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9/12/2011 1:50:11 PM)
I was a participant in the Sprint Triathlon for the 2011 LG Triathlon Series. The race was nothing more than a disorganized gathering of triathletes. I should have done some homework and checked out some reviews from previous participants. From the start of the first wave, there was complete confusion among participants. They were using a single megaphone to communicate to 2000+ particpants, mistake number 1 of many. Firt wave was the extreme participants swimming North-South. Once all extreme and oly participants were off on their North-South swim around the buoys, next came the sprint and super sprint swimming East-West. As you can imagine, as the extreme and oly swimmers were finishing their swim they were on a collision course for the sprint/super sprint swimmers and they did just that. The leader of the extreme swimmers, in deep concentration and head-down stroke, swam head first into the sprint swimmers and was dazed/confused/pissed. After dropping a couple of F-Bombs, she was finally directed by other by-standing participants yet to go off towards the transition. This collision course continued for the entire swim and was a pre-cursor for how chaotic and disorganized the rest of the race would be. As a participant of the sprint distance, we were to swim .3 miles (all in 3-6 feet of water). Basically people swam the first half of the .3 miles, stood up and jogged to the transition point. The transitions points were a disaster. It was a free-for-all when it came to racking your bikes pre-race. You could rack your bike wherever you pleased. During the swim-bike transition, some people had to run/jog approx. .5 mile to get to their bike and the run-in/out and bike-in/out were labeled with 2X3 construction paper and sharpie (illegible and cheaply done); looked like a 2nd grader was given the task. Some participants had to cross a 3-foot wide bridge during the transition. The bridge was the only way in/out of the transition area and was being used for both in and out use; there was barely enough room for a single person and a bike not to mention 2 people and a bike. The bike was tough; very hilly. I have no complaints with the difficulty of the course. The bike and run were hilly and challenging, a change from other flat courses I have done in the past. The safety of the bike was unacceptable. Traffic was not stopped during the race. There were points where race staff was holding traffic to allow racers through. I did run into a situation where race staff held bikers and allowed cars to pass, this didn't fair well with many of the particpants and they let the flaggers know it. The course was very poorly marked with no mile markers. I did not see any sign of medical personnel minimal water stations. The bike-run transition was a mess. People trying to get in/out creating chaos. The run was very hilly and there were 2 water stations on my particular course (one poorly placed mid-hill). The run, while very scenic, had a number of sections on public sidewalk for both directions of runners, which basically slowed your pace to a walk. I did also see a number of racers "cheating" during the run, as there were sections of the race unmonitored by race personnel; not exactly the responsibility of the race personnel but I would have thought they would be wary of potential for this. At the finish you are given a medal; no date, no race information. Just a plain medal, they probably ordered in bulk and got enough for the next 10 years worth of races. I also found the post-race festivities to be unorganized also. Transitions area were not secured at all. Sprint and super sprint participants were allowed to access the transition ares at will. This posed a problem for extreme and oly participants still racing.
Overall the course was great, the execution by race management was pitiful. It proved difficult in areas but I really enjoyed the challenge and you could not have asked for better weather. With a $90 entrance fee I felt having higher expectations was acceptable. Goodie bag was junk and race sweatshirt was nothing the brag about (standard black hanes cotton sweatshirt). It just seems like everything was done on the cheap end, in order to make a buck (which I am sure they made out well), but I am sure they will see a huge drop off in participants next year. I would have no issues paying more than $90 but I would have liked things to have been more organized in all areas. As I was walking out of the transition area to my car I heard nothing but negative comments/complaints and that's really too bad. The weather was perfect and, being one of the last weekends of nice weather to have an event like this, I was really disappointed with the whole experience. Will I do this again next year? Probably. I will check out other's reviews and see what event management's response to participants complaints and go from there. I hope the race director sees the poor reviews of the event he chaired and puts in the extra effort to mitigate the biggest issues and put on an event that has great potential and much interest from a couple thousand people.