What I Did on My Thanksgiving Holiday

Virginia and I spent a long Thanksgiving Holiday in Southern California with our daughter, Taite.  We did our fair share of sight seeing, taking in the sights in Corona del Mar, Newport and Laguna.

We had some great “father/daughter” moments since Taite has just gotten her real estate license and we could speculate about pricing procedures, perceived value, locations, etc.  The real fun though started Saturday morning with the Turkey Trot Triathlon.

Taite’s boyfriend, Jonathan Pauley (a fine young man who we like immensely) is the creator/owner of Renegade Racing and manages and produces races and triathlons all over Southern California.  It was just our luck that one of his major races – the Turkey Trot Triathlon – was happening during our visit.

We were willingly drafted as volunteers for both the 5k and 10k races on Saturday and then the triathlon on Sunday.  So, for two days in a row,  I was up at 4:30 a.m. getting ready for the Turkey Trot Triathlon.

The races kick off at 8:00a.m. but registration opens at 6:00a.m. and, of course, the “volunteers” had to be there by 5:00a.m. to help get things set up and ready.  We traveled about 30 miles north to Bonelli Regional Park, taking coffee, breakfast snacks and bundled to the nines.

I was immediately designated as the race “greeter”  – answering questions and helping folks with the registration process.  Later I moved out onto the course to make sure the runners were taking the right turns.

There is a ton of  prep work that goes into producing a race and learning about it from behind the scenes was fascinating.  I have a whole new appreciation for the sport and the folks who make it possible.

The races were fun but the triathlon was amazing.  The athletes, women and men, ranged in age from late teens to septuagenarians in all shapes and sizes. First up was the 1/2 mile swim in 60 degree water.  Most swimmers wore wet suits but there were those hardy souls who took the plunge in Speedos.

Once out of the water, it was up a hill to the transition area and the bikes.  According to USAT (United States Triathlon Association) rules, athletes must have their helmets buckled before leaving the chute but may not mount their bikes until after they leave the chute.  Ear phones, for any device, are forbidden and can result in a 4 minute penalty.

After a 14 bike ride, the athletes transition one more time for the 4.5 mile run.  The top athletes do the three part trial in a little over an hour, for others it can take longer, much longer.  Watching the sense of pride and accomplishment on the face of each participant was absolutely worth those 4:30a.m. wake up calls.  Hats off to everyone who made it out to the Turkey Trot Triathlon.

Great memories and a new skill set – greeter and race course monitor!

Michael