Years ago, not too long after I’d fallen deep in love with running and was signing up for any race I could, a friend asked if I’d like to join her and another friend to form a triathlon relay team. “We need a runner,” Cari, an experienced swimmer, told me. Megan, meanwhile, would handle the bike portion of the sprint triathlon we’d all do together that takes place toward the end of summer in our city.

tctrilogosquare-250x300The race was the Traverse City Triathlon, and it would serve as my introduction to the sport of triathlon. It’s really where the idea of tackling the event — the entire swim-bike-run, by myself — would firmly plant itself in my mind. (It took a few years, but indeed I did accomplish this goal just this summer. If you missed this race report, you can check it out here »)

Me (in the middle) with Megan (left) and Cari at the Traverse City Triathlon. We completed the race as a relay team, with me, you guessed it, doing the run portion.
Me (center) with Megan (left) and Cari at the 2011 Traverse City Triathlon. We completed the race as a relay team, with me, you guessed it, doing the run portion.

If you’re curious about triathlon, yet not quite ready to take on all three disciplines together, the relay is a great option. This is something the Traverse City Triathlon continues to offer. Also provided at the August 21 event: duathlon options, for anyone interested in combining running and cycling only.

When race organizers say there’s truly an event for any athlete at the TC Triathlon, they’re not kidding. Along with the relay and duathlon events — in both the sprint and Olympic distances — triathlon events include sprint, Olympic and half distances. An open water event is yet another offering.

MRG is again partnering with Endurance Evolution on its races — the Traverse City Triathlon is one of four events this northern Michigan race management and timing services company puts on — and I’ve got a great giveaway to share: one (1) free entry to any of the Traverse City Triathlon events. The TC Tri takes place Sunday, August 21 at Bowers Harbor Park on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. {Giveaway details at the end of this post}

Dividing West and East Grand Traverse Bay, Old Mission Peninsula offers stunning scenery and a challenging landscape for this triathlon. The half-, Olympic- and sprint-distance races start in the calm, clean waters of Bowers Harbor on West Grand Traverse Bay for a loop swim. The bike courses point athletes past picturesque orchards and vineyards and over a few tough climbs.

Heading out on the run, racers follow Neahtawanta Road along the water before turning up a dirt road into the Pyatt Nature Preserve. Athletes then return to the pavement for the final stretch to the finish line at Bowers Harbor Park.

The cycling portion of the race includes a few hills.
Marci Bultemeier, crushing it on the bike.

MRG checked in with northern Michigan triathlete and TC Triathlon regular Marci Bultemeier to get her thoughts on this late summer event. She’ll be there again this year, taking on the sprint distance.

“It’s a great race for beginners,” she says. “Low stress, friendly atmosphere, great volunteer support. It’s a beautiful course, worth traveling for and spending a weekend in northern michigan for.”

“It’s challenging enough for the veteran triathlete,” she adds. “The swim can be rough waters but is typically calm since it’s nestled inside a bay. The bike provides great hills for climbers to pull away from the rest of the field. And it ends with a run around a park, allowing spectators to see the last mile and any last minute attacks – providing some excitement and entertainment at the finish line. There are always some MSU triathlon club triathletes for good competition. Can’t beat the location and views.”

Post-race, MRG suggests celebrating with a cold one at nearby Jolly Pumpkin, a restaurant, brewery and distillery, or the adjacent Mission Table at Bowers Harbor Inn, with gorgeous views of West Bay.


Giveaway details: 

To enter to win one (1) free entry to this year’s Traverse City Triathlon, please comment below why you’d like to take on this challenge. I’d also love to hear if this would be your first triathlon, or if you’re looking to conquer yet another! The winner of this giveaway will be chosen randomly and announced here on the blog next week. The giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, July 20.

Learn more about the Traverse City Triathlon here »

Listen to this podcast interview with Race Director Joel Gaff, who talks about this year’s TC Triathlon, here »

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