by Jami Andrews
Gone With the "Windman"
As most of you already know, Team JaS (Jami & Sherwick) scored their first double overall victory at a local Olympic-distance triathlon, called Windman, recently. What most of you don't know is the story behind it all. Believe it or not, this is a true story!
We were first drawn to entering the race by the location (San Luis reservoir) and the back-to-basics nature of the race. However, we were too naïve to ignore the first warning signs. We registered on Active.com, a well-known event registration website for multi-sport. Given that this was a local race, we did not want to have to travel to the race the day prior and stay at a hotel so the mail option offered on the website was very appealing. After several foiled attempts to purchase this option (without the screen diverting to the relay registration), we resorted to emailing the race director. For the next several weeks, our emails kept bouncing back. Finally, we got through by replying to a race announcement sent out by the director. However, by this time, the deadline for the mail option had already passed even though we had originally registered well before the deadline. After several email exchanges, the race director finally understood that it was not our fault and sent us a link to their "store" where we could purchase the mail option (for a mere $30! Since when do stamps cost that much?!?!). We figured that it was still cheaper than a hotel so we went ahead and purchased it. A few more weeks passed and soon it was the week before the event - still no race packets! We called the director who had apparently forgotten to send our race packets. So we decided to bite the bullet and reserved a hotel for the day before the race - urgh!
We arrived at the race site, which seemed deserted - no teeming of volunteers setting up transition areas, marking directions on the road, nothing! In fact, we met up with another athlete who was just as perplexed as we were by the desertedness (are we on Candid Camera because this must be a joke?!). We finally discovered that the packet pickup was actually not at the race site but at the park headquarters from scrutinizing the hand-drawn map downloaded from the website. We arrived at the headquarters to find the race director, his daughter and her boyfriend lounging under a tree (there was very little shade at the reservoir) with no indication that packet pickup was there. They seemed to be nice people (at least the daughter and her boyfriend) so we felt bad asking for a $30 refund for our non-mailed packets. It was at this time that we learned from the director that he had swapped start times for sprint and Olympic races because he just realized that the sprinters would finish before the Olympic distance athletes and that that this would lead to shorter road closures! Nevertheless the race packet information had not been updated with this recent rather important change. We got back to our hotel, opened our packets to find not conventional bib numbers for the bike and run but homemade numbers printed on 8x11 plain paper held together by duct-tape (we ask again ..are we on Candid Camera?!)!
Race day arrived and we were eager to race. We arrived to find that the homemade PVC-tubed bike stands in the transition area (which for $5 could be rented by late registrants) were too flimsy to hold up our 17 lb. bikes up with some bracing by our transition bags - how frustrating! We donned our wetsuits and headed down the long boat ramp to the swim start. The pentagon-shaped swim course looked awfully small so Jami asked the director if we still were to swim 1 loop as indicated on the website and in our race packets. What she got was a sarcastic reply, "Of course! Unless you want to do 2 loops!" Jami's parents arrived late and annoyed, having followed the directions from the website which lead them on 2 interesting excursions nowhere near the race. Good thing the race was delayed by 15 minutes for no apparent reason! After we had warmed up, we were hit with yet another surprise: the swim waves had been merged and all the men were to start NOW!
The men took off on the swim and Sherwick was in 3rd after the first loop! Just as he glanced at his watch to see 7 minutes (!!) while preparing to run up the ramp, he and all the other men are told to swim another loop. The swim course had been changed to 2 loops after the race had already started because the director realized that the swim might be too short (are you sure we're not on Candid Camera?!). After the 2nd (slower) loop, Sherwick came out of the water in a solid 2nd place, 30 seconds behind the leader, but in world-record time at 14 minutes for 1500m! The women decided to swim a more conventional course (of their own choosing) and avoided the unnecessary climb-up-the-boat-ramp-to-get-told-to-swim-another-loop and saved about 2 minutes. Jami also came out in 3rd but with a faster time than Sherwick (interesting!).
After about 10 miles of stalking, Sherwick closed the gap and took the lead on the bike to be (not so) surprised to find that no turn-around had been set up for the 2nd loop! Nevertheless, he arrived in transition with a 1:30 lead and ran up the steep hill that started the first quarter mile of the run. He was very much looking forward to the first aid station as his legs began to cramp, but little did he know there would be no water! Jami's parents had been bullied into manning the run aid station but were just starting to pour the first cup! Oh well - no water for Sherwick. By the time Jami arrived, the cups were almost gone and about to be reused but the race director seemed to ignore any request to supply more cups - pity the latecomers! It was well over an hour later before he decided it was important enough to replenish the cups at that aid station.
Sherwick finished after building on his lead, as did Jami. Because the "computer lady didn't show up" (which drove the director into a major fit) no official times were available. No results meant no awards. So the race director called everyone together for a group photo but after milling around for several minutes, he realized that the photographer had already left (we've GOT to be on Candid Camera!!)! No photo but there was t-shirts - that is, shirts with triathlon misspelled. The race director was quick to point out that the mistake was NOT his fault but in the same breath required all t-shirt recipients to confirm that they had indeed registered before the deadline before handing out "WindMan Triathalon" shirts for "ONLY the size that fit us". We still took an XL and L though.
Here are some interesting quotes straight from the Windman website:
"Basic-rate participants: You can rent $5 (cash) a Bike-stand or
buy one on site (cash or check)."
"Waiver of Liability I will also hereby acknowledge that I will obey all rules of the race, especially with regard to my fellow competitors without physical or verbal abuse, adhere to the established race course (but what if it changes after the race starts?!?!) and understand that any deviation from the race rules or race course will result in my disqualification and may be a citation for traffic violation."
"Safe beach start" - what beach?
"Swimsuits allowed, but not above 75F water-temp"
"When you reach the island you must stand with water level below your waste before you start swimming back" - what island? Oh, the one that was 25' underwater?
"SCREEM your bib number to the time keeper at the swim exit"
"SCREEM your bib number to the time keeper at the exit when you start your bike course."
"FOR YOUR SAFETY and others YOU MUST SLOW DOWN with both HANDS ON the BREAKS rolling down the curve from hill top to the transition area. Violators will be disqualified."
"SCREEM your bib number to the time keeper to record your bike time."
"SCREEM your bib number to the time keeper to record your run start at the control desk. "
"(current) Title holders must defend the Golden T-shirts in 2004 OR return them back if not participating or winning the titles in 2004." - we didn't get any Golden T-shirts and we're suspicious why they are "golden".
And the best one of all "Awards will be mailed within 30 days of event." What? For $30, no way!
WindWoman 2003: Jami Andrews 2h21':56" > Title Windman's Golden
WindMan 2003: Sherwick Min 2h13':46" > Title Windman's Golden T-shirt