Door County and Racine 70.3 Compared

I don’t normally post race reviews, but I wanted to note some things and not make my race recap too lengthy.  That being said, this is not my race recap. This is a write up of the event and a comparison of Ironman 70.3 Racine and Door County 70.3.

Door County was my fourth 70.3 distance race. I’ve done Ironman Racine 70.3 two years in a row, and High Cliff 70.3 earlier this season. With Ironman Racine 70.3 and Door County 70.3 being the same weekend I had a few people ask for comparisons.

To start, packet pickup turned into an extremely stressful ordeal for my friend Becca, and for me too!! I wanted to be there for my friend and help solve the problem! The problem was that they lost Becca’s packet. She was registered, but they had no bib number to give her. At first the only resolution offered was for Becca to come back race morning at 7:30 to get a new bib number. Transition closes at 7:45. For a first time 70.3 participant, fifteen minutes is absolutely not enough time to get things set up and keep your head in a good place. I’ve done this four times, there’s no way would I want to be rushed like that on race morning.

After some tears and talking her off of a ledge, my husband John went up to one of the event staff and asked for any other solution. The event staff asked if we knew of anyone not starting the race, if we knew someone who for sure wasn’t starting the race she could transfer that bib number to Becca. This is where the power of social media and amazing triathlete friends were a blessing. Several FaceBook messages and texts later we had three possible names of people who were not starting. In the meantime, the event staff ended up calling Becca with a bib number. Problem solved.

Mad props to the lady who found a bib for Becca, but still. It was frustrating to have to call around and solve this problem ourselves, instead of the event staff fixing their error for us.

Aside from that blip,  the courses in Racine and Door County are comparable.  The swim I think might be a little slower in Door County because it’s a loop, rather than a straight shot down from one beach to the next in Racine. The wave sizes just depended on how many people were in your age group, mine was 60. It didn’t feel too crowded though.  One reason I personally like Racine’s swim more is that they have different colored swim caps for each wave, where Door County just had one color for all. For me it’s always a goal to catch up to the color cap that started ahead of me!

The bike course is flat and fast in Door County, same in Racine. There was maybe two climbs in Door County but I felt like I wasn’t rewarded with a fun downhill. Road conditions were smoother in Door County. Racine can feel bumpy and irritable on the last 10 miles of the ride. Another difference I noticed was that it seemed like there was a lot of spectator support on the Door County bike course. Spectator support always helps!

The run course was tough. I’m going to go ahead and say in my opinion tougher than the trails on High Cliff’s course, mainly because with trails at least there was shade. In Door County there was a lot of open road with minimal shade. It was hot to be running in the noon hour in the sun. A difference between Door County and Racine is that Racine’s run course is two loops . For me personally, two loops can be easier mentally. One big 13.1 mile stretch feels longer in my mind. Door County’s run course has two big hills, mile 9 is a big, steep bluff. The two hills were definitely hills to walk. I saw a few people run up them, but for the most part it was a long walk break. Another important difference is the variety of fuel at aid stations. In Racine there is chips, pretzels, cookies, gel, flat coke, water, ice, Gatorade, and probably other things that I can’t remember. In Door County it was just water, Gatorade, ice, and gels. I prefer the saltier fuel options during the run.

One last event comparison is that Door County provided athletes with unlimited free photo downloads from their photographers. That is awesome! I actually smiled for the photographer this time instead of scowling at them so I’m not tempted to buy expensive photos.

I would do Door County again in the future, but I’m not eager to back right away next year. It’s a four hour drive for me, I lucked out with a free cabin stay this year. It was nice to do the event that more of my triathlete friends do!

I will post my race recap soon!