Anyone know the back story on this?
Seems like the U.S. Park Service is often hostile toward using park property for organized races. Curious why that is.
We were unable to secure a permit for the GW Parkway, therefore, the bike course will utilize the Clara Barton Parkway. We will be placing additional course marshals along the course and will extend the race time and space out the swim waves in order to reduce traffic flow on the course throughout the duration of the race
are you surprised? remember the whole ticket writing thing and the park police attitude toward cyclists at hains point.
i'll rest my case on that.
While I have lots of reasons to snipe at the park service, the Clara Barton is administered by the Park Service too. My guess is that the overall traffic disruption is greater for the GW than the CB because MacArthur parallels the CB for most of the way. Also, there's no need to disrupt the 14th St/Memorial/Key Bridges if you use the CB. For racing, the CB may be better as far as protection from winds goes - and at least you don't have a bunch of corners like in the DC Tri. .
Probably the race being on Sept 11 and the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks have something to do with it.
There will lots of tourists and dignitaries around DC that day. They will need good access to the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and other sites. Elements of the Rolling Thunder will probably riding around DC. Blocking off every freaken routes in and out of DC on that particular day is probably not the best idea. The President of the United States as well as other world leaders will be riding around town on that particular day.
Just imagined what would happen if they applied for a permit on the same day as the opening Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. The traffic clog would piss off every one.
Just remember that that although triathlon is important in our lives, there are other things going on in DC that are of more significant to the rest of the population. I suspect that if they apply next year, it would be easier to get the permit.
If I were the Park Police, I would probably do the same.
To be honest looking at the map I think it makes a much better and less technical bike course!! I haven't looked at the route for real yet but the change to the run looks a lot better too. All those little "out and backs " on the DC tri were tedious!! Running around Hains Point will be much better!
While the GW Parkway would be a breathtaking ride, the CB is about as flat and fast as any bike course you will ever find. Just go with it and set a new PR!
Didn't they do this exact thing last year? I didn't even realize the GW Parkway was on the table again for this year.
Yeah, but last year it felt like a total bait-and-switch. Once the race reached capacity under the guise that the bike would be on the GWP, the course was changed. No biggie, last minute changes, especially with urban races, are quite common.
Has NPS ever given a reason for denying the permit, this year and last year? Could be the issue with closing off the bridges.
NPS is somewhat vulnerable politically this year. They got caught out on the Tourmobile contract, a government-approved monopoly handed over on a no-bid basis since 1969. That contract was the justification for the NPS to keep Capital Bikeshare, Circulator buses and pedicabs off of the National Mall. Tourmobile is on the way out, however.
NPS has taken a lot of flak this summer because of Tourmobile (for good reason). They keep saying that there needs to be a single nationwide policy for all of the NPS park territories in the U.S., but there are obvious differences between a rural park like Yellowstone and most of the NPS-administered areas in urban locations like D.C. and its suburbs.
If they want to say that a triathlon/bike race on the GW Parkway is an inappropriate activity on parkland, they should explain why speeding cars on a parkway are more appropriate. (Do any drivers actually observe the speed limit there?)
The noncompetitive Bike DC event managed to get a permit to use a section of the GW Parkway back in June, although the NPS modified that permit at the last minute. The route did not extend as far on the parkway as originally planned. But NPS didn't ban Bike DC completely.
The Clara Barton route is nice. But there's a minor problem on the southern section of the route. It can get crowded with bike traffic. It's not easy to pass people at that point. I remember getting stuck in a large group last year. I was trying to follow the rules about drafting but there wasn't much I could do. I rode up to that group and couldn't pass. Same thing happened to other cyclists in that section. As soon as I had some daylight, I got away from the group.
The congestion can be a problem even if people aren't blocking. The slower riders were on the right. Others were passing them but they weren't passing the large group fast enough. Other cyclists who wanted to pass at a faster rate could not. They were held up behind the first group of passers.
The swim time trial format might thin out the crowds a bit this year. But with such a large field, I think there will still be some minor issues on that stretch. Not too big a deal, though. I still enjoy this race a lot. What other opportunity do we have to ride fast in D.C. without having to worry about traffic lights and car traffic? Other than Nation's and WDC Tri, and the occasional bike charity event, there aren't any opportunities.