Life Outside Summer 2018 - 34

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IT'S RACE DAY. You're up early, checking the weather,
TRAIL MAN
Richard Blackwood, with the
Roanoke Chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling
Association, leads a group ride
on Tuesday nights. He sports
a 15-pound pack of supplies
when he rides sweep, to be
prepared to encourage riders
and handle emergencies.

34

filling water packs, loading gear. You are going to
push some limits today and you want to be prepared.
You arrive for the pre-race meeting, taking in the
smell of mown grass, the sound of upbeat tunes,
the feel of a welcome breeze. You're warmed up,
adrenaline pumping. The starting gun pops. The
racers take off.
But you, you're not moving. You're hanging back,
waiting for everyone else to go.
That's because today you have volunteered to be
a "sweeper" or a "sweep." You've agreed to be the
last runner, biker, paddler on the course. You'll help
anyone whose hurt, you'll handle equipment failures,
pep-talk a racer at their low. You'll carry a heavy pack
with extra supplies, be ready to call for help if needed.
And you'll clear the course of race markings when
the final athletes have pushed through.
It's one of the toughest, most overlooked, most
important jobs of any race. And it's not for everyone.
Patience, top skills and sometimes even first aid
training are required.
But those who sweep embrace even the biggest
challenges - long days, distraught athletes, the
unpredictability of the outdoors. They say the thrill

Summer 2018 \\ LifeOutside Magazine

of seeing a struggling racer cross the finish line can
be better than crossing it themselves. Giving back to
a sports community that has nurtured them can be
priceless. And then there's the sheer joy of spending
a day outside in some of the world's most beautiful
places - without the pressure of coming home with
a medal.
"Sweeping is, without a doubt, my favorite thing
to do at a race," says Matt Allenbaugh, a Roanoke
Parks and Recreation Outdoor Recreation supervisor. "You get to do the course, you get to chat with
people, you're not in a big hurry. Unless something
bad happens, it doesn't even feel like work."
FLIPPING THROUGH A DICTIONARY won't turn up

this definition of "to sweep." But those who run,
ride, paddle - even cross country ski, explore caves
or group hike - all know what it means.
First and foremost, it's about giving time to support other athletes. Sweeping is not exclusive to racing, either. Group mountain bike rides and trail runs,
road bike tours, plus paddle boarding, kayaking and
canoe trips all typically have a leader and a sweeper.
As Outdoor Recreation Coordinator for Roanoke
Parks and Recreation, Katherine Andrew has swept



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Summer 2018

Life Outside Summer 2018 - 1
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 2
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 3
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 4
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 5
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 6
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 7
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 8
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 9
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 10
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 11
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 12
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 13
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 14
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 15
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 16
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 17
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 18
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 19
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 20
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 21
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 22
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 23
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 24
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 25
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 26
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 27
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 28
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 29
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 30
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 31
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 32
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 33
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 34
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 35
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 36
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 37
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 38
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 39
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 40
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 41
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 42
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 43
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 44
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Summer_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2017
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