The Lake Meridian Triathlon has been awarded best triathlon in the pacific northwest by competitor in 2011, 2012 and 2014 and for good reason! I have raced the sprint distance event three times, last Sunday being my third, I have never been disappointed! The first year I came out for the Lake Meridian Triathlon I was actually living in Utah and just happened to be in town for the race. The event was sold out, but on the website it stated that they do open up spots at packet pickup, this an awesome practice that not many races do. I contacted the race director Patty and asked her what she thought the chances of me getting into the race where and if I should pack my wetsuit? She said to pack my race gear and show up at registration, there would likely be a spot. And I am thrilled that there was! Because of the popularity of this race I have made sure not to be late to the game since! While I have race here twice in August this year was the first time I have come out for the June event. So how did this year’s even stack up? Let’s dive in!
Pre Race Details
Packet pick up the day before this race is short, so if you like to get settled the day before make sure you know the times and don’t miss it. Luckily there is also the option to pick up your packet at the race so if you can’t make it the day before no big deal. This event is well organized and always has great volunteers! The only pre race detail that made me nervous my first go around at this event was the lack of onsite parking, don’t let this deter you from signing up! There is plenty of parking a short distance outside the park, I have never had any issues finding a spot that is with in a reasonable walk to the start line.
While I didn’t post my fastest swim time that is not because of the course. Time to fess up I have only swam twice in the past year and that was months ago! I was miserably slow out there on Sunday, but it was a great day for a swim! The lake was a comfortably warm, which I am so grateful for! Since the move last year I have not been able to locate my transition bag which I suspect has my wetsuit and my good pair of TYR goggles. However the lake was nice and warm once I got swimming, and while it may have cost me in time it was fun posting my first non-wetsuit swim in a triathlon. The course was well marked with plenty of color coded buoys (this event has a super sprint, sprint, and olympic distance) the race was set up correctly (aka counter clockwise) which may sound like a little thing, but if you are a veteran triathlete you know how particular we are about our race set up. Buoys on your right side, period. My only real complainant on the swim was my goggles! I wore my back up pair and I could not see a thing! I couldn’t see the buoys to sight, I could not see right in front of my own face. I don’t remember them being so bad but I will need to find my good pair or by a replacement because my back up pair were impossible to work with, I had to actually stop pop them up and sight at one point. Even with the technical difficulties it was a fun swim.
Other items of note: the swim is a deep water start, so if you are not comfortable with a deep water start you may want to practice a few times before race day, you can do this at your open water swim sessions or in the deep end at the pool. It is also a mass start by distance and gender but as mass starts go it is relatively tame.
Look for the best gear to use on race day? Check out my favorite triathlon finds
The bike course this year has changed from past years, and I would have to argue for the better. I remember at past events there was one “wall” on the bike. and yes I mean wall! It was steep enough and sudden enough to warrant the placement of a volunteer at the proceeding hill warning you to pick up speed! This year the wall was no longer a part of the course, and I am not sorry to see it go. The bike course was set up very well with few turns and great placement of signs and volunteers to keep you on track, and going the correct distance for your event. While there is a nice shoulder for most of the course it is open to traffic so make sure to check for cars when passing, and be courteous of other athletes, stay to the left side of the shoulder when you can. While I can’t speak to the olympic course there are no aid stations on the sprint bike course, which you really shouldn’t need but plan accordingly.
Other items of note: it is a fairly flat course with some gentle rollers, there are however a fair amount of twists and turns. I chose to ride my road bike over my triathlon bike on Sunday, another first for me, and I was very comfortable on the ride. Because there is little change in elevation you may want to go with a TT bike if you have good bike handling skills and you plan on being competitive.
Keep your options open to stay on track with your training, check out Indoor Biking Basics
While the change in the bike course was a welcome surprise the change in the run course was not. I do believe the changes where made to make it safer, but it certainly added a few nice hills! As hill climbing is not a strength of mine this slightly more punishing than I had expected. While there are several small climbs throughout the run course the real kicker is in the last mile on your way back. I will be honest, I have yet to run that whole hill, goal for August! Make sure to include hill repeats in your run training, you are going to need that strength!
Don’t miss your most important workout for the week Plan For Your Long Run
This race has one of the best post race atmosphere, and that is no accident! A clever announcer paired with good food and a great raffle go a long way to keeping athletes at the finish line until the final athlete crosses the finish line. This course finishes in the Lake Meridian Park which makes for a good venue to invite friends and family to hang out and cheer you on. This race has one of my favorite post race meals! Pancakes, eggs and fruit, yes you can get the typicall begal and banana but I load up on pancakes and watermelon. I love having a hot meal at the end of a race (hence #19 on my Reasons To Tri,) and after an intense sweat session those pancakes taste so good! Plus if you do bring your friends and family to cheer you on they can join in on the post race festivities, for a small donation of $5 per person or $10 per family! Lake Meridian Triathlon is partnered up with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy so it goes towards a good cause.
If you missed out on the June event make sure you get signed up for the next race in August! I will be there, and if you want to save a little dough on registration make sure that you sign up for my newsletter to get discounts on the best races in the Northwest!
I’d love to hear from you, what is your favorite part of racing triathlons?