Ironman Oregon 70.3 by Michael Tucker
The best thing(s) about the race:
• The swim, definitely the swim. This was a river swim with a fast current. It cut 15-20 minutes off my normal 1.2 mile swim. It was such a blast, almost effortless. The swim course was well marked but the sun did limit some visibility. It did take a little effort to swim across the current to get out of the water.
• The run course was very flat and well shaded. The aid stations seemed to be a little farther apart than usual but it worked due to the cooler, mild weather. If it were any warmer or more humid they would have been too far apart.
• I liked the bike course a lot, a few hills, and IMHO not bad but I did see some athletes walking the big hill at about mile 15. There are three railroad tracks that were extremely bumpy. A lot of lost water bottles. One person even lost their saddle which I don't think was due to the RR tracks, possibly something broken. I saw the saddle and seat post on the ground which was not near the RR tracks. I heard they were able to finish the race, well done to that person.
What was less than ideal: I did not like the 1.2-mile walk to the swim. They did a 2 at a time, time trial start which made getting in the water take almost 2 hours for all the athletes. After the race, we had to walk all the way around transition to get to our gear. It was not till very late in the day that they opened a spot near the finish line for athletes to get back into transition. The post-race food was not very good, only Vegan options, bananas, and oranges. I also didn't like that Ironman Village was in the convention center an 8-10 minute walk from the race venue. Parking was ample but very unorganized. Ironman did not provide any guidance on where to park on race day.
What I didn't expect: We were able to hook up with a group to do a practice swim on Friday afternoon. I did not expect the athlete community to come together the way it did and self-organize practice swims.
Race organization: Ironman typically does a good job of organizing races.
Fuel and aid stations: There could have been one more run aid station. The options were the typical water, Gatorade, Coke, chips, gels, and bananas.
Overall grade: 5 stars