Friday, October 22, 2010

Louisville, Arizona, or Redman? That is the Question

I have really been struggling on picking "the one".  I am stuck at the fork in the road.  I have three options for next year's big Ironman quest and they all have their pros and cons.  I can't seem to wrap my head around one that is a perfect fit.  The problem is I can't really decide what is most important to me.  I have assurances from my parents that they will travel to whatever location I choose.  I have also been told by several friends they would be willing to travel for the Ironman to come cheer me on as well.  Now, I am not really sure all of them would follow through, and I wouldn't really expect everyone to spend vacation time and money on my selfish pursuit, but the more, the merrier!

Here is where you all come in.  I need some help.  If you have any advice or know anyone who has competed in any of these 3 events, please chime in.  Here is how I see it:

Ironman Louisville (Aug 28th, 2011) : 
  • Pros
    • Timing-wise it's great - before football season and about 11 weeks after my Kansas 70.3
    • Travel would be relatively easy - no direct flights but connections in Memphis/Houston/DFW
    • Know someone who raced it last year - tips and info would be easily accessible
    • Course isn't as difficult as some Ironman events - run is flat which is great
    • Ironman-branded event = large crowds, sold out entries, great support, spectator friendly, fun for everyone involved
    • General entry is still open as of today - not sure how much longer though
    • Time-trial swim start - I count this as a pro b/c you don't have to fight the mass start hysteria
    • Lots of local events and training groups to slug out long brick days during the summer
  • Cons
    • Will have to fly
    • Timing in the month is bad for my vacation time from work (last week of the month is hard to swing)
    • HOT - it is August after all (although avg temps aren't extreme) 
    • Not wetsuit legal
    • Cost - entry fee is expensive and have to sign up relatively soon.  Cost of transportation and hotel will add up in a hurry
Ironman Arizona (Nov 21, 2011) - Tempe, AZ
  • Pros
    • Great race by most accounts - online reviews and reports
    • Seems to attract pros after Kona 
    • Ironman-branded event : see above
    • Weather is supposed to be great that time of year
    • Relatively flat course and very spectator-friendly according to most
    • Flights into Phoenix are not too expensive out of OKC
    • Middle of the month so easier to get away from work
    • Cooler temps for some of my training (not all would be in the dog days of summer)
    • My parents probably favor this destination - at least that's what my Dad said
  • Cons
    • Timing - training would go all the way into November - loss of football season, daylight hours, and not as many people training around OK at that time.
    • Travel would be difficult for those not wanting to fly 
    • Maybe too long of a break between Ironman Kansas 70.3 in June
    • Cost - entry fee and travel/hotel (Ironman events are expensive!)
    • Mass swim start - don't really enjoy the cluster of the mass start
    • Sells out VERY QUICKLY - will have to stress about actually getting into this one
Redman Triathlon (September 24, 2011) - Oklahoma City, OK:
  • Pros
    • Very familiar course - live, work, and play here all year round
    • Flat and "fast" course
    • Weather is usually really nice this time of year in OKC
    • Friends and family could all come to support 
    • My company pays entry fees, no travel, no lodging - definitely cheapest option
    • Know a few people who have done the half-iron distance and loved it.  I am sure I could find a full iron distance person who has done it as well
    • Training groups in OKC - I could use them for Louisville and AZ too though
    • Non-branded event - I know I said this was a plus too, but the independents need some love
    • I have heard nothing but great things about the organization and course support
  • Cons
    • I think it would be anti-climatic to do my first one at a non-Ironman event
    • Course is a 4-loop bike and run - mentally I think this would be draining but some think it's a positive aspect
    • Spectator support is pretty minimal 
    • Participant count is low - only 150 full distance in 2010 and about 1000 total between the half, full, and aqua bike participants
    • I went after dark this year and it looked really lonely on the course at a time when I would think you need as many people cheering you on as possible
    • Probably will conflict with OU and OSU football games - will be hard to pull away friends and family from those games
    • Race doesn't give me the feeling of excitement and anticipation I have hoped for, but seems to be the most logical one to choose - not sure logic wins out though
So there you go.  This is why I am stuck.  The most logical choice is probably Redman here in OKC.  I really think doing an Ironman-branded event would be special though.  If you have any pearls of wisdom, please feel free to share.  Hopefully I will come to a decision soon!


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  2. Louisville is hot and hilly, the second hilliest IM in the states. This year they rane out of water at the aid stations, served warm pool water, it was the largest DNF race in the history of the sport, dont forget the humidity of KY either.

    I grew up in AZ, its isnt very scenic unless you like dirt, rocks, and cactus. Course will be mostly flat. Tempatures in Nov are around 75-85 degrees with no humidity, the reason alotr of pros goto IMAZ is some dumb rule that they have to complete an IM after Kona but before the new year to be eligible for next years Kona

    Sorry, I dont know much about Redman, heard its a small race, decent aid, doesnt have the feel of the perks and feel of a big time race. Its cheaper as well.