St Louis Tri – Race Review

Hi all, I asked local racer Doug Rosen to write up a review of the first-year St Louis Tri:

Race: St. Louis Triathlon
Location: Creve Coeur Park in St. Louis County.
Distance: S: 750M swim B: 12.7 mi R: 5K

I travelled south this past Sunday to do the sprint race at the new St. Louis Triathlon. I am usually leary of doing first year races, and this one would be an especially ambitious undertaking, with a sprint, an Olympic, and an Xterra race all going on at the same time with about 900 competitors total. But the race is in suburban St. Louis very near where I grew up, and just a couple of miles from where my mom still lives, so with Ma and Sis wanting to come out and watch, I decided it would be a fun way to open the season.

Swim:
Due to some glitches I ended up not starting the swim until 45 minutes after my scheduled wave start. It was a bit frustrating standing around in our wetsuits waiting all that time to get going, but eventually the horn went off and I was off and swimming. The water was quite murky, but the swim course was well designed. It was a long, very narrow triangle, with the Olympic going all the way to the top, while the sprinters turned halfway and cut over to the other leg, then finished with the longer race. The merge was very smooth, and there was very little congestion, even around the turn buoys, which made for a very clean and uneventful swim.

Bike:
The bike course, in a couple of words, is flat and fast. A few hundred yards from the park out to a 12+ mile loop - one time around for the sprint, twice for the Oly, and then back on the little spur to the park. A few miles of the loop were on an expressway where we had one lane coned off for the race. The bike traffic was fairly spread out. I did have to slow to wait to pass people on several occasions, but for the most part it was fine and not an issue. The course was very flat, with silky smooth roads almost the entire route. There were several sets of railroad tracks, but these were all covered with plywood - a nice touch. Overall a very fast bike course and it was well designed and policed.

Run:
The run course was an out and back for both the Olympic and sprint along a paved path (much like Constitution Trail) that circled the lake where the swim took place. It was also very flat, and a good portion of it was shaded, which helped as it was getting quite warm by the time we finished.

Summary:
All in all it was a decent race. There were definitely some first year hiccups. As I mentioned above, the swim start was delayed. I also waited 30 minutes in line to pick up my packet on Saturday (and heard some waited even longer), and a few other little things. But I think these will be much improved next year. The Race Director was very enthusiastic, seems like a great guy, and even before the race acknowledged and apologized for some of the issues and was already promising to address them for next year, and I think he will. I emailed him with a question on the Friday night before the race,and he responded in about two minutes. The dude even gave out his cell phone number on Saturday at the pre-race talk and urged anyone to call him anytime - that night, in the middle of the night, or race morning and he would do whatever he could to address any questions or issues. That's not something you hear very often.

If you're looking for an early season race next year with a smoking fast course, this one is worth checking out.

Photos:

 

Photo of St Louis Tri transition, by Paul Wilkerson

Photo of St Louis Tri transition, by Paul Wilkerson

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