The Seafair Triathlon is one of the first triathlons I ever participated in. From that very first year I was hooked! This race has a unique and beautiful course. I haven’t seen another race like it. This course is a blast to race, and that is what keeps me coming back for more! I’ll come straight forward and say it, I don’t always pay attention to my surroundings, and that is an understatement. Unfortunately this year I rolled my ankle walking down to the start line. I stepped off the curb to go around a car that was taking up the entire side walk, when I stepped back up onto the sidewalk I hadn’t noticed that it was damaged and I feel hard. Luckily the Diesel caught my bike, but I was already on the ground. While I still had a great time and finished the triathlon, I didn’t exactly have the race day I had planed for.
Pre Race Details
Packet Pick Up
There is big window of time on the Saturday before the race for you to go and pick up your packet. Packet pick up was well organized and if you decided you need to switch distances, from olympic to sprint or vs. versa they are ready to help and an my case made the process very easy! Something that was new for me this year was the location of the packet pickup. It was at the race location which was awesome! Packet pick up for seafair triathlons past were in down town Seattle, in an area with limited parking. I have always ended up having to pay for parking in the past so this was a nice surprise. The park has plenty of places to park, and if you have never done the Seafair triathlon before you would have an opportunity to scout out the location which is an added bonus. I have never seen another race have packet pick up at the race location the day before the race, good thinking Seafair!
While you wont be able to park in Seward park the day of the race there is plenty of street parking in the surrounding neighborhoods. From there it is a short walk to the start. Make sure to note where you park you car, there are several little streets around the park and the last thing you want is to spend your afternoon wandering around looking for your car after the race.
I will also add, pay attention and be careful as you walk down to the race. the sidewalks are uneven and damaged in some areas, while this isn’t a big deal, if you are clumsy like me this could effect your race day! This is when I fell and twisted my ankle on race day, walking down to the transition area.
Seafiar is a BIG race! With that in mind the swim start has several waves that are broken up by age groups. If this is your first open water start, or you are uncomfortable in the water you may want to hang back. Even though it is a wave start the waves are fairly large, around 75 people. Seafair does a good job marking the course. You shouldn’t have any trouble navigating your way through the swim.
While I was still short on swimming training, ok I hadn’t swam since the Lake Meridian Triathlon, I did at least have my googles! There is a reason these goggles are on My Triathlon Favorite Things List. The water was incredibly warm for lake Washington this year. I still haven’t located my wetsuit so I was grateful for the warm temperatures. This swim felt much better than my last race, but I still need to start hitting the lane lines for some practice!
The Bike course at Seafair is my absolute favorite part of this race! You start off riding along the shore line of lake Washington which makes for a picturesque back drop, but my favorite part is still to come! After a small switch back you find yourself on the I90 express lane surrounded by cyclists! This out and back to Mercer Island is my favorite part of Seafair. There is something amazing about seeing an entire section of the freeway entirely populated with cyclists! Riding on the express ways is a ton of fun, next you head back along the shore to transition. One area to note on this course is that switch back I mentioned. If you are an experienced rider you should have no issues at all. However if you are new to cycling, poor in bike handling skills, or do all of you training in spin class you may want to practice a little hill climbing if you want to feel comfortable on this section of the course. My first year racing Seafair I had just gotten my new triathlon bike and I wasn’t very familiar with how the shifters worked. In fact I had no idea how to move my front derailleur. The bike started off smooth, but when I hit that little switch back I sure wish I had known how to shift. I tried to muscle up it but I ended up falling over and had to drag myself out of the way of all the riders behind me. This section of the course is very narrow and there is no passing. So learn how to shift, and maybe do some hill repeats! If you are looking to practice on something similar this section is very short, but it does get up to a 12.4% grade according to my GPS data.
While my ankle was fairly sore once I dismounted I actually had a decent bike leg. I did compensate with a little more power coming from my right leg but over all the bike leg went smoothly and I had a good time just enjoying the course.
Again I will mention this is a big race. You have varying levels of experience in the riders which can also make this a dangerous course. I saw many riders who quite obviously had no clue about basic cycling etiquette. If you are new to cycling take a little time to learn the basics before you race. If you are an experienced rider just make sure to be very verbal when passing and keep in mind that the riders around you may be completely unpredictable.
If you enjoyed Ridding along lake Washington on the bike then you are in for some more gorgeous scenery on the run. This race has a great run course! It is entirely located inside of Seward park which makes for a safe run course, with plenty of space to run, and no concerns with traffic or sharing the road with drivers. One area to note is there is one good hill in the run course. I have yet to run the entire length of this hill. If you are doing the Olympic course you will hit this hill twice so train accordingly. Make sure to add some hill repeats to your training regiment. If you are looking to practice on something similar this hill is just shy of half a mile and you gain around 90ft. This portion of the run course is our and back, so you will head up the hill, then run back down before you continue on to the finish line.
There is a lot of activity at the finish line of the Swedish Seafair triathlon which is great! You will find several tents with different vendors, much like you would at an expo. There is also a play ground so if your family comes to cheer you on there is a place for the kids to play while you are off swimming, biking, and running. The one improvement I would love to see from Seafiar is better food at the finish line. You have your standard bars, bagels, and bananas, but that is pretty much it. Maybe it’s just me but I like it when a race has good eats for you at the finish line, after all you just worked your butt off! I’m not asking for anything fancy, my favorite post meals have been any thing from a pancake breakfast, to barbecued bratwurst, I even love a cold sandwich at the end of a race. But a little something more than what you would get at a local 5K would be nice.
I know a lot of you race for swag so lets get down to it! The Swedish Seafair Triathlno has some pretty great swag, you get a technical race tee shirt (I loved this years design!), a draw string bag, and a nice finishers medal.
From it’s beautiful course, and convenient Seattle location, to some nice swag, there are lot’s of reasons to mark the Swedish Seafair Triathlon on your race calendar for next year! Make sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss next years discount code!
Have you raced Seafair? What was your favorite part?