Sunday, November 10, 2013

Inter Areas Pit Monkey

View from 'The Pits'

Another weekend, another CX first. Today I volunteered for the job of P.I.T. That's Performance  Improvement  Technician or pit monkey as they're affectionally known. I perhaps should have taken this into account during the annual club dinner the night before. I did use the evening to network with experienced master technician Heather, who told me I should aim to get the bike cleaning around 45 seconds. What? No way! But, apparently......Way. Another personal fear was not being able to start the jet wash machine at the crucial moment. Again advice from HT, make sure you switch it ON.
So it was off the the Inter Areas Regional Champs to support riders Sarah and Steve, both picked to represent Geordie CX  in this home race in Middlesborough. Just before the start Tony Glover of cxne drops us off an unexpected spare bike for Sarah but before panic sets in a master stroke of luck saw Scott bravely volunteer for PIT duties as well. Clearly he's not seen me operate a jet wash before. So two riders, 4 bikes and we're off for the Vets/Women's race. Steve sets off first and Sarah 2 mins later, Scott and I decide on a strategy of one rider each and we set to. It's about 4 mins each half lap, so the 45 second clean was no joke!

After the first bike clean my pit neighbour politely asks if I can reposition the bike as the spinning wheels are coating him and all his equipment in a fine layer of mush. I obliged muttering something about it being my first attempt at this, but he took it rather well. Clean bike, dirty neighbour and I was back inside the 4 mins. Sarah decides to go one half lap on the borrowed bike to get a clean machine and it's back to a petrol fuelled frenzy once again. No problems though, job done.

Both Steve and Sarah were at the sharper ends of their races today, both posted results that gave their teams every chance with Steve finishing 14th overall and Sarah 5th. At this level that's proper good going. So what have I learned? Well PITing is not for the feint hearted or hung over. It's a bit like being a referee in a football match. If you get it right no-one will notice, get it wrong and you'll be noticed alright. Fortunately, I think I got it mostly right today.

No comments:

Post a Comment