You have probably been asked about your favorite triathlon, especially if you have completed even a few of them.
First, a little background. I did my first triathlon on my doctor’s advice to lose weight and become more fit. However, as I have done more triathlons, spending time with family and friends through these and experiencing the USA from the perspective of triathlon have grown in importance.
Nevertheless, after my first triathlon, there have been a few races that have been particularly memorable. Following are my top five.
Favorite Triathlons for Family Connections
#1 First Triathlon with Our Daughter and Youngest Son
Our youngest son, Ben, and his wife Lindsey along with our daughter, Liza, and her husband Scott joined me in completing the 2014 Maple Grove Triathlon.
#2 Colorado Triathlon
The Colorado triathlon was fraught with challenges. Nevertheless, it was the one opportunity I had to participate in a triathlon in front of my parents.
#3 Wyoming Triathlon
The Wyoming triathlon was memorable for two reasons. First, it was the last time we would see Joy’s aunt Evelyn. She passed away shortly thereafter.
It also provided my ’15 minutes of fame’ as a local newspaper writer interviewed me and published a story about our Triathlon Across the USA quest (see below).
Most Memorable Races
#4 First Crash
During the Rhode Island triathlon, a slow leak in my front tire led to a crash that left my right arm and leg bleeding. Thankfully, a bike maintenance aid arrived shortly after I had started to replace the tube. He completed the repair and I finished the race.
#5 First Podium Finish
In my first triathlon, I learned about the importance of having the right bike to race competitively. Before my second triathlon two months later, I purchased a triathlon specific bike.
Thanks to a competitive bike split in this race, I finished third in my age group in this second triathlon.
Ranking to Find Your Favorite Triathlon
Early in my discussions with Laurent Labbe, I asked about his favorite races. Being a technical guy, he answered with a spreadsheet for rating the long course triathlons he had completed.
The table below illustrates Laurent’s approach for ranking triathlons.
Laurent’s approach is quite detailed. His quantifies the quality, difficulty, and aesthetics of the course for each of the three legs. He also rates the overall management and race location.
- Management (‘Mgmt’) – The following factors all lead to higher rankings in the various Management categories:
- easy check-in and packet pickup
- orderly swim start
- clear marking of the bike and run courses
- bike and run courses that are completely closed to traffic; even partly closed courses are better than those on which motor vehicles are near racers.
- plenty of volunteer support
- high quality food and drink on the course and after the race
- prompt communication with racers before, during, and after the triathlon
- Ease – This ranking relates to the race course. A low score in this category comes from high waves on the swim course and high wind or steep hills on the bike and run courses.
- Layout – A single lap course is much preferred to one with two or more laps. The greater the number of laps in each of the legs, the lower the ranking in this category.
- Overall Location – This relates to the cost and ease of getting to and from the race, the ease of arranging lodging, and the quality and diversity of food.
- Ambiance – This scores factors such as the natural beauty of the race venue and friendliness of the people.
- Overall Ranking – This number is derived from the product of the other rankings.
Knowing that family is important to Laurent, I imagine that any race involving his sons or daughter will have higher rankings.
What Has Been Your Favorite Triathlon?
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