Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Greater Cleveland Tri - Volunteer Report

I have two reports to write and I have been very lax in getting it done. However, each report I feel has important messages.

Almost two weeks ago was the Greater Cleveland Triathlon. I have helped out the RD, Mickey, with this race from the beginning. Last year I assembled the team to work the transition area. This year I returned with another crew to help with body marking, traffic control, motorcycle coordination, transition security, bike check, mount/dismount line and anything else we could help with.

Aimee and I arrived by 5:15AM so that I could coordinate the troops prior to the transition area opening at 5:30. We needed markers. I needed answers to some last minute questions. We checked the numbers on the bike racks.

The athletes slowly started trickling in and we tried to make sure they were ready for the race. Timing chip, security bracelet, bike number, body marking, end caps in their handlebars. The idea was to make sure they had everything taken care of before going into transition.

There was the occasional bottle neck when someone didn't have their timing chip or security bracelet on but we had two of us checking for these things so the flow into transition was steady.

Considering that everyone who was helping out knows quite a bit about racing we were able to answer many newbie questions. Anything we could do to help people have a fun and successful race was done.....short of racing for them.

There were four race categories...International/Sprint triathlon and duathlon. Overall we didn't care what races people were in except for Aimee. She was sending out the motorcycle escorts with the leaders of each category. I was watching for the first sprint triathlete so I could give Aimee and heads up to send out the motorcycle.

As I noticed the wet shorts and saw ST on his calf I yelled at Aimee, "The guy in the purple top!!!" Well this freaked out the guy because I saw him look back like he did something wrong. I told him to keep going. At least Aimee knew who the motorcycle should go with.

At the mount line we kept on telling people when they could get on their bikes and to have a good ride. This is a great way to see ALL of the athletes and to see the many different ways people get on their bikes.

We cheered for everyone until the transition area was empty. For a brief while we had to handle two-way traffic until the last several people finally left transition. The sprint racers were coming back fast.

Overall everything was running smoothly. Some slight issues on the run course but nothing tragic. Also some misdirection on the bike course.

I really enjoyed cheering for my friends from the front row.

The athletes were very well behaved as we asked them to wait before entering transition. The RD indicated in the athlete package that transition would not be open for finishers until all bikes had returned from the course. We made a judgment call and opened up the area with about 95% of the bikes back into transition. We just made sure the returning athletes were given top priority in transition over people removing their gear.

Now to the "important" portion of the report and this has absolutely nothing to do with the athletes. If you recall Aimee was working with the motorcycle escorts. She has been doing this for the past 2 or 3 years. The same guys show up and she does a good job with them.

The guys are from the Cleveland Harley Owners Group....or H.O.G.s. Six guys show up to provide escort for the leaders and transportation for the two USAT officials who handle the race.

Post race Aimee shared two fantastic stories about these guys.

HOG #1: This guy was so inspired watching the race last year he....

  • Quit smoking
  • Dropped 20 pounds
  • Started running
Aimee gave this guy a little fist bump and congratulated him on his changes.

HOG #2: This guy was with the leader of the race, Jim LaMastra I believe. First bike out on the course. As they approached one of the intersections a car was blocking the direction arrow and the police officer seemed to wave them in the wrong direction.

Once he returned to the transition area he felt so bad about what happened he wanted to pay for the triathletes race fee. He wanted to PAY..HIM..BACK. Reimburse. Sorry for what happened. It wasn't even the HOGs fault.

Each year Aimee says the same thing. These are the nicest group of guys she has ever met....well maybe besides me....but she enjoys talking with them each year.

Game On HOGs......Game On.


Matty O said...

You guys did an awesome job with the coordination out there! To be honest I couldn't even keep track of all the racers and I was one of them!

Man had I known the kid in the purple got a motorcycle escort I would have passed him on the run ;)

Well now that I know you were behind this race, thank you very much for your efforts in making this a fun event! Thank you to Aimee too. Without you guys there would be no race for us.

My wife and I really had fun out there!

Janet Edwards said...

Thank you Eric and Aimee for all of your work and sharing these stories...volunteers are just the best! Plus it really picks me up to see energetic people like you, Aimee, John right up front cheering!