In the last post I described the day prior to the Ironman. Saturday morning we got to the swim site about 5:30. The first task was to have a volunteer mark numbers on arms. Next it was time to stand in the porta-potty line with 2,999 other competitors.Daylight now. Don’t forget the chip on the ankle……and the sunscreen. The pros started at 6:45. The “age-group” competitors started lining up in the water during the singing of the National Anthem. Green caps are men and pink caps are women.The age-group competitors began their event promptly at 7 a.m. Chris told us later that he got kicked, punched, and knocked around. I can see why. I think there must be some strategy to avoid that–maybe get out ahead and stay there?This is a view from the bridge over the lake. The swimmers start out on the right, turn around the yellow buoy on the end, and then head for a channel that goes to the left of the photo. In this photo the swimmers on the left of the buoy are the pros who have already made the turn. The large group on the right of the yellow buoys are the age-group competitors and the group in the foreground are the swimmers who chose to wear wetsuits (see the black arms) and, therefore, had to start 10 minutes behind the non-wetsuit swimmers (see previous post about that).
Speaking of strategy, it was important that the support crew developed a strategy also.Here is the support crew (minus me, the photographer). That’s Dan, Katie, Kurtis, and Meryl. Our job was to figure out how to find Chris and cheer him on in as many places as possible, all the while keeping ourselves fed and watered and in the shade as much as possible. Oh yeah, and get good photos too. Katie and Meryl were able to spot Chris in the swim and get a photo there. They cheered him on as he emerged from the water after swimming 2.4 miles in just a little over an hour. These are the bags in the swim-bike transition area that hold the gear necessary for the bike component. I stationed myself at the bike area to try and catch Chris as he started the 112 mile ride.
Once Chris was on the bike we knew it would be about six hours before we would see him again. Time to find coffee and breakfast. I mentioned the infrastructure necessary for this event in the last post. About six hours before the winners would run across the finish line the equipment and structure was still being assembled.Security was also an important consideration and included dogs as well.The bike area before any of the cyclists have returned. While the others of our crew were waiting at the bike-run transition to see Chris begin the marathon I waited at the end of the bike course to cheer him on there. Do you know how hard it is to spot a cyclist in time to make sure you get a photo of the right one? White helmet, white jersey with blue around the arms. He wasn’t the only one who could be described that way.Cyclists must dismount at a specified point and run with their bikes into the transition area and on to where their run gear is bagged. The last component is the marathon. I think that will have to be another post. Stay tuned.