I took the day off to take care of some errands, which included cleaning my bike and driving out to Clermont to pick up my registration packet, check in my bike, and attend the athlete's briefing.
I've been to 3 Ironman events, and those were complete zoos compared to this one. Of course, the Great Floridian (iron distance) and the Florida Challenge (half iron distance) attract fewer athletes - 497 for the full and 603 for the half - but there will still be over 1000 triathletes showing up for a long course event. There is also a "super sprint" going on tomorrow (267 entrants) so it will be a cross section of all kinds of triathletes. Race day will be more crowded with spectators and I'll see what I think then.
Since the long courses merge, they offer some very generous cutoffs. The iron distance gets 17:30 to finish (7:30 am to 1 am) so if you played your cards right, you could brag about how you started on one day and finished on another, thus proving your staying power and endurance. ;) The half iron starts in waves starting 45 mins after the full, and the swim course closes at 10:15 am - which gives the full a 2:45 swim cutoff, and a minimum of 1:15 for the half. (I'm in the 2nd to last half iron wave at 8:55 am so even I'll have 1:20 for the swim).
The first loop iron bike cutoff is at 2:30 pm, and if you don't make it, you can switch to the half iron on the spot. Of course, such a person would have wound up swimming 2.4 miles already, but hey, that is a nice option. However, if you don't make the 6:30 pm 2nd loop cutoff, you are done. The cutoff for the half is the same as for the full, so if you really want to get your money's worth and trot out a 17+ hour half iron, you can, as long as you exit the water on time. Apparently one aid station on the run is famous for setting up a full barbecue and bar, so the 15 hour half iron finisher may have stopped in for a meal and a few drinks.
The head referee went over the usual penalties (drafting, blocking, illegal position, unauthorized assistance) and introduced a new one: "indecent exposure". From what I understand this is an existing penalty they have decided to highlight with its own category. This isn't for people stripping in transition (there are change tents) since that is a DQ. Instead, this will be awarded to those who choose not to use the porta-potties on the run course. So if you are caught relieving yourself on a bush, expect to find your name in the penalty section with a prominent "indecent exposure" penalty. And then explain that to your friends!
I thought about my goals for this race, and I'd really like to come in under 6:30. That would be a ~45 minute swim, a ~3:15 bike, and a ~2:15 run. Of course if the weather doesn't cooperate than I'll toss that out the windows and just have a fun time. I'll still be happy if I don't make 6:30, but I'll learn from it and figure out what to work on during the off season.
Near the transition zone I saw a sign in front of a small pond.
As far as I know, USAT won't be issuing "alligator enticement" penalties at these events. That's exclusively for local law enforcement. ;)