August 31st, 2015, brought in the second edition of the Cedar Creek Triathlon and Duathlon in Olathe, Kansas. The event hosts nearly 400 triathletes and duathletes over a 400 meter swim, 11 mile bike ride followed by 5k run (1 mile run, 11 mile bike and 5k run for the duathlon).
Many local athletes flocked to Cedar Creek to race in the pinnacle short distance event in the Kansas City area. The day brought mild temperatures, low winds, mild humidity and plenty of cloud coverage. The race went off without a hitch minus one run in with a deer for an unlucky triathlete (he’ll be ok) and pretty much every athlete went home satisfied with a sense of accomplishment.
Your Endurance Sports Examiner was one of the lucky to race and complete the 2015 Cedar Creek Triathlon. From our experience comes our take on the management of the event and review of the course. Read on for the 2015 Cedar Creek Triathlon race review.
Registration : A
Cedar Creek ran registration through GetMeRegistered.com. It is very cost effective and served their needs well with simple registrations and user friendly forms. Cedar Creek was not an immediate sell out and athletes could register within a few days of the start of the event. But, with the logistics of the site and limitations on space, they capped the event at 400 athletes, and still sold out. Time will tell if they open the field or keep it a family affair.
Branding and Outreach : A
Once signed up for the events, participants received timely emails and the Facebook page was regularly updated with information and triathlon relevant material. The emails about the event were timely and appropriately spaced out. Not too much, not too little. Organizers were all over the Facebook page. They posted timely and informative posts and answered questions. As long as you were following the Facebook page, you were in the know.
Planning and Strategy Leading up to Race Day : A
As mentioned about Facebook, the Cedar Creek crew was all over covering the logistics of check in to race day procedures. If athletes didn’t know where to go and what to do from the emails, athlete guide or Facebook posts, they had no excuse other than living under a rock.
We would be hard pressed to find a flaw in the events leading up to race day. Management organized a clinic day at the race site with a local triathlon coach. The area is open for training rides and workouts (minus access to the water to swim unless coordinated with organizers).
One item to add to the “could improve” list is the possibility of adding another packet pickup session at a restaurant or bike shop. Only offering one time to pick up starting at 4pm on a Friday resulted in a little bit of a wait at times for 400 athletes. It could also be an opportunity to incorporate opportunities for sponsors to pull in athletes to shop at their venues.
Another item that might need some cleaning up is the Elite wave. While in theory it was a great idea to let the “faster” athletes start first and get out on the course, awards were given to top finishers and then the other elite wave athletes were put back in with age group athletes, scooping up a lot of awards and prizes. Some athletes grumbled a little, but it didn’t start a riot. Something to consider for the future.
The last logistical addition might be a deer crossing for the deer to know when to cross the street so they avoid running into cyclists as two athletes were interrupted during their bike ride with rude deer. One athlete was knocked off of his bike and required medical attention while another was bumped, but managed to stay on his bike. It’s a jungle out there.
Arrival to Event : A
Athletes did have to walk around a half mile from parking to transition, but when there are no cars to deal with and ample time to get settled in for race start, you can’t really complain. It was a good warm up walk or an easy downhill ride to transition. Parking was ample and well lit with tower lights for the early morning arrivals.
Transition was set up with plenty of rack space for 400 athletes with entrances and exits marked with stand alone banners. It was easy for athletes to recognize where to run and bike in and out. There was a missed communication about getting timing chips race morning instead of at packet pickup, but the fact that a smaller event had top notch timing more than made up for the tiny blip on the radar.
The Course : A
The swim was in the local pond of the Cedar Creek subdivision. It was just big enough for a 400 meter loop and organizers did an excellent job with the time trial start to minimize congestion on the swim start in such tight quarters. One drawback was the jet ski surfing around spewing fuel in the water, but it was probably required for support. Maybe a kayaker would be a better option with such a small body of water.
The bike was on concrete paved roads mainly in the subdivision with a loop on city streets. The course was coned off for one lane, but still open to traffic. To date, there had been no issues with cars and racers. It was well managed with volunteers at every turn and road entrance to keep athletes safe and car drivers aware. Some areas of the road were in need of crack repair, but that’s as much dirt as you could dig up on the down side.
The run was an out and back with a loop. The first half mile was straight uphill and tested racers to see if they saved anything for the run after a fast 11 mile bike ride. There was an aid station strategically placed at the end of the loop to catch athletes 6 times on a 5k run course. Lack of hydration should not have been an issue. There were some cars coming in and out of private drives, however, everyone was respectful and stayed safe.
Race Swag and Post Race Vibe : A
You’ve sprinted your way through 14.5 miles and what do you want at the finish line? How about a quality medal, chocolate milk, bananas and more? Racers had plenty of options for food, refreshment and post race massage. There was an excellent tent set up with tables for athletes to congregate afterwards and port-a-potties a plenty for 400 athletes and their spectators. You would be hard pressed to complain about the accomodations post race, unless you wanted beer. There was a no beer atmosphere, but that might have been dictated by the venue more than the race organizers.
Racers also received an excellent pullover light jacket at packet pickup along with a few other sample items. Organizers also hosted an online raffle for a Garmin 920XT and silent auctions for many other items. It appeared that the silent auction probably did not garner as much attention as they had hoped, but those that won were more than happy to receive their items.
Overall : A
Registration was set at $75 and the pullover jacket was worth it alone. They take care of pretty much every detail of race day and all the athletes need to do is train, bring their gear and show up. Well, they also need to swim, bike and run, but Cedar Creek organizers made it a less difficult proposition.
There were a few very minor details lacking here and there, but total sum compared to the event as a whole, it’s a very small percentage of the experience. The volunteers were excellent and that’s a pure reflection on leadership of the event.
They built a strong connection and engagement to the athletes via social media and that in turn resulted in a smooth and painless race experience, unless you got ran into by a deer. Cedar Creek Triathlon and Duathlon is a great short course race to add to your calendar if you’re local to the Kansas City area.