If you want to go fast at the end of the year before the longer events like the Tawas Half or the Championships, this is the place to do that for sure. Athletes have reported PR’s every year here for some reason. Another course that lends itself to all the triathlete toys, a slight breeze off the lake can hit a deep dish wheel or disc just right and you find yourself spinning away at 35mph with not a bleep in your heart rate.
The swim is a beach start in the protected waters of the marina, with crystal clear water you can see right to the bottom of, along the break wall. It’s a fast swim on a rectangle course.
The bike is great, with very little traffic. The police close down Lakeshore Drive for about 2 miles heading out and back from the Transition Area. It is a mostly flat course with a few rollers along Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake.
The run course heads straight down Lakeshore as well before jumping into and then around the campground. Flat as a pancake and mostly tree-lined right through Downtown.
Opens - 6:00am
No friends or family members allowed in the transition area for any reason. The race director and race officials will close the transition area 30-45 minutes before race start to ensure all athletes are at the starting area for mandatory course meeting and announcements. Once the transition area is closed, you will NOT be permitted back in before the race starts. Family/Friends will not be permitted in for any reason at any time throughout the event.
When the last cyclist is off the course and has headed out for the run. This time is variable and we will make announcements at the event when the transition area is ready to re-open.
Any athletes removing gear from transition areas before the announcer or race director has officially opened the transition area will be DISQUALIFIED from the race! This pertains to all athletes of all distances. All athletes deserve a clear transition.
In the event of inclement weather, it is recommended you have warm, dry clothing outside the transition area to put on following your finish due to other athletes still being on the bike course.
When you have completed the race, please do NOT enter the transition area wearing your timing chip. PLEASE remove your chip before re-entering the transition area and exiting again. This will cause a timing error.
You must rack according to your race number, based on the sequence numbers placed at the end of each row. Please remember racks will hold 7 bikes racked with the seat tip on support bar. Please be courteous to fellow athletes to ensure there is space for 7 bikes on a rack. If there is not enough room for your bike on your designated rack, please see a 3D Team member and we will help. Please do not move another athletes bike or gear.
Located at the run in/out chute with water and electrolyte replacement.
Run In/Out and Bike In/Out chutes are clearly marked on the large structures at either end. It is your responsibility to go the right direction while racing in the transition area.
Swim: 200m, 500m or 1000m
New for all events will be a Time Trial swim start. For safety reasons it is important we ensure we are doing all we can to alleviate stress at the start and turning at buoys. A time trial start ensures everyone has a clear, stress-free swim. You will SELF SEED according to your 500m swim time. (THIS IS YOUR ACTUAL swim time, not what you THINK you will swim, or want to swim) this is important to ensure you are not swam over or create congestion by seeding yourself faster than you can swim. Don't be that athlete that creates a traffic jam. See yourself appropriately and everyone will have a great time in the water.
Each athlete will report their number to the timer before crossing the timing mats and entering the water. Again your responsibility to report that number to the timer.
Time trial starts: Long course athletes first, followed about 30 minutes late with Sprint, then 20 minutes later Super Sprint athletes.
You will be swimming in Lake Michigan in the protected waters of the Ludington Marina between both break walls. It’s a rectangle swim course that takes you along the north wall, but keeps you inside the protected waters. Although the walls make for relatively calm water, it is still susceptible to the lake temperatures.
Wetsuits will be allowed as temps can range from 62 to 75 - watch the website for updates.
Swim course will be patrolled with lifeguards, search and rescue, as well as coast guard personnel. It will be a beach start.
Wave starts will be posted at packet pickup/registration.
Kaya-Tri athletes will start in your designated wave, on the beach down from the swimmers start, heading out along the breakwall 1 following neon green buoys.
Your turnaround point on the water course will be indicated by an orange and neon green buoy. From there, head back to the finish on the opposite side of the swim start, placing kayaks in the flagged area. From that point head into the Transition Area for your final disciplines.
You are required to have a life jacket on board, per Michigan DNR Boating rules.
Bike: 10k, 20k or 40k
A great course! Flat with a few rolling hills. Exiting the beach Downtown with a LEFT, you head out north along Lake Michigan on Lakeshore Dr.
Olympic Distance athletes take a RIGHT ON JAGGER - This will be slightly rolling for the rest of the way.
Decker Rd. leads to a LEFT on Lincoln, to a LEFT on Duneview, back to a LEFT on Lakeshore, as you fly past Lake Hamlin. Then you head back towards Lake Michigan for a hairpin RIGHT turn back along Lake Michigan on M116 to a RIGHT on Piney Ridge for about a mile and a half before turning around and heading back to a RIGHT on M116.
Sprint athletes continue straight on M116 following the road out to the state park to the 10k point which is your turnaround.
This will take you out to the sand dunes. This section of the road can be busy so use caution as you have sand dunes on both sides. The sand dunes tend to 'reach' into the shoulder. Turning around just before the state park, it is a super-fast, smooth, flat return to the city beach in Downtown Ludington.
Super Sprint athletes your turnaround point will be at the 3 mile mark at Piney Ridge Rd. Please use caution when making the turnaround. Your turnaround will be marked with an A-Frame sign and Support crew volunteers.
This will take you out to the sand dunes. This section of the road can be busy so use caution as you have sand dunes on both sides. Turning around just before the state park, it is a super-fast, smooth, flat return to the city beach in Downtown Ludington.
Run: 1 mi, 5k or 10k
Flat and fast exiting the Transition Area, you follow the run chute along the bike chute to the inside north bound lane of Lake Shore Dr. and coned lane on the EAST side of Lakeshore Dr.
Super Sprint athletes will turnaround at the Super Sprint A-Frame Sign.
Following that past Stearns Park, along Lake Shore Dr., you follow this to the Cartier Park path and follow that into the subdivision before turning around. Most of the course is shaded.
Your courses will be marked with signs, cones, flour arrows and support crew volunteers.
Aid stations: Located at every mile with iced water, lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance Formula and energy gels.
You will start with your specific swim wave. Check the information cube at the event for wave start information.
You will complete the Swim and Bike disciplines of the event. Following your Bike discipline, you will dismount your bike, cross the Bike In timing mats and place your bike back at your spot on the rack in the Transition Area. You will then proceed across the Run Out timing mats and you are done! Your finish time will be when you cross the timing mats at that point.
DO NOT re-enter the transition area through Run In/Out or Bike In/Out. This will cause a timing error.
If the event offers a finisher’s memento, please proceed to the finish area to receive the item. Tell the support crew at the finish line you were in the aquabike race and they will hand you the finishers memento.
You will keep your timing chip & strap on until all the bikes are off the course. Once we announce the transition is open, you may turn your chip & strap in at the designated collection point and retrieve your gear at that point.
The swim is typically very calm inside the marina and is honestly like swimming in a pool because of the clarity. If you position yourself just right you can look out the right side of your eye and not have to look up as often as you swim parallel to the breakwall. This allows you to swim out very fast.
Hammer - and I mean HAMMER - the Lakeshore Drive sections! Windy or not, I have found these sections to be like Belle Isle with the Motor City race; it is just fast. When you get out to Hamlin Lake, it can get windy, so be prepared for that; just tuck in and spin through it. The run focus should be back in the park. This is a winding heavily treed section and you can really lose your competition back there. Put some distance between yourself and others in this area.
Once you turn back on Lakeshore out of the campground it is 1.5miles - a long way for some to sprint, so lengthen the stride and use your arms like you never have before. Push it all the way to the finish line. Get in the zone and focus on the hotel at the end of Lakeshore the entire time. Don’t look at the competition; don’t look at the sites; focus on the end of the street.