Honest aid sees no team colors or national flags, and so our #SkratchHumanSupport program was born.
Skratch Human Support. The name says it all, but there are so many stories to tell.
- There's the story about how Allen asked a bunch of us at dinner one night, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a car in the race with nutrition and hydration for everyone? Just like Neutral Mechanical Support, we could help supply the basics that riders need to get through the day." Realizing how awesome that would be, we decided to try to make it happen.
- There’s a long story about how the unprecedented idea had to get approved by the UCI and race organizers, who are sometimes allergic to change. Luckily, they saw the obvious benefits and decided to give it a go.
- There’s the story about how Skratch Labs brought together a scientist, two retired bike racers, three chefs and four professional bottle washers to make the whole thing happen.
- There are numerous other stories about getting up before sunrise to cook rice so that the racers would have fresh, delicious food in their pockets at the start line each day.
Many of the best #SkratchHumanSupport stories have nothing to do with the pro peloton. When we decided to do this, we also dedicated ourselves to supporting the race staff and fans. No one would argue that the riders have the toughest jobs, but there are lots of other folks out in the sun all day long, and we care about them too. Multiple times, someone would pull up to the Skratch tent on a hot mountainside and asking if they could fill up their bottle. Every one of them ended up with a full bottle and a smile. Once, a fellow found the tent to be such a cozy spot that he decided to have a nap, meanwhile his wife settled in with some knitting during his rest. When that happened we knew we’d succeeded in creating the kind of environment we wanted. We all need someone to lean on, you know.
Our first goal with this experiment was not to hurt anyone or interfere with the race, and we’re happy to have accomplished that. Our next goal was to help as many people as possible. We feel pretty good on that score too, but we know that we can always do better, and this was an enormous learning experience. Above all, it was a privilege to provide sustenance and support to so many hard working professionals and to the fans who power the sport. It inspired us to continue with these types of trips. So if you ever run into us at an event and wonder why we are there, just know that we are there to support...everyone involved.
For a few more stories about how this all started please check out the links below.
- Road Bike Action - Being There: Inside The Skratch Labs Team Car
- Bicycling Magazine - Skratch Labs Neutral Human Support
- The Radavist - Stage 4 at The Amgen Tour of California with Skratch