This was our 2nd year for the U.S. Open Triathlon, and the 2nd year the race has been held after being “resurrected”. You see, this race died out for several years but new sponsors and extensive aid from the cities of Rockwall/Heath, TX brought it back to life. There were some great things about this race last year, in 2014, and we came back for more in 2015. The open water swim is a huge draw as this is the format that youth nationals in held in every year. It was our first open water race last year, and only our 3rd total including this year’s race.
The venue: Have to give the venue five stars or two thumbs up. The triathlon is located just outside the back doors of the Hilton at Rockwall and I have to recommend staying at the host hotel. We didn’t last year, but did this year. The transition is literally down a sidewalk away from the hotel’s pool and makes for easy setup in the wee hours of the morning. The hotel is located in a popular shopping and eating area with no need to leave the venue area the entire weekend. Very scenic as the hotel is lakeside (Lake Ray Hubbard). The swim is just off the back of the hotel at the boat docks and the bike loops around the front of the hotel and heads down some main roads and back. The run wanders amongst the shopping centers and restaurant areas.
The race: To our disappointment, the race was not able to get a bike course for youth approved this year and turned the race into a duathlon, or splash-and-dash, at the last minute. TriDad still had a bike course as he was competing in the sprint course. The bike course last year was challenging for youth and featured several big hills. We went anyways, regardless of the format. Participation was low this year, probably due to the later race date (colder water!), and change to duathlon format. My two girls were the youngest there out of males or females. They changed the award bracket from 7-8 years old (last year) to 7-10 (this year) with the different format.
Evie had a great race, both girls were quick out of the water and on each other’s heels. They said the water was warm (water temp-76 degrees, much warmer than last year). Transition is located fairly far from the boat docks and adds an extra jog to the race. The run was 1.5 miles and is inclined (uphill then down for the finish). It is a challenging run for little ones. Addie got a little fatigued on the run and suffered a toe injury coming out of the swim. Her toe was bleeding through her shoe! She just kept on running, though!
The results: Evie finished third of girls 7-10 and was 30 seconds off from that 2nd place spot. All the girls in the division (aside from our two) were 9 or 10 years old). She got 5th place if you look at all youth 7-14. Addie got 6th place in her 7-10 year old division.
The bad: Changing the race from triathlon to duathlon format at this last minute is no Bueno! If Tri Dad hadn’t already been registered for the sprint tri, we may have chosen to skip it. On top of that, they had a MAJOR timing issue this year. In fact, the race results are yet to be final and no one has received awards yet. The swim timing mat did not work for the ENTIRE RACE. My thought is that normally chip companies are monitoring the times as the racers are coming in and this should have been caught onto early on. We were told about this after the race was over and told not to wait for results. They didn’t have any times posted until days after the triathlon, later in the week. They are supposed to be finalized tomorrow. Communication during this time frame wasn’t great and there were many angry participants. This was not an issue last year. Also, they changed the course a bit and made it more dangerous, in my opinion. They now have bikes going out, bikes coming in, and run course participants all running up and down the same driveway (with bikes coned to the middle). I spectated this area for a while and the bikes are really moving down the driveway. It is only a matter of time before one collides with a runner or another bike going out.
We like the U.S. Open Triathlon, so I hope they come back bigger and better next year.
Results for the race can be viewed here: http://results.active.com/events/u-s-open-triathlon-2015