Race Week Update

2014 Polson Triathlon Participants,

Registration is closed and we are making final preparations for a truly special event on Saturday. Thanks for making the choice to race with us, and please feel welcome to reply with any questions or concerns.

It has been an overwhelming week and I apologize for sending this at the last minute, but I thought I would provide some updates and helpful info. I will also try to post the updated 2014 racer guide on the website on Thursday.

Check-in and packet pick-up on Friday runs from 5:30-8:30 pm at Riverside Park. The transition area opens at 6:45 am on Saturday morning.

Swim Course – We had a group of 21 locals swimming the course Wednesday morning. The water was perfectly smooth and balmy, probably well into the 70’s.  Wetsuits will be allowed on Saturday, but certainly not necessary for warmth. The water was clear and shallow enough that you could see the bottom for about 80% of the loop. The course is the same 2-lap affair as before, but we are adding another big orange buoy, lane lines, and an inflatable finish arch at the boat ramp exit to help with navigation into the rising sun. Don’t forget that the first wave (8:40 am) on Saturday is all women and teams. The second wave at 9:00 am is for the solo men. It looks like we will have 52 swimmers in the first wave and 47 in the second.

Racer Tip – If you have trouble with foggy goggles, try putting one or two drops of baby shampoo in each lens, spreading it evenly with your finger, and then rinsing the goggles in water. This should give you 3 or 4 swims with clear vision, and “no more tears.”

Bike Course – I rode the course today during a wind and rain storm, and it was absolutely delightful. The hills seemed small, the pavement smooth, and the air fresh and oxygen rich. You can plan to sit back and enjoy the views, and still ride a personal best split on Saturday. Actually the pavement is pretty good overall with some bumps and rough spots in the first half, but no significant holes. We will paint the most treacherous spots so you can make sure not to miss them (Kevin D.). There will be almost no traffic on the western part of the course during the race, and you are welcome to avoid bumps as needed, but please return to the right side of the road whenever possible to avoid traffic and blocking of passing cyclists. The worst pavement and gravel is the first two blocks after you leave the path and Riverside Park. We will try to get some sweeping done, but you might want to pre-ride this section Friday or Saturday morning when you arrive.

Racer Tip – Mounting the bike on this course is a little tricky because you have to make a turn and head up the hill right away. My advice is to be patient and ride out of the park without worrying about getting your shoes into your cleats right away. Even better, if you are starting with your shoes already on the bike, then you can pedal on top of your shoes until you get out of the park, and wait to put your feet in until you hit a nice, straight stretch of smooth road.

Run Course – I hope that you will all love the new lakefront loop addition to our run course.  It will include some great vistas and a special cross tri feature that we are calling the “Rounders Revenge.” When you go back through the park, up the stairs, and pass the finish bathed in spectator energy, you will have only five miles left to run. And should you need more inspiration, our aid stations are raising the bar the bar this year with some wild new themes and big energy. All the stations will have ice water and Hammer Gel, and the 2-mile and 4-mile stations will also be serving Hammer HEED.

Racer Tip – There are a few challenging hills on this course, but if you don’t let them break you, you can make up some time on flat and downhill sections in between. When you feel your pace slowing, the best response is to shorten your stride and try to regain a faster turnover. Stay focused and push hard to get to the long downhill that start with two miles left. There isn’t a single uphill in the last two miles.

Timing Chips – We will be using our new electronic timing system on Saturday, and will be asking all the racers to wear the chips (neoprene straps) on the right side, either ankle or wrist. Relay teams will have to pass the chip from swimmer to biker to runner. All participants will pick up their chips on Saturday morning and return them immediately at the finish line. We owe a big thanks to local sponsor Glacier Bank for a large contribution that helped make this new purchase possible. Their staff will also be working the finish line, so say thanks when you get the chance.

T-Shirts – We will be handing out special race t-shirts at the finish line this year. The colors and sayings will vary, so please take the shirt you are given (according to your preregistered size).  You are welcome to trade with other racers, but we won’t exchange any shirts until after the awards ceremony at 2:30 pm.

Kid’s Races – We are expanding and improving our kid’s events this year with two waves (no fee) and improved courses. We will have maps and a sign-up list available at check-in in Saturday. The current schedule is:

11:45 – final sign-up and staging for kid’s races

12:00 – pre-race meeting for kids and parents

12:15 – wave 1, ages 9 and up, distances = swim 125 yds, bike 3.6 mi, run 1.15 mi

12:30 – wave 2, ages 8 and under, distances = swim 25 yds, bike 1 mi, run 0.7 mi

Don’t forget to bring bikes and helmets. Life jackets are allowed for kids if they prefer. Finishers will get medals and ice cream tokens for The Cove.

Flathead Blues Festivalhttp://www.flatheadlakebluesfestival.com There will be some great music right on the lake on Friday and Saturday afternoon/evening and the festival will be given triathletes discounted ticket coupons in their race bags. We will also be passing right through the venue during the first part of the run course. Check out the schedule on the website and take advantage of a great way to relax before or after the race.

Camping – The Blues Festival is also offering racers cheap camping right next to Riverside Park. The cost is $10 for one night and $15 for two. Thursday night is free. You can register ahead on the website or just show up and pay at the gate. The camping entrance is right near the bike course exit out the back of the park.

See you all Saturday morning. Matt