How many people on this planet can claim they have ridden their bike through the castle at the Magic Kingdom? Answer is probably less than 1k.
Once the most hated “job” on race day, the bikers bringing up the rear of every race don’t have the best reputations. While we do get yelled at for being dream crushers and being insensitive for not letting runners finish the race (because they are behind the 16 min per mile pace or unfortunately injured), it is 95% a positive experience nowadays and our core team all have been together for 8+ years. We reunite just 5 weekends each year, but our bond is unbreakable boasting truckloads of inside jokes as a bonus.
If you are one of the unfortunate couple of hundred souls stuck in the last corral, you know the sight of the “balloon ladies” is very, very bad. They mark the infamous 16 mile pace just ahead of our SAG bike team and the visual many walkers need to stay motivated and truckin’ forward towards their goal of the finish line. They ooze positivity and even have their own cheering section!
We do have a very unique perspective from our vantage point. I’ve lost count for how many times I’ve been told “I just got out of the hospital yesterday” or “I didn’t train at all”. Why??!! We try to overcommunicate to racers that they are behind pace, but most just try to pretend we don’t exist. We’ve been puked on, punched, guilt tripped, seen defecation, dodged bus windows being shattered, cryfests, bullying and, well, you get the picture. BUT we’ve also cheered on heroic/wounded vets finish on their own 2 “new” legs, helped moms cross the finish line in honor of their kids who passed away in a house fire, walkers fulfill a lifelong dream after losing 250 lbs, hard core racers stop to pick up a fellow comrade and SO MANY MORE! We have laughed hysterically, biked through complete downpours, stayed with a hurt runner until an ambulance arrives, performed CPR to save a life, curled up in discarded blankets to stay warm and always sign up again to be part of the magic that is Disney.
Our call time is typically around 3:30am, which on any other normal day would be downright ludicrous, so that we beat all the road closures on property. And we indulge on food eating over 1500 calories prior to race start on a wide variety of fan favs – breakfast burritos, doughnuts, half pound chocolate chip cookies, bagged lunches, egg sandwiches, (my personal fav) tacos and hot coffee/chocolate. Then we also raid the candy box to maybe motivate a walker with a little chocolate treat plus my partner in crime Jay & I have a pact to take a moment to eat a Twix at mile 7. The biggest calorie misconception is that we ride for 46-50 miles each weekend BUT at 1 mph it’s a little hard to say we even exercised. But nonetheless, the leg muscles are ridiculously stiff come Monday morning.
So after all this rambling, it is important to say that we genuinely want to help each and every runner/walker achieve their goals and dreams. It is heartbreaking to pull anyone off the course and a last resort reserved for safety concerns or injuries. We will find ways to leapfrog you ahead on carts, shave corners to gain you mileage, kick cones out of your way, float you candy for motivation and call ahead to race announcers to make your big finish OVER THE TOP memorable amongst the blasts of confetti and walking hand in hand with the big mouse! 🎉 🏃🏼♂️
It never gets old……