SUNDAY APRIL 30TH
St. Anthonys Triathlon
The Desert Ride
Today was a really busy day for Chapter M. Our chapter committed to having eleven bikes to be used for officiating the St. Anthonys Triathlon, which is one of the countries most desired endurance events. In all, three thousand five hundred contestants were allowed to participate in the event. The magnitude of the support and contenders that were present was just plain awesome.
For us that supported the event it required an early and I mean early Riders Meeting. 5:45 came awful early the sun hadnt even gotten up yet!
Following our meeting we made our way to downtown St. Petersburg and to the area of the Pier. It appeared that all 3,500 contestants were already there. The place was a mass of people, bikes and equipment. The contestants were quite visible in their body suits and wet suits, as the first part of the event was the swim around the pier out into the Tampa bay, which was becoming quite choppy because of the wind.
The second challenge was a 25-mile bike course- using the streets of St. Petersburg. . This is the part that we provided our bikes for officials and photographers. Our portion required shuttling these people to various areas of the course in order that they monitor that the contestants were following the required rules. Monitoring the riders required our careful navigation with the contestants along the streets. The first word here was safety .theirs and ours.
The experience was well worth the effort. It was quite a learning experience. Ages were written on the competitors calf and registration numbers on the arms. The bikes also had the registration numbers on them.
Just a few tidbits
The front wheel on some of the bikes was worth over a thousand dollars. Air pressure was about 150 lbs. Many bike frames were make of light alloys, worth thousands of dollars.
We often shadowed a group of riders. One instance my official asked what our speed was. I responded 28 mph just then I moved over as a competitor came by on our right. He had 70 on his calf. I guess its time to skip a few desert rides.
Lucy, Rich, and Jim Jackson continued to shuttle the photographers into the jogging portion of the event and got them back to the finish line for the completion of the triathlon. It had been one very interesting morning.
You know all that riding called for a desert ride later that evening. Yea, I know I said I should skip a few, but it was a beautiful evening for a bike ride. A 6:45 PM riders meeting was followed by a ride down to Scoops Ice Cream Shop on Pasadena Beach. The weather was perfect. After satisfying our taste buds with some of the many ice cream flavors, we posed for a group photo that would be tacked to the wall with the other hundred or so pictures.
As the sun set over the Gulf, we mounted our bikes and took a leisurely ride northward along the gulf beaches. The evening had turned to night. To our right were the lights of the inter-coastal waterway, as they sparkled on the water. To our left were the Gulf of Mexico and the beautiful beaches. An occasional flicker of a boats navigation light could be seen out on the horizon. We proceeded up to Clearwater Beach and then headed east across the causeway back to the mainland. About halfway across the causeway we had to stop as traffic came to a stand still. After about a twenty minute we found out why the wait. There in front of us was a fireworks display the city was putting on as part of their annual Sun-n-Fun activities. We had a front row seat. What a great surprise and enjoyable way to end our evening.