Ironman Austria Eve: Saturday 7-15-06, Who is Otter?

It is now the eve of Ironman Austria. There is always a bit of apprehension on the day before.
Have I trained enough?
Am I ready?
What’s my strategy?
Did I pack the right things in my transition bags?
WIll I make it to the finish line?
And more.
Even after having done one Ironman, some of those questions still linger, although definitely not as many as before.
I also find that each Ironman is slightly different. In my previous post, I talk about logistics. Sometimes I think race logistics are more stressful than the race itself. How do I get all my crap over to the race area? How do I get all of it (and me) back to the hotel? You’d figure that after all these years of putting on races, race directors would find solutions to all these problems. Especially when the sport is so popular, and the price of racing is growing quite a bit. Also, attendance is at an all time high. I think they added provision for another 500 extra entrants just recently so that 2500 will start. Amazingly, there are only 250 women entered. Boy, if I was a woman, I’d be happy about that – easier chance at a Kona slot!
This morning we go to the english race briefing. They show a campy video on race preparation and it basically has all the languages baked into it. I can only imagine the problems of handling a multi-lingual race. 200 race entrants from Mexico alone!
After the race briefing, I wolf down a dish of pasta and head back to get everything together to drop off my bike and bike-run and swim-bike bags. I always wonder if I forget anything in there, but thankfully you can put more into the bags tomorrow morning before the race starts.
I get everything together, pack it into my red Triathlon Bag pack and ride off down on the run course.
Who is Otter?
About every 30 feet, there is another sign written on the ground in chalk that says, “OTTER”. Who the heck is Otter? Someone spent some serious time doing this. They made sure that the letters were very clear in chalk. And basically, it runs the length of the run course, at least in the city part.
Our tour group rags on one of the supporters and tries to get him to write our names in the same frequency on the ground. HA! Not sure if he will do it though. Another person has a better idea: let’s just all write in Sharpie on our jerseys, “I AM OTTER”. That’s easier.
Pissed Off Bus Driver
I drop off the bike and bags and head back to the bus. I get on this bus and drop a 2 euro coin into the slot. Then the driver starts screaming at me in German. He gestures wildly while yelling and I am trying to follow what he is saying. Finally I get it. I am NOT supposed to drop it into the slot but place it on this little platform where he can see it first. So I just calmly give him another 2 euro coin and he seems to calm down a bit.
But he is definitely an uptight guy. He is beeping at everyone in the road on the way back and looks to be someone with a lot of stored up angst. I am glad to finally get off this bus and away from this lunatic.
Back in the Room
I’m bummed! I forgot my camera to take shots of the bike drop off area. Here are some from the expo and race briefing at Ironman Austria Eve 2006-07-15. I take a shower and wait to meet up with some other folks who are going to this Osteria restaurant to down yet another bowl of pasta. And then it’s time for sleep and wake up around 330a to get ready to go down to the race start!