Monday, July 9, 2012

Not Just the Drafting Police

 Amy Bevilacqua takes the tape
I'm still trying to catch back up on sleep after my long Sunday (which started at 3:15am) but I wanted to quickly recap my morning at the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon.  

As I've written before, my desire to officiate has more to do with trying to help others than it does penalizing violators.  That's not to say I don't believe in enforcing the rules, I most certainly do.  The USAT rules are intended to promote fairness (and safety) in their events and are an important part of triathlons.  When I am officiating and witness rule violations it is my duty to enforce them; I've yet to report a violation and I can honestly say I am not looking forward to it.  

So far my experience officiating has been rewarding in that I've had the opportunity to support other athletes.  Sunday's race was no different.  In addition to answering a few questions throughout the morning in transition, I was lucky enough to be in transition as several female athletes prepared to exit after the swim and begin their bike rides.  Unfortunately for these ladies they had left their tires fully inflated through the night and were the recipient of race day flat tires (which they didn't discover until the race had begun).  While one athlete was calm and confident about changing her tire, the same can not be said for the others.  As a race official I was unable to physically provide assistance with the repair; however, I was able to help walk them through the process.  After quickly calming the women down, "don't worry this is all part of T1, it won't affect your bike time," I methodically talked them through each step of changing the flat tire.  My help was genuinely appreciated and I felt good about being there for these racers.

Aside from the flats, my day was relatively uneventful.  Due to the size of the race the majority of officiating energy is spent on the pro athletes and the elite age groupers.  Watching over all 3,000 participants would be extremely difficult, if not impossible (and even unsafe).  My role was to watch the para-triathletes on the swim exit and then to ride my bike out onto the run course shortly after the first group of pros began the run.  My presence on the run course helped provide visibility for the USAT but I was also there so that I could enforce any penalties on the pros which were unable to be administered during the bike (pro athletes must be "stood down" for 60 seconds when a violation is committed, unlike age groupers who simply receive a time penalty after the race).  Luckily I didn't have to enforce any penalties and instead was treated to a 6-mile bike ride around the hilly north loop of Central Park.  I began riding after the seventh or eighth pro and one-by-one made my way to the leader of the race.  Then I went ahead to the finish line to convene with the other officials.  There we recapped the race as the leaders approached. 

Being stationed at the finish line as the winner entered the chute was a first for me and was pretty cool to see.  It certainly provided a different prospective on racing.  After the race I hung around NYC for a bit and then headed home to Long Island.  My trip back was less than ideal (taking well over two hours) and by the time I made it home I was thoroughly exhausted, but I still had a brick workout to do.  I took a short break for some R & R with the Wife, had a cup of java and then proceeded to have a downright awesome workout.  I thought for sure I was out of energy but I must have summoned some from the race earlier that morning.  I had a strong, quick bike ride and followed it up with a fast paced run.  I definitely have some built up race energy going on so I'm glad to be only a few weeks out from my first triathlon of the year.

Oh, and one more thing: Happy 35th Birthday to my Sis!

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