If you have not heard the race reviews from past years, here are a few:
"Kenny, the course lived up to all your hype, it was awesome as you said it was!"
"The best bike course in Michigan."
"That section going down to the dam and back up is awesome!"
"This is going to be a big event in the future with this venue and once the word gets out about the course, it will sell out. Great job!"
"My husband and I have done over 70 halfs around the country combined. We traveled up from Florida for this and we have to tell all our friends. This is one of the top 3 half events in the country. Well done and beautiful course, thanks!"
These are just a few of the comments and emails we received after past events.
Crystal clear lake swim that parallels the beach.
The bike course has one word, awesome. I chose that word because it was used the most from athlete’s emails. In a day and age when half courses are over sold for what they can actually accommodate, this is a welcome change, featuring everything from lightning fast flat sections, to fast winding descents, to a heart pounding climb. It just never slows down - an unforgettable experience for the athlete.
The run course will take you through the residential streets of East Tawas, flat and out to the airport and back before finishing with the best finish line in the state, Downtown E. Tawas on Newman Street.
The Transition Area will be placed in a back parking lot on Westover and main. This will be to the right of Newman street just past the finish line. The city has asked us to move back there due to a lack of business during the event.
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 1.5k or 200m
This will be a crystal clear Tawas Bay (Lake Huron) swim with water temperatures historically between 65 and 72 degrees in September. We will plan to have the swim course set for you on Thursday morning, weather permitting. Every effort will be made to put as much of the swim course in 5-6 feet of water running parallel to the beach.
Olympic Distance 8:00am and Sprint athletes at 8:30am and finally Super Sprint athletes at 8:45am. Lifeguards, sheriff marine division, and search and rescue will be on the water for your safety.
Very simply this is an out and back course, separation will be about 25m, so there will be two sets of buoys.
Super Sprint athletes will be walked down the beach 200m. They will start there making a left around the sprint buoy and head back to the finish area.
Kayak / Paddle Board
Kayaks and Paddle Boards will be placed on the beach opposite the swim start corral, inside your own flagged corral. This will be indicated by a Kayak / Paddle Board start sign.
You will start just before the Sprint Female wave.
In the water start at the start buoys, following the swim course to the last buoy, then follow the neon green buoys South along the shore line. Your turnaround is indicated by a double neon and orange buoy by the Tawas pier.
When finishing your Kayak / Paddle Board discipline, you will beach your Kayak or Paddle Board inside the flagged corral, then proceed under the swim finish structure, crossing the timing mats to complete your time for the Kayak / Paddle Board discipline.
You will then mesh in with the swimmers exiting the water and head into the transition area to complete the rest of the event.
You are required to have a life jacket on board.
Bike: 10k,20k, 40k
This is one of our FAVORITE courses we have, if not the best one. If you count 20 cars past the 2 mile mark on the course it will be very rare.
This is smooth sailing the entire route, nothing rough out there. Pine tree-lined course just about the entire way. Exiting the Transition Area you will take E. State to a RIGHT on Bridge, to an immediate RIGHT on Monument and then you are flying through the national forest.
Sprint and Olympic athletes will turnaround at the 10k and 20k marks labeled with large orange signs.
You will spend the majority of your biking on Monument Road both out and back. This will take you all the way to River Road, passing the Kiwanis statue.
Athletes this will truly be a nice treat for you from most of the other half courses around with the minimal traffic on this course. September in Tawas is not a high tourist season.
Run: 1mi, 5k, 10k
This is an out and back run course that takes you out to the airport and back. It is flat, fast, mostly tree-lined and very wide. Exiting the Transition Area, you head out the run chute down Newman, past the finish line to a LEFT on Bay St. This will take you all the way down to Tawas Bay Beach Rd. LEFT up to Lincoln.
All your turnaround points will be along Lincoln. Each will be marked with large A-frame signs. You will simply turn around at your designated sign (Sprint/Olympic/Half) and return the same way, to a RIGHT at Bay to your final RIGHT on Newman for your finish.
It will be YOUR responsibility to print maps and know the courses. They will not be available at the events.
ALL aid stations will be stocked with water, lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance Formula, ice cold Pepsi
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.
One thing, it is easy to get comfortable at this distance behind someone. Don’t. Before you know it, you could be off by 50m. Keep your stroke cadence the entire time.
Bring the disc wheels and aero helmet for this one, because after you get out of the city, you drop the hammer. You ask why so early... because you can. Pick a gear on the way out so you maintain your cadence smoothly all the way to the aid station at mile 13 or so. Turn onto River Road and keep it up. You can take a little break on the downhill when you see the campground along the Au Sable River on your left. That will give you plenty of time to recover, turn around, and grind out the climb – again with the campground on your right this time.
When you get to the top, hammer again to your right turn. It’s a fast descent all the way to the dam. Use caution: you can reach speeds over 40mph and there is a lot of wild life down here. You can make up a lot of ground if you get into climbing mode, put your hands on the top of your bars, move the hands close together, bend your elbows slightly, move your butt to the back of the seat, open your lungs, tighten your shoe straps and, repeat “push, pull, push, pull, push, pull” all the way to the top.
Do not look around, do not worry about anyone else, just repeat that all the way to the top. Once back on Monument Road, get aero and stay aero all the way home.
For the run, I like to put the half course in sections of 5Ks. Depending on how you feel, one on and one off, not totally off, but not as focused I guess you can say. If you feel good, two 10Ks. If you feel great after the first 5k, all bets are off and you can run your fastest 10-miler. You need to make a plan for all 4 scenarios in your head before the race or during the bike.
The new run course should afford you plenty of cheering from residents in the Downtown area, as it will wind you on an out and back course, mostly tree-lined but flat and fast.