A few weeks ago on September 21st, I participated in this half-Iron distance race as a training race leading up to Ironman Arizona.
The race is ran by a small Kirkland company (TriFreaks) and having only 60 or so competitors was quite different than the thousands in the other four Ironman-branded half-Iron races I've done. This gives a far more intimate and personal feel to packet pickup, setting up T1 and T2, etc.
The swim and T2 is in Lake Roosevelt at a campground swim area. It's a triangle that first parallels the shore, then heads out and comes back to the starting point. The buoys are held by a underwater guidewire that you can see and swim along. I was very pleased the water was in the upper 60s and calm. Unfortunately my goggles kept leaking and futzing to fix them a few times blasted my heart rate up so I had to float a moment to calm down - end result was a 45 minute swim instead of the 36-38 I wanted.
The bike course starts with a mile or so 8% climb out of the park to the road, then a slightly downhill section for a mile or so, then a four mile 6-10% climb to the top of the plateau. That was fairly epic especially with a constant 15mph headwind. The view of the dam and the canyon was made the climb worthwhile. Then we spend the next 40 miles with rollers, some of them fairly large, through the wheat and rye and corn fields. The wind was constant. There were only a few aid stations on the course but enough; my wife volunteered at one of them. Often I could see only a one or two competitors ahead of me, and at one point on a long stretch I could see no one ahead or behind me for miles. I finished the bike in 3:42 and I'm pretty happy with that given the climb and the rollers and the wind.
T2 and the run start are at the base of the dam, which is really quite cool. The first two miles of the run include a climb across a bridge to the other side of the river leading from the dam, then a 4% or so downhill to the a gravel road next to the river. Then it's just an out and back on the flat gravel road. I ran like the usual running machine I am, at an average HR of 170 to 174, and finished the run in 2:10. I'm OK with that too.
6:37:24 overall time, which is my slowest HIM but this race was tougher than Lake Stevens or Boise. The course is a lot like the older Boise course BTW, although the swim is much warmer.
Theresa came along and volunteered and she said she had a great deal of fun. She manned the first aid station on the bike. She found what I explained to her beforehand to be true - the first bike aid station is special. Either it's skipped because the participant is well stocked, or it's a "thank god you're here" moment because the participant dropped their food, or forgot something they need, or some such. She told me she experienced a lot of both.