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2013-07-16 11:32 AM

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Subject: Grand Columbian
What can you guys tell me about this event? Is it worth doing? Reading Trifreaks website, sounds like this could be the last year for it.


2013-07-16 1:02 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
I *TRULY* believe this was the most under-appreciated event in Washington. Besides being the only 140.3 and ultra in Washington, the location and course was absolutely beautiful. Apparently, the first couple of years were bumpy...but last year it was highly successful.

Although I only volunteered for it, everything about it was very captivating.

My family does a lot of travel. We just happened to be in the area (Banks Lake) at the time of this race so we chose to volunteer. I had one of those "Epic" moments in life that you will always remember.

The T2/Finish is right at the bottom of the Grand Coulee Dam. At 8:00PM, they have "The world's biggest lasershow" where they open up the spillway and have lasers on a 1 mile backdrop. The laser show was cheesy, but the overall capability was pretty dang awesome for spectators and racers.

So we are sitting there. The Stars are infinitely thick and bright. We are watching a laser show on the spillway of the dam. Iron distance athletes are running through the dark with headlamps and glow necklaces and coming across the finish line. It was like an overdose of awesome.

Talking toTriFreaks, they were just never able to get the support from the community. There are very few options for lodging and there isn't a large pool of available volunteers. Although the race was great to boost the local economy and make the community better as a whole, the needed resources weren't available to ensure the racers have a great experience to continue. For the most part this was invisible to the athletes, but it was a lot of pressure on Tri-Freaks to keep it successful.

Last year there was a death in the community and the majority of the volunteers had to cancel last minute because of the funeral. It is totally understandable, but it caused a great deal of pressure on the race and the other volunteers. If the volunteer pool was larger, it wouldn't be as negative affecting, but there just weren't enough people to support it. It ended up being very few volunteers working very long hours (4:00AM to Midnight for some). And then they got to read how "lazy" racers thought they were for sitting down at aid stations. I think it was just too much stress on the race director and they don't want to be in the position to ask that kind of dedication from people volunteering their time.

It is sad because I wanted this race to be my first 140.3.

If I were in the place to do this race, I would do it. I would do it with the expectations of "This is the last time this is going to happen" and enjoy the crap out of that course.

And take the DAM TOUR!





Edited by lifejustice 2013-07-16 1:06 PM
2013-07-17 11:31 AM
in reply to: 0

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian

It's definitely worth doing.  Is a very unique and challenging course.  I've done the HIM as a relay (I was lucky enough to get the bike leg) and the Olympic.

The climb out of the gorge at the beginning of the bike is brutal but the views from the top are breathtaking.  The rest of the course is through rolling wheat fields.  Not much to look at but is quite different especially for those from the west half of the State.

The organization of the race was great.  Not a lot in the little town (other then the dam) but lodging was cheap.  The only problem I had was that it is in the middle of nowhere.  It is a long drive no matter where you are coming from.



Edited by popsracer 2013-07-17 11:32 AM
2013-07-18 11:02 AM
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Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
Here is some good coverage of it from Triathlete magazine:
http://triathlon.competitor.com/2011/12/nutrition/video-ann-wesslin...

Links to video 2 and video 3 are in the caption of the video

and I meant 140.6.

Edited by lifejustice 2013-07-18 11:18 AM
2013-09-02 2:39 AM
in reply to: Fighting Hellfish

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Portland, Oregon
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
Less than 3 weeks out.
Who all is registered? I'll be there with another guy from my Tri club racing the 140.6!
2013-09-21 7:03 AM
in reply to: #4805658

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Bellevue, WA
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
I'm racing the half today after signing up a few weeks ago after reading this thread.
Good luck out there!


2013-09-23 11:40 AM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
How was the race??
2013-09-23 12:57 PM
in reply to: Medusa_Ann

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Portland, Oregon
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
It was quite an experience! I came out of the swim near the back, made up some spots on the bike (5,000+ feet) and lots of wind. After that, I was pretty smoked and finished in a bit under 13 hours. It was good enough for 7th of 20 and 2nd of 5 in the AG.
2013-09-24 1:36 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Master
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Bellevue, WA
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian

I did the half-Iron distance as a training race leading up to Ironman Arizona. 

The race is ran by a small Kirkland company (TriFreaks) and having only 60 or so competitors was quite different than the thousands in the other four Ironman-branded half-Iron races I've done.  This gives a far more intimate and personal feel to packet pickup, setting up T1 and T2, etc.  Not

The swim and T2 is in Lake Roosevelt at a campground swim area.  It's a triangle that first parallels the shore, then heads out and comes back to the starting point.  The buoys are held by a underwater guidewire that you can see and swim along.  I was very pleased the water was in the upper 60s and calm.  Unfortunately my goggles kept leaking and futzing to fix them a few times blasted my heart rate up so I had to float a moment to calm down - end result was a 45 minute swim instead of the 36-38 I wanted.

bike course starts with a mile or so 8% climb out of the park to the road, then a slightly downhill section for a mile or so, then a four mile 6-10% climb to the top of the plateau.  That was fairly epic especially with a constant 15mph headwind.  The view of the dam and the canyon was made the climb worthwhile.  Then we spend the next 40 miles with rollers, some of them fairly large, through the wheat and rye and corn fields.  The wind was constant.  There were only a few aid stations on the course but enough; my wife volunteered at one of them.  Often I could see only a one or two competitors ahead of me, and at one point on a long stretch I could see no one ahead or behind me for miles. I finished the bike in 3:42 and I'm pretty happy with that given the climb and the rollers and the wind.

T2 and the run is at the base of the dam, which is really quite cool.  The first two miles of the run include a climb across a bridge to the other side of the river leading from the dam, then a 4% or so downhill to the a gravel road next to the river.  Then it's just an out and back on the flat gravel road.  I ran like the usual running machine I am, at an average HR of 170 to 174, and finished the run in 2:10.  I'm OK with that too. 

6:37:24 overall time, which is my slowest HIM but this race was tougher than Lake Stevens or Boise.  The course is a lot like the Boise course btw.

2013-09-25 12:52 PM
in reply to: Medusa_Ann

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Kirkland, WA
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
Great racing at Grand Columbian this year.

A little cooler, but still very pleasant. Managed a win at the Half distance with a time of 5:02:56. Took it easy on the swim, paced the bike to a 15 min lead (not so subtle brag) and then held on for the run. Certainly a brutal bike course with the combination of new course and stronger winds, the course seemed to be about 10-12 minute slower on the bike when averaging for repeat competitors.

Congrats to all Iron distance finishers, that is one heck of a brutal course at that distance. Lots of fun helping Stephan and Dana bring in the final finishers.

Full race report at my blog: http://jtolandtri.com/

Jack
2013-09-25 6:01 PM
in reply to: Sail15

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Portland, Oregon
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
Nice work man!
When you passed me on the bike, I was hoping you were racing the half and not the full. You were flying!


2013-09-25 10:26 PM
in reply to: dfroelich

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Kirkland, WA
Subject: RE: Grand Columbian
Thanks,

A couple of the iron distance riders were moving along quite nicely as well!

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