6/21/14 Deuces Wild Olympic, Show Low, AZ: poor race management

Here is an Olympic race, with sprint, Olympic, and 70.3 distances offered, in the scenic high altitude town of Show Low, Arizona.  The town got its unusual name as a result of a card game, in which the winner was whoever drew low card in cutting the deck.  That card proved to be a Deuce of Clubs, now the mane of the main street through town.

With the race at an elevation of 6.400 feet, the thin air would reduce my energy levels through the race.  The competition was mix of faces I recognized from the Tempe International events, plus a bunch of new personalities, and a few returning competitors from the 2013 race.

I paced off a 47 year old named Cam Hill in the swim.  He was 2nd overall in the 2013 edition of the race, and a good guy.  We turned in 20 minutes swims and had a good lead on the rest of the field.

Cam and I took off together on the bike course, with a sheriff’s car leading us to clear the way.  A few miles into the course, we had to make a 90 degree right turn onto a dead end road, doing a turnaround in the cul de sac before returning to the main road.  The Sheriff waited for us at the intersections.  While he was waiting for us, the next riders came though the intersection and failed to make the turn.  Cam and I were surprised and pissed to eventually catch up with these guys, wondering how they got ahead of us.  It would be the first of many race mismanagement issues that day.

Cam made it into T2 a few seconds ahead of me and I began to chase him down on foot.  My run was about 3 minutes faster than Cam’s, so I did get him in the end.  My pace was over 7:00 a mile, so the altitude did take its toll.

However, three other guys finished ahead of me.  None of them had completed the course.  None made the turn on the bike ride, and at least two of them cut a section out of the run.  I told my Dad what was going on, and he began asking questions of the three guys ahead of me, and found the sheriff’s deputy who saw the intersection mistake.  One of the guys showed me on his bike computer that his bike leg was over a mile short.  Other began debating where the run course had told them to turn.  It was becoming clear that people went all over the place on the run because of course markings meant for the Sprint, Olympic, and 70.3 races offered the same day.  The head official threw up his hands, saying if he did’t see it, he could’t call it, and was uninterested in the supporting evidence of eye witnesses and bike computers.  They never adjusted the results.  The “winner” is no longer competing professionally.

This day left me with no respect for the three guys who accepted awards and prizes for something they had not earned.  It was my first exposure to race directors covering their own fannies first, and having little consideration of the integrity of the results, because they didn’t want to give people a reason not to return to their “well managed event.”  Sadly, it would not be the last time my place finishes were subjected to this sort of mismanagement and lack of integrity be officials in small time, local races.

I will not return to this event as long as Chasing 3 Race Productions is race director.  It is too bad, because the environment and course are great, and it was nice to get out of the summer heat back in Phoenix.

Post Script.  TriSports, of Tucson, AZ is now the race director as they were before in 2013.  A good change!

Deuces Wild  Video Clip at Finish

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