Last year it was a disk wheel, custom orthotics, and a last minute trip to the crapper that plagued a panicked group getting to the start line. This year is was timing chips, swim skins, and tough conditions that highlighted the trip.
In the circus that is Malfer doing an Ironman, it began at the practice swim. Mike and Raging Bulls Rookie, John Denne, showed up only to be told that they needed timing chips in order to get in the water.....back to the hotel! Back at the open swim Mike ripped his swim skin and as the duo tried to enter the water they were rejected again for not having a swim cap. (Seriously)
The good news is that the VP of sales for Roka took pity on Mike and gave him a new swim skin and for all of us it looks like Roka will need to become a Raging Bull Sponsor. The timing chip story only gets better because in a rush to get back to open swim John and Mike's chips got mixed up. This would have sucked for Malfer after Denne's cramped filled death march to a 12:10 finish would not have looked good on his Athlinks profile. The good news is that they ended up with the right chips and Malfer won his spot to Kona finishing in 9:44! Mike's swim skin adventures continued race morning as he left the brand new skin in the morning bag he checked in with only 15 minutes before the gun went off. Faced with a sea of other bags and a "Pissed off at the World" volunteer, Mike joined in the frantic search, found his swim gear and rushed to the start line. The volunteer said "You know, you really are a jerk ." Obviously, she has never been at a gas station with him in Gardner or on a mechanical pit stop when Malfer is ready to go or she would have used a stronger choice of words.
Just like last year the story ends well with Mike overcoming 90 degree temps, 80% humidity, and 20 mph winds to take 5th in the 40-44 age group and becoming the first Bull in 2015 to punch his ticket to Kona! Malfer said the best way to describe the day was "Gumption!"