Year after year, the March Triathlon Series (MTS) sets the standard for what a triathlon should be – fun, scenic, supportive, and energetic. But besides the award winning supporting cast of reasons to do MTS, the hallmark of the race is the course itself.
First off, it’s never fun to feel the clock ticking away on race morning as you struggle to find a parking spot, or stare hopelessly as you realize you had more space in the port-a-potty than you do in transition. The quiet camping area of the MTS setup is ideal for a smooth start; tons of parking, little to no traffic, huge open transition area, and almost everyone around you is part of the race in one way or another. From a racer’s perspective, there’s not much more you could ask for.
The swim starts off on a loading ramp at Lake Lopez. The ramp is steep, grooved, and cold, and your feet might start questioning your brain’s decision to sign up for a triathlon. The relatively cold water (59 degrees-ish) doesn’t help either, but just remember that all of these are things you can brag about besting later. Well marked and well chaperoned, it’s all downhill (kind of) from there.
The bike course hits you hard and fast. That hill that you drove down to get to the race is now staring back at your numb toes and runny nose with a grin on its face. But it’s short, and then you’re rewarded with a long stretch of gradual, winding downhill, perfect for recover-ers and watt-smashers alike. Depending on whether you signed up for the olympic or sprint distance, the turnaround means you have three or two hills left respectively. Olympic – be ready for high mountain (’nuff said), Sprint – get up that damn dam and you’re basically home free.
Personally, the run course is the cherry and sprinkles on the cake that is the MTS race. It is equally as challenging as it is interesting, and most people tell their comrades some variation of “that run was absolutely brutal” while smiling from ear to ear. The rolling, flat, paved, dirt, open, wooded trailroad makes the miles pass like nothing else.
Tons of free food, drinks, and music (and beer thanks to Firestone) embrace you at the finish, as well as countless hugs, high fives, and fist bumps. Whether you stick around for awards or go immediately into recovery mode, the MTS course will thank you for leaving it all out there.
Hope to see you out there!
Cal Poly Triathlete, GH Sports Employee