The Mudwater is a good race it is well run and as good as or better than much much more expensive races hosted by for profit companies to the south. It is an espically good course for spectators and first timers.
Kansas weather can be tricky in July. Storms, flood, heat, locusts anything could be in the mix. In 2012, we lucked out. A cool front worked through the area overnight with a few thundershowers, but nothing too organized Driving to the race I saw a cluster of thundershowers with lightning, but it moved out of the area before we started and I didn't see any lighting by the time I had reached the race site at Lake Afton. The weather that was left gave us a cloud deck to the east that kept the sun off the althletes and the temperature was moderated from the 105F it was the day before. Think about that, if we had raced on Saturday instead of Sunday, 105F, nasty. But a race director can't do anything the weather.
Race Director, Alan, was at the race site when I arrived on Saturday and we did packet pickup. He was surronunded by families enjoying Lake Afton, picnicing, swimming, and playing on the playground equipment. They rent a building at the Lake and were waiting for the prior renters to finish up their family reunion so that tranisition setup could begin. It was 105F. I'm surprised that packet pickup wasn't in Lake Afton itself.
On Sunday morning I arrived at start time (7am) minus one hour and parked. If anything can be improved at Mudwater a more organized parking system might help. People generally just parked along the road into the park, but the road has a significant ditch that's pretty well hidden. One car was parked nose into the ditch and needed a tow truck. It was even a hazard on the bike course. (That was a seriously bad parking decision.) There is lots of parking and the only real suggestion I would give Allan is to make a few more rows closer to the race site where the drainage ditch is shallow.
There are no bike numbers, no assigned racks, and some very basic saftey check items. Nothing at all was intimidating or problematic. I found a spot on the rack and racked in. Chip pickup and body marking were all in the building and went smoothly. The duathlon went off first at 7am and I was already in the water when the gun went off for the Du. Everyone formed a line, with no offical officiating and Alan launched my wave the Oly Men, next. The swim start was pretty relaxed. I like the outside and I normally angle right so my natural tendancy brings me into the pack and I straighten out after that. The swim was good, although you culd walk around the final bouy and many poeple did. You swim parallel to the shore and take another lap for the Oly so I did that. My pet peeve is that some races stand up in the middle of the swim. This is odd because you can run into them or you have to divert. A couple of people did this, but then I worked into deeper water and didn't have to deal with them. As I started my second loop, the last of the sprint athlete waves was launched. I ended up working through them for most of my second loop, but with no real complications. My only major suggestion is to watch out for "the standers" in the swim. I came out of the water middle of the pack for Oly athletes and middle of the pack for the last wave of the sprint. I think Alan announced there were 15 lifeguards in inertubes for this small course and you could stand for 1/2 the course if you wanted too, making it ideal for first time or inexperience or water phobia triathletes. The water wasn't even that muddy. It wasn't cold either so no wetsuits.
I jogged up the hill on the carpet into transition, put on socks and bike shoes and jogged to the mount/dismount line. No problems, the M/D line was further away than I normally see it, but it didn't cause any issues. The bike course was on really good roads. Very smooth and a loop for the oly, out and back for the sprint. The only bad road surface is the north bound section (3miles) near Cheney, KS, Oly only. Otherwise the raod was fabulous really fabulous. There are a couple of longer hills on the Oly about 3/4 through the course and they were about a mile or 3/4 mile each and everything went well. My splits reflected the wind direction of the day, from the east, so the out was much faster than the return. All in all a good bike course. They also had a new handup for water, which I had never done. I am embarrased to reportthat I came in too fast and just beat the bottle out of the first guys hand, but I was able to snag one from the second and there was a third guy if my luck was really really bad. Good organization and the cold water tasted delish.
No problems on the dismount, no problems in transition to run or reracking, off I went on the run. The run course is as dead flat as I have seen. It's got this great loop in it so that if you have family or other spectators, they can be near the intersection of the loop and the back strech and see you four times per loop. There was water, gu brew, cold towels and engouragement at each water stop. I never wanted for water or anything on the run. There is some, but not much shade on the course, and the Sprint does one lap, while the Oly does two. Two laps for me then. I faded a little at the end, but was happy to finish near my race goals. They even announced my name and town at the finish line.
Post race the sprint athletes had already started the party, there were still hotdogs, chips, cookies, and iced electrolyte drinks a plenty. I got some and cooled off. As I realaxed, I noticed that my bike was getting lonley in transition and there wasn't really any control, the bikes didn't have numbers attached and you were allowed in if you had a race bib, so I got my bike a little earlier than normal. I wanted to get back to the hotel and shower before the drive back. So I did.
Low stress, well organized, a race for triathletes, put on by triathletes. I really enjoyed myself. People were beyond nice and the stress level was very low. Much different from my expereince with 300+ athletes last year at the DiscoTri in Texas. Good Job Alan and the crew from the Kansas River Valley Tri Club.