Brand new to BT, never done a tri before. I live in NWI and want to do a sprint tri this summer at the end of July or beginning of August. I'm considering either the Laporte YMCA tri or the South Shore Tri in Chicago. Any thoughts on either? Thanks!
Welcome to the boards. I live in Portage. For your first tri, at that time of year, I would choose between the Valpo (July 14) or LaPorte Tri. I've got both of the calendar this year. If you do Valpo first, if you catch the bug, you could then sign up and do LaPorte as well.
I did the Valpo tri last year. Its a good local crowd. I loved the bike course. Its challenging but not too challenging. It favors the stronger rider with lots of small rollers and one quarter mile 2-3% grade. Last year I was pushing 35mph on the downhill section but only 12mph going back up it The swim is at Rogers Lakewood Park. Its a very small lake and definately not the cleanest. In fact, the only swimming done in it all year, to my knowledge, is during the race. Definately no waves. The run is average.
I've heard good things about the LaPorte tri but its been running the same weekend as Tri Indy. This year, I have to stay north that weekend for other things so I plan on doing this one. The swim is on Stone Lake. This is my local OWS swim spot. I was just out there this weekend. While it was only around 62 degrees this weekend, it will be well over 78 by August so it will not be wetsuit eligible (neither will Valpo). Its fairly clean. The only weird part is the weeds, some are four feet tall. You will see them and they will rub against your hands in shallow water. It may take some getting used to. I really don't know anything else about the race.
I believe the South Shore Tri is swam in Lake Michigan. For your first tri, I would definately avoid Lake Michigan unless you get plenty of swim practice in the Lake first. However, unlike the other two, it should definately be wetsuit eligible. I'm not sure Lake Michigan ever sustains temps north of 78. When looking at this race, I was also concerned with the set-up. The transition area was near 57th street off LSD. There isn't a lot of parking there, and I thought the congestion and parking situation would just be too much a pain. You also get a much different crowd when you go into Chicago for run/bike/tri races. It will be much more competitive and you will lose that hometown local feel of the Valpo and LaPorte tri.
I know it has been awhile since you have posted, but I figured I would mention that if you want to do local training with local triathletes for local TRI's ,(including Chicago and southshore TRI's) you might want to join us at NWI TRIATHLETES . Go to nwitri.org and you can e-mail them for more info.We are having our 2013 kickoff party on Feb 9th where you can meet a bunch of the members. we do group swims at small lakes and Lake Michigan,group rides on the trails in crown point,schererville,grifith,and have indoor year-round swim training with or without lessons at Munster H.S. pool with the Munster Masters swim group.Only $35.00 per year. A TON more info on website and they will answer any and all questions you have to get started. Ask for Elaine, and tell her the ICEMAN sent you !