SUPPORT CREW JOB DESCRIPTION
Alaskaman is the hardest long distance 1-day triathlon event in North America. This unforgettable event will take athletes through the frigid waters of Resurrection Bay (Seward), up the winding, mountains passages of the Seward Highway, and to the top of Mount Alyeska to finish a journey that you change you as an athlete. This does not come without risk.
Having your own support IS ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY FOR EVERYONE as your support crew is your lifeline during this event. The only way it is permittable for two athletes to share a support crew is if they complete the event together and are the same speed throughout the entire event, agreeing on this ahead of time and getting special permission from the event management.
Please read the support crew rules and abide by them for the entire event. Beyond safety and support, these crews are part of the experience and add to the overall fun of the event. Support crews will undoubtedly have as much fun as the athletes, just in a different, yet essential way.
Bike Course Pull Off Areas that are permitted.
The Seward Highway mile marker distances shown below are not necessarily the distance of the course at that time. We do not start at mile 0 in Seward and the markers are off by 1/2 - 1-mile by the time every reaches the Portage Glacier turn off at mile 78. Markers are consistent (even if wrong), they are permanent and can be used effectively as a standard between athletes, support, staff, volunteers, and emergency response. If you want to communicated in terms of actual course distance that's up to you and your support. Be aware that the mile markers on the highway are 0-1 mile off by the turn around (still not too bad) but they do not take into account the 13 mile out and back on Portage Glacier so when bikes come out they are way off what the Seward Highway says for the last 20 miles of the race. Support can NOT support after the pull off at mile marker 80.2 on Seward Highway just a little bit beyond the Portage Glacier turn and NO SUPPORT IS ALLOWED OFF OF SEWARD HIGHWAY, especially on Portage Glacier (a new rule).
SUPPORT CREW RULES
All support crew members MUST:
be listed on the athlete’s support member(s) sheet (below)
checkin just like the athlete at packet pickup (show photo ID and sign waivers)
sign a USA Triathlon Volunteer Waiver
If a support crew’s athlete withdraws from the event at any point before or during the event, a crew member is required to inform the event crew immediately by calling +1 (832) 334-6362. The event crew phone is manned from the pre-event meeting onwards. If there is no answer leave a message and also text the athlete’s name and event number along with event withdrawal notification.
Again, we will require each support crew member to show a government issued photo ID at time of packet pickup check in and to claim their athlete’s bike (please read procedure and all requirements in the event summary section, above and bike claim waiver below).
FYI Athlete Support Crew Members are technically considered “Event Volunteers” though they are dedicated to the athlete they support.
Please note that whether an athlete’s support crew has the minimum requirement of one member, or more, only one support vehicle is permitted per athlete. Please be absolutely sure, that if you have more than one person on your support crew, you designate a captain of your crew, and that your crew can fit in one vehicle along with the supplies you will need for the event. If you cannot fit in one vehicle, the rest of your crew that is in the non support designated vehicle (stickers only given for one vehicle) must drive directly from Seward to Girdwood without stopping along the way on the bike course to aid their athlete in any way. Those crews that are found to have more than one vehicle stopping to aid the athlete will be automatically disqualified. Any non support vehicles just stopping to “observe” and not to “aid” their athlete, are also subject to athlete time penalty or disqualification and the discretion of the official and/or event management. The less vehicles clogging the highway the better. Each crew’s one, stickered vehicle may contain as many support crew members that can safely fit in it and any of those members they may all aid their athlete (if desired) when the vehicle parks safely off the bike course between the designated miles and areas (listed below).
The following areas are the ONLY areas that an athlete’s support crew is permitted to support them during the event:
TriTats Swim to Bike Transition Area (T1) - Before Event Start - The morning of the event prior to the busses leaving for the swim start each athlete is allowed to have one support crew member enter transition with them and help them setup. This support crew member may be anyone the athlete has listed on their support crew roster (as with anything listed below). Requirements to enter T1 for the designated support crew member is that they must have the support crew shirt on given to the crew at packet pickup. Support crew members are not allowed on the busses taking athletes to the swim start nor are they allowed at the swim start, or on the swim course either in boats or along the shoreline. Once your athlete is on the bus you are to remain between the areas of the Swim Exit, T1, or anywhere outside of that like vehicles and hotel rooms that are not located at the swim start.
Swim Exit - ⅕-Mile Run to T1 Area - Athletes exit on an old wooden boat ramp. Each crew may designate one support member to assist the athlete out of the water and along the short ⅕-mile run from Swim Exit to T1. The support crew person helping the athlete exit the water must be wearing the support crew shirt and must be the same person that helps them on the run to T1 as well as through T1 to the bike out/mount line.
TriTats T1 Area - After Swim Exit - As stated above, whatever support crew member helps the athlete out of the water must be wearing the shirt and must be the person that’s going to help them from Swim Exit all the way to mounting their bike. In transition the support crew member helping the athlete may do anything necessary to help the athlete from dressing them, feeding them, warming them up, holding a towel for them to change behind (if desired), etc. The support crew member may run alongside the athlete to the bike out but once in the bike out chute the support crew member must exit to either side prior to the mount line.
Bike Course - Miles 28.8-83 Only - For safety reasons support crews/vehicles are not allowed to aid their athlete on the bike course before 31-miles or after 83-miles. Obviously if there’s a medical emergency/accident and you’re in a support vehicle that can safely pull off and help another athlete please do, but be extremely careful to not endanger yourselves, the athlete, or other athletes further in the process. It’s typically best to call our support line (832) 334-6362 to report incidents.
For the first 28.8-miles (1-31) we are not allowing support because of limited turn offs, narrow to nonexistent shoulders (especially around Moose Pass), athletes should be able to carry enough hydration/nutrition for 31-miles, and the fact that athletes and support vehicles just are not spread out enough to make it safe.
For the last 29-miles (83-112) we are not allowing support because traffic is heavier, athletes should have enough hydration/nutrition to make it to T2, support is not allowed to go to T2 (way too crowded of an area), and we need to make sure all support make it to 14.5/20-mile of the run before their athlete does.
On miles 31-83 of the bike course support vehicles are allowed to pull into the following areas but ONLY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD, DO NOT EVER PARK ON THE LEFT SIDE AND CROSS THE HIGHWAY:
Scenic Pull Offs
Small side roads with little no traffic and low speed limits (still park off the road)
Bike Course Support Crew Rules - These rules MUST be observed by each support crew:
The one and only support shirt and wristband should be worn by the support crew member wanting to go in and out of T1 and/or claim an athlete’s bike later in the event from T2.
All support vehicles MUST have their support stickers (given at Packet Pickup) centered on the top of the front windshield and on the bottom left corner of the back windshield. Please be sure this does not impede the driver’s vision in any way.
Only attempt to enter and park in those areas (listed above) if it is safe to do so.
Only attempt to enter and park in those areas (listed above) if the areas are not already full and/or isn’t backing up.
NEVER park on the left side of the highway in an attempt to aid or communicate with your athlete.
NEVER cross the traffic of the highway regardless of whether it’s clear to do so or not.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Alaska is beautiful but sightseeing during the event is not smart and irresponsible. Keep your attention on the road and give cyclists as much room as possible at all times while minding the oncoming traffic.
Do not do handups standing on the road or shoulder or EVER from within a vehicle. If something requires more than a handup from the grass or gravel off the side of the shoulder then wave your athlete safely into the parking lot off his/her bike to avoid any accidents.
Whether riding in your vehicle or out of it on foot, BE AWARE of the riders and cars on the course. It is very easy to turn right into a parking lot without looking behind you and hit a cyclist or walk onto the shoulder and have a cyclist hit you. Pay attention!
Athletes and support should use actual restrooms when available in a number of the scenic pull offs. They are not in all of them. Support vehicles should carry toilet paper and athletes should be prepared to go into the woods to relieve themselves if need be. DO NOT LITTER. Plastic bags for later disposal of toilet paper or a quick bury/cover-up of toilet paper is a must to keep Alaska clean and allow us back.
Obey all vehicular traffic laws at all times. This includes speed limits. Just as the athletes have to stop for lights, signs, and pedestrians, so do support crew vehicles. Additionally Alaska State Troopers have made it a point to tell us that in an effort to make sure vehicular traffic does not backup due to our event, on the Seward Highway, they will be issuing tickets to any vehicles not obeying the speed limit on either side (too slow or too fast).
NEVER approach wildlife. This includes stopping to take photos of any along the way, driving slow to do the same, or even seeing how close you can get to anything you may encounter on the course(s).
Be sure your rider is prepared before the event, exiting T1, and throughout the bike course. You never know when a support vehicle may have car trouble, be stuck in traffic, or just not make it to the next stop on time. Every step along the way the athlete and support vehicle should be thinking worst case scenario while hoping for the best. Carry more hydration/nutrition than you think you will need to the next stop. Know how to fix your own tire, tube, derailleurs, brakes, chain, and seat post (most common issues). As support it’s your job to make sure your athlete is self sufficient and this includes carrying limited bike tools and spare kit(s) to fix things for themselves if you’re not lucky enough to be around them when/if something goes wrong.
Athletes are NOT permitted to sit in the support crew vehicle at any time (this pertains to the entire event not just the bike course).
Athletes are NOT permitted to change their bikes or tires unless they are damaged to the point it is not safe or impossible to ride on them.
Overall Summary... do not pull off the road randomly, do not block the course, lookout for others, follow the law, go the speed limit, if the pulloff is full or getting full go to the next one, help others in need as you can, and always maintain visibility or do not stop in that area. Be prepared and ALWAYS pay attention.
Run Course - Miles 14.5-27 - All support crew vehicles are to go directly from mile 83 of the bike course (if they choose to aid their athlete at that last spot on the bike course they can) to mile 20 of the run (which is also mile 14.5 of the run). This is referred to as the Day Lodge Parking Lot and 20-Mile Mountain Check In Point. This parking lot is located at the point at which Alyeska Highway t’s with Arlberg Avenue.
Once parked in this lot support crews are permitted to get out and wait for their athlete to get to the corner of those two roads (mile 14.5 and then mile 20 later on, of the run course). From there athletes will do an out-and-back section towards the nordic track where their support crew member(s) are permitted to run with them and offer support (miles 14.5-20). It is allowed, but not mandatory during those miles. The only mandatory support section of the run course are miles 20-27 with check in for athlete and support at mile 20 to enter the 7-miles on Mt. Alyeska to the finish. Please keep in mind we will have hydration and limited nutrition available for the athletes (given by the event) at miles 12, 20, 23, and 27/Finish. Support is NOT allowed to run backwards on the course from mile 14.5 to meet up with their athlete. NO SUPPORT IS ALLOWED ON THE RUN COURSE PRIOR TO MILE 14.5 (Alyeska Highway and Arlberg Avenue).
Once the athletes reach mile 20 and are checked in with their support crew member(s) that are running the last 7-miles with them, and their gear is checked to be sure they meet the requirements (listed on pages above) they will be permitted to enter the mountain. NO ATHLETE WILL BE PERMITTED TO ENTER THE MOUNTAIN WITHOUT THEIR OWN SUPPORT CREW MEMBER AND THE REQUIRED GEAR AS MENTIONED IN THIS GUIDE.
Finish Line Area & Post Event - Spectators and additional support crew members that are not running the last 7-miles of the event with their athlete, but wish to see them finish, may venture to Alyeska Resort via road or trail to take the tram to the top. It’s about 1-mile drive or walk to the tram and costs $25 for a day lift ticket per person. Any athletes and support that are running the last 7-miles to the finish line will be permitted to take the tram down from the finish, free of charge. We will have hydration and limited nutrition at the finish line. Once each athlete and support crew member are finished they can take the tram down at any time. If a post event meal was paid for in advance simply provide the ticket(s) issued during packet pickup to claim your meal at the bottom of the tram. Those that desire to purchase a meal at that time may do so but be aware that beyond pre purchased meals onsite meals may be very limited. If we runout of extras there are plenty of restaurants within the resort to choose from at an additional cost.
Bike Claiming - TriTats Bike-to-Run Transition Area (T2) - After Last Athlete Starts Their Run - Athletes and/or support MUST claim their bike and gear from T2 no later than 1:30am on the 16th (that’s 3-hours after finish line cutoff). The only exception to this are Cycle Chauffeur clients as their bikes and gear is loaded directly onto the Cycle Chauffeur trailer without need for them to return to T2 and claim anything. All non Cycle Chauffeur clients MUST return to T2 to claim their bike and gear by 1:30am. This can be done by the athlete or by the athlete’s support crew, or both together. It’s a 15-20min drive from Alyeska Resort to the T2 parking lot. T2 will not be open for any bike/gear claiming until the last athlete has started their run (no later than the 2:30pm bike cut off unless weather extends that cutoff). We do not yet know when this will exactly occur as it could be before 2:30pm. We will post updates to social media and send out an email, possibly even a text message, to let everyone know when bikes may be claimed. Anyone showing up to claim a bike/gear before we announce they may do so will be subject to a time penalty or even disqualification for their athlete.
We do NOT recommend that support crews claim their athlete’s bike prior to their athlete finishing the event either, especially if the athlete’s support crew only consists of one person. A lot can happen on the Seward Highway and we would hate to deny an athlete access to the last 7-miles of the run course because their only support person is stuck on the highway in a backup trying to retrieve their bike before they finish the event. It’s likely a safe decision to send non essential members of your support crew (if you have more than one) to retrieve the bike once T2 is announced to be open. Regardless of who claims the athlete’s bike, it is essential, that if the athlete is not there, the person claiming their bike for them is listed as one of their support crew members, and is the same person listed on the turned in bike claim sheet given to us at packet pickup by the athlete (attached below). We will pull up the claim sheet and compare the name on their ID to the sheet the athlete turned in, to confirm before releasing the bike. Passport or driver’s license is preferred. Obviously we would just prefer to have the athlete and support come claim the bike after they finish but we realize that’s not ideal or possible for everyone. Cycle Chauffeur customers will have a brief period of time the day after (at the awards brunch), to swap stuff in their gear bag if needed, before Kevin heads back to the lower 48 with the bikes and bags.