Just checking in to see if anyone is in and planning to go.
I'm on the fence as it's 2 weeks post IMLP, but really leaning towards going for it. I'd be game to share a hotel or house...I'm thinking Th-Sun (the Oly is Sat).
If anyone is driving, I would help pay you for gas and your driving food if you would take my bike. I believe it's about a 14 hour drive (ugh). If not, I know AirTran and SouthWest fly there and am pretty sure you can check a bike box and not have to pay a zillion dollars for it.
Not planning (as of now) to go next year, but I went this year and had a good time. Fast course if the weather isn't too hot which it wasn't this year.
Another flying option is Frontier. They have a direct flight to Madison from DCA and from there it is only a little more than an hour to drive to Milwaukee. If you purchase a Classic fare (usually around $30 more than economy), you get 2 free checked bags and one of them can be a bike (no extra fee).
I would recommend getting a hotel sooner rather than later if staying close to the race site is important to you. I ended up deciding to go at the last minute, and had to stay about 10 miles away from downtown.
I am already in. My family and I are staying at Comfort Inn which is walking distance to the venue. Not the nicest of hotels in the area but it's location is the best especially given the amount of back and forth to the venue. I echo getting the hotel sooner vs later - you can always cancel if you change your mind.
Last year I used RaceDay Transport since I was traveling after the race. One unexpected bonus was my race day experience. They were situated next to transition. They stored my tri bag, which was not allowed in transition after it closed but the biggest perk was hanging out in the shade and away from the crowds while I waited for my wave. The only negative is the amount of time your bike is gone (a week before and a week after).
I have flown with Soutwest/Air Tran to other races with my bike. It was $75/way and did not have any issues.
This is one of the best managed and most scenic races I have done and highly recommend it. The swim is very spectator friendly, the bike is on closed roads and the run is along the shoreline for the most part. Waves/racers were greatly spaced out so the course was never crowded.
thanks for your thoughts. I already booked a hotel to be safe bc they can always be canceled - good thing my mom works for Marriott and that I got in so early, I was able to get an associates' rate room at the downtown Marriott (which looks closer than the host hotel). I was hoping the Residence Inn would have cheap rooms but no such luck... that one looks about as close (so does the Courtyard).
Neither SW nor AirTran has schedules up that early, but that will be the way I fly as I'm not really interested in flying to Madison (via Frontier) and driving - but that's another good option for an airline that has a bike-friendly policy... although I know lots of folks there after racing the IM a few years ago.
I checked pricing for raceday transport for our area - looks like 329 (not including insurance or gear bag). Have to book at least 30 days pre-race, assuming availability. I'm gonna try to fly with my bike and find a local shop to put it together/take it apart - have feelers out from local and Madison friends now for shop recommendations.
In any event...
1) if anyone going wants to split my crazy cheap hotel room let me know - it has 2 queen beds.
2) If anyone is driving and wants to drive Jina (my bike) and gear bag, I'll chip in for gas and your travel food...
I've signed up to race the Oly but may transfer to the Sunday Sprint.
From experience it is a little challenging to travel with bike and expensive when you factor in the take-down, build-up, take-down, rebuild along with a box rental and ticket. Not to mention the hastle of stuffing it into a rental in the box and having the bike shop open late enough on Sat. or Sunday to get the break down accomplished.
If I drive I may be heading home after my race on Sunday which is going to require some time on Monday.
Race Day Transport seems like the best way to race this race.
Another possiblity is to investigate a bike rental. Good luck and hopefully we can compare notes as the event draws closer.
Just letting you know that airfare on Air Tran and Southwest is finally available (the return date in Aug wasn't on their schedule)... as these are likely to be the cheapest options and SW lets you check 2 bags (including bike boxes assuming the size/weight is right) - which will be cheaper than shipping your bike via the race company.
FYI unless you have a Ruster bike case it will cost you $75 one way to check a bike on Southwest (even if it is the only check bag). Still cheaper than most airlines but they used to be free/$50. They changed their policy end of 2013.
thanks, I didn't realize they changed the policy...
race day transport - assembled starting from 279
race day transport - UPS box starting from 100
-- so there are options depending on what you want to do.
I'm also going, its my first time!
I'll be driving with my husband and two toddlers, so sorry no room and you'd probably not want to be in a car with us anyways.
Will probably need to break up the trip into two days up and back, but that seemed easier and less expensive than airfare for four and I can keep my bike in one piece.
I booked at the Hilton which is the race hotel, was wondering if others had thoughts on if that was convenient.
I signed up for the AG Nationals this year. Planning to drive up and the stay a few extra days in Wisconsin. I may be able to take additional 1 bike. Haven't finalized my travel or hotel yet.
Kev7 (or anyone else driving), definitely let me know if you have room for my bike! It's little (50 frame with 650s). :-)
I'm definitely flying and renting a car... have all that reserved already.