More volunteers needed for USA Pro Cycling races in Chattanooga

More volunteers needed for USA Pro Cycling races in Chattanooga

May 21st, 2013 by Lindsay Burkholder in Local Regional News

WANT TO HELP?

If you are interested in volunteering, visit usprovolunteer.edgereg.com to sign up or email probikeracechattanooga @gmail.com.

Coming friday

Watch for a guide to the USA Pro Cycling Champion-ship in Friday's paper.

Visit www.timesfreepress.com for live coverage throughout the weekend.

Map of the USA Cycling Pro Championships route, happening this Memorial Day weekend.

One lone cyclist is trying to recruit a massive volunteer army as Chattanooga gears up to transform itself into a giant race course.

Larry English, the event volunteer coordinator for the upcoming USA Pro Cycling Championship, still needs about 150 people to lend a hand at the races.

"We're trying to make the sport look good. We're trying to make Chattanooga look good -- and it's not a small job," English said.

English said he needs 450 volunteers, but so far only about 300 of the slots have been filled. So many positions are needed because the day of the road races -- Monday -- has been divided into morning and afternoon shifts.

A few volunteer positions are still open for Saturday's time trial, including working security, helping with parking and conducting surveys. But English said he mostly needs course marshals to patrol the area of the race on Monday.

"Essentially, what they're doing is making sure that people on the side of the road stay safe and know when it's OK to cross and when they need to hold back," English said.

But course marshals will also serve as information hot spots.

"There'll be a whole lot of spectators there and many of [them] are there just because they heard the noise and saw a whole bunch of people and want to know what's going on," English said. "The other job of the volunteers is to try to educate them as far as what's going on and that sort of thing."

English said volunteers will be given training on how to deal with questions, so even non-cyclists can fill the positions.

The entire 16-mile course has been broken down into 18 sections. Each section will have a number of course marshals and one captain.

"That's basically a manager that helps out and makes sure that everybody's where they're supposed to be and, if there are any issues, they can quickly get to that point and take care of it," English said. "So volunteers won't be out there on a limb by themselves."

The only requirement for signing up?

"You must be at least 18 years of age," he said. "If you like to be outside and if you deal well with people, there really aren't any other requirements."

Karen Rogers said all Chattanooga cyclists should be out volunteering on Monday.

"This is the national championships for cycling in the U.S.," she said. "Chattanooga was picked out of many other cities and we need to make sure that the race is safe for the racers and it's a great event."

Rogers, who cycles recreationally and also does mountain bike racing, will be working Frazier Avenue on the day of the race as a road marshal captain. She recruited friends and coworkers to help out with her section.

"They want to help because they know it's a big event or because they are cyclists themselves," she said. "I really wholeheartedly believe that, if you're a cyclist in this town and you race and you are not helping with this event, then shame on [you]."