As long mountain bike races continue to gain popularity, they provide a great venue for patrols to show what they can do. Check out this report from the Ocala Mountain Bike Patrol:
The Ocala Mountain Bike Patrol team provided patroller support to the Hammerhead 100 Mountain bike race on May 12th which was held on the trails maintained by the Ocala Mountain Bike Association (OMBA). The OMBA trail system has been designated an IMBA Ride Center – Bronze Level.
Patrollers Bill Brooks, Jim Shorkey, Marcus Creighton and Frank Belaska provided support to over 100 racers and worked side by side with the race promoters and local law enforcement to ensure the riders had a safe race.
Using knowledge gained from last year's race, the patrol team utilized 3 of the Patrollers to ride in various locations around the identified sag locations within the race and had a patroller stationed at the furthest sag stop with a vehicle to help provide transport to riders needing to be returned to the starting trailhead.
During the day this proved to be successful as patrollers assisted riders who could not continue in the race (due to medical or mechanical issues) back to sag locations where they were transported back to the starting point. As temperatures increased we saw an increase in heat related symptoms (cramping, dehydration, etc).
Towards the end of the day a call came in from the promoter to Frank (lead and coordinator) that a rider was down and had severe heat related symptoms. Bill Brooks was closest and rode out to find the rider. Jim rode in from the opposite direction. During this time the rider called 911. Having local law enforcement working at the sag where Frank was located allowed the two to work together coordinating both EMT's and Patrollers. Frank and the deputy Sheriff used Frank's Jeep drove into the forest on fire roads while Bill, who had found the rider, was slowly walking him to the nearest intersection of the trail and fire road.
Not clearly knowing where the pair was on the trail, the EMTs called in their search helicopter, which was used to identify their location. Using radio contact with the helicopter, Frank and the deputy located both Bill and the rider.
EMT personnel showed up shortly after and checked out the rider, who was severely dehydrated. After the rider was assessed, he was returned to the race starting point by using the extraction Jeep.
This was a combined activity with the local sheriff, EMTs and Bike Patrollers. Also having a close working relationship with the land managers allowed quick access into the gated fire roads.
Post note: The patrol is planning on working with local Fire and Rescue team to improve how the teams can work together more effectively when situations like this occur in future events.
Contact info: Frank Belaska (OMBA Bike Patrol Lead)
bikepatrol [at] omba [dot] org