I took my bike to a running race this morning and I was the first cyclists over the finish line.
I may have been the first cyclist over the finish line, but I didn't get a medal at the LA Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.
I did have lots of fun, got some cycling miles in (some REALLY slow), received a free tech shirt and an entry into an event next year (maybe LA Triathlon?)
My friend, Jeanne and I, had signed up to be volunteer Lead Cyclists through California Triathlon.
We weren't really sure what this meant, but we were up for the challenge....and I mean, we were up EARLY!!!!
We drove to LA and found our pre-paid parking lot.
It was foggy!
Riding from the parking lot to the start line of the event was a blast.
I will say it again, NO TRAFFIC in LA around the Staples Center and the LA Convention Center!!!!
Riding the around LA streets at 6 a.m. with no traffic alone was worth the drive.
We checked in and then made our first stop.
Oh come on, it was a race and even if I wasn't racing, I had to use the porta-potty.
What's a race without a porta-potty?
This was the first time Jeanne and I had ever volunteered to ride our bikes at a running event and we weren't too sure what we would actually be doing.
We ended up volunteering for the "mini" marathon. That sounded easy. Then Gene Simmons told us our job was the hardest.
Well, he wasn't really Gene Simmons, he was just dressed up as Gene Simmons. His face makeup was pretty good. I didn't ask him to stick out his tongue.
A lot of people were dressed up, since this was the "Halloween" 1/2 Marathon.
Gene, aka, the guy really in charge, explained our job to us. I was assigned to ride with the lead male runner in the "Mini" race (about 3.6 miles) and Jeanne was going to ride with the lead female "Mini" runner.
When we were pretty sure who the leader was going to be - at about mile 3 - we had to call a lady named Ann at a certain phone number and tell her the person's number and their name.
Yes, I was going to ride my bike by someone who was running fast and get their name from them, and look at their 4-digit number and make a phone call and convey the information....
Obviously this is not me. I don't have a picture of me doing all of the above. It made me a little nervous because one time I was yelled out through a loud speaker by a Highway Patrolman for talking on the phone while riding my bike.
Did I mention there were motorcycle police and bicycle police EVERYWHERE at the race?
We rode to the spot where the "Mini" racers would peel off from the Half-Marathoners.
I did not have a costume, but the orange vest they gave me to wear made me look like a pumpkin.
Jeanne looks like a pumpkin also.
We got to our spot and we waited.
First the hand cycles and wheelchairs went by.
Then the elite men runners, followed by some women and then, boom, the "Mini" racers
These two guys ran pretty neck-in-neck for quite a while.
(Is taking pictures while you are riding a bicycle dangerous?)
So I called in and told Ann that it was pretty close between #? and #?.
The question marks are because I can't remember what their numbers were.
this guy comes flying by both the lead guys and I have to start pedaling faster. I get his number and his first name and I stay with him while I call Ann and tell her that #? Antonio is in the lead...and by that time he had about a block on the other guys, so I was pretty sure he was going to cross the finish line first.
He kept asking me how much further?
And then he was almost to the finish line. (He is the guy running on the left hand side of the picture). I dropped back so I wouldn't be in his picture. Later I saw him and told him congratulations. He said thanks for riding next to him and yelling at people to get off the course.
It was unbelievable to me the amount of people who stood right in the middle of the road that was obviously coned off for the "Mini" race.
After Jeanne got her female "Mini" finisher over the line, we played first aid and rode our bikes through the course.
We didn't see anyone who really needed first aid. I did ask one woman who had bruises all over her legs and was on the side of the road if she needed help. She said no, she was just chafing. Another woman said her knee hurt when she ran, but didn't hurt when she walked. I told her NOT to run, and the first aid station was about 1/2 mile away. She said she was fine if she just walked. She was at mile 4 so she was going to have a long day of walking ahead of her.
Riding through the running crowd was hard. Sometimes I was only going 3 miles an hour.
We stopped to take our picture.
And to listen to some of the bands, and to watch the "Thriller" dancers.
I did see one FB friends running. I yelled and took his picture, but he didn't hear me.
He's a cheetah......
even though he was also dressed like a pumpkin today.
At the end, Jeanne and I were cold and hungry.
We turned in our orange vests and rode our bikes to the car.
This is probably the only time I will ever ride my bike by the Staples Center and NOT worry about traffic.