MTB Marshalls - Backbone of MTB Himachal 2011

Every Year, thousands of events come to a successful closure and those who are the faces of the event, usually take a bow amongst much fanfare and celebrations.

But there are some who prefer to remain in the shadows, oiling the machinery, tightening the nuts, just holding it all together. This post is about them.
MTB chooses to call these shadow-dwellers Marshalls, a nice and glamorous name.
Here is Aneesh, Chief Bike Marshalls and coordinator for various things, standing on the top of the car holding up the Incredible India sign.
Many of these Marshalls were quite talented in mountain-biking themselves. Yet they chose to help the event run smoothly. A lack of ego is one of the requirements for this job. And as a result, Marshalls are distinctly pleasant people.

Aneesh was always running here and there, managing various things during MTB Himachal 2011 !!! But he was never too busy when you wanted to talk or even just chat casually.
Kshitiz, Viplove and Parikshit (Left to Right)

I have to hand it to MTB, they are good at naming their teams. For example, these bikers are the Bike Marshalls, also known as the control team.

Bike Marshalls work extra hard to ensure that the riders are safely moving in right direction.
(KK, Aneesh, Arjun and Gagan - Left to right)

This team made sure that riders get water, energy drinks and snacks after regular intervals. They never needed a reminder to do their work. Wish more people in our country were like them.
Kshitiz, Parikshit, Viplove and Aneesh waiting on mid-way to Hatu Peak !!!

Bike Marshals can find it very hard to steal a moment's rest during the day. They have to be very active on all stages. After all cyclists crossed them at one check point, these Bike Marshalls had to quickly move to the next check point before the cyclists reached there.

I wonder who was supplying them with their energy drinks and snacks.
Kshitiz is a Doctor by profession and revels in adventures. He was calm most of the times but never lacked energy when at work. Interesting fellow to talk to .. Belongs to Hamirpur District of Himachal Pradesh but based in Panchkula, near Chadigarh !!!
Parikshit is another adventurous biker who tried various things with his own bike as well as with others' bikes :) ... Basically from Shimla and studying in Chandigarh !!
Karan and Boon !!

Many marshalls were involved in other activities like logistics, results, co-ordinating recovery vans etc. The marshalls in this picture are noting down start times of riders to ensure accurate results after 8 days.

Each rider was given a book to maintain their timings. Marshalls were appointed at each starting and end point of all stages. Exact timings are noted without any delta.
Three marshalls from different departments - Beverages, Bikes, Logistics !

This photograph was clicked before the very first stage of MTB Himachal 2011. This is near Mashobara.
It's break time and so why not a photograph... Hema is standing in the back. She was very particular about ensuring correct distribution of energy bars and drinks. It is very difficult to find people as dedicated as her.
Nikhil, Sanyam, Karan and the gang!

It's bonfire time !!! Sometimes when the tents were not enough to accommodate everyone, Marshalls graciously compromised. Another thing about them is that you never saw them less-than-happy about things.

Most of them enjoyed bonfire on first night at Ghatta Kuffer.
Let me remind you that a Marshall's job is not easy be it any department. They have to be accurate, diligent, and passionate to be able to carry out their responsibilities well.
And they also need to know how to have fun without having much to go on. And many times, you saw them playing, laughing, strangling each other for no apparent reason. But such is the spirit of these shadow-dwellers. They smile through the toughest challenges, the hardest pressures.
Just a minute of respite for these marshalls while they have their breakfast and tea.
And to make dull moments lively, they explored their surroundings and became acquainted with the nature. Here is one marshall demonstrating the Himalayan herb extraction process.
Remember I mentioned about them strangling each other. Well here's the proof. Don't worry, both of them are alive and none of them is in the lock-up right now. :)
Adventurous, zealous, happy-go-lucky, dedicated, helpful are just some of the adjectives that can be used to describe the marshalls.
It is safe to say that no event can be possible with out volunteers who go out of the way to make sure that things run smoothly and each detail is meticulously recorded and adhered to.
These marshalls exemplified professionalism without smugness. Any event that manages to interest and retain such volunteers, has already won half the battle.
Aise volunteers kisi aur hi mitti ke bane hote hain. And they are instrumental in smooth running of any event. I thought I would give them some much deserved recognition.
Chief Bike Marshall and one of the officials of MTB Himachal.

Even though it's now been several months since MTB ended, I still remember some fun-filled moments I spent in the company of the marshalls. When you are with them, you never realize from their attitude or appearance that they have such a big responsibility and so much work in their hands. Once again, wish more people in our country were like them.

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