I don't get it.... All the other IMs are already sold out, or do sell out within 24hrs. Is IM Louisville Ky really that bad? terrible destination? just not sexy enough? What gives?
A guy who did it a couple of years ago told me that the swim has a really heavy river current. Not being a strong swimmer myself, the prospect of taking that kind of beating before a day on the bike and running would keep me out (if I were into IM).
This past August I raced Louisville--my first Ironman--and it was an awesome experience. When I signed up weeks after registration opened, I remember asking myself the very same question.
I'm still not sure why the race fills up so slowly. Some potential reasons:
1) Perhaps folks don't want to swim in the Ohio (I did get sick from the water 2 days before the race during the practice swim, no carbo loading the day before, but I still survived) or are turned off by the time trial start (which is actually awesome). I can't imagine it has anything to do with the current though. It's not very strong and you only swim upstream for about 1/3 of the distance. If you look at the swim times of IMKY, they are actually quite fast. The water is seriously pretty nasty though.
2) The course can be hot. Coming from Chicago, this terrified me; however, last year I was blessed with an afternoon high in the upper 70s (and morning/evening lows in the 60s!). That said, I heard that in years past the heat index has been near 100 degrees. Better lock down that hydration plan and stock up on Salt-Sticks early.
3) The bike course is relentlessly hilly. No major climbs, no terrifying descents, but certainly not a rhythm course. The course is quite beautiful though (especially the hilliest sections deep in horse country), and a large reason I choose to race Louisville. The marathon is flat as a pancake but with little shade. Crowd support seemed okay, but I don't have much to compare it to.
The bottom line: Every IM course is going to have it's challenges. As a mentor said, the key to success is knowing what those challenges are and preparing for them. Good luck.
I did IMKY in 2008. The swim is actually set up so that you head east for a little less than a mile against a current, which is minimized because you are in a narrow passage between the shore and an island. The rest of the way is with the current. I personally didn't find the current going either way to be a big problem, and I'm a weak swimmer myself (1:42 swim time that year, 1:33 this year at IMFL). The lack of a mass start, which makes things easier, does make for a less exciting start to your day. So, I don't take the swim to be much of a deal-breaker for the race. The bike, for me at least, was hot, tough, and hilly. But it was also pretty scenic. Had I been in a little better shape, I would have enjoyed it more. No deal-breaker here. The run, however, is somewhat of a different story. The course, save for the turn-around and finish at Firth Street Live, left much to be desired. There was nothing to see, and it went through some seemingly shady parts of town. The sites that are advertised as pat of the run course (the University and Churchill Downs) are not to be seen. Still, I'm not sure if it's quite a deal-breaker -- or at least enough of one for it to still be open after 2.5 months. And as for the overall functioning of the event, I was more than pleased. It was just as well-run as any other M-dot event I've done. It may just bethat it's still a young race, it hasn't built up a great reputation (possibly for good reasons), and doesn't have a base of long-time customers like some of the other races do. I'm still surprised, but pleased, as I plan on signing up when I get my next pay check. So, if anyone out there is considering this race, please wait untl after Friday to seal the deal.
i would think that the potential kentucky heat and humidity in august scares a lot of people away. it's 2 hours south of me, i wouldn't consider doing it because 100 degrees and humid would make for a miserable day.
Who wants to go to Kentucky for vacation? (not trying to offend anyone if you live there) Not much to do there but race the course. The time trial swim start also takes away from the whole IM experience in my opinion. Also last year was an exception in temp. It is usually hot and humid that time of year.
All that being said if it still has slots open in Jan I might sign up.
Based on an ill-informed opinion of a city I've never been to, with apologies to Louisville because I'm sure it's a great town with wonderful residents, but for an Ironman? Meh, total snooze. Pair that with dog days of summer training [i]and racing[/i] and I'll sit that one out. FWIW, Coeur d'Alene 2010 took awhile to fill (about a month?).
[quote=TriSooner]Based on an ill-informed opinion of a city I've never been to, with apologies to Louisville because I'm sure it's a great town with wonderful residents, but for an Ironman? [/quote]
some fun facts about Louisville: first cheesburger, biggest baseball bat, the worlds largest floating fountain.... ugggghhhh...ok thats all i could find.
all valid points and make me wish i didn't miss IMLP registration. I've been looking for something close to home (MA) but it looks like a full iron distance might not work for 2010. Lot's of 70.3s within a two hour drive though...
just the thought of peak training (in Texas) In July and August keep me outa that one. However! I may change my tune if I don't get into AZ next week...
I'm betting the prospect of 2.4 miles without a wetsuit keeps some people away.
Also, I have a friend who tells the story of doing the swim the first year and hitting a submerged shopping cart in the river. Fun!
[quote=jtrimom]just the thought of peak training (in Texas) In July and August keep me outa that one. However! I may change my tune if I don't get into AZ next week...[/quote]
That's my Number 1. If it were in say, Spring or late Fall, I'd do it. After I trained through July and August for IM Wisconsin (Sept) I swore off any and all long distance training in 100* heat. An Ironman in August in the "South" sounds terribly hot.
Thanks for all the feedback. I think I'll be saving my money and not doing this one. I really wanted to find an Iron distance race for 2010, but there just doesn't seem to be anything too eye-catching thats open and relatively easy to get to from N.E.
Guess I'll focus on 70.3 and marathon(s) instead.
I'm registered for this race which will be my first IM distance and excited as hell. I'm not planning a vacation around it, the purpose of the trip is to meet a goal and experience a M-dot race. Living in NC means the heat, humidity and the hills are part of my regular training. Swimming in the Ohio is the only thing that gives me a bit of the willies, but I've swam in other questionable venues. It'll be a HTFU moment. From those I spoke with prior to choosing this race, including my coach, all said it was worth the investment. Looking forward to the challenge.
On the topic of the Ohio River, as I think I've mentioned in a race report, I bought a brand new white jersey the day before the race, and it was brown when I came out of the water. After it baked in for the next 13 hours, I never could get rid of the brownish color.
I did Louisville this year, and had a great time, I didn’t post a race report, but I’ll give you guys some feedback. I chose KY for lots of reasons; it was still open, scheduling, I could drive there in reasonable time, and the course/elements looked really challenging. I didn’t pick this race because it was the popular race, or I could plan a vacation around it, or I was worried about my finishing time because of the heat. I wanted to do the distance, and this one was open, at a time when I could do it.
Kentucky: The countryside was beautiful, horse farms, wide open spaces, rolling hills. Didn’t have a chance to see much of the downtown area outside of the general 4-5 block area where the race was staged, but the people were friendly, the food was good, and prices were reasonable. Everything you could need for the race, accommodations, food, transportation, you could find within this 4-5 block area.
The Ohio River: There were two practice swims on Friday and Saturday, the water did not smell bad, didn’t taste bad, there wasn’t any floating debris, Temperature was perfect, the only problem was visibility, or lack of, I could faintly see my arm pass by my body with each pull, but other than it was fine.
Swim Start: The only hiccup with the whole race, was the starting line, the line forms early, Imagine 2500 athletes, friends and family, strung out in a line, there must have been about 10000 people in that line camped out. Note to anyone doing next years race, if you have someone with you, send them to the swim start first thing in the am to get a place in line, or else get there early. Other than that, as soon as the canon went off, the line moved quickly, and before I knew it I was running down a ramp and jumping off a dock.
Swim: The swim was dark, and non-wetsuit, which may scare some people, but if you aren’t comfortable swimming 2.4 miles without a wetsuit, then maybe you should consider training some more or pick a race that will be wetsuit legal. The upriver portion was in a narrow channel which made it congested. I’ve never done an IM mass start so I have no reference, but I would equate the first 1200 meters to what you would find about midway through a regular wave start swim(everyone mixed together) I spent a lot of time sighting, weaving in and out of people in that first 1200. There was no real current to speak of, so that wasn’t a factor this year. On the downriver leg it opened up into the channel and the field spread out nicely. Swimming downriver was pretty cool, swimming around an island, under a couple of bridges, you could see the people walking along the river walk following you back to the transition. Drafting was difficult(visibility), so I would just save your energy and swim the course. I don’t think the time trial start lessens the experience of the race, its still 2.4 miles, and without a wetsuit.
Bike: The bike starts out pretty flat for about 10 miles, then some gradual hills, til you hit a 4 mile out and back. The out and back was fun, very fast downhill, then into and uphill ascent, turn around and do it again. It wasn’t the widest stretch of road, so you had to be careful going down hill at high speeds, it was congested, and people were ascending on the other side, very close to the yellow line. A little scary but exciting nonetheless. Next is the 2 loop section, at about mile 25, rolling hills, nothing too steep, but constant up and down, no rest time, about midway through the second loop it started to become a grind, It just seemed to go on and on, and just couldn’t get into a good rhythm. I had a horse chasing me along a fence line on one of the roads, that was pretty cool. More spectators on the course than I expected from such a rural area, people camped out on their front lawns cheering us on, families with their kids cheering. Riding through La Grange was like a mini Tour de France, lots of people lined the roads cheering, waving flags and signs, that was a nice pick me up both times. Although the course profile says its pretty much downhill after mile 85 or so, the course really doesn’t let up until you hit the last 10 miles. Not the hardest bike route, but a definite mental grind, with the exception of the first and last 10 miles, there really wasn’t any let up.
Run: As others have said, its not the most scenic course, but at that point I wasn’t too concerned with checking out the scenery with 26.2 miles in front of me. The course was pretty flat, once you get out of the downtown area you are basically running on tree lined streets, so I think there was ample shade. There were lots of spectators lining the streets, cheering and clapping. The aid stations were endless, with lots of volunteers, cheering and clapping, yelling words of encouragement. It was very humbling. It’s a two loop course, at the turn around you pass right by the finish line, teasing you a little bit. Coming into town after the second loop, I see the finish line, high fiving people, lights were so bright and the crowd and music was deafening.
Overall: I think the venue was awesome, the course was challenging and the crowd was great all along the course, the city of Louisville and the people were very accommodating for the athletes. As for the hot temps, Mother Nature definitely gave us a break that day, 55 in the am and 70 for the rest of the day, couldn’t ask for better race temps. Race support, Volunteers, Fans and Spectators really made the race, everywhere on the run I had someone clapping and cheering me on. If you are considering doing an IM, I would recommend this one if a) you are not afraid of the heat, as that can be an issue b) like a nice challenging bike route , c) aren’t afraid of swimming without a wetsuit, and d) are willing to travel to this destination.
Good luck Ace3
[quote=Ace3]I'm registered for this race which will be my first IM distance and excited as hell . . . From those I spoke with prior to choosing this race, including my coach, all said it was worth the investment. Looking forward to the challenge.[/quote]
Absolutely! You should be! I'm not questioning why someone would do it [i]because[/b] it's in Louisiville. Quite the contrary - if you want to bring on some additional suffering, go for it. More power to you. It sounds really tough - and Ironmans don't need any help being any tougher by adding in HazMat uniforms, humidity, heat, and hills.
[quote=IthinkIcan]all valid points and make me wish i didn't miss IMLP registration. I've been looking for something close to home (MA) but it looks like a full iron distance might not work for 2010. Lot's of 70.3s within a two hour drive though... [/quote]
If your goal is IM in 2010, then sign up for Louisville. Who gives a s*it about the course and weather and that some of think Louisville isn't sexy enough (as if Madison is). I didn't gather from your original post that Louisville would be your only chance for IM in 2010. If it's on your calendar, in your budget, and your relevant family members are cool with it, then don't worry about why it isn't filling up so fast. Geesh, first we moan about filling up too fast and now we moan when they stay open too long. If you're worried about getting squashed by the course and not doing well, 1) no one ever reaches their full potential on their first*, and 2) no one (unfamiliar with tri, at least) every asks what time you finished in. Don't be enticed by the "easy" Ironman course. They don't exist. Every course has its challenges and they're all the same distance.
[size=8]*But it would be your second after AZ '09, right? [/size]
Geesh, first we moan about filling up too fast and now we moan when they stay open too long. If you're worried about getting squashed by the course and not doing well, 1) no one ever reaches their full potential on their first*, and 2) no one (unfamiliar with tri, at least) every asks what time you finished in. Don't be enticed by the "easy" Ironman course. They don't exist. Every course has its challenges and they're all the same distance.
[size=8]*But it would be your second after AZ '09, right? [/size][/quote]
certainly not worried about getting crushed by it. Just wanted to see if there was something horrible about it that only insiders new and prevented it from filling up. re: [size=8]1)yes - fingers crossed and trained and all that jazz...thx for tiny typing it[/size]
re:2) I was really looking at it as a potential filler/maintenance race. I need to focus on speed in 2010, but I like the idea of keeping up the full iron distance.
Ultimately, I don't think I want to pay for the travel plus $550 for IMKY if there is a shot at it being a blah trip overall. MORE SO, the total trip would cost more than $1k and w/ that same $1k+ I can bang out 3HIMs (Mooseman, Amica, Timberman), an Ultra (run TBD) and the Bay State Marathon (a boston qualifier).
What about Beach to Battleship - Iron Distance, Wilmington, NC. Not sure how far N.E. you are, but that might be an easy to get to location.
If your goal is IM in 2010, then sign up for Louisville. Who gives a s*it about the course and weather and that some of think Louisville isn't sexy enough (as if Madison is).
[size=8]*But it would be your second after AZ '09, right? [/size][/quote]
Madison isn't sexy??? Darn....
Some of us are rather partial to Madison :) - GO BUCKY!
certainly wasn't meaning to bring harsh light on imky so apologies if anyone is taking the thread comments that way. I'll look into b2b and see if I might swing it into the 70.3s I'm doing. Thanks for the suggestion!
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