Spectating 101

BY: RACHEL WUMKES

Doing things out of the norm can be scary. I totally get it. It’s human nature to stick with what we know, not deviating or stirring the pot.  So, you’ve heard us talk about the upcoming TRI Clear Lake event happening on May 28th, right?  There have been countless blog posts and social media blasts across the board calling for athletes to register, for volunteers to get signed up.

But what if you just want to watch? What do you do? Where do you go?

The following information is the total hook-up on how to be the best spectator for TRI Clear Lake. It’s an in-depth rundown of all the things, including a comprehensive list of road closures!

There will be no excuses for missing it now.

  • The Early Bird Catches all the Cool Stuff!
    • ‘Early’ is the new ‘On Time’ for this event. Don’t be showing up right when the race starts, or you’ll find yourself sprinting through the streets of Clear Lake and will likely still miss all the cool stuff.  The Olympic race begins promptly at 7:30am with the Sprint distance on its heels at 7:55am.  However, you can watch the athletes as they warm up, get race-ready and set up transition.  In a solemn moment that is sure to hit you in all the feels, the National Anthem will be sung at 7:25am by Melissa Dorenkamp as the flag is raised outside the Yacht Club.  It’s a surreal feeling as a cool morning breeze floats off the serene waters, and one you DO NOT want to miss.  Especially when Mark Holt does a fly over.  I got chills just typing that!  So again, let me say it a little bit louder for those in the back – BE EARLY!
  • Let’s Get Loud!
    • You are 100% allowed to scream at people during this event. Cheer. Because for these athletes it only adds fuel to the fire already burning inside them. Forging them ahead when their mind and body is telling them to just sit down and have a bit of a rest.  You get extra points for utilizing outside noise makers.  My favorite is the cowbell.  Nothing says “welcome to Iowa” more than shaking a cowbell frantically at a pristine athlete as they race.
  • Knowledge is Power!
    • There will be road closures for this event. Be aware of where they are and know where you’re going.  Prepare for busy streets and congested parking.  Plan accordingly so you are not late (refer to section 1 above). You will kick yourself if you miss all the good stuff because you got caught at a dead end closed street and had to perform a 37-point turn to go the other way.  Not even a piping hot cup of joe from Cabin Coffee will be able to fix that kind of anger.  I have attached the road closures at the end of this blog.  Study them.  Know them.  Follow them.
  • Here’s the Inside Scoop!
    • Park your booty at the seawall near the swim exit. This way, you can begin cheering and yelling and ringing that cowbell as they come out of the water and head into transition.  You can continue to cheer as they zoom out the other side and head off on the bike course.  Then you’ll have a bit of time to chill.  Maybe pop on over to The Iowa Grill food truck parked by City Park across from Cookies, etc. and have a bite to eat!  When they come back in, you will have one more chance to cheer, cheer, and cheer some more as they begin the run.  THIS is where they’ll need encouragement, because coming off the bike course often results in some “dead leg” feelings for many.  Give them all you’ve got with that cowbell, friends.  They’re going to need it!
  • It’s a Photo Finish!
    • After they’ve left on the run, head across the park to catch their epic finish line moment. It will be a hot minute before they make it around to the finish line, so let the youngsters burn off a little energy at the bounce house in City Park. It will be a music-blaring, party-time, hopping area of fun and excitement as each athlete crosses under a ginormous inflatable finish line.  Celebrate them – they did it!

Even if you don’t know anyone participating in TRI Clear Lake, it’s still a fun experience to watch.  I am not an athlete, but every year after the race I find myself thinking “I can totally do that!”  I never do, but still, it’s the thought that counts!

If you’ve never watched a triathlon event before, the one and only rule (besides being as obnoxiously loud as possible) is the TRANSITION AREA is a spectator no-no!  Only athletes and the transition volunteers are allowed into the fenced zone.  This is for the protection of the athletes, but also of their personal belongings.  Could y’all imagine spending upwards of $10,000 on a race bike and having someone swipe it while you’re out on the run course?  Yikes.

I encourage you to make a day of this event.

Grab a cup of liquid gold at Cabin Coffee before the race.  Or, if you’re feeling frisky, enjoy a Mimosa at Sevens or a Bloody Mary at the VFW.  Post-race, you can hit up the Gyro Place for best broasted chicken to ever hit your lips or have a fiesta at Cancun by the Lake.   If it’s the ooey-gooey deliciousness you’re craving, Ge-Jos by the Lake can hook you up with some pizza that will knock your socks off.

Get out and explore all that Clear Lake has to offer while you’re here to watch the race.  Check out Central Gardens or stop by the Surf Ballroom to brush up on your rock ‘n’ roll history.  Spend the afternoon sipping craft beer on the patio at Lake Time Brewery and take in the breathtaking views during dinner at The Landing on Clear Lake or PM Park.

Enjoy a post party with TUGG performing at the legendary Surf Ballroom to cap the end of a completely perfect day at the Lake!  For a complete list of fun things to do and spectacular places to shop and dine while you’re in town, go to www.clearlakeiowa.com

See you at the Lake!

And remember… more cowbell!!

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ROAD CLOSURE INFO:

Friday, May 27, 2022 at 12:00 pm

  1. Main Avenue from 3rd Street to boat ramp and N Lakeview Dr to 1st Ave N.
  2. South Shore Drive from Main Ave to 1st Ave S. Close 1st Ave S to 4th Ave S.
  3. Main Ave Boat Ramp closed for most of the day Friday and morning of Saturday, May 28, 2022.
  4. Temporary No Parking Zones around City Park next to the above closed streets and 1st Ave N from N Lakeview to N Shore Dr.

Saturday, May 28, 2022 at 7:00 am

  1. Buddy Holly at 6th Avenue North to N Shore Dr.
  2. Close Road to through traffic on N Shore Dr from Buddy Holly to 5th Ave N. and S Shore Dr. from Buddy Holly to 7th Ave N.
  3. Close South Shore Dr for races from Main Ave to 27th Ave S (southern city limits).