Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fe Man! AKA Ironman!

Every year we have volunteered to help Burke Staheli out with an aide station for the Ironman.  This year Burke wasn't a captain and told me I could take over.  Well, I would have if I could have Bike Aide Station #1.  It is the only one in Washington, the shortest, and the easiest do and man.  You have 6 tables with 15 people per table and you hand out Gatorade or water or food.  You start at 8 and are done by 11.  It's the one we did the first year.  Then last year Burke wanted to do a run aide station.  Well, he picked the worst one ever!  It was the turn around point in the run and it went from 9am until midnight.  We needed over 100 people and never stopped!  It was the hottest day in May on record and athletes where dropping like flies.  It was horrible.  So Burke took this year off and so did I.  Someone had bike aide station #1 so I  didn't plan on helping until Colby "Baggs" Nielson - my friend and neighbor who is charge of the Ironman - called me and asked me to fill in at the last second.  His person in charge of the Special Needs Bike Station had dropped out and had NO ONE signed up to help.  I had 2 weeks and needed 100 people.  We could have had 30 more and it would have gone better.  The aide station is called the special needs because the athletes put their "special needs" into a bag so they can get it at the 55th mile of the bike ride.  It was horrible.  Very disorganized and we had 4 college girls show up and acted like they were in charge and started telling me and Joel what to do.  I wanted to kill them.  But I needed the help.  We had over 1800 bags!  As a biker would come about a mile ahead someone would call down on their cell phone and tell us the number.  We would then yell out the number to people who would then run around like crazy people trying to find the bag in hopes to have it for them by the time they came through.  For the most part it worked out great.  I know that if I had control over who volunteered and didn't have any strangers just show up and try to take over, then it would have been a 1000 times better.  Oh well.  Here are some pictures.  We started at 4am and went until 3pm.  It was brutal.

At 4 until 6am we were downtown collecting bags from the athletes before they got in the buses to take them to the starting line.

 We put them into boxes that were numbered in 50's and loaded them up to take out to Dammerron Valley.
 Once there, we unloaded the bags and put them in numeric order so they would be easy to find.  The problem was that the wind was blowing so bad that we had to chase some of them down.  It was a bitter cold wind and I never took off my hoodie.  Everyone was freezing.

 Then the bikers came, and they came fast and in full force.

I am so glad it's over.  And I am extremely grateful for all of my friends and family who helped me out by volunteering.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!