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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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