It's like a bad car wreck: it's incredibly painful, but you can't not look.
What I think we need is ANOTHER petition/survey to sign - save the Nations Tri 10k run course!
All I was trying to figure out was if all ya'lls Garmin gadget was accurate since my bike computer crapped out .25 miles into the bike course...... :( Sigh......
Sorry... I couldn't resist another peanut gallery comment!
KazGirl ... don't worry about the naysayers. Let them unsubscribe. Part of the fun of an online community is posting whatever heck you want to post then smiling afterward. If everyone is afraid to post then there would be no community or we would have the same sets of characters posting all the time.
I'm a bit disappointed that there are several comments from folks on here who are less than welcoming. Perhaps they can move to slowtwich to get their fix of smackdowns. We need to encourage more people to post, not less.
Also, it's valid to post criticism. I got an email from one of the volunteer coordinators asking me for the same type of feedback that are listed in this thread so far. Anything that you can say negatively or positively will help next year. They are monitoring threads like this. If the general consensus is that the course was short then perhaps a better job will be done next year to ensure that it's closer to standard.
Tuan is right, "They" are watching. For those of you that I do not know, I was one of the volunteer coordinators for the race and I also act as a sort of liaison between DC Tri and WSEM (race organization and major sponsor of DC Tri Club). Several of us will be meeting with Chuck and Molly soon to go over what went well and what can be improved. I've been following this thread and these things will definitely be discussed. Also, if you haven't already received it, you will be receiving a post race survey. Please, fill it out. If you all voice the same issue over and over, it will not go unnoticed.
Here are the things that I'm taking away from this thread to report to the folks that can do something about it:
1- Drafting. Too many bikes on course, too quickly, leads to too much group riding.
2- Penalties. More consistent enforcement needed
3- Did someone mention that the course was short?
Two comments on the bike and run courses. Again, these are simply my observations and I am not speaking officially on behalf of the race organizers.
Bike course: Trust me, we want the GW Pkwy. Pre-race, that narrow section along Canal is the single most discussed portion of the course due to the safety concerns it presents. Because of this section, Nation's will not grow any larger until the course can handle more cyclists, i.e., we secure a better roadway. Someday we may need your public support on either a petition or public hearing. I hope that if it ever comes down to it, you will voice your opinions as loudly to the public officials that can change this for us.
Run course: It's my opinion that you all are correct. Having a short course at either Nation's Tri or the DC Tri is unacceptable. The way the course was designed, that turnaround on 15th St. was supposed to be the adjustment point. That turnaround is supposedly placed such that it makes the course precisely 6.2 miles. The orientation of the transition area or any other factors should not have anything to do with it. I think someone messed up. Maybe there wasn't time overnight to accurately measure it or maybe someone measured wrong, I don't know. It should have been correct and this will likely be a point of emphasis when planning for 2012.
From an organizational standpoint, the weather leading up to the race would have forced many race organizations to simply cancel the race. The buildup of the event basically gets done step by step and many of those steps can't be completed until 3 or 4 other steps happen. The severe rains Wed-Fri basically pushed everything behind schedule and the crew was behind schedule from step one. That means that the hours leading up to the race (literally, overnight on Saturday night) everyone was playing catch up and doing things that are typically set up on Friday.
I am not making excuses for WSEM or the WTC crew that is run by Bill Burke and they aren't making any excuses either. We simply did the best we could with the conditions we were given. It's easy to suggest that we should have had a better back-up plan in place but, unfortunately, there is no precedent for such a large triathlon being switched to a duathlon. Hopefully, we will never have to deal with this again. But we definitely are taking notes with a focus on improving the contingency plan in the event that we have a similar problem down the road.
I hope this helps you understand the point of view from the race side. Putting all of that aside, please, feel free to continue to post here or message me with any criticisms you have. We are listening and we are committed to providing the best possible athlete experience around. Your input helps us greatly so don't feel bad telling us the good, bad or ugly.
I'm glad that for the most part everyone was able to have a fun race day even though it was not ideal conditions. I was on the run course most of the day and when you all started running through, I found myself really wishing that I was competing with you.
Travis, as you said and I paraphrase - I am simply glad that the RD was able to pull off any race at all. The conditions the week before were just dire and unprecedented. Let's not sweat the small stuff and be happy with a great day. There is drafting at Columbia with a field half the size and roads twice as wide. Are we all Olympic hopefuls?
Travis, my previous comments were meant as constructive criticism. Even with the swim cancellation and the narrow sections on the bike course, I still enjoyed the race. Any day that I can safely(?) speed around the streets of DC without having to worry about traffic lights or car traffic is a good day. I plan to sign up again next year, and each year after that. (Until I'm 95 and in a wheelchair.)
I'm aware that you and others associated with the race post on the forum, which is why I brought up some of the issues. I don't understand why some other people here object to members posting on the forum. If we're not supposed to talk about races and training, then what's the point of the forum?
I don't even remember what I posted before, so I don't recall if I mentioned the muddy conditions in transition. I think there would be simple and inexpensive ways to avoid the mud. Someone mentioned that the organizers could keep people from walking in the center aisle on Saturday, during bike racking. That would be a minor inconvenience for athletes on Saturday. Maybe a tarp could be laid down on the aisle sections a couple days before if there is rain in the forecast. Then the tarp could be removed before race day.
I was thinking about whether it would be practical to lay down more temporary flooring in transition. There were a couple areas with the flooring, along with some areas at the finish line festival. I wonder if that could be done safely, so that athletes don't trip at the edges of the boards. I guess it's something that could be looked into. If it can't be done without creating a tripping hazard, then it would be better not to have the flooring in the aisles.
I don't have any complaints about the swim course from previous years. But I have thought that it would be kind of cool to have an open water swim in the Tidal Basin. Unless the lack of circulation means that the water is unsuitable for swimming.
I didn't wear my Garmin on the run. I think I'm going to do run races and splits Garmin-free from now on. So I didn't notice anything about the race course distance. It was nice to run on familiar roads. Kind of like a home-field advantage over all the out-of-town competitors. But I somehow missed seeing the Mile 4 marker. It was probably there but I got distracted while drinking water.
I continue to have a positive view of the race, even though I've focused on some minor issues in this thread.
I think the earthquake shifted the route distance, or maybe Irene!
I was more bummed about the swim being cancelled (my strongest leg), until I saw an entire tree floating down the river...
And my 2c re: the bike course, I hit a cone along the route trying to pass by and almost wrecked. Added a little pizazz to the day.
Nice race everyone! :-)
Oh, and my solution to the muddy conditions was to wear newspaper bags over my bike shoes for the run into transition at the start. Worked pretty well and I think it made me more aero...
In case anyone still wants to hear more about Nation's, I've got the following to add.
I wrote to Chuck Brodsky about the crowding on the bike course and the issue with the run course distance. (Chuck is the CEO of WSEM and thus the race director for Nation's Tri and the DC Tri.) Here was his response:
"Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the feedback. The bike course was indeed tight. We learned a lot this year about our start procedures and will definitely do things differently next time. We are also going to cut back on the number of registrations at the race to reduce crowding. As for the run I'm going to bring it up to our run coordinator. Not acceptable at all and I will double GPS check it next year. I'm sorry about it being short. I had no idea. So I will definitely address both issues going forward thanks to your input which helps me understand what athletes are saying."
Nice. The crowded ride would benefit from fewer cyclists.
And imagine if errant GPS had skewed and extended the course to the south. Runners might have had to finish the race by diving back into the Potomac.