Wednesday, June 27, 2012
To get an idea of why, you have to picture coming down 10 blocks of downtown Coeur d'Alene with both sides of the street lined with cheering throngs of people - you zoom through here on the bike several times and each time it just sends your spirits soaring. You feel like you're in the Tour de France or something. Then of course there's the beautiful scenery - the lake, the rolling hills, the green valleys. Simply spectacular.
The aid stations and on-course support are also terrific. From the Mardis-Gras themed aid station on the run to the bagpipers on the hill of the bike, there was something around every corner to keep you smiling when the race got tough. People in neighborhoods sat out with boom boxes or squirt guns, dance music and entertainment along the way.
Then, the finisher's chute is downright crazy. Those downtown streets have even more people than before, and all of them are going nuts as you run the last eight blocks toward the big Ironman arch. Wow.
Of course, there are also some difficult aspects of this race. The weather in Coeur d'Alene changes by the minute. In the five days we were there, we had everything from chilly to hot, from calm to windy, and from dry to absolutely torrential rain. There was also a big lightning storm thrown in for good effect (fortunately not on race day). The lake was 53 degrees when we got there, but had warmed to the high 50's by race day (I do NOT believe it was 62 as the race officials said - they always lie about stuff like that, and I know what a 62 degree lake feels like!). So you're definitely playing roulette with the weather when you sign up, you might get a scorcher or a freezer or anything in between.
Overall, this race was quite an experience though, and I really enjoyed myself on this course. I'll write up the particulars of how it went for me personally, but I would highly recommend this Ironman to anyone who is looking for a terrific race in a gorgeous location.