Shaun and Stacey spectating after their morning transition duties were finished

Kelly has offered me the opportunity to guest blog my experience as a volunteer at IMLP.  As a transition area volunteer, I get an up-close and personal look at the controlled chaos that exists during T1 and T2.  Similar to a lot of things that look hectic, once you are inside the chaos, there is a great degree of order and coordination that is actually occurring.
At an event, the largest piece of restricted real estate, and where almost all the action occurs, is the transition area.  The largest benefit of working in the transition area is that I get an opportunity to work up close with the athletes during the event.

Volunteers Working to Put Back T1 Transition Bags
Before the race, as athletes go through their last minute preparations, I get to walk around and say ‘Hi’ to friends, help pump tires and act as a roaming information kiosk.  I also get to help athletes when they run a little late.  I load up with a bunch of bags from racers running late to the swim start and hustle their special needs bags down to the drop-off so the athletes can go get in the water.
After the swim start, I return to transition to talk with the other volunteers about instructions, what area to cover and take a last few moments of down time before the athletes come out of the water.  While we’re waiting, there is a bang from somewhere in transition and everyone scrambles to find out which tire just popped so that bike can get fixed before the athlete gets out of the water.  In total, four tires were replaced between the time transition closed at 6:30am and the time that the athletes started coming out of the water around 7:45.  All of them completed without the athlete even knowing it happened.

The Bike Hand-off in T2

Once an athlete is ready to head out on the bike, they come out of the change tent and call their number.  Now, they enter my domain.  As a bike handler, I am responsible for a specific bike area.  My job is to listen for numbers in my area, grab the athlete’s bike before they arrive and bring the bike to the end of the row.  As the athlete is running through transition calling their number, the number is relayed forward by other bike handlers to give me as much time as possible to get the athlete’s bike.  If I’m not able to get a bike for an athlete, they just get it themselves but, this year, I believe there were only a handful of people who did not have their bike when they arrived at the rack. 

One of my prime reasons for working as a bike handler is the opportunity to retrieve bikes for people I know and make sure each of them is able to grab their bike without breaking stride.  I specifically chose to cover an area that held the bikes for four of my QT2 teammates:  Tim Snow, Jacqui Gordon, Amanda Kourtz and Kelly.   By the time each of them reach me, I am at the rack, bike in hand, smile on my face, ready to wish them luck as they take off for 112 miles. 
After the swim is complete and all of the athletes are out on the bike course, I get some time to grab some FREE food and drink from the well-stocked volunteer tent and wander out to watch the bikes head out on the second loop.

Kelly and Her Personal Transition Volunteer When She Checked Her Transition Bags
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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / witsup.com writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

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