Pre-race tip number 38; avoind the hotel 200 yards from the local train tracks...that has trains running on it....every 10 to 15 minutes...all day long...and...ALL NIGHT LONG.
When Wife and I got to lovely Flagstaff, AZ for the 22nd running ot the Mountain Man triathlons, there are three in one day, we discovered that the train ran pretty much right outside our window on an almost continuous basis. It wasn't a discrete event either, it was the full blown rumbling, chugging, horn blowing affiar. I probably didn't get to sleep until 11 pm and was awake off and on from about 2 am until I finally just got out of bed at 3:30 am to start getting ready for the race.
The race of choice, since we are on vacation, was the sprint; 700m lake swim - 18K bike - 5K run. I ended up covering the distance in 1:17:58, which is pretty good for me but not top form.
The swim was nice, the water was perfect and there was very little chop but there was a current. The swim takes place in Upper Lake Mary but I really think it is more of an intermittant river with the two "lake" portion seperated by large swaths of green belt and wetland. It is truly a beautiful race venue. Anyhow, I've never swam in something with a current like this so on the way out to the middle of the lave I was drifting down stream and kept having to adjust. The water was also very murky, not really in a bad way, just a lot of suspended organic material. Anyhow, I couldn't even see my arms much less anyone in front of me. There were about four times when I only knew I was near another swimmer because i was swimming over them...literally on top of them. Sorry if any of you unfortunate souls are reading this post. After the first turn you head upstream, which isn't particularly hard but a little slower. Then it is back to the bank looking directly into the sun. If I were to change anything about this race it would be the start of the sprint swim so that we could head straight out from the swim end, head up stream and then back to the swim end at an angle. You really can't see heading back to shore unless you are at an angle.
Out of the water there are no wet suit strippers so you are on your own but you will have plenty of time because it is a pretty long transition. Surprisingly I was out of my wetsuit and through T1 in 2:20. That is a fast T1 for me, wspecially considering the length of transition.
The bike course was as near perfect as I have ever experienced. The roads were totally smooth and free of debris, the shoulders were wide and the course had some gentle rollers thrown in. The scenery was so nice that you really have to focus on the fact that you are in a race to that you don't just start toodling around enjoying the scenery. There was a bit of a head wind on the ride back. It must have come up while we were headed out because I don't recall much if any tail wind. I was able to maintain a 21.9 mph pace on the bike, which I'm pretty happy with. Me and this other guy started leap frogging during the last 4 or so miles of the ride with him passing me going up and me passing him on the downhills and flats. It was nice to have this competition within the race and helped keep me focused.
T2 went well and i was off on the run. The run also had some gentle rollers but you hardly notice them. Again the scenery was beautiful and the temps were still cool, at least compaired to the races I usually do in New Mexico and West Texas.
At the end of this race they actually give you a finishers towel! The race is a bit expensive compaired to most, the sprint and the Olympic both run $80 but I have to say they are generous with the goodie bags, finishers towel and the overall winner trophies are to be coveted above all else. God I wish I was that fast. They are hand carved stone figures that are quite famous here in the Southwest. I'd say at a store you could expect to pay $300 to $500 for these things.
My bonus, I actually took first in my age group, WOW! I was bummed that there was no Clydesdale division for me to run in and I figured I head home empty handed, which is fine, but it's nice to get the souvineer...and I did.
This race has my strongest reccomendation. You should consider traveling to Flagstaff, AZ to run it and to enjoy the local doings. The Grand Canyon is nearby and there is a ton to do in this college town. Lots of camping, hiking, biking, eating, clubbing etc...and like I said, the race venue is to die for. There is a sprint, Olympic and 70.3 going off all on the same day.
I almost forgot, there was a bike in transition for the 70.3 that had a flat with a dozen Krispy Cream doughnuts strapped to it. The person literally had a special bar attached to the seat post and a set up for this purpose, it was hilarous. On my way back in on the bike route I saw a doughnut on the side of the road and wondered if the person had lost one.