Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Team Q&A: Ultimate Race Course

We're back again with another team question. This time, we asked everyone to build their ultimate race course/venue. The answers are split into two groups. The first set of responses are below and the next set will be posted in a couple of days.

Stu: The swim would most definitely be from Escape from Alcatraz. A point to point swim is hard to find, and what better one than Alcatraz to San Francisco. The bike would be Rev3 Quassy. The scenery, rolling hills, and outrageously amazing pro field to blaze the way makes this a great bike route. The run would be Wildflower. There is a bit of everything on this route. You name it, you will find it (for those that have done it, you know what I mean).

Michelle: My favorite race venue would be comprised of places that I have raced before. I absolutely love the IM World Championship swim at Kona. It is an out and back course in a bay. The water is temperate, wetsuits are not allowed, and the bay offers some natural protection from overly nasty swells/waves. The salt water provides some natural buoyancy. The ocean bottom can be seen throughout the whole race. What better way to pass the time than watching colorful fish and coral! For the bike ride, I would choose the IM Lake Placid course. The scenery is absolutely spectacular. If you are a lover of the outdoors, camping, fishing, mountains, great forests, and rivers, you will not be disappointed. The ride offers a double loop course with several long gradual climbs, descents, and flats. It’s got it all! The run course I would choose is at a race I've done many times in Wisconsin at High Cliff State Park. It has it all. A massive climb right out of transition, followed by terrains which are varied and fun. The run goes through the state park and goes over asphalt, gravel, limestone, and natural forest bottom. Truly great!

Chris: When I ran cross country in college I became really disillusioned with one after another of flat, fast, races held on groomed golf courses- it was too far from the roots of the sport. With a few notable outliers triathlon courses also tend towards fast and non-technical over slow and difficult. My swim would be a point to point river swim like the now-defunct New York City Ironman where the top swimmers went sub 40 minutes, but my course would be against the current. Since I have complete geographic freedom the ride would be the 115km bike leg of the Alpe d’Huez triathlon. For the run, I have to go with the Wildflower half marathon. This is a challenging run with a mix of trails and roads and really, really good support at the aid stations!

Charlie: I think my favorite swim for triathlon is an ocean swim, like Ironman Florida and Kona. I haven't done Kona, but I've swam the course. There's something very humbling about being in that volume of water. My favorite bike course was at Whirlpool's Steelhead 1/2 ironman in St Joe, Michigan. The scenery is beautiful and the gentle rolling hills fun to power through. The best run course was at The River Cities triathlon in Bossier City, LA because the course is almost fully shaded through a park around a reservoir. It also had an off-road cross-country section which kept it interesting.

Sarah: My favorite distance is the half-ironman. I think I've done nearly as many halfs as all of my other triathlons combined! My dream swim would be in a relatively small, clear, protected lake. I love a swim with little chop and great visibility. I know some people prefer not to be able to see the bottom of the lake they are swimming in, but I really enjoy it. Chisago half iron, Liberty when it was in Lake Independence (both in MN), and the Ironman Wisconsin swim all have decent visibility, but my ideal swim would have closer to 20 feet as opposed to 10. The bike would be on rolling hills in the countryside - think the Liberty half iron course in Minnesota or Steelhead. The run would definitely be around a lake with a breeze. I think I would prefer a two-loop course like the Minneapolis Tri (formerly Lifetime). I love a run that encourages a lot of spectators and has some shade to offer. In my ideal world, I’d be racing alongside as many of my family members as possible. Oh, and the aid stations would resemble that of an ultramarathon. If you can think it up, it’s there.