I've come to learn that Ironman events and certain other triathlon's have become so popular that registration opens and closes out in a matter of a couple of hours. Such is the case for St. Anthony's Triathlon, an Olympic distance event (Swim 1.5K · Bike 40K · Run 10K). St. Athony's Triathlon takes place in St. Petersburg Florida on April 26, 2009.
In trying to lay out some events in 2009 to lead up to Arizona Ironman in November, we were considering St. Athony's Triathlon as an event to get us geared up for serious summer training. Knowing it fills up fast, we agreed to call each other to make sure we would both be at our computers ready to register at the opening bell at exactly 9 AM. Of course, thousands of other triathletes from around the country were at their computers ready to do the same thing. We also contacted friend Chris and brother Dave to do the same thing. No reason we can't suck a couple of other athletes into registration madness.
I try to log in at 8:59 AM, not being sure whether my computer clock was a minute slow or if the guys at Active.com (an online registration site used by most marathon and triathlon events) might have activated the system a minute early. Can't hurt to try. Bam! I'm in. I work my way throught the couple of pages of information needed to register. I can't believe I got in. When I tried to register John & myself for the Arizona Ironman I had to keep hitting the resend button after repeatedly getting a "Site Too Busy" message from the Active.com computer. I get to the final screen where I imput my credit card infomration and hit the send button. Here we go.......waiting.....waiting......only to be finally met with the following message: "We are experiencing higher than normal volume and are therefore unable to process your request at this time. Please wait several minutes and then try again. We apologize for this inconvenience."
Try again? Dude, I was in. I was logged into your computer and all my information was in. Name, age, address, credit card information, shirt size, blood type. I hit the send button. What are you doing to me? OK, don't panic. Hit the resend button. No luck. OK, how about the back page button? Hey, here I am at the credit card page again, but its missing my information. So, I re-input the data and hit the send button. Now I get a blank page. In the bottom of my screen it says "Done." This is not the way its supposed to look. I'm suppose to get an acknowledgment that I'm registered with a link to a receipt page with my payment information. At least this is what I've seen on every other event I've ever registered for on Active.com.
Alright, I can play this game. I'll hit the go back bottom again and resend. "System Busy, try again later." I spend the next five minutes refreshing the page until I get in again. I now get a message that I'm already registered. I call John and find out he has yet to get in, so I submit his informtion. I hit the send button. No response, other than a "System Busy" message. I don't know why I even looked, but I chose this moment to look at my e-mail in box. I've got mail from Active.com. Whoops, I've got two sets of e-mails from Active.com. It looks like my registration went through.....twice. I call back John who tells me he has finally gotten onto the Active.com web site. I tel him he'd better check his e-mail first. Sure enough, he also appears to be registered. So, he calls buddy Chris and "pays it forward" by registering Chris who hasn't been able to log in. Three in, one to go.
I call brother Dave. We both keep trying for the next half hour. Finally, he gets in. I can only image that these kind of situations were going on around the country as thousands of triathletes rush to grab the 4,000 slots for an event that will not take place for over 4 months. So, its not the swim, the bike, or the run that's the hardest event for St. Anthony's. Its the registration.