It’s snowing this morning in Portland. In an hour it will change over to a cold rain, turning the roads sloppy and mucky and making the clean-up process as long as the ride or run itself. At this time of year, we start to dream of summer.
On a ride last week, we shared stories of our favorite races. These aren’t necessarily our most memorable races; these are the events we love returning to year after year. Maybe it’s the clear, cool lake or the one mammoth hill on the bike course. Maybe it’s the pre-race music or the hilarious announcer or the beer tent. Or maybe it’s that our friends and family are always there to race and cheer. Whatever the draw, here are the events we’re thinking about now to get us through these cold and wet training days.
Rachael: “My favorite race was also my very first Xterra – Xterra Lory in Fort Collins, Colorado. I camped in the mountains just west of the swim start the night before. The morning of the race, I got to sleep in a bit, because I was already pretty much at the venue, then "warm up" with a beautiful sunrise hike down the mountain. The swim was in the most beautiful cove and the bike was in a super lush green meadow. I was TERRIBLE at mountain biking (3rd time on a mountain bike ever), but had so much fun, and all the other racers were so friendly and supportive, regardless of how many times I fell off the bike. Most people hated the run, but I loved it...switchbacks straight up and down a steep mountain. The race was such a fun way to switch up my normal race routine and I look forward to doing this event again someday.”
Amy: “My favorite is a local race called Tri Santa Cruz held in August. This race is the perfect, northern California race. It starts with an ocean swim that is typically cold, salty, foggy, and choppy, but thrilling at the same time. Then you bike and run along West Cliff Drive overlooking the ocean. The bike is fast, with sweeping curves and little rollers and you get to cheer on your friends and other racers as you go out-and-back for multiple loops. During the run, you can take in the awesome ocean view and watch the surfers down below. In true California fashion, the fog is usually gone by the time you're coming to the finish line so you can enjoy the post-race festivities in the sunshine.”
Juliet: “Truth be told, my favorite event is the annual Skillet Toss at the Sandwich State Fair in New Hampshire! But if we’re talking triathlon, the Hagg Lake Triathlon outside Portland, Oregon is my hands down go-to summer event. WHY Racing runs great events and the energy and music from the moment the mike goes on at 6 a.m. when you’re setting up transition sets the stage for a great day. I love the hilly bike course and the lake is clean and clear. Most of the Portland triathlon community shows up so there are lots of friends around; it’s a great vibe from start to finish.”
Hannah: “My favorite event is easily Bloomsday, my hometown race which is well-known and well-loved by all. It’s a 7.1 mile road race in Spokane where every level of runner, from baby-jogging mothers to Olympians, line up at the starting line the first weekend of May to celebrate our fantastic local running community. The course is lined with cheering spectators and bands that rock you through each mile marker. The energy of the crowd is palpable; I go back every year for it.”
Cymon: “For a local race, Hagg Lake is also my favorite. It was my first real triathlon and I love the hills and the familiarity of the course from training out there during the summer. The lake is my favorite open water swim spot near Portland. It just feels like my home course. My hands-down favorite triathlon run course was at ITU Worlds in Rotterdam. The path through the park was so pretty and it was nice to have a shaded run for once. And the bike course there was extremely entertaining with all the bridges, 180 degree turns, ramps and cobblestones!”