Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ironman New Orleans Recap (guest post)

Hey guys I have a guest post today by the awesome George Melichar other wise known as Geo. He is such an amazing person and doesn't dare meet a stranger. Right now he is training for the Eurogames in Stockholm.

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This past weekend he participated in the Ironman New Orleans relay. Here is his experience of the race...


The first time I had ever attended a Triathlon event was at the Gay Games 9, 2014 to cheer for participants and my Louisiana teammates. My friends Julie and Michele were competing in the TRI event in Cleveland and I was just amazed.

I had been interested in the concept of attempting a 70.3 triathlon but not ready for the swim category. In March I joined my friend Berty (also a #GG9 athlete) in Paris or a serious swimming lesson.

I feel like a pro dog-paddling swimmer; but after the instruction given I felt empowered in my training. 

Michele reached out through Facebook for IRONMAN 70.3 relay participants and I joined the TRI Club Steel MagNOLA's as Team Mohawk MagNOLA's runner.

I went to the event exposition straight from the airport after running the IOA Corporate 5k in Orlando, Florida the day before. I knew I was going to get my packet and race number; but TRI's were all new territory for me. I was impressed by the volunteer organization and loyalty they had to come back year after year. Susan McManus-Ellis was at the Solutions to help athletes. The vendors booths and the event merchandise was cool!

I had to work that night and by the time I laid down to sleep I was anxious. I got-up and wanted to do my dishes. By the time I got ready for the day and arrived at the bus transportation going to the transition area; I needed to nap on the bus. When I arrived to the bus drop-off I just followed the other athletes.

I saw people getting marked with their participation #'s and age before the entry and did it too. I walked through the entry point and went to the teams transition area number. Ooohhhhhh let me just say the term Transition Area is the place where athletes change gear between swimming, cycling, and running. Their are strict event rules online and emailed to the participants. When I got to the 70.3 event, what I read starting making more sense. I saw my friends Melissa and Jay and I felt so much better.

My team mates arrived, we set-up our equipment, and headed to the start line.

The opening ceremonies started and the next thing I knew the starting horn blew. The elite swimmers began and my heart pounded with excitement. My teammate Cindy got in the water and I moved to the outer shore. 

My comrade Vivek and I walked back quickly to the transition area and we waited for our swimmers. Everything happens fast in the exchange of the participants chip in the relay going from the swimmer to the biker... and then my team biker Michele was gone. I cheered for all the athletes and tried not to get run over by everything going-on. I meet so many cool people in the relay participants area. I enjoyed talking with Sasha from Denver about her passion ensuring athletes with disabilities can participate in sporting events.

2+ hours later it was about the time Michele was to arrive back to the transition area... I got anxious... their was a line at the clean portable toilet :) Next thing I knew Michele crossed into transition, I removed the chip from her ankle, I put the chip on my ankle, and I was running.  I crossed the BIG bridge on Leon C. Simon Drive to Lakeshore Drive. The miles were going fast from excitement. Around mile 4 an elite runner cheered me on... "You've Got This" he said! The on course motivational energy between athletes was high. At the turn-around I was looking forward to some of the wind I was running against to push me to the Finish Line. I took the turn-around and their was no breeze. The temperature and afternoon sun felt like I was in an oven. The volunteers were giving 100% of their energy at the water stations. Around mile 8 my contact flipped into my eye I was squinting to see. When people said my name I am sure my facial expression must have been memorable. I was so happy to be in the IRONMAN relay as a runner and I wanted to do the best I could for my teammates so I never stopped. Near the end I saw my friends Keith, Kurt, and Rod. We motivated one another, I crossed the BIG bridge and the next thing I knew I was near the Finish Line. I was soooo heat exhausted! Everything was happening even faster! My teammates cheered so loud I could hear them a half mile from the Finish Line... and then I crossed! 

The athlete village was a celebration of families, TRI clubs, and friendship.

I had a great time participating in the IRONMAN 70.3 New Orleans 2015 Relay as Team Mohawk MagNOLA's runner. I am grateful for the friendships I made through the Gay Games and how those friendships have pushed me to attempt new athletic challenges. If you have not participated in a Triathlon event and know how to confidently swim, bike, or run; I encourage you to participate in a TRI Relay event. It was great to see how the "machine" worked and gave me the additional confidence to go the next step...

#RunLoveRock! Geo

Thanks George! You rock as always. If you want to read my Ironman Augusta relay recap Part 1 and Part 2 !

Have you ever done a Tri relay?


  1. I'd love to participate in a relay portion of a tri--this sounds fun!

  2. This sounds like so much fun! I'm learning to swim and have my first tri this weekend (eek!) but I'd be so much more comfy handling the run part of a tri!

  3. Fun recap. I have never done ANYTHING like this so always interesting for me to read about other people's experiences.

  4. you would love it. The relay option is a way to be involved and see what the tri world is all about.

  5. You def should. Soooooo much fun.

  6. Have fun this weekend. Cant wait to see how it goes.

  7. Lets put one together. Super fun.

  8. I keep seeing more and more relays popping up. They sound so fun! I'd be down to do a tri-relay but only if I can do the running part haha.

  9. I met him at a few RNR races. Always fun to see him because he oozes love for the sport!

  10. This sounds fun. I don't know about a tri because of the swimming portion, but a Relay sounds like the way to go :)

  11. Love that you could hear your teammates from a half a mile away - that kind of energy is exactly what you need to finish strong!!

  12. I would love to do a tri relay as I run and my husband bikes. Now we just need to find a swimmer...

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