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NOLA 70.3
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Is this race worth doing? I have read a bunch of reports that sound kind of crappy, but not sure. I am trying to pick a fall 70.3 that I haven't done before. I am also considering Atlantic City. I live in North Carolina and trying to keep it to a 10 max distance away.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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The race, or parts of it, have been canceled or shortened numerous times over the years. That’s the biggest strike against it.

The race also lost all its character when they moved the run and finish out of the French Quarter.

2020 Races:
Ironman 70.3 Musselman, Ironman 70.3 Panama, Ironman Chattanooga, Ironman Arizona

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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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Have you done patriots Half in Jamestown, VA?

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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I did it in 2013 when the weather was good, nothing was cancelled and the finish was in the French Quarter. That was a good day. However, I would imagine it sucks most years when the weather doesn't cooperate and I can't imagine the run being any fun if you just loop around the T1 area.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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It's just in a crappy part of town, nowhere near the FQ. I did it in 2014, and I'm told they at least changed the run so that it ends back at T1/T2 now. The swim is much less likely to be canceled now that they moved it into the marina (used to be in the lake), but it can still be a rough swim, and the water quality is poor, unless you enjoy a gasoline taste.

Of course, the entire race was canceled last year due to a storm.

I remember the roads being fairly nice, and completely closed to traffic. Not sure if that's still the case.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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FluxCapacitor wrote:
Is this race worth doing? I have read a bunch of reports that sound kind of crappy, but not sure. I am trying to pick a fall 70.3 that I haven't done before. I am also considering Atlantic City. I live in North Carolina and trying to keep it to a 10 max distance away.

I've done it twice. Didn't think it sucked, but it's a matter of opinion for sure.

It's just a race that seems to be snakebit.

It used to always be in April, and they had terrible luck with weather. I never had a cancellation, but in 2016 I dealt with the worst winds ever. They moved it to the Fall for 2017 when the weather in NOLA is normally much better and, sure enough, it had to be cancelled due to weather.

The RD (PEM) is good. It's not really scenic. It's not close to the FQ or downtown. The course if flat and hot.

I enjoyed the FQ and the NOLA scene and, personally, it doesn't bother me that it doesn't happen in that area. I stayed in Metaire and never dealt with any traffic or congestion issues and it was close to the race site. Took Uber to FQ when we were ready for fun.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
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They cancelled it last year after making us stand around in transition for a few hours in driving rain.

Then to make things right, they gave a $10 discount to a marathon or something... but you had like 24 hours to take advantage.

Ill never sign up for that one again.

Also, the Ironman Village sucked
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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I can't speak to NOLA, but if you're considering Atlantic City, I would highly recommend the race. It's well designed and executed brilliantly. I did it last year for the first time and would go back in a heartbeat. Uneventful swim (which I always welcome) in a bay channel, so it's saltwater without much current. Bike is flat - I think 800' vert for the entire course. Road conditions were mixed - some better than others - but none really bad. Run is 90% on the boardwalk first heading south to Margate and then turning back around and heading north into Atlantic City. Finish area is lively and tons of spectators/course support. Really can't think of anything negative to say about the race. Bonus: the run on the boardwalk allows you to use the beach showers to cool off!
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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I have done it four times and had pretty good luck....race went off without a hitch each time. Since the swim was moved to the harbor they haven't had to cancel until last year when weather forced a cancellation of the entire race. The bike is flat and fast, but you can run into some hellacious headwinds coming back. The run is flat and hot. I liked it better when the finish was in the French Quarter, but many people didn't like it being 10 miles away from transition.

I like New Orleans and like the race. Just a little too hot for me.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Spartan420] [ In reply to ]
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Spartan420 wrote:
They cancelled it last year after making us stand around in transition for a few hours in driving rain.

Then to make things right, they gave a $10 discount to a marathon or something... but you had like 24 hours to take advantage.

Ill never sign up for that one again.

Also, the Ironman Village sucked

I got to do Austin for $50 and $100 off IMTX. Reality is there was no way they could get a 7 or so hour window that day. Ive been to races cancelled too early. Glad they waited and didnt do it prematurely. The area sucks. The view isnt pretty. Im from the area originally and know thats the armpit of NOLA. But im not going to hold last year against them. The course seems fast and I'm contemplating trying again this year.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [KG6] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah, I was at NOLA last year as well and I thought they handled it about as well as they could have. I couldn't take advantage of the Austin deal, but I used the $100 off to do IM Gulf Coast 70.3 this year. I'm signed up for NOLA again in October. Since I didn't do the race last year, I can't speak to the course, but I really just love New Orleans, as does the wife, so it makes for a fun trip for us.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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I did it in 2016. Not a fan. I won't do it again.
  • Ironman Village sucks
  • Location is distant from New Orleans and most hotels
  • Swim is an "M" pattern in a tight harbor with boats and boat exhaust in the water; tastes like diesel
  • Bike is pretty fast and flat with average grade roads, probably ~15 miles worth of expansion joints that are maddening
  • Run is a nice out-and-back along the lake and through nice neighborhoods
  • Finish area blows-- it is practically an industrial park
  • Spectator opportunities poor
  • Wind and weather can be (often has been) harsh

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Re: NOLA 70.3 [MRid] [ In reply to ]
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MRid wrote:
Yeah, I was at NOLA last year as well and I thought they handled it about as well as they could have. I couldn't take advantage of the Austin deal, but I used the $100 off to do IM Gulf Coast 70.3 this year. I'm signed up for NOLA again in October. Since I didn't do the race last year, I can't speak to the course, but I really just love New Orleans, as does the wife, so it makes for a fun trip for us.

I'm a fairly strong cyclist and there were gusts of wind that came through around 10am that would have blown me off the road - I'm not upset that we missed that. Nobody wants a cancelled race, but IM handled it about as well as they could with all of the future discount opportunities. We also love New Orleans and my only real complaint with the cancellation at the last minute is that it only allowed us one day/night to screw off in town, rather than the full weekend. As for the race/course itself, I don't think I'd sign up again because of the expansion joint/road quality mentioned above, as well as the general dull area where the race is held - I don't need much visual stimulation, but to say they picked a really crappy part of an awesome town to hold the race is an understatement.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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I did it in ‘14.

The course is mediocre and out in middle of nowhere. Swim I felt like I was breathing diesel fumes from boats entire time.

Bike is pancake flat. Literally only climb is an overpass. It’s a fast course, but if windy can make for a “fun” day. When I did it wind really picked up last 10 miles of my bike and dropped my average speed by 3MPH over those 10 miles for entire race. Was rough going.

Run is also flat minus a MASSIVE climb over a bridge right at beginning and end.

Course sucks for spectators. It’s all out and back with minimal opportunity to easily get around course to cheer.

That being said. Overall it’s an OK race. And NOLA is hella fun. It’s a 9 hour drive for me so not too bad getting to it. I’d do it again.

But for a true destination race, I’d look elsewhere.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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Depends where you're coming from, how expensive, etc. AS a race itself? No, but you can obviously make a little destination weekend out of it. Did it in 2014 ish when the run was a point to point to a park halfway to the FQ

-Swim - - very odd M shape in the marina makes sighting a challenge, TT start spread folks out, and yes diesel fuel smells.

-Bike - Year I did it, was a south ish wind so we had essentially a cross wind going out and back. My shoulders were pretty worked by that, but generally flat. I do recall the aid station spacing was quite odd. I dropped a bottle right after the 22 or so mile station, figured I'd get water at the next one, should be close, right? It was at about 42 miles.... and then another at about 50 miles. Not very scenic except for a little out and back on the way back (assuming the same course).

-Run- as noted ran out of T2 along the shore, started on the way back and then cut into the neighborhoods to end in a nice park. LARGE bridge to run over at the start, and I guess now also on the way back other than that over some minor levees. But not scenic and an out and back on the lake would suck. Finish area would suck, and there is nothing for anyone to do while waiting for you, except hanging out in a concrete parking lot far as I can tell.

Free Abita beer at the end though, so there's that.

The point to point run made setup and post race logistics kind of a PITA. i guess the marina finish at least solves that
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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 I have done 13 races at the half distance, 6 in USA and 7 in Canada. I did NOLA 70.3 in 2016. Of all of these I would be least likely to recommend that event despite the good efforts and kindness of the RD and volunteers. The venue is unappealing. The marina, though sheltered, still had quite rough water with waves coming from the lake and bouncing off the concrete. The bike was ok with closed roads but the minefield of launched water bottles over the bridges was not great. The run was fine, though when I ran it, the headwind on the return trip was fierce. The post race event had beer and cookies so that was fine but no place to change into clean clothes other than the port-o-pottie.
If you are planning to visit NOLA for fun and it works out for you to do the race it will be ok. If you are looking for a really nice destination to visit and are mainly going for the event, you might find other more appealing options.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [niagirl] [ In reply to ]
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Premier Management is not to fault. They’re good guys that made things right in 2017.

That being said, I wouldn’t do this one again if it was free entry. In 2016, the winds were gale force. 30mph sustained and 50mph gusts. The swim had 3-4 foot rollers coming and and bouncing off the sea wall in the opposite direction. They were pulling people off the course left and right up the sea wall. The bike had a 30-50mph headwind and crosswinds for 28 Miles. The tailwind turned into a crosswind at the turnaround. On the run you had to lean into the wind. It was an epic all time brutal race. Nothing can compare...period.

Last year a hellacious storm blew in that morning with crazy looking lightning, wind, flooding and funnel clouds later that day near Mandeville. Cancelling had to be done.

The Ironman Village looked like a bombed out war zone. Two total vendors being Tri Bike Transport and Tyr. I think TriBike Transport is damn near required to be there. I laughed and asked my wife if it was a joke as literally no one was there for packet pickup the day before. I will never see anything like it again at any Ironman event. It was depressing.

To top it off, the wind effing never stopped there both times. 15mph plus every day! Hell its been windy here in Kentucky the past two summers like that but damn no let up and racing in those conditions sucks. I’m done with epic race stories. They do nothing for me. Been through plenty of shit storms at IM events but don’t need this one again.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [blueapplepaste] [ In reply to ]
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Anyone do it this year? I was wondering what the weather and swim were like.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Jimmy B.] [ In reply to ]
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I had 4 who were signed up for IM NC 70.3 when it was cancelled moved to NO 70.3

Race morning was very windy, 15-20mph winds.

Cut swim to ~600yd due to not being able to get safety personal in water. Delayed start by I think 30 mins?

Road surfaces sucked ass. Very windy 2 lap bike.

They were very disappointed or more surprised Friday they were very unorganized with course description and even I believe were showing different courses.

ETA: I believe it had less than 1k participants. Not sure what it looked like in previous years, but that seems very un-WTC like....IE- about to get the chopping block???

-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
https://www.instagram.com/alloutmultisport
http://www.aomultisport.com
Last edited by: B_Doughtie: Oct 22, 18 18:58
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [B_Doughtie] [ In reply to ]
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Seems this race has bad luck and maybe more...
Thanks for the info
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Jimmy B.] [ In reply to ]
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Swim was delayed 30 mins, then shortened to 600m - roughly. Not worth getting wet for. It was so windy, there were 4-6 waves in the lake, so the support boats could not get to the marina. As a strong swimmer, I would normally be upset about a shortened swim. But seeing the waves INSIDE the marina walls, I was ok.

CRAZY windy day but very nice. Maybe 55 at the start and 70 at the finish.

Would not do it again. I live birmingham, al and wanted a late race..... this is not it.

I did PR this race for what that’s worth.

Several major complaints:
Zero communication from IM after registration - no weather updates, no ‘get ready’, nada. In fact, they had the wrong date on their website for several months.

They changed the swim course THREE times and then shortened it. Even the athlete guide was incorrect. Only a single map at the briefing

The whole course is ugly. I mean UGLY. Industrial buildings and an airport. Pretty rough neighborhood, so a 20 minute drive to transition. The park on the lakefront was ok, but still just office buildings.

ZERO clocks on course. Nothing. No timing anywhere. And my watch crapped out on the run.

Athlete village was WEAK. Couple of pop ups and some swag. Even the swag was weak.

Wind sucked - 40 mph gusts and a steady 25 mph. Bike splits with vs against wind were comical.

No fans. Maybe 5 people On the course ‘cheering’ ...lots of quite time out there.

Car battery died..... not their fault, but while I’m ranting, might as well throw this in.

I love NOLA and really wanted to like this race. Not so much.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Edor5505] [ In reply to ]
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I did PR this race for what that’s worth.

--------

PR with an 600m swim or is that a PR with an "predicted" add on time with your swim?





-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
https://www.instagram.com/alloutmultisport
http://www.aomultisport.com
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [B_Doughtie] [ In reply to ]
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Hah! Predicted, or rather projected PR with full swim distance.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Edor5505] [ In reply to ]
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you guys may be right, chopping block.

Seems there would be several much better locations in the region for the actual race, hard to beat Bourbon Street I suppose.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Jimmy B.] [ In reply to ]
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They already announced this is the last year
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [ In reply to ]
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I was there last year when it was cancelled, and did it again this year.
I didn't hear about the extra support not being able to make it to the swim until after the race, so I was a bit surprised and disappointed when they announced the swim being shortened. Looking out through the docks, everything looked fine, but I couldn't see the open area of the harbor. Even swimming out through the protected dock area, everything was fine and I was like wtf. Then I turned the corner into the open harbor and I started to understand. I don't have a lot of open water experience, so I don't know how it compares to other tough swim conditions, but it seemed pretty rough to me. I swallowed a decent bit of water and had trouble sighting the buoy. It was only about 200m in the chop before turning back to shore. I never felt unsafe, and believe I would have been fine for the full swim, but it would have been a real tough swim.

The 20 minutes I saved on the swim was added to back on the bike, due to the high wind. The bike course itself was fine, in my opinion, but the headwind was brutal. It also was not as flat as I had anticipated. There were no actual hills, but quite a few "Florida hills" (overpasses). Combine that with the wind and it was not a fast bike course. The run was cool and there were a few spectators, but not the most spectator friendly course.

I enjoyed the race, but I enjoy pretty much every race I do. My wife's brother lives in New Orleans, so her family came down and they had a great weekend. I really only went out on Sunday night, but had a great time Sunday, good music, good food, good people watching.

This is the last year of the race, so whether I'd do it or not is a moot point, but I feel like I enjoyed the race more than the consensus opinion of it.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [MRid] [ In reply to ]
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I’m kind of glad that the last year of NOLA 70.3 lived up to its billing of sucking as usual with a rough swim, brutal winds on the bike and run, and an abandoned IM Village. Going down there twice (2016 & 2017) in such conditions would have been a kick in the butt for others to get optimal conditions in 2018. Participants should be grateful for a shortened swim as it is incredibly difficult under typical windy conditions (2016).

The repeated poor conditions validate the permanent cancellation of this race. IM can do better than this one.
It’s not even representative of the brand so I’m glad it’s done.

Good to hear you enjoyed the race, although it may have been a different story with a full swim that day coupled with a windy bike and run.

PS It’s funny you said the bike isn’t fast. I’m in complete agreement. I can’t believe anyone calls it fast. Flat yes.
Fast no way.

MRid wrote:
I was there last year when it was cancelled, and did it again this year.
I didn't hear about the extra support not being able to make it to the swim until after the race, so I was a bit surprised and disappointed when they announced the swim being shortened. Looking out through the docks, everything looked fine, but I couldn't see the open area of the harbor. Even swimming out through the protected dock area, everything was fine and I was like wtf. Then I turned the corner into the open harbor and I started to understand. I don't have a lot of open water experience, so I don't know how it compares to other tough swim conditions, but it seemed pretty rough to me. I swallowed a decent bit of water and had trouble sighting the buoy. It was only about 200m in the chop before turning back to shore. I never felt unsafe, and believe I would have been fine for the full swim, but it would have been a real tough swim.

The 20 minutes I saved on the swim was added to back on the bike, due to the high wind. The bike course itself was fine, in my opinion, but the headwind was brutal. It also was not as flat as I had anticipated. There were no actual hills, but quite a few "Florida hills" (overpasses). Combine that with the wind and it was not a fast bike course. The run was cool and there were a few spectators, but not the most spectator friendly course.

I enjoyed the race, but I enjoy pretty much every race I do. My wife's brother lives in New Orleans, so her family came down and they had a great weekend. I really only went out on Sunday night, but had a great time Sunday, good music, good food, good people watching.

This is the last year of the race, so whether I'd do it or not is a moot point, but I feel like I enjoyed the race more than the consensus opinion of it.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Jimmy B.] [ In reply to ]
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Jimmy B. wrote:
Seems there would be several much better locations in the region for the actual race, hard to beat Bourbon Street I suppose.

In the first few years of the race, it did finish in the French Quarter, which was amazing. One year it finished in City Park at the WPA-era fountain, surrounded by ancient moss-draped trees. The last few years at the Harbor were okay logistically, but lacked any local charm.

Same for the bike -- it used to be a single out-and-back that left the industrial area and got out into some more typical swamp with fishing camps and alligators, but this year they made it a double-loop. It was very nice along lakeshore drive with water views, maybe a little boring, but it got ugly once it went over the bridges and behind the floodwall.

I'm not sure any race has had worse luck with weather. October is usually perfect weather in NOLA, but last year there was a lightening storm on race morning and this year the winds peaked just as the rescue craft were supposed to be launching to head to the harbor. Just snakebit (figuratively ... thankfully).


<The Dew Abides>
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [dewman] [ In reply to ]
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I didn't realize they dumbed it down even further... I did it in 2014 when it went out the 90 and back, so it was pretty fast then. And ran to the park so it got nice.

But bike and run both all along lakeshore only? Sounds like it was time for the race to die.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Greatzaa] [ In reply to ]
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Greatzaa wrote:
They already announced this is the last year

Yup and it seems like PEM mailed it in knowing this.

#TeamZoot
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [ChrisM] [ In reply to ]
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ChrisM wrote:
I didn't realize they dumbed it down even further... I did it in 2014 when it went out the 90 and back, so it was pretty fast then. And ran to the park so it got nice.

But bike and run both all along lakeshore only? Sounds like it was time for the race to die.

I never did the old bike course, so I can't comment on that, but I actually liked this years bike course. It was a two loop course, with several short and one decent overpass climbs. I felt like a 28 mile loop, along with the overpasses, was enough to spread out the bikes. I didn't see any blatant draft packs (though with just shy of 1000 competitors, that may also explain that) and I never felt congested on the ride. Also, 4 turnarounds (2 per loop) and a couple roundabouts to navigate gave it a small amount of technical bike handling. The west side of the bike route gave you a view of Lake Pontchartrain and then into a more scenic area with some roundabouts. The east side was kind of dull due to the seawall, I suppose. The one large overpass did have drawbridge grating for about 40 yards or so. Coming from Florida, I've ridden over those many times, so they don't bother me, but I can see how they could make some people nervous if they've never ridden over them before.

The run was on the also on the west side of the course, so again, good view of Lake Pontchartrain. My only complaint with the run course was that it was not the most spectator friendly, though there were still some spots were you could watch the runners pass multiple times (run was also 2 loops).

The IM Village was pretty much desolate for sure and the location of transition/IM village is not pretty at all. It's also not in an area that had a lot of lodging options. I had to drive about 30 minutes to get from hotel to race. But the course itself, I had no problems with.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [JackStraw13] [ In reply to ]
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JackStraw13 wrote:

Yup and it seems like PEM mailed it in knowing this.

I do tend to agree with this. They never updated there information packet/Athlete guide to reflect this years information. They seemed to just want to get through it. That part did bother me.
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [dewman] [ In reply to ]
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Such a shame to see a race go from incredible atmosphere to what it became. Finishing in Jackson Square at Cafe du Monde was the best. Then it was up to the riverside park with band and lots of free beer. One year I won my age group and got a cool glass trophy and a signed print from a local artist who was racing. Great food and Dave Ragsdale announcing. And 3k racers. Went from Disney World to a low grade county fair.

Unfortunately its part of a trend, where the local flavor from races is evaporating, and replaced by the lowest bid post race food and entertainment, and the cheapest possible race hardware...


Coach at KonaCoach Multisport
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [Terra-Man] [ In reply to ]
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It used to be about just racing for me, but after several negative race venue experiences, I’m a lot more selective in choosing races. New Orleans really did it for me on the negative. Last year when it cancelled, I’ve never seen a more pathetic IM Village. It literally was abandoned. I questioned whether anyone was racing, but the crowd was there race morning in a driving storm. I’d say that most folks just picked up packets and got out of there ASAP.
There was no pre-race energy or excitement. It’s like no one wanted to be there. It’s sad to hear your story of the race being a big event and then going by the wayside.

Chattanooga 70.3 has been a great race the past few years for me in terms of the venue. It has pretty much set the bar now. I’m past the point of just signing up out of convenience now. The cost is too much to harbor a disappointing race experience.

Terra-Man wrote:
Such a shame to see a race go from incredible atmosphere to what it became. Finishing in Jackson Square at Cafe du Monde was the best. Then it was up to the riverside park with band and lots of free beer. One year I won my age group and got a cool glass trophy and a signed print from a local artist who was racing. Great food and Dave Ragsdale announcing. And 3k racers. Went from Disney World to a low grade county fair.

Unfortunately its part of a trend, where the local flavor from races is evaporating, and replaced by the lowest bid post race food and entertainment, and the cheapest possible race hardware...
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Re: NOLA 70.3 [FluxCapacitor] [ In reply to ]
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A (somewhat) humorous story relating to the "Wow! What a crummy place to hold a race" posts. The next day in our hotel I tuned in to one of my favorite shows, "The First 48" (real life show about homicide cops in various cities). They were showing their usual intro scenes of a dead guy laying covered in the street with five bullet holes in him as the detectives arrive and start to work the case. My wife who (A) usually doesn't watch this kind of junk and (B) is generally a very calm restrained person, starts shrieking, "I was right there! I rode over where that guy is lying! I was there four times! It was the corner of "Suchandsuch" Street! I was there!" . At that point the camera panned past a street sign and sure enough she was right, it was a New Orleans episode. So I suppose the people who were saying it was a sketchy area were right - but we did get a really delicious Po-Boy shrimp and catfish sandwich just up the street from there. I guess everything is a trade off.
PS: The case was the robbery of a major drug dealer gone bad so I'm not making light of some innocent victim's demise
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