Thankfully an awesome volunteer caught this image as it happen! Awesome work Byron!
One week ago, over 2,000 individuals completed the inaugural Ironman Texas! This day was absolutely amazing! The morning began at the crack of dawn (seriously!) at the VIP tent (I use that loosely) at the swim start. Apparently there was no tent so the VIP area ended up just being a grassy spot by the water. I am NOT complaining because I witnessed every aspect of the beginning of the race! Oh – I must mention prior to the race. When I was searching for the “VIP tent” I walked right past Mirinda Carfrae, I could have touched her!! I’m still kicking myself for not asking for a photo!!! Moments later I saw her walking with Tim O’Donnell (the BF) toward the start.
After watching all the swimmers make their way, I made my way over to the transition area to see the bike exit. By the time I arrived, many of the pros were already making their way out on the bike route. Amazingly, several age groupers were heading out as well. Awesome! Wish I could have stayed for a while, but I needed to make my way over to the bike aide station #9. Consulting my GPS, I realize the easiest way (without going WAY out of my way) was utilizing the bike route. I found the most distant aspect I’d have to cross with the bikers, which allowed me to cheer them on! I loved it! I’m sure people thought I was crazy yelling out my window. There were about 5-7 guys traveling through this area at the time.
When I find where the aide station was planned, I park and make my way to the front. Keep in mind, I don’t know any of these people but they were ALL so NICE! There was a HUGE smoker (like the size of a car!), tents with chairs & tables, food, drinks, everything a volunteer would need when cheering on Ironmen!! The station was set up with water, Gatorade Perform, Powerbars, Gu, bananas, first aide and the all important port-a-pot. Within an hour or so, we get word that the first biker is coming through so we all line up to offer everything we had. Lights are flashing, a bike is coming forth and as he approaches everyone is getting excited. I see #1 on his shoulders, see the K-Swiss bike kit and know it’s CHRIS LIETO! The closer he gets he goes to grab for a water and it’s mine!! I just handed Chris Lieto water!! Yes, I’m beyond excited at this point! It set up a wonderful afternoon! The day moved on quickly with a crazy mid afternoon full of water going out faster than we can chill it and hundreds of people cycling by. This is amazing! By mid-afternoon a majority of the participants had passed but there were still more to come. Many were taking a couple of minutes to get off their bikes and stretch their legs, grab some water then continue down the road. Once they passed our station, they still had 18 miles of biking, transition and a marathon – 26.2 miles of running! These people are amazing! (Favorite word of this post ) The last cyclist passed at 5:00pm and we all cheered him on hoping to give some motivation to finish out those last miles.
The day ended sunburned, sweaty and absolutely disgusting, with a HUGE smile on my face. I had such a wonderful time and look forward to participating next year (as a volunteer that is!). I don’t think I’ll ever have the dedication or ambition to participate in an Ironman but I’ll be more than happy to help everyone else achieve their goals!
Here are the pictures I took!