Monday, November 5, 2012

2013 Ironman Florida Registation

Saturday, November 3rd was the date of the Southern Crescent Cycling club End of Season party and also the date of the 2012 Ironman Florida 140.6 triathlon in Panama City Beach, Florida.  Susan and I worked with other club members to prepare for and ultimately pull off a very successful party.  While we were patting ourselves on the back for a job well done a few of our members were in Florida competing.  We worked through the minor technical issues to watch the live race video feed from Panama City as it was streamed online to us at the party and around the world.
2012 Ironman Florida streaming video
The party was at a member’s community clubhouse.  It was great location with just the right amount of space and features i.e. a restroom, lights, heat and/or air conditioning, and Internet access.  We'd had the 2011 party there too.  The evening was spent eating, drinking, laughing and talking with friends about the year gone by as we watched the television for our friends to finish the race.  We used the Ironman Athlete Tracker to get an idea of when they might finish as they each passed the numerous timing mats nearing the finish line.  The rest was patience and a bit of luck.  As we waited for our friends to finish the race a buzz filled the room.  A frenzy of commotion circled the television.  A common refrain being - are you gonna do it next year?  Several of us had already made up our minds. We were in! Others would take a bit more convincing.

Kimberly Mayben finished first in 13:13, then it was Marriner Smith's turn in 14:14, and then Tommy Smith in 14:47.  What a great day for a race.  The weather in PCB was partly cloudy with a low temperature in the mid-60’s and a high around 80-degrees.  The results seem to indicate a good day for racing as many of the top age-groupers posted faster finish times than in 2011.  I was especially interested in the male 50 to 54 age-group.  My 2011 finish time of 10:49:25 placed me 321st overall and 13th in that age-group.  That same time in 2012 would put me 301st overall and 20th in my age-group.  Age-Group placement being more important as that's where the Kona slots come from.

Kimberly crosses the finish line
Fast forward to 12 noon on Sunday.  The party is over, cleanup from the aftermath is underway, and Carlos is texting the minutes counting down until the online registration opens for the 2013 Ironman Florida race.  We’re all ready at our computers.  Twenty minutes…eighteen minutes…  I’m logged into  I’ve read the registration instructions, and I’ve got the 2013 Ironman Florida page up displaying the register button.  I give it a few early tries just in case.  It shows up FULL…not yet.  Carlos is still texting the countdown, then the clock hits 1pm and my phone is silent.  Carlos, Jason, Leslie, and Stephanie are all into the process.  I can’t get past the damn waiver screen.  The clock continues to tick off the minutes.  I go to the Ironman website and click on the register button.  It sends me to a different page.  I clicked the register button and there it is – on hold.  This is not a good sign.  Susan is checking Facebook and sees that other people are also having problems and posting on the Ironman Facebook page.  She says keep refreshing the screen.  Reload…reload…reload…there it is.  I fill out the form deciding, against my better judgment, to answer some of the questions.  I click the continue button.  We can’t complete your order – the event is “sold out”.

I was disgusted with myself, and furious with World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owners of the Ironman brand.  The whole process was messed up.  All my training partners had gotten in except me.  I did what anyone would do in a situation like mine.  I fired off a message to the WTC on Facebook.

I’d already taken more time than I should have.  I’d have to do something else.  I called work and told them I was on my way.  On the drive in I called my Ironman Florida 2011 buddy Chip.  He said I could still register for Ironman Louisville or maybe I could get a foundation slot.  An Ironman Foundation slot is basically just like a regular slot but it costs you twice as much.

I’d left the house with my computer logged into my Active account.  Susan was going to keep trying.  By now thirty minutes had passed and it was a lost cause.  A flurry of sad text messages ensued, happy that they’d made the cut and sad that I hadn’t.

When I got to work I tried to register one more time.  I saw that foundation slots were available. Thirteen hundred dollars ($1,300) to torture yourself, that’s a lot of money.  Six hundred and fifty dollars ($650) is a lot of money too.

I selected register.  Just then the phone rings.  It’s my wife. She’s in and well into the registration process for me.  I waited a minute as she continued not wanting to release my slot.  I told her to just answer the questions with a red “*”.  Two minutes later she completed the process and I was in. Once she received the confirmation I released my slot.

The subsequent texts and Facebook posts were positive.  The crew was complete.  I was in too!  The next year is gonna be awesome and I have the best wife in the world!

I took some screen captures the following day to help me figure out what had occurred.  The image below shows a bogus "Ironmsn Florida" page on  Note the "s" where an "a" should be.  I'm pretty sure it was not the same event page holder on on Sunday.

Bogus Ironman Florida registration page
Then there were the charity slots allocated to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.  Click on the Ironman US Championship link and it sends you the now discontinued New York City race on August 11th, 2012.
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation slot registration page
In addition to the MMRF slots there are slots allocated for anyone who purchases a Trek Speed Concept.
Trek Speed Concept Ironman entry
Slots were allocated for the 2013 Ironman Florida and Wisconsin races.
Trek Speed Concept Ironman entry details
After I took into account those slots provided to the 2012 race volunteers and participants it seems like few slots were available to those regular folks that just wanted to compete but couldn't make the trip to PCB.  I guess that's the plan, few slots and high demand. but it really sucks for those folks that couldn't get in.

3400 slots - On-site Reg. slots - MMRF slots - Trek slots - Foundation slots = ? 

I guess it's time to just get over it and focus on the task at hand.  Now it’s time to train because next year the club may be watching us as we cross the finish line in Florida.

Thanks for reading.