Ironman 70.3 Ohio: A Big Opportunity

Central Ohio is a great place to live. We have access to an amazing downtown area rich with amazing eateries and fun bars. We have The Ohio State Buckeyes, The Blue Jackets, and The Columbus Clippers. We are also in a location that makes it pretty darn convenient to train for endurance races. From any one of the many suburbs you can complete century rides in almost any direction. That’s not to say that we are a land locked middle of nowhere location, but we’re just far enough away from other big cities that we have some great options when it comes to training. When I heard rumblings about a 70.3 coming to town I was excited but also nervous because we’ve had big events here before that have come…and subsequently gone.

Delaware, Ohio is an adorable area that really can be an amazing spot for this race. Realistically it was the only choice from a  swim location stand point. Delaware Lake will be similar to Alum Creek where many of our other local triathlons have been based. The water color/quality will probably be similar too. I don’t think it will be a much different swim experience than the swim at the Muncie 70.3. The bike course has not been released yet but knowing the area it can’t be too bad in terms of hills. They’ve got some options when it comes to developing a challenging course but I assume they will opt for a more flat with some rolling hills.  The run has the chance to be pretty challenging with the potential heat that a late August summer day can bring here in the midwest.  Overall, I bet the overall race experience will be a combination of Muncie and Steelhead. I mean it IS a summer midwest race 🙂

I so badly want this race to be a well executed and well received event. We’ve had some big events in the endurance world come through town only to leave after a year or so. Ironman has an advantage with the amount of money it can bring to the table to produce a large scale event at a high level that smaller race companies just can’t match. It’s the nature of the market, however I really hope that our community as a whole can help support this event in several ways to ensure this becomes a premier spot for 70.3 racers.

Needs of Local Newbie Athletes

Local clubs and teams have already been able to register for the event and with much excitement.  Lots of locals will participate in their first ever 70.3 and many of them have no clue what they’ve signed up for. While you can ‘fake it’ through a 70.3 easier than a full Ironman, I still think there will be many people who look for coaching.  This is an excellent thing for the coaching industry here in Columbus. BASE will be offering a specific 3 and 6 month training program that includes lactate threshold testing that will be a great option for newer athletes or athletes who are self-starting. For athletes who want more specific programming there are a variety of options around town.  The best advice I can give would be to do your research on coaches, ask the questions you feel need asking, and don’t be afraid to ask to meet a coach in person. Also know that there are a lot of different options! You don’t have to stick with the first person who comes up via google.  Also know that while one coach may have a better looking ‘resume’  he or she may have a specific type of athlete they work best with. It doesn’t hurt to ask them!

Misinformation and Proper Guidance

With the increase in the number of ‘newer athletes’ for this event, we want to be sure that any of us as local coaches provide sound and proper advice.  I have had several emails from non-athletes asking if they can train for this 70.3 on 8 hours of training a week.  Personally, I don’t think you can. Does another coach around town? I have no idea. They can tell you what they think. I do think there is an opportunity for coaches to take advantage of the newer and naive athletes.  For anyone who knows anything about the human body, physiology, or endurance training – the best thing you can do if you hear someone give bad advice is to politely challenge the advice given and ask ‘what is the rationale behind that?’  The new athlete can then take whatever explanation is given and accept it or look for another answer.  If you’re a more experienced athlete look at this as an opportunity to pay back the community with your experience and passion. Let’s just not tell these 70.3 athletes that riding 100 miles is necessary when training for their first race…because I will find you and punch you.  (<- that is a proper and sound reaction correct? Okay, just checking)

 

Access to the Swim and Bike Course

Talk about convenient. This bike and swim course is so easy to get to and (once the bike course is announced) we will be able to ride it from most of our back doors. The one thing I would HATE to see is cyclists starting to engage drivers in negative ways. I get it…drivers can be jerks – but they still have a vehicle that will squash you like an ant – take the high road. I would also hate to see trash/litter all over the race course because some cyclists are too lazy to stick their gel packet back in their jersey.  I am hoping that the “Cookie Project” will be able to reach out to the race course houses and provide them with a sweet treat for letting us use their roads.

Commitment from Veteran Riders to Teach New Riders

To add to the above, veteran cyclists need to be able to communicate quickly and effectively with new cyclists.  If you are a new rider, LEARN THE RULES OF THE ROAD, and learn the safest places to ride.  Hugging the white line and riding on the shoulder unless it is a very very wide shoulder is dangerous for many reasons. If you are new, try to recruit a more experienced rider to teach you how to ride. Even better, join a road ride (Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, Central Ohio Triathlon Club, etc) and tell them you are new.  I will be posting another blog entry for first time 70.3 racers soon…so I will leave this one here for now.

Community/Race Day Support

One of the reasons I chose my races is based around community support.  Ironman Madison is hands down the most fun Ironman I have done because the spectators line almost every inch of that race course.  The volunteers are exceptional and the course is awesome. I think we have the midwest charm and character to get a ton of energetic volunteers and spectators down to the race course on race day.  If you have an organization you are already a part of think about getting them together to volunteer to run an aid station.  Check out www.ironman.com to sign up to volunteer.

I am very excited that Ironman is bringing in a ‘company guy’  to be the Race Director. I think that the level of race experience Ironman customers have come to expect will be met with them going this route. I know some local athletes are upset at this but I think its imperative that this race goes off really well in its first year.  This will only serve to expand the number of Central Ohio Triathletes and bring more larger events to our area.

If you’ve already signed up – way to go! If you’re waiting to register be sure to check www.ironman.com on October 27, 2015 at noon EST.  We can’t wait to see you here!