So, I'm thinking of heading to FL in November to volunteer for the race and maybe (BIG maybe) get in line for IMFL 2010.
Anyway, the volunteer form asks for my top 3 preferences... and I am at a loss. From watching Clearwater and Kona last year I know that transition is a whole different ball game and that would be good to see...
I was thinking the change tent as my first option.
There is also a gear bag option - would that be retrieving them? Do you think that would be worthwhile so I could still get a sense of transition? There's a "morning clothes" option, I have no clue what that is. There's "bike handler," too - I'm guessing those are the people that retrieve your bikes when you swim in and take the bikes when you jump off at dismount - so I'd get to witness some of the transition stuff then, too, right? Was also thinking about body marking as an option so I could get my job done and have the day to watch the race and cheer.
I'm definitely open to suggestions and happy to hear your thoughts! Thanks.
I am doing IMFL. Let me know what you are doing as far as staying out there. Glenn might be headed down with me and Angie and the Baby are flying in, I think my Buddy Brad is also headed in there. So we are venturing to change and rent a condo for the 5th-9th. Your more than welcome to join in if we solidify everything in the next couple of weeks.
Hey Mark, thanks... I think I have a place to stay figured out (thanks to Tuan), but if that changes or doesn't work out I'll definitely touch base! Any thoughts on a good volunteer spot?
My guess based on two IMs:
Bike handler = gets the bike for the athletes as they enter the bike racks and then re-racks the bike when they enter T2.
Changing tent = help athletes with changing, collects the bags, put on sunscreen, etc.
Gear bag = someone who helps place the bags back on the rack??
Body marking is very early and doesn't seem very exciting. Most of the athletes are pretty nervous at this time!
Wetsuit peelers are very popular but you'll probably get a little wet.
It is very exciting volunteering and cheering during the race. The athletes always seem are very appreciative of everyone... even a nut ringing a cow bell until his fingers start bleeding!!
I have volunteered at Florida twice and done it once. I usually sign up for body marking so I have an opportunity to see most of the race. One thing you may want to do is pick something that will let you see the swim. Since it is an ocean swim it might be helpful to be on the beach so you can get a sense for the course and the current the swimmers are facing.
Having volunteered as a gear bag person at IMFL last year, I can say it was a great experience to prepare me to do the race this year.
As far as what the gear bag volunteers do, unlike IMLP, gear bags were not on racks (at least last year). Athletes dropped each bag off in a different bin. The volunteers had to take those bins, and line the bags up by number. Then, as an athlete ran into transition, someone called out their number. The volunteers found the bag and rushed it to the isle where the athletes ran on their way to the change tent. Finally, once the cutoff time was reached, you took all the bags that the athletes put their used swim or bike clothes in and lined them back up by number for the athletes to pick up after the race.
What I learned: it is hard to hear the number of the athlete running into transition, so, as you come into transition, just start yelling your own race number. Also, it can be amusing to watch some of the volunteers dash and hurdle over bags, people, whatever in an effort to get a bag to an athlete as quick as possible.
Otherwise, Kevin hit the nail on the head for all the others.