, has plenty of food and water. He got popped on all the hills. Man this is tough course. I go a head and offer him a ride but he refuses. It's about 5 more miles and he says he is determined to make it on his own. Thats one reason why I like this sport.

So, back to the question of "What does S.A.G. stand for?" It stands for Support And Gear, but for me, at Gravelicious, It meant so much more. Everyone has those races that change their perspective of riding and training. I had one that changed my perspective of the people who help.
Bob Cummings with the Rock Star

A huge thank you goes out to Timothy Place, Jowler Creek Winery, Chamois Butt'r, all the riders, and the little rock star. Next year I will ride with you guys but I would be more than happy to SAG for you too.

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