Monday, August 29, 2011

a weekend with Element Racing

This past weekend I volunteered at my first 'off-road' tri for Element Racing.  What an experience.  I was asked by Jackie (you remember her, she lent me the Pinarello last season) so I couldn't say no.  I'll post more with pictures on the race set up, race day and the porta-potty incident (ewwwwwwww) in the next day or two but I will say this for now, I had a blast.  James, the race director and his people were amazing.  They were well set up to handle the volunteers, everyone had a job and it ran really smoothly from my vantage point.  I didn't even mind getting up at 4:30am to be at the quarry before 6am.. ok I am lying about that part. 

This morning I was forwarded an email from James to the teams and volunteers thanking them and it just made my day.  Because I was working registration and kit pick up I didn't get to see anything after the start of the race, we had to get back to our stations for the mini-try/relay reg.

James you'll never see me doing an off-road (my god could you imagine the injuries) but I'm more than happy to help out any time.

my partner in crime setting up on Saturday
Good morning team!
Team captain’s, please pass this onto you team, and everyone else, please pass this onto friends that you brought out. I do not want to miss anyone with my most sincere thank-you.

Team. I truly mean the word team as that is how it went down. So many people, coming together, taking on projects, taking on stresses, giving up their weekend, taking ownership of their areas. Absolutely everyone I saw put in extra efforts all over the race, be it during set-up, race day, very very early morning, and then making that final push for takedown and clean up (one which should be in the record books. The van was packed and quarry cleaned up by 1:45pm at the latest).

Over the race day I had so many athletes find me to thank- me for the race, but to make sure that I passed on special thank-you’s to the most amazing volunteers. My response was always, its the team which makes this happen, and this would not be here with out them.

Here is one which came in only hours after the race:

“A quick note to thank you for a great event today at Kelso; great organization and the best volunteers!!!”

I know more of these will come in over the next few days and I will do my best to pass them along.

There are so many stories coming in so I thought I’d take a moment to pass along what I had heard, was told about or witnessed myself:

 - the stories of how cheerful and happy waters stations were, how the run on the “red carpet” will soon become a signature of the run course (I personally can’t wait to see the costumes for that next year)
- the quickest re-set of a water station ever in history as one came down as a new race was approaching
 - racers stopping at water station for a quick conversation as they enjoyed their cool drink
 - word spreading that one of the happiest places to be was at registration - yay, that's where I was!!
 - one of the first (and probably not my last time) seeing someone swim the entire 1km course using a double arm back stroke.
 - how many swimmers were able to take that much needed rest on the kayakers, and SUP’s.
 - two racers stopping at the “second loop” sign on the bike course and having a quick
conversation about doing the second lap or not only to go.. Why not
 - so many flat tires out on the course this year
 - a double flat tire participant getting a standing ovation from the crowd as he ran his bike back into transition.
 - The OAT official catching up with that infamous “F-bomb” athlete from the run course
 - Dave on the water course – I head stories through-out the day of your massive efforts to ensure cups and water where they needed to be. I hope you log that day in your training. Jessica, you too as I heard about your intervals on the 2km forest section between water station 3 and the carpet path. 
 - so many sprint finishes 
 - the run course was declared over and over again as one of the most amazing run’s they had seen or done.
 - No one got lost, miss directed on any of the course
 - everyone finished safe with only 4 participants walking away with some new scars to support their incredible wipe out stories.

There are just so many stories. I encourage you, that if you have an amazing story from the race, to pass it along. I find this reflection and appreciation is important as the actual event itself goes by so quickly, you sometimes don’t get the chance to take it all in until you take this time to do so. Not to mention, there may be another volunteer who has more to add to that stories from earlier or later on in the race.

I consider the Mine Over Matter 2011 event an amazing success, and its success is a result of everyone's over the top efforts.

I thank-you all for your support, you friendship and for everything you all did to make that day happen for so many racers.

All the best,
James Kowalewski
Race Director
Element Racing

I wanna know more about that 'f-bomb' runner.. hmmmm


Matty O said...

WOW! Sounds like A LOT went down haha.

I do want to do an offroad tri next year. Time to dust off the ole mountain bike :)

Great job volunteering... I don't think your portapotty story beats mine... just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the gory details about the port-a-potty incident!!


Jason said...

That is awesome. There is nothing more rewarding than volunteering. I need to pick out a race and do it again b/c it is that much fun.