No, this post is not about the 1978 album released by one of my favorite bands –Genesis minus the one and only Peter Gabriel. It’s all about three girls who volunteered at bike water aid station #2 for the inaugural 70.3 Half Ironman in Syracuse, NY. Our location: DeRuyter Lake General Store (The Pit Stop) in DeRuyter, NY .
It all started with an email from one of the above ladies asking if I wanted to do something good and volunteer for the half Ironman. Of course, I said sure because I knew we would have fun-that is what the three of us do when we get together.
My husband, the nice guy that he is, also signed up to volunteer and offered to drive us ladies so we could chat on the half hour drive to DeRuyter, NY. When we arrived at our location around 6AM, we had to get to work immediately. And work it was. Carrying cases and cases of Poland Spring water, Gatorade, and Powerbars to the three set up tables. The carrying wasn’t so bad, it was the prep process of the fluids that was a nightmare. Actually, twisting the tops off the Gatorade wasn’t so bad, it was that nasty blue pull tab lock we needed to get off the sport Poland Spring water caps so the top would flip open easily for the cyclists. Our fingers were bleeding by the time we finished prepping the water.
Once the set up was done, we patiently waited for the first cyclists to appear at our aid station. The race started at 7 AM and our location was just beyond the half way point of the bike course so I calculated that the action would start between 8:30 – 9:00. My predictions were right on when the first few riders came flying by. But these professional and top riders could have cared less that we were offering food and beverage. The professional cyclists flew by us so fast at the speed of lightning, we didn’t know what hit us. In the meantime, all the volunteers and I started to get nervous about our responsibilites and seeked instructions on how to properly hold the slippery bottles. All of us wanted contact with the cyclists to land a successful hand off . Every time I experienced a successful hand off, I jumped up and down with joy! My stats were not very good. I would say that successful contact happened 1 out of 10 times. Trust me when I say it is very scary trying to hand off water bottles to cyclists traveling at 25+ mph. All the volunteers and spectators witnessed a two bike collision as a result of a faulty water hand off. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured and both cyclists involved in the crash finished the race.
Volunteering for the 70.3 was such an exhilarating and uplifting experience for me and my friends. Watching these athletes ride the hills through Madison county motivated the three of us to contemplate signing up for the next Ironman 70.3 race to take place on Sunday, September 18, 2011.
Then reality set in for the three of us. Schedules, school, work, family, not enough experience in shorter triathlon distances were some of the reasons we all decided that we were just not ready to individually conquer the 70.3. So, we did the next best thing – We signed up for THE RELAY! Wanna 70.3SUM was born!
In 17 days, Wanna 70.3SUM will be tackling the 1.2 mile swim at Jamesville Reservoir, the 56 miles of killer hills through Onondaga, Madison, and Cortland counties, and the rolling hills of the 13.1 half marathon just outside the hamlet of Jamesville. I’m so excited about the upcoming race and know it’s going to be fun! If you have the opportunity, come and cheer the amazing athletes and us on. One thing is for certain, the three of us will be wearing a custom Lululemon uniform.
For your reference, I wanted to include the first place finisher times in the mens, womens, and relay categories. Top man -3 hours and 49 minutes, Top woman- 4 hours and 28 minutes, and Top relay- 4 hours and 11 minutes. That’s really fast !- Just think how long it would take you to drive 70.3 miles…Average time for the 1,610 finishers was 5 hours and 55 minutes. For a complete link to all the results from the 2010 Ironman Syracuse 70.3 click here
And Then There Were Three……………….Wanna 70.3SUM Team in training!