Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Volunteering at the Oakland Triathlon

I've been telling myself for some time that I'm going to volunteer this year.  If it weren't for the volunteers, these races couldn't happen.  They do so much - giving out race packets and t-shirts, manning the aid stations, directing racers on where to go, and so much more.

When I found out late last week that Dan was going to be working this weekend, I decided that this was my chance to volunteer.  I had considered doing the Oakland Triathlon (or Aquabike) earlier in the season, but after reading the course description decided against it without actually seeing the course.  So this was my opportunity to help out at a race and see this course as a possibility for next year.

I was assigned a post as a bike course marshal.  I was stationed just outside of transition at the bike exit.

My volunteer partner & I were to direct the bikers to the mount line giving encouragement.  Also, the bike out put you on a street with a couple of condo buildings with parking garages.  Even though the residents were told they could not exit the garage during certain hours, we had to keep an eye on the garage exits to make sure no cars drove out - 'cause, you know, some people think the rules don't apply to them.

Bikes up the street...

...and bikes down the street.
It was a lot of fun feeling the energy and excitement of race day and not having to race.  I really enjoyed seeing how fast the leaders made it to transition after the swim.  But what I enjoyed even more was seeing the "back of the packers", determined to finish no matter what.  These are my people!

After the event, I stuck around a little longer to help secure transition - making sure that bikes belonged to the people leaving with those bikes.  We were thanked so many times by athletes, and most of them said they really enjoyed the race.

After checking out the course a bit, I'm glad that I decided to volunteer instead of race this one.  There was a long run from the swim to transition.  I mean really long.  It was a few city blocks and included a climb up and down three stories of stairs and across a bridge over the train tracks.

Seriously - this was part of the swim to bike transition!
It was such a crazy set up that they even had a contest for the fastest male and female pedestrian bridge crossers with a prize for each of them.

This was my first experience as a race volunteer and it was so much fun that I know that I'll be doing it even more next season.

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