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4/21/2013 5:42:30 AM
My son and I both race in Open and we were initially very excited about participating in this sprint in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. TRY CHARLESTON is the WORST race experience I have ever had. EVER. There was such confusion in every aspect of the race! Where to begin?!? Those triathletes unable or unwilling (due to the severity of the thunderstorm that rolled through) to rack their bikes the night before were left to navigate between T1 and T2 via a shuttle. In the dark and in the rain. The Pre race packet suggested shuttling the bikes as an options but the shuttle drivers seemed unclear on many details and were directing participants to take the bikes over themselves. As for the swim I will say I was not crazy about the Open Sprint starting into a massive amount of "loopers" from the Half. In my opinion that is just nuts. I was trying to swim over all kinds of people till the first buoy. Now comes the bike... there were clean roads but nothing to protect us on Highway 17. When we approached the approximate location for the bike turn around for the sprint, NOT A SINGLE SIGN, CONE, or PERSON was to be found directing us to turn around. The first fast group of Open went on looking for some indication of the turn point and finally turned 7 miles out too far! My group of Open Men and Women did the same but turned around 5 miles too far out. So the majority of the Open starters went 23-27 miles instead of the correct 13 miles! Not only were officials and police officers unclear of the course, some officers actually sent Sprint participants on with the Half Revers. I finally made it out and back for the run but witnessed many other athletes struggling with the poorly marked course. I watched a number of runners without shoes apparently confused about the separate transition areas and where their gear needed to be or how to get it there. Now comes the best part... after the race when I went to the timing tent to explain the situation to an official, I was told they were aware but offered no apologies or concern. When I voiced concern that the situation would totally skew the final results, their suggestion was that I should just write an email when I get home. One final note of concern...After the race I heard a number of Half Revers discussing frustrations with an intersection on the course that had no police assisting with traffic. I think this race really dodged a major incident if this was the case. How can you expect athletes to safely navigate a race course without law enforcement directing traffic at major intersections? After the cost of 2 race entries, a 4 hour drive to and from the race, the cost of a hotel, and a race full of frustration, I can say I "TRY"-ed Charleston...NOT impressed and not interested in participating again. We appreciate all that set up events does...we love triathlon and enjoy competing. This was an unfortunate event that will hopefully be corrected and not repeated in the future.