Regular readers of this blog know that I do a lot of races and events around the area, but for that activity I've never actually had the opportunity to work at one. The L&T and I have talked about it volunteering, but we're usually either going to run / ride in the event in question or we have something else going at that time (in any case with all the work we do for GYGIG, I'm pretty sure we're doing okay as far as volunteer karma goes). Anyway, the Cycle U Road Team sent out a ping looking for volunteers to support the 2009 Seattle Danskin Women's Triathlon event this last weekend. As I wouldn't be racing and we didn't have anything going that morning, I signed up.
Our "brief" was that we were to ride along part of the bike course and provide mechanical support (fix flats, chain drops, that sort of thing). Our portion of the course was the express lanes on the I-90 bridge, which was awesome. It's about 6 miles round trip on fairly flat road that's in good condition, floating on Lake Washington. We took the opportunity before the triathletes got there to ride the course, imaging having two lanes of a highway all to yourself and you'll what we were riding on. Very fun, but the work started soon enough...
Over the course of the morning I fixed 4 flats (and assisted in 2 more), numerous chain drops, repaired one seat cover dirt cup on a mountain bike (that was a new thing for me), collected at least 10 dropped water bottles, and generally tried to cheer on and encourage everyone on the course. I also got in 45 miles on the bike, a lot of it in sprints as I'd race up when I saw someone on the side of the road. The athletes were great, and really appreciative of us being out there (one called me her "bike angel"), which was nice. I even got to use a little motivation - A women was suffering a bit and had started walking her bike, I stopped to make sure it wasn't mechanical and she said no, she was just taking a break. We chatted for a minute and she mentioned that she was a little worried about finishing last, so I asked her if she knew what they called the person who finishes last at a triathlon, "no" she replied. "A triathlete".
Congratulations to all the women who completed or even attempted the 2009 Danskin Tri. It was an honor to be out there supporting you.