Here is a list of my top 10 Favorite Races. These encompass my favorite courses, venues and overall race productions not necessarily the best performances I've had. They are ordered starting with my ALL TIME FAVORITE!
1. Musselman Half Iron Geneva, NY
This race is special. The weekend festivities with multiple races all weekend and team and vendor tents along the park shore create a deep sense of race camaraderie. To finish this race is to become part of the Musselman Family forever. I continue to look forward to the race director's entertaining notes and I hope to race it again someday.
- A scenic venue situated in the fingerlakes (wine!) region of NY on a quaint lakeside college campus. The course features a clean and crisp lake swim then rolls through gorgeous menonite farms and vineyards and run is scenic too.
- A challenging course with plenty of crowd support on the toughest sections. With a very encouraging sense of connectivty between other athletes tackling the hills goes down smooth.
- Best swag ever in 2012 included full bottles of Musselman logo shampoo and conditioner by Paul Mitchell, a large jar of natural peanut butter, a wickng run top that has a v neck and is very "wear-able", a stuffed "mussel baby" that you are encouraged to take around the world with you and send reports on the mussel baby's travels (stay conencted).
- A most entertaining pre race meeting that was totally worth attending.
- The micro-mussel and 4 races in one weekend festival with plenty of team tents set up all weekend long adds a party element to the race like I've never seen.
- Most organized well supported race I have ever participated in. Every little crack in the pavement or quick turn seemed to have a volunteer nearby or bright paint warning you to be cautious.
- A competitive field is drawn to the race because, well it is special.
- Post race ice cream, fresh fruit and awesome food in general.
2. LOBSTERMAN, Freeport, ME
A beautiful olympic course that rolls through both Freeport and Brunswick, Maine. Packet pickup is in the heart of the famous Freeport outlet shops just across from LL Bean's headquarters.
The ocean swim will wake you up, the hills will remind you why you are alive with out even a foot of flat and the steady rolling run will liberate you! The field is competitive. This race is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Words cannot express the glorious beauty of Maine! It is a MUST do race! If the challenge and the stunning natural rocky coastline of the state will not convince you, the lobster bake should. Tickets are available for athletes and family to enjoy a post race lobster bake on site complete with lobster, mussels, baked potato, corn and local microbrew to recover and unwind with fellow athletes and your crowd of supporters on picnic tables with vibrant ocean views. The people at this race were WICKED NICE! This race needs no bullet points. Look at these pictures...and these are just low quality outdated cell phone technology shots. You really have to be there to understand how incredible this place is. Racing Lobsterman was a blessing.
3. The Columbia Triathlon, Columbia MD
- A tough Olympic Distance triathlon full of tough hills that will make you dig deep and find out what you are made of.
- A stacked and competitive field in all the age group categories to push you hard plus a pro field that draws big names.
- An easy swim will warm you up for the brutal bike and run course to follow.
- The muddy hill you run up carrying your bike from T1 will leave you with a sense of pride in and of itself for having tackled it.
- The race is a piece of history in US Triathlon and has been a staple on the calendar from age grouper to pro for many years. It is well run and a true production.
4. Ironman Wisconsin, Madison WI
140.6 miles packed to the brim with awesomeness!
- College Campus venue in September = Tons of local support
- Beautiful challenging bike that will never bore you and keep things interesting the entire day.
- Ironman branded so the production is a spectacle
- The city of Madison is a gem full of brew pubs, coffee houses and all kinds of shops and restaurants as well as being incredibly cycle freindly I loved this midwestern city.
- You get to ride your bike up and down a the parkng deck helix designed by world famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Indoor Transitions
- An epic finish by the capital building
- "Your'e and Ironman!" means a lot on this grueling yet friendly course.
5. Richmond Tri Club Sprint, Richmond Virginia.
- Early season local favorite to kick off the year. It is one big welcome back to tri-world party!
- Local. Pool. Sprint. Tri. Oh, the excitement and the drama. This stuff is better than any TV entertainment you will find! Especially in RVA! I l do love you guys and all your quirks, RVA Tri World! : )
- Indoor Pool, Open Water Style!
- THe United Athletics athlete heat. : )
- The Greater Richmond Aquatic Pool Facility is TOP NOTCH
- Fast, fun and innovative.
And the next 5 honorable mentions:
6. Wintergreen Ascent, Roseland,VA
7. Beach to Battleship, Wilmington NC
8. I Love The Tavern, Richmond VA
9. Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach, VA
10. Charlottesville Marathon, C-Ville VA