London IV: The eye of the storm

Saturday:
A blessed day off. There’s one thing on the schedule today: check in bike for standard distance. Okay. That I can handle.

Honestly, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by all this scheduling. Be here at this time with these six items, and if you’re at the wrong time with the wrong items you will not pass GO and you will not collect $200. Sure, these events are tough to organise, and there are a lot of rules and regulations to follow, but hey, we are all amateurs, aren’t we? We’re not racing for any prizemoney.

During the sprint on Friday, an American who finished the bike just in front of me was given grief by two different officials: the first for taking his helmet off before racking his bike, and the second for not securing the replaced helmet. Yes, those are the rules, and he should have known better, but the American still had my sympathy.

So, I’m not sure where I stand with the organisation. Truth be told, I’m a little weary of shuffling in and out of Hyde Park. Walking and walking and walking (often in drizzle), when I should be resting and gathering my remaining strength. The transition area is rather difficult to access (and it’s here I really miss the Hamburg City Man, with its paved, carpeted transition area positioned right next to a station exit).

But the event has great people. The weather hasn’t been kind, but the volunteers remain cheery and accommodating.

Last point on the organisation: in my opinion, it’s really asking a lot of the athletes to get up at 5am on race day (when there’s no tube, and when you could see stars, if there weren’t any clouds) just to position bike shoes, helmet and running shoes, a task that takes about five minutes. Then have them trudge back out of Hyde Park and back to the hotel or whatever accommodation to wait around for start time (in my case 10:10am). Surely there must be a more efficient and athlete-friendly way to rack bikes (without leaving them overnight) and set up gear.

The other athletes I’ve spoken to are also peeved by this early morning task. But most of them shrug their shoulders and roll with it, having travelled so far and put in so much effort just to get here.

I’m wondering what others think about the organisation. Any thoughts? Am I the only one who thinks bike check-out resembles terminal 5 at Heathrow?

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