Saturday, June 09, 2007

EFA Volunteer Report

EFA07 SwimStart.jpg

Racers anxiously waiting the start, photo and video courtesy of Swim Start Coordinator Julie P. That video makes me want to do the race...almost. I just want the experience of jumping off the boat.

Bighorn! Bighorn! Bighorn! It's been on my mind the past week. Turns out to be a butt kicker of a run. Why this is a slight surprise I will explain later. It's got something to do with me not reading reports before signing up for big races. Well first things first, recap of last Sundays race. Another memorable volunteer experience.


Tammy and Spamsi, pumped up at 6AM. Tammy was an area lead like me, Spamsi on the otherhand was one of two Race Directors from GGTC. She had to keep us area leads informed and inline as well as dealing with the races' innumerable details, from volunteers to coffee and bagels.

After all the meetings, course drive through, last minute checklists and last minute preparations, we were ready to go by Sunday morning. I was a little worried because I didn't have a 100% grasp of my duties but was assured that at least one of the GGTC race directors was going to be at the Volunteer Tent with me. We had two, Spamsi and Heather and those guys had a good grasp of everything. On top of that we were equipped with radio's and cheat sheets pasted on the back of our race ids which listed the channel directory as well as cell numbers. Because of my inexperience with the radio and not such a good experience with them at the Nike Women's Marathon last year, I kept to my cell. Help was only a call away. The radios looked good on me though, made me look all official and stuff. If there was an emergency I would have been able to use it, that procedure I memorized.

With AE.jpg

Hanging with AE at the finish area. He was out spectating.

It was a hard and early rise at 2:30AM, Spamsi picked me up at 3:40 and we were at race central by 4AM. We had to split the tent with "Registration." Unbelievable, there were people picking up their race packets 5 minutes before the last bus was set to leave. Racers were bussed from the transition area to Pier 3 where they boarded a ferry for their trip to Alcatraz. Race start went off without a hitch. My job on race day was to man and direct the Volunteer Tent. Those volunteers with stations out on the course were out of my control but those serving at with us at race central had to be directed to their proper places: hospitality, finish line food, timing, transition area, finish line medals, etc, etc, etc. I also had to field some requests from area leads who were thin on people. Jon, the timing director, only had half of his 20 volunteers show up, fortunately we found him more. There were several volunteers who mistakenly showed up at finish area when their stations were out on course, fortunately we were able to find a way to get them to their stations. By 8AM most people were setup and taken care of. The volunteer tent faced the transition area. I got to see the leaders the entire race everytime they came in to transition to the next event, swim to bike to run. That was a big bonus. The guy who won never relinquished the lead he had from the get go. Andy Potts took first after coming close in the past with 2nd and 3rd place finishes. An amazing athlete he had gone to the Olympics twice, once as a swimmer and again as a triathlete. I also got to see a lot of friends race, even managed to snap a few good photographs. The only hiccup to the whole deal was that lunch was an hour late. We had a lot of hungry volunteers but no food. When it eventually came there was too much. We ended up with 50 boxes of Cheese pizzas and 50 boxes of Pepperoni pizza for the 70 or so volunteers that patiently waited. We ended up giving alot away and the remaing 25 boxes was sent to another tent.

EFA Fans.jpg

Fans greeting athletes as they come in for the finish.

Since I was one of the area directors for this year I have a reserved entry for next years race. I still have to pay for it but I don't have to enter the lottery. I say no thanks. Give up the fun of volunteering and the appreciation of my fellow racers so I can pay $295 and I'll pass. One day but not next year. I already have my eyes on the Swim Start director position. You get to go on the boat and launch off the athletes and when you get back to race central you have the option to help give out medals at the finish line. Sounds perfect to me.

After the race it was a quick nap and off to the club after race party. It was great to hangout and get first hand accounts of the race from both the racers and volunteers.


Chomping on cupcakes at the after party. See those two at the end, the one with the cowboy hat and with the tongue sticking out - butt kickers on the bike. I know from firsthand experience:). To my immediate left is J-Fang. Everyone loving their new race kits owe her a thank you.

Lastly, some of our volunteers, some taking up area lead positions were club members from this years TAG group for Wildflower. If you remember, TAG is a program specifically tailored for beginners. These guys have gone on, completed the program, completed the race and have now come back to get further involved and give back to the club. Pretty damn cool.


  1. Oh, Mr. Director, good job there! I agree with picking cool races to volunteer at so the experiences almost alive yet no fee-no pain:) Be careful on the pizza and cupcakes!

  2. Too late!!! Well what's a couple more pounds for Bighorn. It's looking like we will be out there even longer than expected.

  3. Looks like a fun day! Yeah, sometimes volunteering is the best way to experience a race. : )

  4. Nice job, Rick. Great video of the start of the race. Wow, that is crazy! Sounds like you have a wonderful group of volunteers. Very cool!

    If I don't get a chance to reply later in the week, I want to wish you all the best at Bighorn. Good luck to you, and I hope it is a fantastic experience!

  5. YEAH Rick, Good Luck at Bighorn!

    btw...My dear friend, 65 year old Hansi Rigney, did Dipsea this weekend.I immediately thought of you.
    Here are some excerpt from her email:

    "I've been running hither and dither, from Carmel to
    Berlin but did make time to run the DIPSEA race
    yesterday from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. It was
    the must rugged and most difficult race I've ever run!
    Hundreds and hundreds of steep steps, unrelenting
    uphills with such inviting names as Cardiac and Insult
    and hundreds of steps down and narrow, steep and dusty
    trails. I've never been so happy to finish a race
    without serious injury....only a turned ankle. I
    finished #169 out of 1500 participants and therefore
    qualified for the invitational section of the race
    next year.....if I do it again."

  6. It's definitely not an easy trail but many people have become hooked on it. I know I have.

  7. I cannot imagine all the details that go into a large triathlon. Good luck at Bighorn.