The swim was 800 meters (0.5 miles) in Lake Michigan along the lake wall. Five minutes before the in water start of my wave, we could jump into the lake and get used to the water temperature (65-66 degrees F). The cool water was much appreciated after waiting in the hot sun and humidity with my wetsuit on. We treaded water in the lake until the countdown and we were off. A protective berm surrounded the Monroe Harbor and it's yachts. The berm also helped keep the waves down during the swim. My sighting was pretty accurate as my Garmin read exactly 0.5 miles on the straight swim. (Much better than the Olympic 0.9 mile distance I swam the week before that turned into a 1.1 mile swim in the Dells)! The race officials warned to not get to close to the lake wall as the zebra mussels sit on the wall. A brush against them would instantly lead to cuts on your hands and feet! Yikes! I made sure to keep my distance! Once out of the water there was a significant run under Lake Shore Drive to my bike in the transition area of Grant Park. I'm guessing the run was around 0.25 miles.
I totally loved getting on my bike outside of transition and looking up to the Chicago skyline. The bike route consisted of two loops closed to traffic. It started on Columbus Drive and then headed into the Lower Wacker tunnel. Going from the bright daylight and sunshine and into the darker tunnel took some time for my eyes to adjust. The shade and cooler temperatures of the tunnel felt wonderful on the 20km bike course. Once off the bike, I had quite a significant run back to the transition area as well!
The run consisted of a 2.5 loop 5K course that circled around the Buckinham Fountain, a block off the lake. (I had many thoughts of jumping into the fountain to cool off on this hot day). Evidently, many athletes were disqualified for not completing the 2.5 laps, instead they only did 1.5. Initially, I was confused at how the 2.5 laps worked. However, I made sure to study the maps and listen at the athlete meeting so I wasn't DQ'd. The run was a little bit of a struggle in the heat of the day, and I stopped to walk a couple times.
Trans 1: 06:00
Trans 2: 5:11
I am so thankful I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in this race. The course was very unique and it was awesome sharing a race weekend with the pros! Chicago ITU was a great introduction to the great city of Chicago!