Crewing Tips

A few people have asked me where is best to set up.  And I think that depends a bit on what you are trying to achieve.  

If your rider plans to stop and sleep for a few hours, you will possibly need to find a quiet corner to pitch your tent.  Or if s/he wants to sleep in the car, it might work better for you if you identified a quiet gateway on the circuit instead of being disturbed by other riders and crews in the busier spots or car parks.  There are lots of gateways on the circuit.  

There’s a campsite on the circuit near Conlans Centra.  That’s about 1 km from the roundabout near Athy.  It’s called Forest Farm, Michael and Mary McManus, 059  863 1231.  I expect it would very quiet there, if that’s what you want.

There is a pretty big car park at the Crookstown Inn and once it gets dark, I think most people would be able to sleep there.  Bring something soft to lie on.  Even though its warm during the day, nights can be very different as the perspiration on cycling clothes cools.  Once stopped, wrap up in a warm blanket.  Misery and wakefulness await if you get the shivers.

If sleep isn’t a primary concern and the rider wants to stay circulating, a good place to set up is under street lighting.  The roadside at both of the Service Stations (Crookstown Service Station & Conlans Family Centra) is best for this.  You won’t be able to park on either forecourt, but you will have plenty of time between laps to retrieve a bottle or clothing from your car/van parked nearby.  

It is a long night for crews, especially one-person crews, and for that reason it might work well if you have company and moral support from others who are also crewing.  For that reason, I think either of the Service Stations tick that box also.  You can also grab a bite, or a hot cuppa, or a sit-down and chat.  

A tip to make life easy is being able to see your bike approach after dark.  So maybe add a distinguishing light or just familiarise yourself with it before your rider glides past unnoticed; an extra 44 km is a big ask travel without drink or food.  

Speeds drop in darkness and sometimes it is hard to continue at all; I’d expect a gap of more than five minutes between bikes in the wee hours.  But once dawn comes, it will all speed up again.  

In warm weather, perspiration can cause a build-up of salt on the forehead and in turn this can cause eyes to get irritated.  A wipe down with a wet towel or facecloth will help.  Salt can build up in other areas too!

Then give the grips on the bike a rub to clear any build-up of sticky food.

Bring a folding chair if you have one.  It is a great posture break for a cyclist to switch to a chair during a pit stop.  You’ll enjoy it too!

Bugs can cause a problem at night, so bring glasses for the rider and insect repellent for you both.

Anticipate your rider’s needs; extra clothes, lights, alternative foods, treats.  And threats.  Your main job as crew is to get them back on the bike asap.  Scratch that, your main job is to keep them on the bike.  Remember the old Chinese proverb “A rider can rest at home but the 24 is once a year”.  Praise and encouragement work really well.  But researchers have shown that fear is by far the most effective motivator.