On the other side of the cones

Volunteering helps you appreciate both sides.

Just because I run the races doesn’t mean I know what it takes to make them happen. As a spectator, I cheer the athletes and when they are done, I go home. Have you ever wondered what the logistics are to putting on a race? Me neither since I’m not a race director, but without volunteers the race would be pretty impossible to pull off. Today was an example of how volunteers really help make an event go smoothly.

So a couple of days ago, Jax Galloway asked for volunteers for one of our race partners/supporters. I volunteered because not only did I know some of the BRF’s out there doing their first Olympic TRI, but it’s always a good idea to give back to the race community. Several days closer to the race, they still needed volunteers so I signed up my husband too(after all he’s a runner/triathlete too). He was assigned the swim exit and I was assigned the bike in/out.

Race Day.

Wake up call-4:15 a.m. I couldn’t imagine what time the race director had to be up-no sleep? Head out and park at Met Park. Then check in, get our volunteer shirts, and guess what-man taxi 1,2,3 for Olympic start. As a racer, I know the doubt or anxious butterflies they are feeling so as a volunteer my job is to say good morning and put them at ease. Many are thankful(I need to remember to do this too) and visibly relax a bit more. I see my friend and her hubby and take some goofy pics before sending them off. The sunrise downtown is gorgeous! Last taxi(water by the way) gone at 6:30. Time to head to our real assignment.

Mount your bike here.

Have fun out there!

Swimmers start showing up around 7:50 ish(I find out later there was a delay) ready to head out on the bike course. It’s a narrow bike out and cyclists are suppose to run/walk their bike out of transition and mount at the line. After the fuzziness of that swim, it’s a little like herding 1st graders. “Okay, no crowding. Come to me and then mount your bike. Turn to the right, I mean left and stay to the right of the cones. Great job everyone!” Sometimes it felt like a fire drill. Everyone seemed to try to get out at the same time. …women and children first! Just kidding. Again some athletes were in their own zone, which can be bad when you’re trying to get them to follow directions, but no one cussed at me. Most of the athletes were so thankful and I didn’t even give them water, but that’s what I mean. Thankful and good natured. Doing something they loved or just to challenge themselves. Volunteers provided encouragement and or help(directions to send them on their way).

Slow down/dismount.

Boy some people are one with their bikes. Graceful and fast. But when you’re trying to get them to slow down and dismount, it can get dicey. That’s when you use your teacher voice. I swear I’ll be saying this phrase in my sleep tonight…”ok slow down, dismount, dismount!!” You can tell they want to be done and I don’t blame them, but you keep on encouraging-that is your #1 job. And then they are gone.

You did your part. Now they celebrate.

Another successful race and I had a small part in helping those athletes. It’s rewarding and you’re giving back to the race community so when it’s your turn, you can appreciate it more.

Thank you volunteers! Thank you for being here for us!

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,

Mercedes

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