Saturday, May 28, 2016

Disgustingly Inspired

Professional Mountain Biker racers arrived in our valley and lined up for the downtown criterium race.  Last weekend started off with free music, Pro Mountain Bikers racing on downtown streets, and beer served by the Sierra Nevada Brewery crew. This was the start of a weekend that I was looking for.

Almost 600 mountain bikers flooded the streets, suffered up the climbs, and asked themselves why or when will this end. Its a rough course is an understatement. Many of the races respond to post interviews with " its the views" 40 miles of it or " single track was unreal" or " by far the hardest cross country race ever". The leaders all made reference regarding how hard the race becomes mentally.

I was pumped, the energy was high, fellow humans interacting with one another, and perfect temperatures forecasted!!!

Downtown GJ Art on Main St.

HOWEVER..... my weekend was leading volunteers and supporting racers of another breed. I took on a role as Lead Volunteer Coordinator for the HITs Triathlon. What a joke that was. HINTS: the title of this post. This town secretes excuse after excuse. One of my favorites was " Highline Lake Is Way Out There " and you know this person will drive to Wally World twice in one day. Nobody around here wanted to volunteer and I became so personally jaded by how many people straight out asked me," What do I get if I do?"

I crossed paths with another coordinator while recuiting about a month ago and they said," Good Luck with that and HOPE YOU GET PAID." That bothered me and I choose to believe that this community would prevail for sure. Still, very discouraging.
The Boy Dog

Almost no volunteers showed up!! Saturday morning was a stress show and nobody had any answers. The staff of HITs were doing their thing and people were just walking around in that Pre-Ironman rituals of theirs.

I ended up at aid station #1 of the Marathon portion. The section that I was on was part of an out and back, so I saw the Half and Full athletes come by 4 or 8 times. And just like in Ortho-Bionomy, patterns began to show up.

Only a brief moment with these people, perpetuated a common thread. Its impossible for me to capture the inter workings of these athletes so I won't even try. Somehow, I was able to meet these runners at their model of the world. One of the best moves on my part was playing my old iPod on shuffle, turned it up, and faced the speaker towards the assent. Huge Ripple Effect

100 pounds of clay

The weather was absolutely brutal because of the wind IN BOTH directions. All of these athletes paid the price during the bike portion and began to deteriorate during the run. Safety was always a concern and ice cold water was my priority. Cooling down the core and hydrating became key. Having conversation was only for the brief detection of pain, DONE, or feeling much better than the last time through.

 I began to call in for more ice and I set the GELS on ice. I mean, who wants a red hot berry blast of heat gu glob and sugar???? That was a big hit and the ICE COLD water was the biggest relief. Variables to the situations were ever present and my job was to deliver and give back.
Amber's Brilliant Water Catcher

Wasn't long and I noticed the Half folks were about done because they were the only ones to "bathe" in the small water cups. Thats when the wind picked up. So get this..... 59F swim temps for 2 miles, two loops of a hilly sideways wind for a 56 mile bike ride, and then a mind melting marathon.

I began meeting the racers before the station with a cup of ICE COLD water. Every racers was greeted with positive reinforcements. I would say things like.... that was a fast loop... you look a lot better than the last trip by.... you look much taller than before.... and always an ICE COLD cup of water as an offering.
Little Starters on the Left

Like I mentioned, patterns began to present themselves. The Male Leader liked the ice cold sponges first, then a shot of water, then a sponge to put behind his neck, and a shot of water has dug deep to find his stride again. One women only wanted the sports drink HEED. Another guy wanted the warm coke and his "friend" only wanted the ICE COLD water. Many Ironman racers didn't have a clue as to what they wanted but they enjoyed the socializing and music.

Racers of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities competed in this mass suffering of trudging along. One guy had basketball shorts on, some wore hats to try and escape UV Rays, and others just focused on moving forward.

All I could do was support, encourage, and look for signs of abnormal behaviors. I meet runners all night long with the same approach as the previous runner. And the music was AWESOME!! On my iPod is random mix but what I had spaced out on was old radio shows of mine.

There was a time that I had Movie Night with the Padre. I would play DVD's through the soundboard and add in my own soundtrack at appropriate times. So randomly played tracks from Blazing Saddles, Back to the Future, Wizard of OZ, Airplane, and all the other Jam Bands shows and what not's would play at any given time. Almost all of the runners made comments, laughed, and recognized a tune from Wide Spread Panic, String Cheese Incident, or a much needed Willie Nelson.
Outside of the town Hotchkiss 

This would be about the time that Vitamin H began to be shared. Two gals were "pacing" a guy that was strong but was sooooo suffering. We built an unforgettable bond and I will cherish that embrace for years to come. Many runners that don't hug began hugging me and a common statement was made " don't take this wrong but I am so glad that I won't see you again" and I would hit them with " let the wind push you on home " or " YOU DID IT" or " all the other events this summer will be achievable because you finished THIS Ironman" or what ever else came out of my mouth. Truly magical

As daylight was lost into blackness and MILES were no longer on the radar, the Full Moon danced behind a thin layer of mid level clouds. My aid station became my own dance party. I set up the available headlights to reflect off the speed road sign in greens or reds and I turned up the tunes just a little more. It was my homing beacon if you will.

During this thin slice of my own free time, I watched the bats come alive, a headlight of a runner would appear and it was time to meet their needs. I quickly identified clothing but the first note of a voice would give it away and I knew to grab the coke or grab the HEED. Followed by moments of solitude due to the pure serenity of it.

We all dug deeper than we ever could imagine or could possibly comprehend the day before the Ironman. We were all at the start at 7am, we were all on our feet, we were all hot, and we were all about supporting each other. I am still deeply touched by the words of encouragement EVERY racer gave a passing racer. Nobody missed a beat. I would be talking with a couple of runners and the famous glad I won't see you was said and all of us would shout a congratulated saying of some sorts. We are talking 27 athletes painfully running but still able to share a joyous acknowledgment while passing one another. This took place ALL day long and into the night.
Not Pleased About Waiting On Me

The very last runner was from Philly and he had the worst little strip of a sunburn across his low back from were his shirt didn't cover while riding. I called him Philadelphia and he told me at one point that he was a jazz musical. He was concerned about the cut off time and all I could do was remind him to simply complete the next loop. OK, complete this loop. Who cares about time, just do another loop. And YES, he finished his Ironman at 11:52pm with a Midnight CUT OFF.

Now, do I want to charge on into an Ironman??? HELL NO. Believe me, I was inspired throughout this event. But I am inspired in another way. How awesome would it be to have more groups volunteer and bring life to an aid station?!?!?! Just that short time frames in someones race IS the difference in that persons race. I can't describe the feeling I experienced while a number of racers told me they were going to DNF but ONLY after my aid station. The feelings I felt when a racer would say that they could hear my music and knew they would make it. To look into a beaten racers eyes and know they are going to finish and not take all the credit but point out how I had made the difference. The camaraderie was the true difference.

Making A Difference!! That Was What This Event Was About!! Helping!! Giving Back!! This community has supported me and have helped me fulfill my Ortho practice and for one day I was able to give back. What A Feeling!!

Stay Strong And Smile To Everyone

P.S. What Kind Of Themes Would You Like To See OR Have Seen????


  1. I'm hearing rumors that this was the last GJOR???

    1. I Do Believe That Epic Rides Will Find A Way To Bring It Back..... We ALL Hope

    2. Outdoor Recreation Coalition
      May 25 at 1:46pm ·
      Please read and repost this Grand Junction Off Road update. A few of us on the ORC Leadership Council have had extensive discussions over the last few days with the BLM, City Council, and Epic Rides. GREAT NEWS all around.
      1-The BLM just gave Epic a 3-year permit for the GJOR with significant reductions in cost.
      2-The majority of City Council (6 members) are in complete support of the race continuing and are committed to funding it. (They vote on this in June, but everyone involved is confident the race's funding will be approved.)
      3-Epic's partnership with Downtown Grand Junction continues to be strong- the downtown music festival in conjunction with GJOR has been a huge success.
      CONCLUSION--Epic is very confident they will return for years to come.
      If you'd like to help, please send a letter of thank you to our City Council. We are very excited about the positive direction our leaders have taken with this investment in economic development in our community!

      See You All In 2017