ironman 70.3 mont tremblant

Do triwives and triathletes pick race locations for the same reason? What are their favorite race venues and why? Which races are on their wish lists? Well, I recently attended the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblant and decided to take full advantage of being around all these triwives and triathletes at the same time. What better time to find the answers to these questions, then when I had a captive audience. This is especially important as you will soon, if you haven’t already, pick races for 2015.

I also wanted to see if, as I believed, their answers reflected different reasons. The results of my “scientific” study follow. We would like to ENCOURAGE each group to read the other’s responses, so you can better work together, make compromises if need be, and then pick the races that both the triathlete and triwife can be happy at. The TRIWIVES had their say yesterday and today we’re back with the triathletes.

While more of the triwives preferred their triathletes do 70.3, more of the triathletes actually like to do a few of both each year. Very few I spoke with did all of one, in fact only 2 people focused on 70.3s. Pretty much all of them have to have a full Ironman under their belt for obvious reasons.

Of note: The triathletes and triwives were asked separately, so they were not influenced by each other’s responses. Also, I would like to give a HUGE shout out to everyone who took the time to speak with me. You know who you are and you rock…Anyone who is going to Kona beware. I will be surveying you with new questions!


Important factors a triathlete considers when picking a race location

  • The course and degree of difficulty. What’s the topography like? Is it flat, hilly, what body of water is the swim in, etc.?


    Going downhill on the bike course in Mont Tremblant.

  • What have you heard about it from triathletes who have done the race. This is very important to the triathlete. You like to get a first hand account from your fellow triathletes.
  • The race logistics. Is the venue triathlete friendly and can you get around easily? Where’s the hotel relative to the race and in particular, to the swim start? Are transitions easy to navigate? You get the idea.
  • Time of year. It can take 5-6 months to train for a race and especially if you live on the east coast or midwest, you prefer a bit later in the summer, so you can train outside.
  • Potential weather. Even the triathletes don’t love it when there is hail, snow, cold water temps, or when it is 112 degrees.
  • How the race will be used. Will it be challenging or will it be the type of race you train for to get a PR or qualifying slot? This is a big consideration for triathletes and many time they pick unexpected races just to qualify. They play the roll down as to where folks in their age group are less likely to go and later season races. The thinking is that many of your competitors may already have a slot and it may be easier for you to get a roll down slot. Lubbock (Buffalo Springs) is a prime example of this. (We actually do know athletes who travel from Europe just to try to qualify at Lubbock),
  • Community support. Does the community support the race so that aid stations will be manned and the people are happy to have runners and bikers take over their roads for a few days?


    Aid station workers in Mont Tremblant.

  • A new race for you. Many of the triathletes said they like repeating races for the challenge of a new PR or to possibly qualify, but they also have a strong desire to try out new venues. In fact, going to Dublin was mentioned by more than a few triathletes.
  • Will you have to change your training to do the race? For example, if headed to Mallorca you will need to practice switchbacks and hills or is this an ocean swim and you only have trained in the pool or do you have to adjust to changes in heat, humidity, and elevation.
  • Will my family like the venue? Not top of the list, but you do consider if there will be things for the family to do while you’re training and racing, especially for full Ironman races.
  • Anyone you know doing the race? All agreed it is more fun having companionship at a race and having fellow triathletes to hang out with. While you may race alone, it’s not fun to be alone before a race. But, it wouldn’t prevent you from doing the race and you don’t check if you know anyone before you register.

Nice to have fellow triathletes to share the good and bad with…

The triathletes’ favorite 5 races and why (in no particular order)

  1. Mont Tremblant – This venue is quickly becoming a triathlete favorite. Not just for the course, but also for family vacations and to train as well. It’s also easy to get to for many in the U.S. and has great community support.
  2. Lake Placid – Most everyone I spoke to had done this race and for many, it was their first (so it holds special memories, good or bad). It was noted to be challenging, community supported, and a great family location. The weather can be tricky, but most felt worth the risk.


    The swim start at Ironman Lake Placid.

  3. Cozumel – This race is described as the perfect race getaway vacation. I’ts not too challenging and is known to be a relaxed race.
  4. Frankfurt – It has a really active community and the ride is fun and engaging. It was a pretty course and the 4 loop run course was great for spectators.
  5. Arizona – It’s family and spectator friendly, easy to get to, and the course is decent. A big advantage to many is that it’s a late season race, so you have plenty of time to train and you may stand a better chance of getting a Kona spot for the next year.

Just a little addition. My husband also likes Oceanside at the end of March. He says while it’s early in the year, it’s ONLY a 1/2 and so gets you started…

Top races triathletes have on their wish list

  1. Australia – You’re not sure which race you’d choose, as there are a few, but you like the challenge of the course and the thought of swimming, biking, and running in Australia excites you. Plus, it’s full of great triathletes who live there. Big downside is the time difference, time it takes to get there, and amount of time you have to take off work to go. That said, this is a wish list…
  2. Kona – No need to say much about Kona. It is the dream of most everyone who does full Ironman races.

    Your 2011 World Champions, Chrissy Wellington and Craig Alexander.

    Your 2011 World Champions, Chrissy Wellington and Craig Alexander.

  3. Austria – On the list of many for their first time Europe race. Known for great weather, stunning vistas, great community support, and a very manageable course.
  4. Boulder – You are intrigued by the location and like Australia, that it is home to many pro triathletes, so they must know something that you don’t. It also offers 70.3 and full Ironman races.
  5. Where you might be able to quality for WC – It doesn’t have to be a venue they really want to go to, but someplace where they feel they have a chance to get an age group spot for Kona or the 70.3 WC.

Where triathletes want races to be held

Triathletes weren’t as specific about location as were the triwives. They were concerned more with the venue itself and the course, so no one really said I want to go to Greece, for example.

So, there you have the results of my “scientific” poll of triwives vs triathletes on their favorite triathlon (Ironman) race venues. As you could see, the reasons why races are picked vary between the two groups and where there are commonalities, the priorities are different. Go figure…..There was no real moral to the story, but just a lot of fun…