I stumbled across a cool little search engine in beta, called Viewzi. Now I’m not making this out to be a Google killer or anything, but it’s a kind of fun way to troll through web sites if you are looking for a visual representation of the page.
My favorite of their searching options was the “Web screenshot” view. Now, my take is that this will be less helpful for certain types of searches than others. For example, I think it did better with a search on Cristiano Ronaldo (below) than the Georgia-Russia conflict (above). And the algorithm isn’t perfect. When I searched on my own name, it at first attached me to the usual places, but then attached me to a bunch of web sites with “Spring Creek” in the name. So, it was a good effort to look at say, AndyBoyer.com, see a link to SpringCreekGroup.com and make that connection, but then it took it to far when it surmised I also must be part of SpringCreekFishing.net.
But I’m not here to criticize. It’s kind of cool to play with, and there are a few target markets I’m sure they are already very popular with. Check it out at Viewzi.com
So Valleywag reports that you cannot be Facebook friends with Michael Phelps, because has more Facebook “fans”
than Will Smith, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers — 767,885 at last
count! Phelps tells Bob Costas that besides the fans, he’s got about 7,600
pending Facebook friend requests, too. “I can’t accept any more.”
But that makes me curious. I wonder how many of the thousands of other Olympic athletes you could be friends with. Sure, the guy who won 8 gold metals is off limits, but how about a 24 year old track and field guy who didn’t qualify for the finals? What percent of these competitors are happy to communicate with new fans, and what percent think it’s creepy.
I think if I was some obscure archery or triple jump Olympian and got a few requests, I’d think it was cool. Maybe less so if I was a 14 year old female gymnast. (that’s 16 in Chinese years).
Let me know if you make Facebook friends with anyone.
Hey, it’s a slow news week since all of the Marketing world is on vacation. And I’m still tired from a fun weekend in Oregon. But I know the rules of blogging say I need to post something tout suite…so here’s what you get for this Tuesday’s entry. To connect it to marketing, let’s call it a story on how every detail on your packaging or direct mail piece is important.
“In 1878 the French had acquired rights to construct a canal across the
Isthmus of Panama. For numerous reasons, the project failed. However, a
young French engineer, Philippe Jean Bunau-Varilla, still believed that
a canal could be built in Panama. Unable to get any action on the
project in France, Bunau-Varilla went to Washington, D.C., to see if he
could interest any congressmen in the venture. There he found that a
bill was pending to build a canal through Nicaragua, not Panama,
especially since the existence of Lake Nicaragua would cut the costs of
construction. “Bunau-Varilla promptly became a one-man lobby. He
obtained several hundred Nicaraguan postage stamps, which showed a
picture of one of the country’s small volcanoes in full eruption.
Bunau-Varilla wrote a brief letter to each congressman, asking, in
effect, if it was really wise to build a canal–at great cost to the
American taxpayers–through a country which was filled with active
volcanoes. With each letter went one of the Nicaraguan stamps. The
congressmen read the letter, looked at the stamp, and decided not to
vote funds for a canal through Nicaragua.” Two years later, in 1904,
Congress approved the canal project for Panama.”
Of course, this story could also be titled, “Apparently U.S. Congressmen are no smarter or dumber than those of 130 years ago.”
I’m starting a new category, covering some interesting tactics the Presidential campaigns are using when it comes to technology or social media marketing. Here’s the latest email I received from the Obama camp:
People keep asking me if we’re really going to announce Barack’s VP directly to our supporters.
The answer is yes.
Let me be very clear. You are the ones who built this campaign, and
Barack wants you to be the first to know who will join him in leading
our movement for change.
So, if you haven’t signed up to receive an email or a text message, sign up now. Or you can text VP to 62262 from your mobile phone.
Make sure to forward this message to your friends and let them know about this special opportunity.
That’s a pretty neat gimmick. I don’t know if it means that if you text the campaign, they will call you later to ask for money. But it’s a neat way to use text messaging to communicate directly to their base.
Let’s set aside all the pre-Olympics Tom Foolery of throwing out journalists, censoring Internet sites, jailing a Japanese television crew in West China, shutting down factories, and trying to magically make the pollution go away.
But in the first week of this Games, we have:
Fake fireworks so the TV audience thinks they are seeing something spectacular
Lip-syncing of the opening song by a cute 7-year old Chinese girl, because the 7 year old girl who really sang it wans’t “cute” enough.
Oscar-style “seat fillers” who sit and watch the preliminary rounds of events, then leave when the ticket holders show up, so it doesn’t look like there are any no-shows.
I’m not exactly sure this is what drove the spirit of the games more than 100 years ago. So if the games themselves can be fake and manufactured, tell me again why the athletes aren’t allowed to use drugs that enhance their own performance? Don’t sterioids seem to fit perfectly into this charade?
I may be completely wrong in this, but I think Alaska Airlines is capitalizing on a way to get us stubborn Americans to travel more.
Last week you may have seen my 14 million word play-by-play on the Vineman Triathlon in Healdsburg, CA. Because of my pride in the fact that Rich had finished the race, I kept last week’s posts to a minimum so the story would stay on top.
But there was another personal story from that trip I wanted to write about. In order to get to California wine country, I did not have to go through megalopolis SFO, or the dingy Oakland Airport, or even the small and semi-charming Sacramento runways. I was able to fly from Seattle, directly into the little berg of Santa Rosa on a Horizon Airlines turbo prop.
Santa Rosa is a mere 15 minutes from Healdsburg and I went down Thursday on the extremely convenient 5:55pm flight. The airport has one “gate” if you can even call it that, so getting in and out was a breeze. To add to its charm, it’s named after Charles M Schulz and has famous Peanuts comics on the walls.
Returning home was even better. I headed home Sunday on the even more convenient 8:35pm flight. Since only one plane leaves every hour or two, and each plane is only a 70-80 seat turbo prop, you have no check-in or security pressure. You get to the airport about 30 minutes early, watch the plane arrive, wait for everyone else to go through security, then jump through yourself. This convenience allowed me to see another old friend of mine who lives in Healdsburg mine on Sunday afternoon, cruise to the airport about 8:00 for the 8:35 flight, hang out on the airport patio with my friend until it was time to leave and never feel an ounce of pressure.
This made me think about what I like and hate about air travel. Traveling from SeaTac or SFO is a jarring experience. It takes hours to check in. But I positively loved the freedom afforded me on this Santa Rosa flight. Why can’t we have more regional airports, say in Everett, North Bend, Olympia, etc..that only take me to other small tourist towns so I can have a long weekend without feeling like I’m crossing the Russian border? I don’t know the economics, but I hope it doesn’t cost that much to run a tiny one gate airport.
Ironically, I was sitting in the Santa Rosa airport thinking about all this, when I saw another old Seattle friend of mine, a former co-worker who had come down from Seattle on the same flight I was about to board to head back home. I couldn’t believe that the world was so small that in the Santa Rosa airport, I could see someone else from Seattle. But obviously I am not the only one to appreciate flying into a place like Santa Rosa.
Alaska/Horizon has the right idea – in a world of chaos, we want to travel places where it’s easy. I hope to see them pick more “single gate” airports leading to tourist cities I want to explore.
The Spring Creek team hit Lake Union for a little kayaking Friday afternoon. and we decided to take some pictures and show how a small business, say a Lake Union Kayaking company, could use something as simple as a blog to climb to the higher parts of Google.
Local businesses usually do a great job of owning their own name on Google Searches. But that only works to attract people who ALREADY know your name. If you have no awareness, you need to know what people are looking for. For example, say you suddenly win a million dollars and want to buy a big, fast boat. Well you are going to Google, big, fast boat, not Evinrude or the name of some other boat company. If you are Evinrude, you need to win the words that people type in when they don’t know who you are.
Lake Union Kayaks could be our name if Spring Creek Group owned a kayaking business where you could rent boats on Lake Union. Or, we could call it Spring Creek Kayaks. Either way, we want our blog to have pictures titles “LakeUnionKayaks” and have the term sprinkled through the post.
So this post is boring, but consider it a simple test to see how high we could get in a Google search on Lake Union Kayaks, without much effort. Plus, it gives everyone a chance to see 4 of the 7 members of the growing Spring Creek Group having a litle Friday afternoon fun.
Over the next few days, we’ll add a few links to this post from Facebook, the Spring Creek Group Blog, and other relevant places to make this become an article people stumble upon when looking for places to row boats on Lake Union.
Monday,.8:30am: After about 2 days online, Google now makes the 11th most relevant post for “Lake Union Kayaking.” Today I’ll add a link from Facebook to see how that helps.
I encourage everyone to take a quick trip over to Qvisory.com,.a extremely socially conscious and responsible project headed up by Eileen Quigley, the former head of RealNetworks’ philanthropic arm, RealImpact.
Dubbed, “Tools for life, ” the site helps young people (and old ones too) achieve their work, money and life goals. Here’s what they said in a recent email:
Our mission is to help young people build their economic future and
gain more control over their lives. Today’s 18 to 34 year-olds face
significant challenges in our evolving economy. We’re providing them
with information and tools to help manage and meet their money, work,
and health goals. And we’re advocating for change to ensure that their
voice is heard in Washington, DC, in board rooms, and in state capitols.
I have long been an advocate of our school system shifting gears and actually teaching things that people need to know – little things like how credit card companies make money, how to fill out tax forms, why interest only mortgages are a bad idea, what happens if you eat fast food and chips every day, etc….So, I think this is a great project. Check it out and let me know what you think.
The caveat: I think the NBA is kind of boring these days. I don’t hate basketball, but the NBA just under-achieves in my book. Now, if you only speak English and have never traveled outside the US, I can understand why the NBA might seem cool. Similarly, if you’ve never been to a city with more than 200,000 people, I can see why Appleby’s seems like a real culinary treat. But I’m not here to bash. I’m here to push forward a ridiculous notion. Some background: In European soccer, something called UEFA governs European football. Independent leagues in England, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, etc… participate in two European tourneys – the UEFA Cup and Champions League. – which make dump trucks full of money. So in the middle of their regular seasons, Italy’s best teams also play England’s best teams, etc…. It’s pretty cool – and more importantly it makes huge amounts of cash for the teams and leagues. Now this works for European soccer because there are 3 dominant leagues, 2 or 3 second-tier leagues and about 20 third tier leagues that sneak someone into the later rounds from time to time.
The ridiculous notion: You could not replicate this in basketball today, because the NBA teams would win almost every game. But this kind of International tourney could happen in just a few years if some recognizable US players headed to Europe. Imagine this scenario:
Your favorite team is the New Orleans Hornets. Towards the end of last season, with a playoff birth locked up, you had to keep battling to finish in 4th place, and a birth in next season’s Champions League. You qualified, so several times next season, instead of hosting the Jazz or Bobcats, you are hosting teams from Greece, Spain, Russia or Italy. Twice per year, the Hornets head out to Europe for a 3-4 game swing. As a fan, you may even travel with them to Madrid or Rome.
Now to make this happen, a few stars need to be playing for Olympiakos or Moscow or whoever. If you are a true basketball junkie, what would be better than players and games that you care about playing across the globe starting at 9am your time? There could literally be basketball on TV morning, noon and night.
The rivalries could be intense. And because of the extra games, you’d see more players on your own team playing important minutes. Teams would really have to ration how many minutes they give their old guys versus how many to give their developing players, the same way Ronaldo and Rooney occasionally have to skip Manchester United games.
So if LeBron wants to go to Europe, as this article implies, I think the NBA needs to gather the international basketball powers that be and figure out how to exploit it. Prop up the Euro leagues and build an international championship that everyone owns a piece of. Imagine Lakers vs Moscow – Kobe vs LeBron – in Paris for the World Championship, with a TV audience of 100 million. That’s real money.
(Updated version – more updates to come with more pictures)
So the staff hit the road for Healdsburg, CA this weekend, to cover the Sonoma Vineman Ironman Triathlon. In one corner – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike race and 26.2 mile run in scorching 95 degree heat. In the other corner – Rich Kline, a mild-mannered financial advisor from Phoenix who now lives in Sacramento.
Working n his favor, Rich has a year of training and a strict vegetarian diet. Maybe more importantly, he has the advantage of having been dating or being married to my sister for the last 15 years, so he has experience with long extended periods of mental challenges, fatigue and confusion. (Just kidding. I gotta get the kid sister shot in there somewhere.)
It’s man vs nature. Here is the story….
Friday 5:45pm, T-Minus 13 hours
Most of Team Kline is all settled in now. Rich’s parents (Dick and Margaret), sister Susie, sister Sandy, her husband Chris and son Tyler, my sister Liz, and me. We’re all bunking in a giant house in Healdsburg, a small but cute Sonoma town with 2 traffic lights and no McDonalds. 3 friends of Rich’s (Tom, Jason and Cheryl) are making the 15 hour drive down from Seattle as we speak, and should arrive later tonight.
You can feel tensions starting to rise a little. Mom is nervous about the health, Dad is nervous about success, everyone is curious how it will all play out. Chris (since he’s Rich’s brother in law, I guess that makes him my sister’s husband’s sister’s husband) whips up a huge pot of spaghetti, so we are all properly carbed up for the race tomorrow. If he needs it, we will be able to transfer energy or nutrition to Rich by mental osmosis.
Friday 7:45pm, T-Minus 11 hours to launch.
We decide to drive to the starting area to check out where Rich will be plunging himself into the Russian River the following morning. The drive there takes much longer than we expected, and there’s a harsh realization that tomorrow we will need to leave the house at 5:00am to safely have Rich ready for the 6:45 gun. That means bugle call at 4:30. As far as I am concerned, this really isn’t the right side of 4:30am to be looking at.
Friday 9:45pm T-Minus 9 hours to launch
Final preparations. Everyone knows they need to get to sleep, but no one can find the will. Liz and Rich are doing final pre-game routines, counting sandwiches, testing tires, packing all the bags he’ll need for the stages. The rest of the family is crammed upstairs, nervously pacing. The rest of the crew arrives.
Saturday morning, 4:30am – 6:45am, The House
The alarm goes off too early, but everyone is already awake and amped. Nervous energy flows through the house as everyone waits for Rich to emerge. No one wants to wonder “what if he doesn’t finish?” It’s kind of like a wedding where you aren’t 100% sure the bride is going to show. But the big day is here, so we’re all ready to do our parts, no matter how small they may be.
We retrace the drive from last night, leaving a little late, and dump rich out of the truck about 6:00 near the race zone. It’s still not quite light.
We walk down to the starting line at the beach, and with just enough time to sit around and experience some pre-race jitters. We see Rich from time to time and there’s a little wandering around, with no one quite sure what to do. Too late, Rich wonders if he should use the restroom. But the line is 20 minutes long with 10 minutes till the gun, so it’s better left as a thought unthunk.
The water temperature is announced at 73.2 degrees, which people say is cold, but to me feels much warmer than the pre-sunrise crispness that fills the air. Steam floats off the surface of the river, and some sarcastically quip that it means the water must be really hot. The temperature means that wet suits are allowed, which affects about 500 of the 510 swimmers. Rich is not one of these affected since he did not bring a wet suit, so his pale white frame is easy to spot amongst the army of gray body armor.
All of a sudden, they are calling for racers and Rich is setting up in the water. No big pre-race group picture, no cheer, chant or pep talk. He’s just in the river wading around with Ironman veterans and rookies alike, all indistinguishable from one another. It’s just a mass of white hats in a cold river, none of them 100% sure they’ll make it through the next 10-12 hours by crossing a finish line.
The horn sounds, and off they go.
(Time: 7:15am) Time into race: 00 (hours) :31 (minutes):00 (seconds)
Rich hits the halfway point in the swim. Out of maybe 100 guys in the group, he’s about 14th or 15th we estimate. A good start. Average swim time at the Vineman is 1:15, so he’s way ahead of an average pace.
Rich emerges from the water triumphantly. Next step 112 miles on the bike.
(8:45am) 2:00:00 ~Mile 20
We’re really not sure what kind of access we’ll have to the riders, so the three cars full of support are a little nervous driving toward the 1st spot on the map that we think we may be able to scream, cheer and shoot a few pics. We’re also not sure how fast Rich will be riding, so we have no idea whether we are late or early.
We get to our stopping point and evaluate. Judging by the studs riding by, on bikes that cost more than my car, we don’t think Rich has passed by yet. These guys are shooting hard into a hard right turn, and jokes fly about how Rich is almost sure to slide ride through the intersection and into the drainage ditch on the other side of the road. Every yellow speck in the background gets us fired up. But yellow shirt after yellow shirt simply pass by. Finally, when we are barely paying attention, Rich zooms by. We all miss good picture ops, but he’s smiling and having a blast. He seems in good shape.
(9:15am) 02:30:00 Alexander Valley Road ~Mile 35
Full of confidence, we travel south and then east a short distance to catch Rich at what should be about the 2/3 rd mark of lap 1. We are now starting to recognize some of the racers, having seen them enter and leave the water, and pass us on the bike course. We are trying to judge Rich’s condition by the unofficial race results we are tallying individually. Things like, “I think the hot girl in pink was further ahead of the green dude last time.” And, “The dude with the funny helmet looks slower now.”
We are obviously the largest fan brigade at the event, and arguably the largest in the history of modern triathlons. Every biker seems to be jealous of Rich’s entourage. Plus we have cool shirts.
Rich sees us and decides it’s a good time to stop and say hi to his fans. He looks good. Still strong, but complaining about bad socks. Our shopping list now includes a change of socks for the next stop. He hops back on the bike and we move in the opposite direction – heading home for showers and sandwiches.
(10:15am) 03:30:00 The House
Rich is winding through the Sonoma Hills. We are tired and need baths and food. My body, after several unsuccessful attempts to contact my brain, has finally been able to ask, “WTF? We got on a plane, so it seems like
vacation. Then we got up at 4:30, which is certainly not vacation. Then we sat in the sun, which feels like vacation, and are now having a Margarita at 11:00am. Please explain.”
Team Kline discusses how we think we are making an impact on many of the riders, since we are starting to see the same folks. We can’t tell if we are confidence boosters, or mild amusements on the track.
Rich calls and says he is ahead of schedule. We pack the gear and hit the road to meet him at the next stop.
(12:30pm) 05:45:00 Kinley Road – Mile 70
The bike race is roughly 2/3 over, and by our estimation Rich has been riding since about 1:00:00, so he’s maybe 4:45 in. That would pace him to maybe a 6:30 – 7.0 hour ride, getting him to the marathon about 3:00pm – 3:30pm. I have no idea if that’s a good time. Sunset is at 8:45pm or so, that would give him about 5 – 6 hours for the marathon in the light.
He sees us and stops to change socks and generate some energy from the admiration and support. He seems to be slowing down just a touch, but still seems pretty strong.
(1:30pm) 6:45:00 Alexander Valley Road – Mile 92
We get here after a stop at the Safeway where we all hydrate on Full Throttle and Icee Pops. Like Oklahoma Tornado Chasers, we are finding that tracking Rich is a triathlon in itself – driving, waiting, and cheering.
Right now, we’re waiting.
Some of the bikers we recognize seem to have stretched their lead over Rich. There are a lot of cocktail napkin calculations going on. We know we are 20 miles from the finish, so Rich will be about 85% done when he hits us. If he hits us at 1:45pm, he’ll have been on the bike about 5:45, which would still pace him to a 7 hour bike ride and to the marathon at 3:00pm.
1:45 comes and goes, and we keep looking for yellow shirts. Jason starts optimistically trying to figure out if he could have passed us BEFORE we got here, which would mean he caught a second wind and is ahead of what we were hoping for.
1:55 goes by, and no one is holding serious to the notion that he’s rolled past us. We are still cheering for everyone, and the riders still seem to mix between amusement and thankfulness when they see us. Liz wonders whether we are breaking Triathlon etiquette by magically showing up all over the course.
1:57 and for the 23rd time since we got here, someone says, “I see his yellow jersey.” Unlike the previous 22 times, this time they are right. No stop this time, just a drive by of “What’s up?” Let’s call it 2:00pm. Time on bike 6 hours. 15% left. Maybe 2 hours to go. We hope he speeds up a little. Otherwise he may be running in the dark.
(2:30pm) 07:45:00 Downtown Healdsburg
Team Kline is tired. And hot. And we need to go to the bathroom. So we do what every modern triathlon team support team does. We go to Starbucks.
Our brains are a little bit fried and no one can properly calculate what time we should get to the spot where the racers transform from lunatic bikers into maniac marathon runners. We’re all rookies, no one knows the answer, and so we hustle out of Starbucks a little ragged around 3:30pm.
(3:50pm) 09:05:00 Windsor High School
We’ve landed at the running start/finish line. We’re unpacked. We’re edgy. We don’t know where Rich is. For all we know, he’s at the bottom of the canyon – or at the bar – but no one is thinking like that. We don’t have to wait very long, as Rich turns the corner with a big smile. Poof! He turns into a runner.
Team Kline separates. The race course is designed so runners do 3 laps up and back, so if strategically placed, we could cover almost the entire race course with support. I head to the furthest reaches and make it to the 2.5 mile mark. Tom, Jason and Cheryl take up about 1.7. Sandy, Susie, Liz and Tyler head to Mile 1.0. Dick and Margaret hold down the fort at the starting line.
Rich takes a little break, choosing “having a chance to finish” over “needing to shave 10 minutes of my time.” He’s on the road at 4:00.
(Editors note: At this point, the stories are an amalgamation of several field reports, so no one can vouch for the complete accuracy. In a few instances, slight exaggerations may occur.)
(4:15pm) 9:30:00 The race course
It’s 129 degrees when Rich hits Mile 1. This is a good, because it’s at least 10% cooler than the 145 degrees when he started a few minutes ago.
(4:35pm) 09:50:00 Rich hits Mile 2.5. Mile 2.5 is notable because of a hard left turn into a hill that goes up at about a 45 degree angle. It’s sadistic and just plain wrong to include this hill in the race. Part of Team Kline joins Rich for the jog up Mount Sinai. Rich explains that this is nothing compared to the murderous mountain range that swallowed him whole in the last leg of the bike component. At least, that’s what we think he said. Actual words were something like. “Bike. BIG HILL. Hard. Hurt bad. Lap 2. Not good. Time to go home yet?”
For a brief moment at Mile 4, Rich contemplates that a 2 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 4 mile run, while not Ironman, really does count for something. After all, he reckons, it’s 118 miles more than anyone else he knows has swam, biked and run today.
Some calculations are done, and it’s determined he’s trained for this race about 1000 hours in the last year. 4 more hours won’t kill him. An accord has been reached. He will continue. We will push him.
(4:50pm) 10:05:00 We make the turn and head back toward the starting line.
(5:32pm) 10:47:00 Furious calculations are being tabulated as Rich is handed off to his next group of handlers at the aid station that was at Mile 2 on the way up the track. This equation is tough because of the way the course is set up. Dividing 26.2 into 3 equal loops creates a decimal that is not easy to tabulate, and roughly resembles something as easy to fathom as Pi squared. (Technically, it’s 8.73333333). So if Rich meets you at mile 2.5, you make the turnaround, and then you drop him off at Mile 2, how freaking far is that. Now add the fact that you ran most of those miles with him in the now 110 degree heat, and try to figure it out. It’s like taking the SAT in hell. We settle on the idea that he’s doing about a 15:00 or 16:00 mile. About 18 miles left = 4.5 more hours. That’s a 10pm landing and a 15 hour 15 minute day. It will definitely be dark – if he finishes at all. How will running through sunset – or the moment he figures out he won’t finish in daylight – affect his psyche?
(7:07pm) 12:22:00 Wife Liz joins the upper mountain support party. We are under threat from race management that running with Rich could cause him disqualification, so we are limited to seeing him pass by, driving up the course, waiting, and repeating the process. We’re settled up at the 4 mile mark so we can see him, then let him hit the turn and come back our way. Rich has a sort of crazy look in his eyes. He may finish the race, he may machete everyone on the course. It could go either way.
(8:15pm) Rich ends lap 2. Still in his 15:00 to 16:00 pace. He tells his mom, “You know, this race is a little more than I thought it would be.” Duh. The sun is falling and the temperature has dropped to about 22 degrees. It’s so cold it could be snowing. But he has made the deadline and heads back out. He’s not sure he’ll make it back, but there a
re enough support folks on the path that we’ll roll him up and down the hill if he tries to quit. None of us think he will try to quit. He’s just being funny.
(8:48pm) 14:03:00 Some racers still haven’t made it down for their last lap. They only have until 9:00, so many of the fans still around are waiting with nervous anticipation. It would be an extreme disappointment to not get to run the last 8 miles and finish.
(10:08pm) 15:23:00 We found rich about 45 minutes ago in the dark, lying in a ditch. Shuttering. Mumbling. Crying. Muttering something about Mulder being Homer Simpson’ dad.
No, just kidding.
We found rich about 45 minutes ago, walking past the turnaround point, and with about 3.5 miles left in the whole race. We estimated it would take him about an hour, based on what he was considering was “walking in a straight line.” So, that would be about 10:25 or so. We’re packing up and getting ready. We’re excited, smelly, tired and wondering if Rich will pass out in the truck, or find a 134th wind and stay up all night telling us stories. His one request has been fulfilled – we have Guiness at the finish.
We have agents out at the 1 mile and ½ mile mark guiding him home. If he is walking, they should be able to walk with him. The rest of us are headed to the finish line.
Note: Liz heard there was a triage area near the finish line. In this case, triage means, “Place where people throw up in copious amount. Neither Liz or I do well near this kind of “triage” so we will be carefully avoiding it.
We get the call from the field. Rich is one mile out and closing fast. We are heading to the finish line. The whole team is extremely excited.
THE FINISH LINE
Rich reacts, in his own words:
Screaming, cheering, hands waiving, and darkness…the pain is on mute, everything else is cranked up on high. I am not a very strong runner, but I feel like one right now- I feel fast but more than that I feel gratitude. The cumulative outpouring of support and emotion was the difference between finishing and quitting, I can say so without any doubt. The hugs, high fives, and smiles were the ultimate validation of the last 15hours of work…and the only things I lacked were the words to really thank each of the people that were there screaming for me. And crossing the line—stopping and knowing that I had done it—was one part euphoria, one part stupor. All day long, I heard people say the important truth of an endurance race, “You’re doing it!” Without a doubt, the process and grind are what this race is all about…but nothing comes close to hearing, “You did it!” while sharing it with so many people I love. From the bottom of my hamburger meat feet to the top of my wobbly head I feel light and free…and gratitude for my legs, my arms, my heart, my lungs, my head, and my family. THANK YOU ALL!!!! You are IronFan’s and that in itself is a real endurance race. YOU DID IT!!!!
Chris Kmetty, brother-in-law, gives us his report:
Rich, you were truly an inspiration to us all and a very large inspiration to Tyler. As a father it is amazing to see the people and moments that shape him. This was a day that I will remember for the inspiration that you gave to us that drove each and every one of us to help you succeed. We all knew that you were carrying us all with you and we in our own small parts were there to help carry you in any way we could.
Tyler was more than excited to cheer on all of the competitors as they came by, clapping for each and letting us know, “Mommy, hurry bike.” So that we would all clap and cheer on each biker, but when the yellow biker came by that we all knew was Uncle Rich. Tyler would let out, “GO RICH!”
Tyler endured the entire day in and out of the car somehow in his way knowing that he was there to support Uncle Rich.
When Tyler and I were watching the runners finish late into the night Tyler was there clapping again for the runners that he cheered for hours before on the bikes as each one finished into the arms of awaiting friends and family we waited for our inspiration to come around the LAST bend.
As Rich approached the finish line, he gave all the people lined up at the finish line a high five and finished strong with a last kick and the ever present smile that Rich is known for. He invited all of us to be here on a special day for him and in a way that only Rich can do, he carried himself and all of us near and far across the finish line on the most difficult day in sport. Uncle Rich is an Iron Man!