It was over three years ago when I signed up for my first Revolution3 event. If I remember correctly, which I probably don’t, it was just after the tax man paid me for having too many kids.

Having just did my first ever IMLP in July 2008 and seeing what kind of big show they put on I had been slightly tainted. I will be honest, the IM show is grand and HUGE. With that comes every little kids fear, getting lost in the crowd. I felt that way too. Actually I’ve done 3 full IM races and haven’t been told “Tim Andrus, You, are and Ironman”, so how is that for being lost in a crowd.

Anyway, Rev3 was putting on their first ‘big show’ in Quassy 2009. I took my chances and ran with the new kid in town. I loved it! Their race wasn’t nearly as HUGE as the other guys, but big enough. They still managed to make everyone feel like someone. I became a Rev3 lifer at that point.

Fast forward to August 9th 2012 and you find me boarding a plane in route to Wisconsin to work my first Rev3 event. Sure I volunteered for a few hours in Quassy this year, but this time I was helping run the show for three days!

After a series of unfortunate weather related flight issues followed by a 3hr rental car ride, I made it into the Dells just about one minute shy of Friday…….. and so began the tireless effort of the weekend.

We were staying in a motel, of the highest quality a poor college student could afford. Joking aside, the hotel wasn’t perfect but was more than sufficient for the few hours spent there for the next 3 nights.

Breakfast was at 7:00am Friday morning and thanks to Laura Mount was greatly appreciated by yours truly. Though not bacon and eggs….. it’s almost like my wife talked to Laura and told her not to make me fat. After a short breakfast combined with a meet and greet with the roughly 30 workers that would be putting in a full time effort we split off into our designated positions. Wow, this is going to be cake…….um, sure.

My job was to work timing (and like everyone else and their job, do anything that NEEDS to be done). My first task was pretty simple, I think they were testing me and Ryan Oilar (fellow member of two man team,The Tweedles). We were sent to return the rental car that was costing us a fortune and head out to the stores in search of some odd ball items. At first the list was small and from one person, then it began to grow as each area began throwing out ‘orders’ to bring back….. ok, this is starting to feel like an actual job now…yikes. We took notes and realized that we were being counted on. I’m happy to relay that our shopping trip was a success!

Back at the race site Tweedle Dum (sorry Ryan it’s my post), and I split up. I ended up over at the transition site helping set up. Ever wonder how those name plates get put on the bike racks? A human with a staple gun! This time it was Carole, Holly, myself and…. well lets just say it was just the three of us. We attacked those racks and gott’er done. Next! Carpet for the pro’s, check. Banners for the pro’s, check. What should we do with this space here…….. ponder, ponder…….. I know, lets fill it full of collegiate racers and make THEM feel special! Move a bunch of racks, reattach 46 name tags and layout an unplanned transition change, Check. Now lets go figure out where we are placing the timing mats for the swim exit, check. Hey, it’s lunch time before the athletes check in, back to the expo. Snack on a sandwich grab a soda, break is over folks!

At 3:00 the athlete check-in is set to begin so we needed to finish setting up the timing area. This is not usually a big issue. We set up the monitors, plug in a few wires, presto change-o we have ourselves a chip scanning assembly line. Not today! Today it seems we find ourselves in a crazy electrical vortex where if you stand in the right spot, NOTHING WORKS RIGHT! After at least an hour of trouble shooting, including trying several VERY expensive pieces of equipment and varying cables and ultimately setting up an additional chip scanning station, we found the culprit to this Vortex of electronic death. I just happen to work for an electric utility company and realized that underneath that fantastic path of fresh pavement that runs from the street all the way through this huge parking lot and over to that ‘largest water park in the world’ is VERY LIKELY underground power lines. This is very normal….. but who would have thought that ONE of our kiosks was sitting right on this? The other two weren’t and functioned perfectly, in fact, THIS kiosk worked fine until the park opened and the power draw spiked. After setting up another tent and moving the station a mere 8ft forward and off that pavement, all was fine with the world…… at least with that kiosk. After the athletes started rolling in, my day got really busy. The Tweedles were standing at these kiosks…… and standing and standing and standing…. And checking in the athletes by scanning their chips, verifying their info (which seemed to need some fine tuning rather often which was Jamie’s job) and taking their picture for the SUPER HUGE “jumbotron”. I will admit, it was more fun than work, but hey I’m supposed to make this sound like a struggle to be away from my family right? The rest of the day was much of the same with the exception of getting a ‘break’ to head out on the bike course and scout out locations for our bike splits. Objectives; find a road less traveled by vehicles, a place to get both oly athletes and half athletes, find something to chain our timing system to (someone stole one at another race, $6k+ gone!), find a spot that makes sure the half athletes are getting all the way out and not missing the important turns. All the above was done, and thanks to a sky full of Rev3 Blue connectivity via cell phone was a success. No worries! Back to the hotel after some ‘dinner’ at the expo and ready for bed by 9:00pm. All the regular workers were super stoked as that was an EXTREMELY successful day to be finished that early.

Saturday rolled around and we were back at it bright and early. Most of today consisted for me, of standing a crap ton more at the kiosks checking/scanning athletes in. There were some other tasks thrown in for good times, like scouting the run course and getting the transition timing mats setup, but the majority of the day was spent at those monitors. Another ‘early’ night and we were back to the hotel at 9:00pm again. Tomorrow, Sunday, was an early morning!

Sunday, Race Day! This is normally the day an athlete wakes up at 4:30am, goes to the bathroom, grabs something for breakfast, hydrates and methodically and calmly goes through their stuff, kisses their loved ones good bye for a few hours and has a good time. This is not too much different than the workers day……. Ok, the part that is the same is the first two steps, then it changes ‘a smidgen’. Wake up is the same, going to the bathroom was the same (because there was likely not going to be time later)…… then the disconnect. Breakfast was a bag of nuts I was able to horde from lunch the day before. This morning Tweedle Dum and I set out direct to the checkpoints on the run and bike. Setting out the timing boxes and taping wires and turning on the computer equipment. Mind you we put on nearly 80+miles on this morning just to layout the boxes and try and get them done before those wicked fast pro’s come flying through! Oh yeah, they started the race and we ‘missed it’ since we were out in the real world some where. Good news is we had a second to grab a coffee and a sandwich from Mc’D’s since it was right across the street from the last run split we put out. Score! I’m not used to having my coffee/breakfast several hours after waking….. but I was happy to get it!
Back to the timing headquarters to check in with the boss, Kati. Turns out, now that it’s daylight and you can see the skies are very thick with clouds, not many of our timing boxes seem to want to communicate via the already poor cell phone coverage in the area. Fantastic! The boxes will/are still recording the chips, just making for the live updates to be basically non existent. Awesome! Some people noticed this and were very adamant about telling us several times…. We were at the mercy of mother nature and didn’t have much we could do to fix it. We were able to later in the day drive out and retrieve the boxes and physically connect them to the computer and upload the splits, but that wasn’t until the race was over (there was a race going on? I didn’t get to see any of it?) I’m NEVER going to complain that my splits aren’t up immediately after the race again. What a pain when things are messed up like that. Anyways, the rest of the day was spent running around trying to find people and their chips when they drop out, or if they lose a chip, getting them a new one and assigning it to them. Then there was a bunch of stuff that just eats up your time/day that, as a racer you would never think of. Like the little kid that knocked the gate off the hinges and got cut up, the guy that ran down the finish shoot after only leaving transition a quarter mile before, getting stopped by the police for driving the Kubota cart on the road trying to get between the expo and transition….. and a slew of other ‘little’ things that just keep on coming. But that’s what OUR job is, to make sure you don’t know about all of that little stuff. YOUR job is to start and finish the race and try and have a good time. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

After the race was over and the awards given out we waited for the last finisher to come in. We cheered her (actually there were two hers) in and gave them the big support they deserved. THEN the real fun began. The marathon session of tearing EVERYTHING down and boxing it up and loading the three tractor trailers of stuff. This project took at least 50 people working non stop for 10hrs. That’s right, the night wasn’t over until 1am! Everything had to be counted. All 1500 timing chips, all the shirts and shorts and glasses and EVERYTHING you could buy in the store. All the tents needed to be taken down and packed away, all the tape on the course had to be removed. All the cones picked up all the signs pulled all the timing loops removed. Then when you thought you were done you turned around and found more ‘stuff’ to clean up and pack away. We left the parking lot as desolate as we found it. If you were at the venue at 1:00pm waiting for your awards and then were there again at 1:00am other than the sound of the big rigs driving out you wouldn’t have known anything had happened. It’s a HUGE undertaking. One that takes a small army of folks that puts forth an effort that I can attest to as being GREATER than completing the race itself.

I finally got home Monday night at 10pm. I was tired, I was sore, I was happy to sleep and in my own bed! I will be racing the next event and I will be thanking EVERYONE I see with a workers shirt on! Then I will return to my roll in SC

See ya then!

P.s. I wish I had pictures but I was busy.