Shortly before 9AM they opened up registration and the line surged forward. Within 10 minutes I was at the tent being instructed to have ID ready. You filled out a form which requests your name, e-mail, b-day, sex and a signature line where you get to sign your life away (and $500). Interestingly, you don’t actually pay then. A few people check your ID and then give you a copy of the form. You have to go back online between Sept 5th and Sept 20th to actually signup and earn some airline points on your credit card. The advantage to this is 1) You don’t have to pay now. 2) The whole process moves very very quickly.
The line continued to ebb and flow for another hour or so, with folks from around town showing up to get in line and easily get spots. I heard a rumor that they allocated 3,800 spots – with the expectation of only 2,700 or so of those would show up and race. Don’t know if that’s true or not. I left after about an hour, but I didn’t see anyone get turned away.
Overall I would say camping out is definitely worth it – especially for the experience of being able to chat/bond with other folks in the line. The level of knowledge regarding tri’s ranged from frequent Ironman, to genuinely confused about the whole swim/bike/run concept (and this was a guy signing up for next year). In addition to meeting cool people, it takes away any anxiety of not getting a spot. If I was to wander down early in the morning I’d probably be fretting all night about the super-slim possibility of not getting a spot. Which.Would.Suck.
With that, I present you tips on how to camp out for tickets like a pro:
- Bring a sleeping bag (this may seem obvious, but was overlooked by the girl to my left)
- Bring a matt/inflatable thingy (in the highly likely event you get a solid slab of concrete)
- Bring a tent (this is the Pacific Northwest and it does run just about every day, it actually rained briefly at around 5AM for a few minutes).
- Bring a pillow (or a bag and stuff clothes in it to make it a pillow)
- Saunter over to the registration line at around 6PM (the day before) and stake out a solid spot in line with your car and/or tent. Then abandon tent and come back many hours later. Some folks actually staked out spots earlier in the morning (day of race). Not a bad plan, but a bit overboard.
- Have your ID with you. It would be considered a major SNAFU to forget ID and not have a way to register.
- Bring something to eat in the morning (Banana, bagel, etc…) – as well as some fluids to consume.
- Bring an extra blanket – this is as much for you as it is for your newfound neighbor who forgets theirs. Good Karma is your friend.
- Enjoy the experience of hanging out in line and make friends.
- Once you get your registration certificate – immediately take a photo of it (not you) with your cell phone camera (or at least text the web address/cert code to yourself). This is in the event you lose the sheet you can still register.
As an aside, if you were a IMC 2007 athlete or local (Penticton area) you were allowed to register the day before the race, thereby skipping the whole camping overnight experience. Like the rest of folks in line you didn’t have to actually commit until the 20th of September.
Being September 4th at 11:06PM, it’s less than an hour until I could go online and do the deed. But I’ll wait a week or so – in the highly unlikely event I find I completely hate the 70.3 Half Ironman I’m doing this weekend.