Prepare for an Epic Invasion of Athletes

BY: RACHEL WUMKES

In just a few short weeks, Clear Lake will be swarming with athletes.  And not your regular kind of athletes, either.  I’m talking about hardcore, focused, driven-to-succeed type of athletes.  They’ll come by the carload, lugging all their gear and energy drinks, their race bike hooked to the back.  It won’t matter if the water temperature is below normal, or that gale-force winds are blowing across the lake.  Rain or shine, they are all in.

They are triathletes.

And they’re here to race.

I am not too proud to admit when TRI Clear Lake first started, I was a bit like a deer in the headlights.  I volunteered at an intersection on the bike route.  It was a fun morning of sipping hot coffee and munching on snacks until it was go-time. When those bikes began to zip by, it was amazing.  First one lonely rider – because there’s always one in total beast mode who is way out in front of the pack.  Then another.  Then a whole slew of them.

We waved.  We cheered them on.  We directed traffic when it was needed.

It was awesome.

The following year I helped in transition.  I figured since I had volunteered before I would be all super-prepared and know the drill.  Turns out, the transition area is a whole different animal than being on the bike or run course.

When they came up out of that water and made their way into the transition area, it was one of the most remarkable sights I’d ever seen.  Probably because I, myself, am nothing of an athlete.  I think the best way to describe it is mesmerizing.  In one fell swoop their wetsuit was unzipped and off, they had eaten a protein bar, put on their bike attire and shoes and were out the other side.

I literally had just begun to cheer for them, and they were gone.

I will never forget looking at fellow volunteer, Troy Tysdahl, with wide eyes and mouth agape.  I didn’t even have to say anything, and he followed it up with a resounding, “Yeah.”

Like… that just happened.

Upon their finish, the athletes and their support crew gather amongst City Park for the epic finish line party.  They will enjoy an ice-cold beer (or two) as they listen to live music and relish in the fact that they just did something incredible.  Something many people cannot do.

It’s not just the race portion which makes TRI Clear Lake so special, though.  Obviously, the beauty of the backdrop as they swim, bike and run is a major factor.  But it’s the people who make the whole weekend so special.  In fact, in a post-race survey, 100% of the athletes said they would recommend TRI Clear Lake to their friends.  Word has been filtering through the triathlon world, garnering recognition because of the superb professionalism, quality, and friendliness of race staff and volunteers.

As a result, TRI Clear Lake has become one of the Midwest’s premier triathlons.  By offering both a Sprint and Olympic distance race, it brings in newcomers to the sport as well as seasoned athletes.  The flat, fast bike and run courses offer a sneak peek into the beauty and splendor of the Clear Lake community.  Volunteers along the course cheer for the athletes, smiling and waving until the final racer has passed.  When they say TRI Clear Lake is a community event – they aren’t kidding!

And the best part? You don’t have to be an athlete to still be a big part of TRI Clear Lake.  We are looking for bike and run marshals at intersections throughout the course.  As a bonus, you’ll be done by late morning and will still have the rest of your Saturday to enjoy!  Oh, and you get a free shirt!

Win-Win!

Here’s how to sign up:

  1. Click this link: https://signup.com/go/gTbZBbX
  2. Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you’d like
  3. Sign up! It’s Easy! (You do NOT need to register to sign up)
  4. Get a free TRI Clear Lake t-shirt

Note: The volunteer registration site does not share your email address with anyone. You may also contact 641-357-2159 or trish@clearlakeiowa.com to sign up if you prefer.

Registration to participate in the event AS AN ATHLETE closes on Friday, May 20th.  If you’re on the fence, even just a little, it’s time to throw that other leg over the top and get yourself signed up.  Nobody says you must be the fastest or the strongest.  You simply have to give it a TRI.

Register here –>  https://www.trisignup.com/Race/IA/ClearLake/triclearlake2022

I know I say this about all our signature events, but TRI Clear Lake is totally one of my favorites.

The athletes are beyond friendly, and they love coming to Clear Lake.  In fact, many of them make a weekend out of it, bringing their families and spending a few days soaking in all the awesomeness.  They fill our hotels and vacation rentals, eat at our restaurants and shop at our stores.  Approximately 70% of the athletes travel over 90 miles to get to Clear Lake, with 22% of them being from out of state.

Upon registration, we send each participant our award-winning “Destination Clear Lake” visitor guide, so they can peruse the many places to eat, shop and visit during their stay.  This year, it is estimated that 650 hotel nights will be booked for the event, which brings about $65,000 in hotel revenue.  That, coupled with each person’s average daily expenditures on miscellaneous items, means $100,000 will easily be pumped into the community on race weekend.

This one epic event is an incredible economic boosts for our many Chamber Member businesses.

Get on board the TRI train, my friends.  It’s barreling down the tracks and will be in the station soon.  Toot! Toot!