Off The Grid

It’s been 5+ years since I took an entire week’s vacation. I mean a true vacation, not thinking about or doing any work the entire time. I’m doing something a little unconventional (but if you know me, you shouldn’t be that surprised).

Started with 2 Things

Two things that I haven’t done in a   l o n g   t i m e:

  • stopped at a McDonald’s
  • went through the drive thru

I almost forgot how those things worked. Both of them.

I wanted a coffee for my drive to Wintergreen. I wanted it fast so I could get on with my vacation. McDonalds happened to be right there (seems like they’re everywhere, doesn’t it?!).

As much as I despise McDonalds for — well, almost everything, really — I’m actually glad I chose this one. Before your head flies off in sheer amazement, let me explain.

Continue reading “Off The Grid”

2013 Bike Virginia Photo Gallery

All the photos from Bike Virginia 2013, a 3-day (or 6-day) bike tour of Virginia that took place in the mountains of Buena Vista, VA.

Day 1 recapDay 2 recap

Click on any image to open up a slideshow.

Bike Virginia Day 2

Bike Virginia theme: Pirate Invasion
Dave’s theme: Humility & Teamwork (hey, it was a long day so I’m allowed to pick two)

Check out day 1 recap if you missed it, or view the photo gallery

Humility

So let’s talk for a second. I’m not the fastest runner in the world. Not even in most of the groups I run with. I haven’t run the farthest, either. But most of my friends would agree that I can certainly hold my own running on pavement and trail. I’m comfortable, confident and at times, a little crazy with my running endeavors.

So, how does being comfortable, confident and crazy translate to riding a bike?

Riding 64 miles, up and down mountains, over the course of 7 hours…

  • is beyond crazy. Borderline insane. Especially for someone who’s ridden his bike a total of 5 times in the past years, and his longest ride prior to this was 32 miles.
  • is in no way, shape or form, comfortable. And if you try to tell my quads, feet, butt, knees, hands or neck otherwise… their callused, jelly-like selves will slap you upside the head.
  • does a number on one’s confidence. In a way, I guess I should feel confident that I can ride my bike 64 miles. But instead, I feel much more confident that I’m an awful cyclist.

Hills, Mountains, Climbs or whatever the heck you guys call these darn things

They ain’t no joke. Like, for real. You don’t need a crazy GPS bike computer to tell you that those bad boys are STEEP. My legs and lungs confirmed the severity of the incline rather quickly. Right after my eyes told them both not to do it. Those guys never get along with each other.

Teamwork

This cycling event is not a race. Far from it. It’s a TOUR. I’ve mainly either 1) raced, 2) trained or 3) ran for fun. But I’ll tell you what… touring is friggin’ awesome.

All the people here are incredibly nice. Everyone talks to each other. Tells fun stories. Laughs at each other’s corny jokes. And helps one another out.

2 pieces of teamwork that were crucial in today’s ride…

1. Hand signals and verbal commands

With 1,000+ riders out here, we have to work together to keep each other safe. There are holes in the road, dead animals, trash, tons of other cars (some of which, unfortunately, care more about where they’re going than they do human life).

The hand signals for slowing down & turning are vital, especially when reaching 35-40 mph on some of these downhills.

And a verbal command of “car up” or “car back“ could literally save your life. Dead serious.

All of us were on the same team today. And I just love it when everyone plays nice.

2. My team (and new friends) stuck with me

I am, by far, the weak link in our group of 4. There were many times when they could’ve left me in the dust, but they always slowed down and waited. They asked me how I was doing, and always kept an eye on me.

Team, I’m 100% serious on this. I could not, and would not, have done this without you. Thank you… times 64 (because that just seems appropriate).

The Ride

…was gorgeous. That word is typically reserved for women referring to their girlfriend’s new sun dress—or some 20-something, hot, new movie star. But trust me. Today’s ride was every bit as gorgeous.

Nice bike, huh? It's definitely not mine.
Nice bike, huh? It’s definitely not mine.

Mountaintops, valleys, winding roads, farms, cows, old abandoned houses with tractors out front, rivers, rapids, carved-out mountain walls, college towns, cemeteries… and everything in-between.

Beuna Vista, VA
Beuna Vista, VA

Normally I don’t stop to take pictures of dead guys’ tombstones, but my man Stonewall Jackson was there, so we had to stop and say what’s up.

Stonewall Jackson statue
Stonewall Jackson statue

I did handstands (and other funny things) where the cadets of VMI do their military drills.

Step 2 - Spread 'em wide
Step 2 – Spread ’em wide

I got my feet wet at Goshen’s Pass.

Goshen Falls Overlook
Goshen Falls Overlook

We hung out with girl scout troops at the first rest stop. Firemen at the second. And the sweet women of whatever church at the third. Don’t let the white hair fool ya, folks. Those ladies make a MEAN PB&J… real heavy on the P.

Girl Scout Cookies... literally
Girl Scout Cookies… literally
Goshen Fire Station rest stop
Goshen Fire Station rest stop

The 2 main climbs were ridiculous. Still trying to figure out how they only got TWO out of that, but whatever. I almost made it through every one, but had to walk halfway up one of them around mile 50.

The descents, while a treat for the legs, were playing tricks on my mind. And by tricks I mean I was scared out of my mind. I probably hit close to 40 mph on more than one occasion. One wrong move, and you could find out what it feels like to be the bottom of a snowboard (minus the soft snow). Not a highly sought after feeling.

The Aftermath

My legs didn’t feel too bad when we got back, but 7 hours of just about anything will wear you out.

So naturally, first, I hit the food. Lunch was a vegan’s treat… again. Salad, with tons of veggies. And a veggie burger.

After devouring that at about the same pace I rode my bike today, I had to find Mother Nature’s best recovery spot. The river.

Much of our ride was alongside a river, and she was calling my name the whole time. So I headed down there with Michelle. It was everything I had hoped for, and then some. Perfect temp. Water flowering fast. Not to deep, not too shallow. Nature wins again. Come to think of it, when does she not win?!

The night ended with a peaceful, relaxing dinner, followed by a showing of Premium Rush, a movie about bike messengers going rogue. It probably got 1/10 of 1 star, but of course I stayed up to watch the whole thing.

Bike Virginia Day 1

Today’s theme: New adventures

The drive to get here was really boring for 2 hours, and absolutely beautiful for the last 15 minutes. As we entered the town of Buena Vista, we quickly turned onto a road that less us through an amazing golf course. I don’t play golf, but if I did, I’d never get tired of paying at this place.

The start of an adventure
The start of an adventure

The event appeared to be very well organized. Lots of signage. Parking attendants. Registration tent with tons of volunteers.

After a short safety briefing, I picked up my packet and met up with my friends. I only knew 1 of the 3 others who was joining me, and even we don’t really know each other all that well. New adventures…

Tent Setup

You’d think that, during a bike tour, the adventure would start once you hopped on your bike. Oh no, my friends. My weekend began with me doing circles around a hexagon-shaped tent, searching for the magic button that made it erect itself… all while the 2 women, who already have their tent setup, sit off to the side eating pork tenderloin sandwiches for lunch (what?!)

Sidenote: For those first-time campers out there… there is no such button. Trust me. I looked everywhere.

The ladies offered their help. I gladly accepted. Finally, 3 brains were able to figure it out… sort of. It’s up, and it’s sleepable, and for right now, that’s me #winning.

Lots of people who know how to setup their tents (myself NOT included)
Lots of people who know how to setup their tents (myself NOT included)

The Ride – 27 Miles

Excellent form, guys
Excellent form, guys

Admittedly, I had done little research into how this event was run. After my tent was setup, that’s when I found out what today’s ride option was: 27 miles.

I had done 25 in a triathlon two weeks ago, and struggled through 32 last weekend, so I knew I could complete it. I just didn’t know if I could keep up with our group.

It ended up being a beautiful 27 miles. Parts of it were certainly challenging, climbing up & down the mountains, but the views were easily worth it. The only thing that was sore was my butt, and I consider that a victory.

There was only 1 rest stop for today’s ride, and of all things… they were serving nachos & cheese. I’m sorry, but even if I WASN’T vegan, the last thing I’d want at mile 12 of a 27-mile ride is nachos & cheese.

Day 1 rest stop... Nachos were a bad choice.
Day 1 rest stop… Nachos were a bad choice.

I met a really nice woman from Toronto, Canada. Didn’t get her name, but we chatted for a bit right near the end of the ride. I fell back from my group, and also stopped for a picture, so her & I chatted it up. Super-nice woman. This was her 2nd year doing the event. Little did I know how many people travel a great distance for this thing. She was nice enough to snap my picture at the city limit sign.

Thanks to Lynn, awesome woman from Toronto, for taking this one.
Thanks to Lynn, awesome woman from Toronto, for taking this one.

Dinner

Amazing. Tofu tacos. A vegan’s dream. Nothing more needs to be said.

Day 1 dinner. A vegan's delight.
Day 1 dinner. A vegan’s delight.

Card Games

After dinner, we gathered around our tents for a friendly game of Spades. Our new friend, Gary, joined us. Michelle & I clearly had different strategies, which doesn’t work so well when you’re on the same team. It took Kara 5 rounds before she actually figured out how to play. That left Brandon, Kara’s partner, who clearly knew what he was doing since they ended up smoking us.

Read about day 2 or visit the photo gallery

Jamestown International Triathlon 2013 – Race Report

What an experience, to say the least.

  • I got to see 3 of my best friends from DC (who all rocked it, by the way)
  • Talked to an awesome volunteer who is looking for a Fall marathon (oh, hello Richmond) and might consider doing her first tri soon (if nothing else, jump down to read the write-up about her)
  • 2 really nice support guys with paddleboards and kayaks helped me out in the water
  • I passed a bunch of people on the run, and put down a very respectable 10k time (run recap)
  • My bike tires stayed inflated, which is a huge victory in-and-of itself (bike recap)
  • …Annnnd I didn’t drown (full swim recap)

Truth be told, there was a little more to it than that, so let me break it down for ya.

The Anticipation

It probably won’t come as a surprise to most of you, but the swim was my main concern entering the race. For starters, I had nowhere near the training that I should have had. Swam in open water a total of 2 times this year, and maybe only another dozen in the pool (all of which were fall shorter than the 1500m we had to swim in the race).

And on top of my lack of training, I just don’t do well in the water. I’m a land guy. Always have been. And if I can’t plant my two feet solidly on the ground, I get a little nervous. Throw me in a river with strong current, ask me to locate & navigate around 2 buoys, travel a total of 1500m (more like 1600m for my swerving self), and drop a 1-hour time limit on me… and I get A LOT nervous.

It also doesn’t help that my buddy calls me the night before, in Richmond, and says that the river is moving at 6.5mph. And minutes later, my friends from DC (who LOVE swimming, btw) just talked to a race official at the hotel, who told them, “Oh, yeah. The swim is definitely still on.”

Holy Freakout, Batman!

The Swim

Now that all that is out of the way… I walk up to the beach with my buddy, Nick, since we’re starting in the same wave together. Although I know there’s nothing more I can do at this point, I’m still not the least bit comfortable with what’s about to happen.

I talked to myself the entire 20-minute car ride to the site, going over my game plan.

  • Goal #1 – Just survive the swim. As long as I make it out of the water… mission accomplished.
  • Goal #2 – Don’t get a flat. As long as my bike was operational, I knew I could physically get through the bike (albeit slowly).
  • Goal #3 – Make up some time. Leave it all out there. Give it everything I had left in the one discipline I knew I could smash.

And yet, here I am, 2 minutes before the start, freaking out like a 3-old-year with a spider crawling up her arm.

“Oh, crap! Did he just say, ‘Go?!'”

Lucky for me, the water near the shore was really shallow. We were able to walk the first 50, 60, maybe 70m or so. I took advantage of every. single. step.

I tried to stay as far up-river as possible, because I knew the current would be pulling me down river. And I had to stay to the right of the turn buoy.

Yeah… that didn’t work. My lack of swimming prowess, combined with a fairly strong current, threw a wrench in that plan. I found myself about 100m from the turn buoy, and completely down-river from it. I grabbed onto a paddleboarder for a minute to gather my thoughts.

“I don’t know if I can do this. I can’t fight the current. I didn’t train enough. My form is already shot and I’m not even halfway there yet. I might have to call it quits.”

I looked at the paddleboarder and said, “Alright, I’m gonna give this a shot.”

He said, “I’m right behind ya, man. Go for it.”

So I swam almost directly upstream, expending way more energy than I realize I had in me, and made it to the turn buoy… at the same time all the women who started 12 minutes after me made it there.

Typically, I would love the idea of being surrounded by 30+ beautiful, athletic women in swimsuits. But there was nothing typical about what was happening to me right now.

Once I made that first turn buoy, it instantly gave me confidence that I could at least make it back to shore. The thoughts of quitting quickly disappeared.

I coasted on the short down-river stretch, and eventually made it back to shore. The really shallow water I mentioned on the way out… I totally forgot about it. So when I was still 50 or so meters from shore and my feet unexpectedly hit the ground… Hallelujah!

One last thing… On the way back into shore, I knew how strong the current was, and I was really proud of myself for compensating. I learned my lesson on the way out, and took a much better line than many others who I saw much farther downstream as we were approaching shore.

Goal #1 accomplished. 1500m in 38:05

The Bike

Nothing too eventful on the bike. I didn’t really take it all that easy (at least in the effort I put forth), yet still found myself at the bottom of my age group. So goes it when you buy a $1500 tri bike & don’t ride it for 3 years. But I kept both tires inflated, and nothing broke.

I tried to push myself whenever I could. Part of that was because I was so elated that I made it out of the water. The other part was just me being competitive.

I still cranked out 40k (24.8mi) in 1:19, which equates to 18.8mph. Very happy with that on how little training I put in.

The Run

As was the case with the 4 sprint triathlons I did several years ago, I always get passed by a bunch of people on the bike. The only difference this year… longer distance meant even more people passed me.

But the beauty of a triathlon for me, is that I’m a good runner. I probably passed 90% of those same people on the run.

I averaged 7:48/mi, and finished 10k in 48:29. My legs felt like poop from mile 3 on, but hey, nice job guys. Real proud of ya.

The coolest part of the run (literally, the coolest) was the turnaround point. I love running. I love volunteers. I love kids. And I love water, especially when I’m hot & thirsty.

There were a bunch of kids offering a “splash” at the turnaround water stop. How can you say no to that? So the first one completely misses my face & drills me in the chest. I saw the rest of the kids getting jealous because they wanted to splash someone too. Again… how can you say no to that?

Long story short, I got splashed 5 or 6 times, everywhere from mid-thigh to my face, all within a stretch of about 30 feet. I ran the last 3 miles a bit soggy, and uncomfortable, but you know what, the kids loved it, and even a few other racers smiled. That’s worth more than any finishing time I’ve ever put up.

The Volunteer

While my buddy Nick & I were standing about 50 yards from the finish, cheering on Amy (his wife) and Erica (aka: E$), I started talking to the awesome volunteer on the corner. She’s a runner, but was always a bit nervous about the swimming & biking, so she’s never tried a triathlon.

I’m not the kind to force anyone to do anything, but if she enjoys being out here cheering us on, and she loves to run, my guess is, she’d enjoy herself with a triathlon. So I gave her some ideas on training, and which races to start with.

Low & behold, she actually looked me up online after the race. Her name is Kelley. She just recently moved to Williamsburg, and hasn’t found many running buddies yet. But she told me she was looking into doing a tri, and also asking about marathons in the Fall. I think I know of a good one 🙂

I love my friends. I love triathlons. I love volunteers. And people are awesome.

And I finished with a total time of 2hr 51min… but honestly, who even cares?! I finished.

Race photos online here: http://www.birdseyeview.net/cgi-local/ImageFolio42/imageFolio.cgi?search=051&cat=Triathlons/20130608_JMI/&bool=and

2011 Xterra 21k Trail – Race Report

“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.”
– George Bernard Shaw

Phew! I didn’t realize I could run that fast.

This was the first race I can remember where I told myself going in, “Go all out & see what happens.” Realistically, if I pushed myself too hard, I could’ve bonked, and had to walk it in. Basically, I was operating under the all-or-nothing principle.

The Start

I started in a lead group with about 10 others. Since there was no chip timing, I really wanted an even start with the best of the best. It would also be nice not to weave through people on the single track. And I figured I would push myself harder if I ran with the leaders.

The Lead Pack

A lead pack of about 12 started to develop. After 4 or 5 minutes, I quickly realized I couldn’t hang with their pace. I was probably doing low 7:00s, but these guys were easily in the 6:00s. And they had it on cruise control.

I tucked myself into the back of that front group, and found a pace I was comfortable with.

The Ruins… didn’t ruin anything

The infamous Myan Ruins came early on (I think to everyone’s liking). If they made us climb those things in the latter part of the race… well, that would just be wrong.

I usually take them very slow, careful not to waste too much energy. I crawled up them pretty quickly, staying in control. 5 seconds of walking was still needed at the top, to quickly regroup.

Buttermilk

I’m no stranger to this part of the course. I’ve run Buttermilk more times than I can count. Some days have gone well. Others… not so much. But I knew the trail, it’s baby hills, turns, roots, rocks, and short but steep descents. I ran hard. I ran well.

The Internal Conversation (aka: Forest Hill Park loops)

Being the first race I’ve ever gone all out, my mind kept playing tricks on me. An internal conversation ensued. Confidence vs. Self-doubt.

Slow down. You’re going too fast.

Keep pushing. You’re faster than you think.

Keep drinking. Don’t get dehydrated. It’s ridiculously humid out here (That last part is 100% true. No bones about it.).

You got this. Legs feel good. No cramping. Keep doing what you’re doing.

For 6 miles, I went back and forth. Luckily, Confidence prevailed.

10k Support

Through Forest Hill, we started to see some of the 10k runners who started 30 minutes after us. They were incredibly supportive. And quite mobile, making every effort to get out of the way so I could pass. Thanks guys.

Rock Hoppin’ River Crossing

I probably lost a little time jumping rocks across the river. I navigated it well, taking the shortest path possible, but I put on the brakes just slightly. I was running a near perfect race so far, and the last thing I needed was to bite it on a slippery rock, or twist an ankle.

I even waited patiently for two 10kers to climb the ladder onto Belle Isle. My old racing self would have climbed the wall, but I’m glad I waited. It provided a brief rest, and it was the gentleman thing to do.

Belle Isle

It’s really more like a small mountain in my opinion, but you can call it what you want. Pretty much a straight shot up to the top, a few hundred yards across, and switchbacks right back down.

As soon as we came down, I knew precisely how far until the finish. And for the first time in a while, I looked down at my watch. 6 minutes left to break 1:40.

It was time to see what I had left in the tank.

Tank. Full.

How, I have no idea. Well, I’m sure adrenaline had something to do with it. And I knew there were no more hills, so it was game on to the finish.

Up the ramp to the footbridge, blinker on, get in the left lane, pedal to the floor. At this point, my breathing sounded like a 200lbs wild animal of some kind. My form might also have mimicked that of a wild animal, although I was trying to keep it together. Sometimes I just get too excited.

Home Stretch

Down the footbridge, onto Tredegar St, pedal still on the floor. I might have eased up just a bit for 10 seconds. I needed to make sure I had something for a sprint finish.

Smiling on the Inside

I had a look of pure anguish on my face. I usually throw my tongue out at this point too. Arms pumping. Lungs working overtime. Eyes squinting. I looked like absolute hell, but I was smiling on the inside.

The Finish

I blasted through the finish in 1:39:29 (a 7:37 pace). On that course, with those hills, and that humidity… very respectable.

12th overall, and actually 3rd in my age group. They gave me a medal. That’s never happened before.

Post-race

I saw a guy I recognized from last week’s 50k. We talked for a while. Real nice guy. From Montana. Going to school in Winchester, VA. Nice to meet you, Rob. Thanks for the conversation.

We stuck around to watch a few more friends finish. I stuffed my face with muffins, and devoured a dozen orange slices. Misting tent. Porta-potty. And lots and lots of deep breaths. Phew! That was awesome.

The Takeaway

I sit here now, 60+ ounces of water later, an ice bath, self-massage, cold shower, protein shake, and just flat out laid down for 30 minutes. And I feel good. Real good.

The human body is an incredible machine. If you treat it right… listen to it… give it what it tells you it needs, when it needs it… it’s capable of some pretty incredible things.

If you don’t believe me, please test it out. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you discover.

2010 Richmond Marathon – MTT Volunteer Report

My Richmond Marathon volunteer experience was different from previous years. I got the same sense of satisfaction for helping the runners, but this year I gained a new perspective on what running is really about.

Spending a few hours with 3 amazing coaches from the Marathon Training Team will do that.

While an injured hamstring prevented me from running the 2010 Richmond Marathon, my love for the sport could not keep me on the sideline.

I’ve been a course marshall the past 2 years. Today’s marathon, however, was much more exciting than standing on a street corner, telling 10,000 runners to go exactly where they already knew they had to go. Since I missed out on the Marathon Training Team (MTT) fun all summer, this was my last chance to see what all the hype was about. I was assigned to drive 3 amazing MTT coaches all over the course to meet up with runners — Vicki, Donnie & Q.

Marathon Training Team coaches are da bomb

When I arrived at mile 5 to meet the coaches, I instantly knew I was in the right place. 25 yellow shirts, a tall green hat, a few pairs of striped socks & a viking helmet. Yup. These were the guys I was looking for.

  • Donnie has been involved in with the Marathon Training Team for 8 years, but this was his first as a coach
  • Vicki has been a coach for about 5 years
  • Q has been there since the beginning. He has also been seen dressed in drag. The guy is just in-it-to-win-it, and that’s all there is to it.

The epitome of running

Fun. The MTT coaches have figured it out. These guys love running, and their joyful energy is contagious. They were all over the course, at every turn, beside every MTT runner. Crazy shirts, hats & socks. Smiling at every runner, until the last one crossed the finish line.

The journey. Running is about the journey towards a goal. A personal goal. A life change. A complete 180°. Or maybe just a new hobby. Whatever the journey is… it’s yours. Own it. Be proud of it.

Friendship. Most people see running as an individual sport, but running is meant to be shared. Although I didn’t have a chance to share it with the Marathon Training Team this year, I witnessed it first hand in the 3 hours I was out there. It’s magical. And not in a Disney World kind of way. In a goosebumps, happy tears, genuinely joyful kind of way.

Energy. Rejuvenated.

Typically, when I volunteer for a race, it’s all about the runners. While my reason for volunteering still had the runner’s best interests at heart, this experience was an exciting one for me.

My energy & excitement for running has been rejuvenated. Dealing with a nagging injury for 5 months had a negative effect on me.

Being out there today helped me forget about 5 crappy months of no running, and once again look to the future – a future full of fun, friendship & incredible journeys.

It’s not until you share your running with others that you truly experience what the sport has to offer.

2010 Napier Realtors Sprint Triathlon – Volunteer Report

After speaking up about my dissatisfaction on 2 different occasions volunteering at RMS events, I had a chance to do something about it. Here’s my report on being the Volunteer Coordinator for the Napier Realtors Sprint Triathlon in Midlothian, VA on Oct 10, 2010.

After writing a letter to the former Richmond Multisports (RMS) volunteer coordinator, the owner of RMS, Laurie Mehler, gave me a chance to coordinate all volunteers at the Napier Realtors Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, Oct 10th.

Now that I have seen first hand what it’s like behind-the-scenes of a triathlon, I have a different perspective. While I still believe I did a better job than the 2 previous races I volunteered for, I was far from perfect. Here’s a recap of how the day went.

Race day setup & check-in

I arrived at 5:30am & began setting up the volunteer check-in tent. I got t-shirts, water, Clif Bars, etc. ready. Double-checked that I had everything I would need. And to my surprise, the first high schoolers started arriving at 6am (15 minutes early).

Mistake

I had different groups of volunteers checking in at different times. I did this so they wouldn’t be standing around with nothing to do, however, it was way too difficult to keep track of.

Next time

I’ll ask all volunteers to check-in 2 hours before the race starts, and I’ll run a 15-minute orientation session & walk-through of the transition area. I’ll also have one of my course captains (either run or bike captain) to man the check-in tent while I’m meeting with the volunteers.

Volunteer assignments. Why bother?

I’m very organized, and this race was no different. I had assignments for every volunteer. Everything was planned out… and of course, nothing went according to plan. There were positions I needed volunteers for that I had no idea about until 5 seconds before they needed to be in place. A spotter to ride with Jim Napier in the pace car. An outgoing person to sell merchandise. Extra swim volunteers.

Next time

I would still assign vols to the bike & run course. But for everything else, I’d just ask them to show up 2 hours before the race, and plan on being there for 5 hours.

Communication

This is basically all I did for 5 hours. Cell phone in one hand. Walkie talkie in the other. When I wasn’t talking to the RMS team, I was shifting around volunteers & instructing them on what to do.

I owe a lot of credit to Matt Kirkendall, David Kunnen, Patrick, Barbara & the rest of the RMS team. We worked together extremely well.

Lesson learned

You can’t over-communicate when you’re on the race production team. If you’re wondering whether you should repeat yourself… than you should.

Teamwork

I had 4 incredible course captains. Lori Perez, Tom McMahon, Laura Perry & Vicki Hottle surpassed even my highest expectations. I felt like the 5 of us had known each other for years, and you would’ve thought we’d all done this many times before. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

Summary

It was a long day & a lot of hard work, but I truly had a great time. To be part of a team of ~10 people who put on a successful triathlon with over 600 athletes, that’s something special. The RMS team is a great group of people who love the sport of triathlon, and love helping others achieve their goals.

I owe a huge thanks to the Tucker High School track team, and their coach, John Amoroso. They supplied 25+ volunteers for the event, and Coach Amoroso owned the mic as the race announcer. The James River XC team also supplied 15 volunteers.

Volunteer Coordinator responsibilities – before the race

Weeks before the race

  • I personally emailed every volunteer who signed up online
  • I created a spreadsheet with all the volunteer information
  • I secured 4 course captains: transition, swim, bike, run
  • I assigned each volunteer to a specific area (and many were assigned to multiple areas)
  • I dropped flyers off at REI & Starbucks to solicit more volunteers
  • I found 2 motorcycle marshalls & a PA announcer (not easy to find, btw)

One week prior to the race

  • I finalized race maps & spreadsheets for each of my 4 course captains
  • I attended a team meeting at ACAC Fitness Center to review the course setup

Saturday before the race

  • I helped with setup at ACAC, and got all final questions answered
  • I didn’t sleep but maybe 4 hours because my mind was in full-out race mode

You might enjoy my short list of tips for volunteer coordinators that I wrote before this experience. I’ll be sure to post a more in-depth checklist at some point.