Iron Man NZ - The Insiders' Story  

NiceGuyMush 48M
111 posts
3/8/2006 11:51 am

Last Read:
3/29/2006 6:04 pm

Iron Man NZ - The Insiders' Story

Well hi there everyone - I'm new to this 'game'- so to speak.
For my first ever blog I thought I would do something clean - The real Iron Man event not a 'rod of steel' so to speak.

So there I am role on Saturday Morning after months of preparation, organising and recruiting volunteers I have 300 marshalls lined up around the 180km cycle leg of the NZ Iron Man. Its 4am, I barely slept, its my first year as a director of marshalls, the high viz vests only arrived in Taupo at 9.30 pm Friday, so I have deliver these around the course before the race starts..... There's a wind but its not too bad. I have some breakfast, a big day, a quick shower and some bacon and eggs will do the trick. 4.45am in the ute and on the road, turn on the VHF and call the 'coms centre' for an update, the wind is building quickly, by 6am its blowing 40knots and the lake looks like a surf beach. understandably at 6.30am with 1/2 an hour before race start, the race director cans the swim leg - much to the athletes' collective releif. So its down to a biathalon event not a tri. Its 6.45am and the wind is howling, the 120m long marquee is shaking in the wind and the poles are bouncing on the ground... there is no way we can start the bike course in this.. so delay the start. Forcast is for the breeze to die around 10 - 11am so the 11 is the start time. The logistics are a mare, we have to move gear form different transition points with out the time to do it, change traffic management and I've got 300 volunteers on the course - in the wind and cold and apart from a mobile or driving the course, no effective means of communication. But hey we are Kiwi's and if there is one thing we are good at, its thinking on our feet and making the best out of a bad situation. So head down bum up and we get it sorted, not too many traffic headaches and thankfully no accidents. A big day.

Now the thing about Iron Man is the people - you can tell who the athlete's are, ripped, lean and absolutely awesome human specimens. But you gotta wonder what makes them tick to put yourself through all that training, the pain... I'm reasonably fit and have played and enjoy sport, but its something more than that to do an Iron Man. Despite what must be an increadible level of personal focus, they are great people, plenty of pats on the back at the prizegiving for a job well done, getting a race away - which was what they where there for after all!

The top 10 line up on stage, Men all different heights and shoulder widths, but all lean mean machines. The women, lean some tall some short, broad shoulders on an American girl - she must be a swimmer! All look tired and reckon the day took as much out of them as full Iron Man. The wind was extreeme.

A great tale - a 60yr old vet on his tail wind bike ride, really excited about getting to 40kph, he turns the corner and into the wind, speed drops down to 9kph, thats like walking pace and its 45km back to Taupo and then the run to go. What a triumph of the human spirit!

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