Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ironman Oceanside 70.3 - From the Other Side

About 2,400 triathletes raced at Ironman Oceanside 70.3 today.
I was not one of them.
But I was there.
And I think I got up earlier than a lot of the athletes.
My alarm clock went off at 1:45 a.m. because I was scheduled to be in T1 at 4:15 a.m. and I had a drive in front of me.
I had some company. I was joined by one of my athletes, who also spent the morning volunteering.
We got to Oceanside with enough time to spare for a short stop at Denny's.
Some bacon and eggs and I was ready to brave the cold.
It was about 45 degrees and DARK.
After donning our bright orange volunteer t-shirts and our yellow California Triathlon hats, we were ready.
Our first job was to check that the athletes going into T1 with their bikes had their numbers on their bikes AND were wearing the blue wristband.
I was lucky to get to see SunRype Teammate Kim Ford, as she came through the chute to go into T1 along with the masses of other triathletes.
Finally the sun started to rise and the athletes were sent off in waves for their 1.2 mile swim.
Photo: I've been here since 4:15 and I'm not even racing
We had a pretty good view of the action from the bike out chute.
Me (on left) and Shirley (on right)
It was still cold and I was bundled up.
 Funny how when I am racing I can easily be out in 45 degree weather in just my tri-kit and be okay, but if I am not racing and just standing around, I feel as if I am FREEZING!!!!
After all the athletes navigated their 1.2 mile swim, they ran into T1 (transition 1) and quickly as possible grabbed their bikes and helmets and whatever else they needed and ran through the bike out chute.
Our job was to make sure they did not mount their bikes until they got to the MOUNT line and to make sure they had their bib on.
The pros came flying through first - all of them had their bike shoes pre-attached to their pedals. They ran through the chute and once past the mount line they hopped on their bikes and put their feet in their shoes and pedaled off. They made it look easy.
While there were a lot of non-pro triathletes who also had the flying mount down, LOTS did not.
I'll give many a break and blame their clumsiness on the cold. Many were shivering and shaking and having a hard time controlling their bikes. A couple threw their legs over their seat and inadvertently kicked their bottle off their back bottle cage. A couple of guys had their feet slip off their shoes and then they (OUCH!) hit the bar. Several complained their feet hurt. No wonder. Running barefoot on pavement when your feet are cold and numb HURTS!!!
A lot of racers opted to put their shoes on in transition and run through the chute to the mount line.
I got a close up look at all of this, as I was standing right next to the "Mount Line" waving my arms and pointing to the line and yelling at people to move all the way up to the line to get on their bikes.
Picture thanks to California Triathlon photographer.
Yep, there I am in the pink running shoes pointing to the line and yelling, "Here's the Mount Line." Some people still tried to get on their bikes before the line, some stopped right on the line and some would stop right past the line right in the middle of the chute.
Another California Triathlon photograph.
This is NOT the start line, this is the Mount Line. If you look carefully, you can see my hand, almost covered in my pink sweatshirt all the way to the left of the picture, pointing to the white line on the road.
A lot of athletes ran through the line and pulled over to the side to clip into their pedals and pedals off.
I saw three people that could have been disqualified - two of them did not have their helmet on and instead had the helmet hanging on their bike handlebars.
I stopped both of them and told them to put their helmets on.
Another had his helmet on, but not clipped under his chin. I yelled at him as he ran by with his bike.
Athletes run their bike to the mount line before getting on.
Athletes have passed the white mount line and are riding their bikes down the chute and out onto the bike course.
At times the chute was crowded and athletes would try to push their bikes past other athletes trying to get on their bikes. I was kicked once, by a guy throwing his leg over his seat to get on, and had my foot run over three times. 
 Some athletes actually fell over.
Shirley runs to help up some fallen cyclists.
 We caught a couple of riders who did not have their bibs on and hurried and gave them a replacement bid.
After ALL 2,400 and something riders went through the bike out chute my job was done.
(Happy to report that all the athletes made the swim time cut-off!!!)
Shirley and I had been standing on our feet for 4 1/2 hours and we were hungry. We headed to the expo and along the way we saw the pro men ride their bikes by us as they headed into T2 to start their run.
We looked at the expo and ordered a healthy salad at one of the stands. While we were waiting for our salads we saw the pro men run by. I figured we had about an hour until they finished.  We made our way to the bleachers by the finish line and people watched and enjoyed our salads.

 And the Beach!!!

 Before we knew it the first pro man was running down the finish line chute.

Jan Frodeno wins Accenture IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside. Photo: Nils Nilsen.
Jan Frodeno came in first, beating Andy Potts by about 3 minutes. Sebastian Kienle came in third about a minute after Potts.
We didn't stay to watch the women - but  Heather Wurtele came in first; Heather Jackson, second; and Meredith Kessler, third.
We gathered our things and walked the run course back toward the car. The day was getting warm and the volunteers on the run course were handing out sponges.
Walking along the Strand in Oceanside, we could see the runners AND the cyclists.

 It was a beautiful day!!!
One of the best parts was when Shirley said she wanted to compete in this event next year!!!!


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