Monday, September 26, 2011

ITU Marshaling and the USAT Elite Nationals - Buffalo, NY

Friday I flew out to Buffalo, NY to get my first ITU marshal experience.  The planes flying out of Chicago were packed with New England Patriot fans; didn't know so many lived in Chicago.  What's interesting is a nickel had gotten caught in my jeans pocket and I got the TSA pat down.  When I turned my pockets inside out the nickel came flying out.  So yeah... something that small was found.  GOOD!  Got to the hotel about 9:30pm and caught up with my roommate Graham Wilson.

Saturday was an early start.  Up at 5:00 eastern time - my normal wake up time on a work day at home - we were in the car by 6 after another briefing on the ITU expectations and some breakfast.  We prepped for the elite women's race and before you know it the gals were checking in.  We were checking bikes to make sure that they were legal with UCI and ITU standards.  Another person was taking pictures of the front and back of the uniforms of the gals.  (This was kind of creepy.  An older guy taking pictures of women in a tent of their front and back sides- a ITU uniform check for the placement and correctness of the triathlon uniforms.  I thought a female should have been taking those shots.)  The USAT folks came in and asked me to start getting birthdays for the women who were 23 and under.  I felt really old when the first gal told me her birthday was 12/9/1991.  That is the day I graduated from college.  This person could be my daughter.  Damn... I'm getting old.

The race went well.  I called a penalty on #2 (later learned it was Laura Bennett) for mounting before the bike mount line.  She was clearly 3-4 meters behind the line.  She was even out of the camera shot that we take for each area in ITU.  4-5 pedal strokes on the bike before the line.  That is a :15 second penalty.  Laura kept going and ultimately served her penalty on the last lap of the run.  She won the race by 6 seconds.

The men's race was a little later and a bit larger.  In the video that Mary did check out how much the dock is leaning.  The race was a bit less dramatic with Hunter Kemper winning by a wide margin.

All the athletes at this race were true pros.  Those who were penalized or DSQ (that's ITU for DQ'd) were very professional.  It was a really great format for racing.  I think the US amateur athletes could learn a lot from watching ITU professional athlete behavior.  No crying or bitching about a penalty.  Take it and move on.  (The coaches can appeal/bitch up a storm.  If they protest a call $50 for the officials to review it.  If an athlete complains about a penalty - the clock doesn't start until they stop bitching.  I kinda like that.)

Went out for wings and ITU talk (when in Buffalo - try the wings) Saturday.

Sunday was another review of the ITU methodology and philosophy.  Then lunch with my USAT bosses before jumping back on a plan to Chicago.  On my plane was Andy Potts' coach.  Had a conversation with him and then we were off.

On the taxiway into Chicago, some guys from Buffalo who were headed to Las Vegas and had a tight connection got up out of their seats seconds after we landed and started walking toward the cockpit.  The flight attendant pinned them into the kitchen area.  We were about 15 minutes behind schedule due to the rain and winds aloft.  Then the karma train came to visit... the jet bridge was malfunctioning and EVERYONE had to wait another 5 minutes.  The Vegas people made their flight, but it was fun seeing some self centered jerk offs have to wait.  My only hope would be for them to get a fine too.

Here is the video Mary shot and some shots I put together.

Something about the clouds reflecting off the water that is awesome.

Hello Winnetka!

Chicago in the distance.

Happy puppy!  48 hrs away was very tough on her.  PS: Lorrie was glad to see me too.

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