Friday, June 21, 2013

It Was The Fashionable Bright Orange Vests - Portofino Sunset Tri

Me volunteering at the Portofino Sunset Triathlon Series

Last month on my birthday I raced in one of the Portofino Sunset Series Triathlon here on Pensacola Beach (here). It is a super sprint triathlon meaning it is very short and fast and great for both beginners and experienced triathletes. It's great for beginner triathletes because of the short distance and a great fast, sprint workout for more experienced triathletes.

Yesterday evening was another race in the Sunset Series put on by Team MPI. Since I just joined Team MPI a few weeks ago I decided that I would volunteer for some of the races and give back to the sport so to speak. When I told my husband I was signing up to volunteer, he laughed and said, "Well, as long as they don't have you directing traffic or bikes you should be okay!"

Transition area - Portofino Sunset Series Triathlon
I agreed. Me directing traffic would probably not be a good idea. There might be some bike incidents if that happened. I probably shouldn't body mark either although it would be fun to mark on people with a  big, black waterproof marker. My handwriting would most likely be illegible. With my numbers written all over the racers, the Race Directors/MPI coaches wouldn't know who the heck was coming across the finish line.

Body marking would be fun though!

I signed up to volunteer online the day of the race and when I went to the race site to check in, my husbands worst nightmare came true. I was told I would be at the first bike turnaround directing traffic about 2 or 3 miles down the road with another girl, S.

Portofino Sunset Series Tri

We got bright orange vests to wear and some orange flags to wave at the bikers and the cars. The Murph laughed when he saw me and took some pictures. "At least you get flags!" he said. "And hot orange vests!" he said.

Yes, that!

I told him to take a picture of me and S. I don't really think she wanted a picture taken of her in the bright orange vest but she laughed and let him take the picture. Then we drove to our spot in the middle of the road, just the two of us, and waited for the bikes to come.

It turned out to be really fun when I got over the fear of being run over part. I think we got all bikers flagged down and turned around and all the cars stopped at the right time. My job was to flag the bikes down and yell, "Bike Turnaround!" while S stopped traffic.

A reassuring sign from God that we would stop all traffic for the bikers?
 I was truly amazed that all the cars stopped appropriately (well, except for one) and all the bikers made the U turn (except maybe a couple, but I'm not sure if they were part of the race).

It was those bright orange vests that did it. And the flags. And maybe that rainbow that appeared right before the race. The bikers were looking for us and we were easy to see. The cars didn't know what the heck we were doing out there, but we had those bright orange vests on so they stopped. And flags!

But mostly the fashionable orange vests are what stopped traffic. We looked very official!

Bike turnaround #1 at Portofino Sunset Series Tri

Perfectly orchestrated bike turnaround thanks to my flag waving techniques.

S stopping traffic with perfection and her own flag waving techniques.

S and I got all the bikes turned around and then headed back to the finish line. All bikers and the two of us still intact. There are still several more races left in the series. One is an all woman race and one is a relay race both in August and two are regular races like this one and the one I did in May.

Next time I'll probably be body marking...


  1. lol!
    Orange looks good on you.

  2. How nice of you to volunteer at the race. The weather looked like it was pretty nice too. The vests that you guys were wearing look just like the vest I wear at work, except that mine is reflective and orange. I'm glad you had a good time.

  3. That is a killer volunteer position! Love it! I'm sure all the bikers really appreciating not missing that turn around. Nothing's worse than realizing that you just passed the turn.

  4. Thanks for all the comments guys! I'm a little late responding. I've been a little distracted! I did enjoy that volunteer position and even the orange vests. Especially I love the look on my husbands face when he found out I was going to direct traffic! :)