THE FINE PRINT: The following preview is written using the information available at time of publishing. Race organizers reserve the right to change the details, including route, sometimes without warning. That said, the details listed below may change come race-day. I do my best to avoid that whenever possible -- but sometimes it simply isn't possible. Thank you for understanding. Keep R/B/S'ing! -R3KC
PRE RACE PREVIEW
In the past, deciding between the Maple Leaf City Triathlon and the Danisco Prairie Punisher was always tough (they've fallen on the same day the last few years). The organizers and volunteers at each are fantastic, and both races come with their own "small town"-type charm, yet remaining surprisingly competitive. Dwindling numbers has forced Gardner Parks and Rec to close the doors on the Prairie Punisher (I'm still grieving). But the good news is the Maple Leaf City Triathlon EXPANDED its offering, changed its name to reflect that offering, and committed to stick around and pick up the pieces (and, hopefully, registration numbers as well). And deservedly so. I love this race -- both competitive for the tri nerds, and non-threatening for the more green of the tri scene -- it is seriously a lot of fun.
Enter: The (newly-coined) Triple Tri Triathlon
Packet pick-up is, well...there is no packet pick-up. Not the day(s) before, anyways. Given the size of the event (it's relatively small, though registration seemed to be up last year in 2016), you'll have plenty of time to pick up packets pre-race.
Race Day Schedule
Parking & Pre-Race Check-In/Registration
Presumably, the race-day-only packet pick-up is for check-in purposes. That, and most people are coming from out of town anyways (I LOVE BALDWIN CITY!!).
First, parking: parking is not at the race site. Well, not the start site, at least. It's about a block away (east), in the parking lot just north of Baldwin City's Liston Stadium (approximate address 150 Fremont Street). Liston Stadium is actually the site of the finish line (on the oval). Arrive early -- the lot tends to fill up by race start.
Here's where the stadium is...
Apart from parking, you'll also want to arrive early for packet pick-up, body marking, and transition check-in, which takes place from about 5:30 until 6:30 or 6:45am. Transition spots are first-come-first-serve. It's not a particularly large transition area, so the least-fortunate spot still won't net you much time penalty, but it's still nice to be near at least one of the exits.
Here's where the swimming pool/check-in/transition is...
The transition area is positioned in a long rectangle, east-to-west, in what would be the parking lot in front of the Baldwin City Pool. Swim-In is located along the western edge, and sorta shares the same entrance as Bike-In/-Out. Bike-In/-Out is located on the western-most side of this "rectangle," with the mount/dismount line about 20 feet west from the transition exit.
The Run-Out is along the norther side of transition. This typically confuses first-time participants or those not familiar with the venue. It's easy to want to run back out from the Bike-In/-Out, OR search for an exit along the eastern edge. Not so. The Run-Out basically splits the north side of transition.
The transition area itself is narrow, and in fact, the bike racks themselves make up the edge of transition (as opposed to an independent fence). So keep that in mind when staging as well.
Finish your swim, then to get to transition, you run through where you enter the swim pool area, coming from the southwest towards transition. This is exactly why spectators will not be allowed to view the swim from inside the pool area - the only way to get in/out from the pool is going to be utilized for athletes. However, the pool area is surrounded by chain-link fence, so it's quite easy to view from beyond the fence.
The course is pocked with the rolling hills that are so-common to the Eastern Kansas countryside. Though there are no significant climbs, several mini-climbs mark the route, including at miles 4.68, 5.85, 8.00, and 11.00. Each are between 50 and 100 feet climbing, with the longest at the 8-mile mark, and the steepest at the 5.85-mile mark, right out of the turnaround. This should require a few out-of-the-saddle quick pips, although a seated position would be best (there tends to be less shielding from the breeze out in the plains of Kansas).
I have a video left over from my 2014 race (when it was still the Maple Leaf City Tri). The bike course is the same (run course is different -- see below), so what you see is what you'll get.
This video is in the process of being updated. Check back soon about that.
The north turn on 3rd is the same, though instead of heading all the way to High Street, and doing a quick turnaround to push the distance to 5k, the extra distance is added by taking a quick right halfway up 3rd Street on to east-bound Lincoln. This will take runners on a horseshoe-shaped loop comprised of Lincoln, north-bound 2nd, and west-bound King before right-turning north back on 3rd to High Street. A quick right on High St, then left on 2nd, and runners come back to Liston Stadium (where you parked). Runners enter the stadium from the southwest corner, and finish the final 300m on the oval. The finish line is on the northwest corner of the oval (do ovals have corners?).
Turning east on Newton/Orange Street gives the route it's only rated climb, a quarter-mile run up 67 feet and at a 4% average gradient, with some places reaching nearly 10%. It's only one real climb, but it's a doozy.
That's all I got! I'm excited for this one again. And I'm excited to see all you at the starting line!
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