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IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018
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Hello All,

My first post here after much reading. I am looking at one of the above IM races because I desire an ocean swim (I grew up in Hawaii) and well lakes and rivers are not much fun to me.

I have family (no kids) that will be going with me and I want them to enjoy the trip as well, so we will be staying a week of so after the race.

I am wanting feedback on race organization, the race as a whole (places to get workout in etc.) and the destination as a fun place to go. I will most likely fly with my bike, so that would be a consideration as well.

Thank you all for your thoughts,

Dale
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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I did Cabo last year. Pretty loosely organized, a challenging course, a great swim. A pretty decent destination from a family touristy perspective. Flghts from California were cheap and the hotels were not too expensive. There is a walmart in town, so you can buy all the essentials there.

My race review - http://www.unelitetri.com/...abps-2016-recap.html

Next races on the schedule: Nautica Malibu Oly 2017, NYC Marathon 2017
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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Have done FLorida and Cozumel (3 times). Cozumel is a paradise. Holyday destination with cultural highlights just around any corner. The pyramids of the film apocalypto are in driving distance, as are many other Maya sites.
People are super friendly ...

Florida on the other Hand .... well ...

There is a reason why I went to Cozumel 3 times and to Florida only once.
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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Dale,

I have done both, FL twice. I only did FL twice because I had a free place to stay near the race venue. Like others said, Cozumel is pretty awesome. Your family can see you at the swim exit and coming through town a couple of times in the bike. Loads of opportunities to see you on the run. I recommend going to VRBO, HomeAway, or Air BNB to look for a place in town vice getting a hotel. The place we used was two or so blocks from the finish line. It makes bike pickup (if you use Tribike Transport) really easy and getting back to your place after the race much easier.

Race organization is pretty equal. I would say that your ability to get a workout in may be a little better in COZ, but the "in town" legs of both bike legs can be a bit challenging leading up to the race. A quick five-minute drive out of town will get you where you need to go.

FL sometimes has issues with swim conditions. COZ did one year, but the format has been changed a little to mitigate that risk. Both races have issues with draft packs. There is some crowd support on the bike in COZ, whereas FL has a little less. There is lots of support on the run course in COZ and a good amount in FL. The only downside in COZ is you have to be a little careful about water consumption. Until race day, use bottled water to brush your teeth and keep your mouth closed in the shower.

Post-race, there is plenty to do in COZ. If you don't want to rent a car, taxis are pretty cheap, and most drivers have manageable English. Definitely go to one of the restaurants on the western shore of the island to enjoy a margarita and a great view. The diving is amazing there, as is the snorkeling. Plenty of other things to do in terms of excursions. FL has ok diving and lots of mini-golf.

As for flying with your bike, you have options. You can fly into COZ direct, or you can fly into Cancun. Then, you take a shuttle over to the ferry terminal and cross that way. It sounds way more complicated than it is. It is actually pretty easy.

The pros for FL is that you don't need a passport. You may be able to drive there. It is flat across the board. You can practice your pace-line technique.
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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Los Cabos is great if you can accept that there will be organizatioanl snafus, it is just a little third wordlish, in a good way imo. The course is also MUCH tougher. That run is not flat. If you travel north after the race there some great towns on the Sea of Cortez. There is ZERO to do FLA except sit on the beach.
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you all for your thoughts. We are lucky enough to have Spanish speaking people in the family going down with us. I have heard about organizational issues at Cabos.

I did think about driving to Florida, but that would be a 23 hour drive time from where I live in Denver, Colorado. We all have passports, so not an issue there.

What is the availability of pre-race food in Cozumel? A good grocery store would be ideal as I don't like to eat out at restaurants when I travel for races. Now eating after the race is a different story:)

Dale
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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Coz was my first full IM in 2014. It was a great location, beautiful swim, hard bike up the back side of the island with the winds that increase each lap, and a great run with incredible support from the locals. There are plenty of restaurant options and a large grocery store just down from the T2/finish line area in town if you are staying in a VRBO and want to cook for yourself. We rented a condo on the beach just down the road from the swim start and t1. That made it really easy for my wife in the morning to watch the start and see me come by on the first 2 loops. Then she took a scooter that we rented up into town for T2 and the run. There are cabs everywhere, you don't need a car rental. Just flag down a van to get your stuff to the hotel/condo/wherever you are staying then a small cab in and out of town the rest of the time. Or get a scooter or two to get around and see the rest of the island. We stayed for a week after and took advantage of the beach (which you can't do in town) and scuba, snorkeling etc. I can't speak to Florida or Cabos, but would highly recommend Coz if that is on your short list.
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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While I have not done Cabos or Florida, been to both. Did Cozumel 2016 and had a blast. I've been racing since 2005 and have to say this was one of the best, if not the best, organized races I've ever done. One example, you rack your bike in T1 and end the ride at T2 in town. Hand off your bike. Finish the race, they've moved all the racks from T1 to a covered garage under Mega (the grocery store) and placed your bike on your number, with your morning clothes, bike and run bags. Pretty awesome.

As for pre race food, the only thing to really avoid is tap water. Everything else- salads, fruit, ice water in restaurants-is all good as they all use filtered water. Even ice cream from shops back in the hood is fine. You might get the one off montezumas revenge (I've gone probably 10 times including last month and only ever got sick once, eating everything and everywhere).

There are two markets - Mega and Chedraui- where you can buy anything you could buy here in the states They're about 3 blocks apart and right near the race finish. And of course after there are tons of fantastic restaurants on Coz.

If you really feel the need for a pre IM workout, the bike course is safe, but getting out of town is little iffy but fairly safe if you keep your head on a swivel. Can swim at a few places but you should find out beforehand, if you go there are places to avoid.

Bike course has aid stations every 10k or so, there are a lot. Ice cold water in real bottles (only real ick factor is that they recycle tossed bottles, but when you want cold water you ignore that). Run aid stations every k, so there are 40 or so of them.

We stayed another week or so to dive and hang out. Honestly though, if you don't dive, there is not a whole lot to do on Coz other than just chill (nothing wrong with that)
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [ChrisM] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, we are divers👍
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Re: IM Florida vs Cozumel vs Los Cabos 2018 [DaleD] [ In reply to ]
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I've done Cozumel (2012) and Los Cabos (2015) and enjoyed both locations. If I were to select again, I'd pick Los Cabos every time.

I found the race organization fairly comparable for both events, though I did Cozumel using a travel company that had everything dialed, while Los Cabos, I did all the organization myself. It was super easy to find a relatively cheap and well equipped condo near the race site.

Los Cabos is easy to get to with the race site just a few miles from the airport. In contrast, it was a bit more challenging to get to Cozumel, flying into Cancun then taking a bus to Playa del Carmen and then a (rough) boat ride to get over to Cozumel. I'd definitely fly directly to Cozumel if I were to go back.

The courses are dramatically different. I personally enjoyed all the climbing of the Los Cabos course over the flat course of Cozumel mostly because it separates the field, but I have to say you can't beat the spectacular sea views and scenery of Cozumel.

San Jose El Cabo has a large MEGA grocery store in town so you can get any food you want... except bagels. Not sure I've ever found bagels in a Mexican grocery store. There are also plenty of great restaurants for post race, including the amazing Flora Farms just outside of San Jose.

You also have plenty of things to do post race... we spent some time in Cabo San Lucas (the co-host town) and visited Todos Santos for a day.
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