I first did the Pleasant Prairie triathlon back in…maybe 2006? Then I think I did it in 2008 and 2009. I’ve always done the International(Olympic) Distance. It used to be held in August. Once they moved it to the June date, which conflicts with the Tinley Park Duathlon, I stopped going. It is held at the Pleasant Prairie Rec Plex which is known as the largest municipally owned recreation facility in America.
I think this venue is absolutely perfect. I love Lake Andrea – it’s a good size, clean, calm, tastes fine, bottom is sandy, etc. The bike course is flat, roads are pretty good and the run included a lap around the lake. What more could you ask for? At the last minute, I decided to sign up this year.
Things certainly have changed in the last few years. Here are just a few things I noted:
- Most people did NOT rack their bikes before the event. In the past, I believe it was required.
- Very confusing transition area – with the combination of the duathlon, you really had to pay attention to the in and out.
- Much SMALLER than I remember. I though we used to take up almost the whole parking lot of the Rec Plex.
- No USAT officials – saw several violations (people riding IN transition, in transition WITHOUT a helmet, transition items placed outside the racks)
- No USAT officials means a pretty messy bike course – didn’t see a lot of drafting, then again, I was in the last wave of Olympic participants, so maybe it happened. I mean lots of blocking and passing on the right.
- Aid stations were a joke – both on the bike and run. Here’s a hint: bike aid stations need water BOTTLES, not cups. On the run, we had a table on the side of the road and runners passing both ways, meaning traffic crossing each other. And just one person trying to frantically fill cups as fast as they can. If you wanted water on this run, you had to stop for it.
- Finish line was moved to towards the front. Totally cramped area for the awards presentation. In the past, we were at the back, people sat around and listened to music and sort of made a little party of it. This year, as soon as awards were over, athletes cleared out.
- Raffle. I remember the raffle feeling like there was a TON of stuff! It felt like you had good odds to win because they’d pick your bib number, closest to without going over won (winner had to be present). No raffle.
While I love the venue and we had beautiful weather for the race, the changes to the race make it one that I will give serious thought to ever doing again.