A long day of marshalling for the USA Cycling National Championships with nearly 1,000 individual riders competing in the championship time trials had come to an end. We had escorted the last two para-cyclists and they had crossed the finish line; NC DOT had removed all the lane cones and were in the process of dismantling all the barricades; our motorcycle colleagues had long since departed for the comfort of their hotels in Winston-Salem; the shadows were long and we were tired.
As we were packing our bikes, Lisa Colvin, an apprentice commissair for the race pulled up next to us in her COMM car. With her voice full of emotion. “I hope I have done the right thing.” Then after a long pause, she continued “I know I have done the right thing.” She then shared with us in a quivering voice, “there is still one more para-athlete on the course.”
We were in a state of disbelief as we had personally escorted the last riders. We soon learned there was still one rider who had been mistakenly overlooked because of very slow progress in an earlier race.
“I found a law enforcement officer to escort him, one of our race officials to marshall for him, and his wife is following him in her personal car.”
With less than five miles to go, the cyclist athlete’s wife rolled up next to us where we were standing and anxiously asked from behind her steering wheel, “How much further?”
Lisa answered, “Ma’am, you have nothing to worry about. I just spoke with the race director and she is keeping the race open until your husband crosses the finish line.”
The para-cyclist athelete is Matt Broughton (Sherrills Ford, N.C./Team Roger C. Peace), a stroke victim paralyzed on his left side. He had not been allowed to finish his race the day before.
We checked the results today. He DID cross the finish line. His finish time was twice what the finish time was for every para-athlete that raced that day.
We will never complain about anything ever again.