I picked up my race packet at lunch, when the registration tent was comparatively empty. At most triathlons, I'm used to being handed the packet and then going off on my own. Here, I met with a registration volunteer one on one and we went through everything in the registration packet, one item at a time. To be fair, there is more info to cover for an Ironman.
The volunteer wrote my race number, 678, on a blue swim cap (pink for women) and let it dry. Ironman doesn't cut any corners - this swim cap is a nice silicone one with the IMCdA logo prominently displayed, instead of the usual cheaper blank latex (hair pulling) swim cap. I received two race numbers: one with my first name printed on it, and one with my last name printed on it. Since I have a race belt I'll just use one, probably my first name, the entire time. Also in the packet were several smaller stickers with my race number, for transition bags, special needs bags, bike, helmet, and dry clothes. There were a few more miscellaneous items: a bike check-out ticket, timing chip, wrist bracelet, and eight safety pins.
After covering a few more things and slipping in some papers labeled "Final Athlete Information", she fixed the wrist bracelet to me, and told me have my timing chip scanned. She also handed me my goody bag, which contained a few sample products, and several folded plastic bags - these are my transition and special needs bags.
I think I'm allowed to keep wearing this wristband until the next IMNA event!
My chip scanned just fine, and I had an option of getting the usual red plastic timing chip strap, or paying $5 for neoprene one. Yeah... another little way to get more money, but what are you going to do? Like many others, I decided to get a neoprene one - at least it will be reusable and not potentially cut my skin if it is on too tight.
I wandered around the expo, half of the vendors were already set up. The gear tent was stocked and ready to go. Lots of last minute things for sale - pump adapters, bodyglide, gu, spare parts of all kinds, Ironman logo tires, and so forth. A person could spend a small fortune in the gear tent and adjacent merchandise tent. :)