Longhorn Half Ironman Triathlon Race report

 My day went like this:

4:15 alam clock
4:45 Leave house on bike, backpack with change of clothes and running shoes
5:28 Arrive Walter E Long Park, glad I didn't have to take the car and bus, I'd have been late
5:30 Change, sign-in as volunteer
5:35-7:45 - Standing on road outside transition entry shouting, "body marking first please, straight down on right"
7:45 -08:00 Clear transition help last few athletes pump tyres, clear out, last minute body marking.
08:00-08:15 Under direction of USAT ref, move any bags sticking out into walkways between transitions lanes
8:15 10:00 Bike Mount line(I Can bee seen in this News-8 Austin video)
10:00-1pm - Bike dismount and movin crowds back from road
1pm - 2:30pm - Walk run course in reverse collecting sponges and cups into piles around course, encouraging athletes
2:30pm-2:45pm Helped find water and ice for final aid station on run course
2:45pm-3:15pm, track down friends and finishers
3:15pm change back into cycling gear
3:25pm-4pm Cycle back home

9-hrs, 15-mins Volunteer time, 54-miles cycling

Despite having arrived as requested at 5.30am, and worked in transition and the bike mount/dismount area for 7-hrs 30-mins, we were only bought 1-bottle of water, and their was no mention of food. When three of us gave up on the dismount line, and walked backed to the volunteer tent and asked about food, they didn't know. One of the yellow-shirted organisers in the finish area said we should have been given a voucher at check-in, none of us were. Hopefuly not all the volunteers were treated like this, especially those out in the middle of the no where on the bike course. This was a shambles.

Also a shambles was the bus control to get athletes onto buses to get from the Expo to the Park. While early the first few buses only had competitors on, after that they seemed equally busy with friends, families etc. This clearly delayed athletes getting to the park, and thus delayed the start. The medical tent had NO Blankets at all. Plenty of dehyrdated people shivering and turning blue, sigh.

There was no FAQ for the volunteers and a couple of times, people came from the volunteer/info tent to ask us question having been told they people in the tent didn't know. For example, where did the bus go from while the race was on? Where was lost property? etc.

Assuming the swim was short as many said based on their times, I probably could have made top-5 overall in the Aquabike but wouldn't have made top-25 in the 70.3 Clydesdales although would have been in the Clydesdales Bike Top-5; if I could have held it together on teh run, might have made top-20 in my AG; Tim Terwey and David Hoffman burned up the bike course in my AG; volunteering was fun though, especially time spent on the dismount line with alkaloids .

Lisa had a good swim and great bike, top-10 in her AG, but blew-up on the run, finishing in 5:43. Looking at the results and based on what she said, I'd say too hard on the bike and not enough fluids. Still pretty good for a first HIM/70.3 race and only 3rd over sprint distance. Andy Golden, who came over from the UK for the race, suffered as expected in the heat, struggled on the run as well, finishing in an impressive 5:38; Patrick(Mr Triathlon Meetup) finished in a solid 6:02, Drews results look wrong, didn't talk to him afterwards but he was flying when I saw him; Will catch-up with others later in the week.

Well done everyone that finished!
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volunteering is fun, there's something about being there for the nervous racers
I remember last year
when they had absolutely nothing (not even water) for the volunteers. I read somewhere on the longhorn site that ONLY athletes could come into the food tent. This wasn't a High Five Event, so it wasn't as organized and volunteer-pampering-oriented as we've been spoiled to expect from Dan and crew.. So this year I did the Texas Iron water stop. At least I knew I'd have water and gatorade! I wondered about the bus also, because after I checked in with Texas Iron at 7:30, I walked over to the race start, thinking I'd ride the shuttle back (since the website claimed that the shuttle would 'run continuously till 5:30pm'). After seeing most of my friends before/after the swim (I missed seeing some of them actually start, since the women over 40 were already in the water), I made my way back toward the Expo Center on foot. I never saw a bus running.

I think maybe the current accounted for people's fast swim times. For once, the swim was CCW-I think that helped on the long back straightaway.
Re: I remember last year
Definitely not what I'd expect from Keith and team, so who knows what went wrong. You simply can't run a IM distance race like this and running a HIM is risky, eventually word gets out its a sh1tty gig and fewer and fewer volunteers show up as the years go by.

Some interesting stats: Number of finishers 1826 Min time: 03:49:45, Average Time:06:02:55, Max time:08:41:09, 15-people got finish times over 8:00, over 100 had times >7:30.

Edited at 2008-10-07 07:52 pm (UTC)
Re: I remember last year
I'm the RD, and just stumbled upon this. This is REALLY upsetting. We had a full food area, tons of water, vitamin water, gatorade, and sweet leaf tea for volunteers, breakfast tacos in the morning, food for lunch, etc.

We had 4 buses running all day. It's incredibly important that we take care of volunteers, and am addressing this right now with the Volunteer coordinator. I'm not sure how this fell through the cracks.

Pizza was also delivered to the Texas Iron and Hill Country aid stations.

Anyway, I apologize, and will work on making it better. There are a ton of moving parts in a longcourse race, and sometimes signals get switched. We have people who cover each part of the course, to drop off food, drinks, etc throughout the day. I'm not sure what happened....
Re: I remember last year

I'm sure many of the volunteers had a better time than we did, never the less those of us on the mount/dismount line, which was a long gig, didn't see anyone or any food.

Also, an FAQ with printed answers to questions like where do we get the bus? What time are the awards? Where is the medial tent? etc. would be a useful addition. getting them laminated would be even better. Just don't print them on inkjet as they run when wet...

I'd be happy to discuss some other comments if you want. email address is on the header of the blog.
I assume that is you - I will try to dig up your email address and send a couple of comments your way. Including a compliment about how much you genuinely thanked those of us who did Friday afternoon packet pickup.
Re: Keith?
I have his email, it always was edgedancer at metrocast dot net