Not sure why they picked Thanksgiving weekend time. That is traditionally a very busy time of year, the start of high dive season, so I'd look into rooms sooner rather than later......
It rained one morning I was there for about 15 minutes, hard. The streets were flooded for a couple hours, the drainage isn't very effective. If it rains be prepared for some deep puddles.
Lodging - I've only stayed two places. Casa Mexicana is a very nice hotel in downtown, clean rooms, great verandas, in room fridges, good free breakfast, about 2 blocks from the finish if they finish in downtown (which accdg to the map they do). Pool.
Bahia Suites is a sister hotel, a little lower scale, but functional and cheaper. Only a few ocean view rooms, worth the extra couple bucks. two blocks from Casa Mexicana so even closer to the finish. No pool, but small kitchen and stove (i had a full size fridge). If you dive, Christi picks up guests at the pier almost right in front of the hotels.
Another option is El Cantil, condos located about .5 mile south of downtown. I've been in a couple units and they are very nice. Brand new supermarket going up across the street so convenient to cook in.
Casa Mexicana - for the run, note the palm for the prevailing wind. I did two runs, both times a nice head/crosswind going north, gets a little furnace-y heading back south....
Transition is in Chankanaab Park. It costs something like $16 US to get in the park, so we just drove in and took a couple quick pics. Chankanaab is about 4-5 miles south of San Miguel, Coz's downtown (and the finish line). All I saw was the parking lot, I hope transition is not here as it's pretty crummy concrete
The pavilion at Chankanaab, as far as I could tell the only way to get to the road is thru this, but not sure if running thru it will be required
The swim starts at Chankanaab beach. Since I was too cheap to go in, I took some pics from the boat on our way in from diving. Sorry, was using a 15 mm fisheye lens so couldn't get closer. Accdg to the website, the swim goes south from the beach. NAS' site says it's two loops. IMCoz site says it's 1 loop. I am thinking more two loops, since there is a natural bay at the south side about a half mile out that would serve as a good turning point.
A note about the currents. Coz is world famous for drift diving in currents. There are always currents somewhere, and the prevailing current is south to north, making the return trip easier. However, Christi (who's owned her dive op for 6 years) says that in Chankanaab shallows, for some reason it's the only place where the current sometimes runs north to south. Perhaps it's an eddy. At any rate, one way will be with, one way will be against, highly unlikely there will be no current, but it's possible.
Chankanaab beach park (the pyramid) from the water, swim goes left to right and return
Last note on the swim, the prevailing wind comes generally across the island from the east/northeast. That's why all the diving is on the protected west coast, and not much development on the east. Occasionally, Coz gets "nortes" or winds directly from the north, most often in the winter. When this happens, the west gets blown out and high surf, and often the port is closed to boats. Christi said if a good norte comes thru on race day, it might be a du, might be too rough to swim in. In Nov 2006 a norte closed all diving for 5 days. Something to be aware of.
On that note, Coz is hurricane country. All of this could be changed if Coz is unlucky enough to get hit later this season or next. Wilma devastated the island a couple years ago, if that happens October 2009, I can't see a tri going forward.
The bike follows the only road around the south of the island, then north to the only turn, then east for a couple miles before returning (X2). About as simple a bike course as can be, no turns cuz there aren't any. But there isn't any protection from sun or wind either, and it's flatter than AZ. The prevailing winds are from the east/northeast. But the bike course goes south - east - north - west, and then reverses. You'll have headwind and tailwind, guaranteed. Get comfortable. You will be in aero for a very very long time
The "new road" is in very good condition, 2 lane for all but about 5 miles at the turnaround which is 4 lane. At the turn north about 1/2 way in, there is a section of "new road" that has yet to be built. Surprised that NAS/WTC granted an IM based upon a promise of this, and it would seem they could finish this 5-7 mile section by 11/09, but this is MX after all. If you're racing you hope they do, as the "old road" has some good sections but has been storm battered and has lots of tire eating potholes. Not to mention narrow...... although scenic. As of 10/5, they hadn't even begun to clear or grade the new section for the "new road".
Entrance and exit to Chankanaab
Bike heading south - Mezcalitos is about 3 miles from the turnaround
Turning east, into the wind
Long, straight flat section heading east into headwind
Turn north - End of the current "new road", continuing on "old road" to the right. I would imagine that by 11/09 they'll have completed this approx 5-7 mile section, but whether it gets hit by a hurricane or gets finished, who knows.
Barren, but scenic
There are I think only 3 or 4 small bars/restaurants on the east side
The famous Coconuts bar on the right. Highest spot on the island. They have books (lots of them) of polaroids of girls that got drunk enough to flash for the photographer. From the quick audit I did, it's not worth stopping on the bike for :(
Coconuts (to the right) is also where the "new road" resumes.
Looking south from Coconuts, new road ends.....
Looking south, bike return, from Coconuts, note prevailing winds
3 miles to west turn
The turn at Mezcalitos - note the wind on the palm to the left
Nowhere to turn here but left. Stop at Mezcalito's for a cerveza
Heading to the turn around, still flat, nice tailwind but not as nice scenery... and looking forward to a headwind coming back. Downtown San Miguel (where run ends) is 9 miles straight ahead. Road is 4 lane, even tho it looks like 2 side by side 2 lanes.
Local training. I actually did see 3 cyclists on this road.
Entrance to San Gervasio ruins, turn around more or less
Accdg to the website, the run is two 13.1 mile loops, which would end the race at Transition. But the map shows the finish line in downtown San Miguel, about 5 miles north of transition. So maybe 1 larger loop and one smaller loop? I did note that they will require you to remove your stuff from transition by midnight. That's going to be a hassle to get 2000 athletes back down to transition (especially if you finish at 11:59), the cabbies will be drooling.
It's flat flat flat. One minor rise at the airport going north, hardly worth mentioning
I ran most of the course when I was there. The first 2 or 3 miles going north will be asphalt, then approximately another 2 on asphalt or concrete, depending on whether they route the course on the street or sidewalk. Next 2 or so miles north will be concrete, as both the street and the sidewalk are concrete. Last mile or so is asphalt.
They say they are closing the course to traffic. That should be interesting, although there are no cruise ships on Sundays so the town should be a little quieter than when they are around (whichis crazy)
Run north through downtown
Turnaround is somewhere near the buildings top left
Run returning south. Finish line is I think at the ferry terminal, where the flag is
Run south approaching cruise ship terminal, about 5 miles from Chankanaab, can see the concrete or concrete running option well here
If you need a frapuccino, the most understated Starbucks ever, under the cruise ship entry area (of course)
If you are fast enough to be racing in daylight, the only shade on the run course, under the cruise ship entry area, looking south
Run looking south, likely routed on wide sidewalk
Run looking south, likely routed on motorscooter path to the right. If it's been raining, the jungle on the right will be mosquito filled :(
4K to transition
Run leaves the main road and follows the "old road" to and from transition
Just north of transition, Fiesta Americana on the left, the closest host hotel (I think)