How many times have you been at a race that offers distances and types of races that will truly please everyone? If you can’t recall ever being at a race like this, I encourage you to put the Michigan Titanium on your race calendar in August 2020.
The Michigan Titanium offers a full Ironman distance (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run), a full AquaBike (swim/bike), and a full Duathlon (bike/run); a Half Iron distance (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run), a half AquaBike, and a half Duathlon; and an Olympic distance triathlon (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run), and relay options for all events! And, if you’re not interested in participating in any of these events, they treat their volunteers to special t-shirts and tons of food, so truly there is something for everyone at this race.
The Michigan Titanium is the sister race to the Grand Rapids Triathlon that is held in mid-June and it is clear that the race directors of these races cover all of their bases. Courses are well-marked, transition procedures are flawless, and the atmosphere is exciting, even when it rains (like it did this weekend).
The swim takes place in Versluis Park and has swimmers swim to the right of the buoys, which is opposite from what many races do (and many left-sided sighters love this aspect of the race!). Despite having a section into the sun, the buoys are close enough together that athletes can see them on the sunniest of days. This swim is usually wetsuit legal (allowed when the water temperature is 78 degrees or colder), and the wetsuit strippers are great at their jobs!
The bike is described as having rolling hills, which is definitely accurate. At the mandatory pre-race meeting, the race director noted that some roads have chipseal, meaning there might be gravel present and that the roads would be harder to ride fast on. I anticipated worse (read: Steelhead) so was pleasantly surprised when I got to these two sections on the course. There were four aid stations on the bike since it was essentially an out-and-back, which was nice as many half distance races have less! Full Ironman distance athletes did the 56-mile loop two times, just as they would for the swim (Note: the 2019 full distance was changed to a half distance due to inclement weather).
The run could also be described as having rolling hills. It was a simple out-and-back that half distance athletes did twice (full distance athletes would do it four times). While this year included clouds and rain, the course design would definitely benefit athletes racing in hotter weather due to the great amounts of shade that would be offered from the tree-lined neighborhood roads. Aid stations were every mile and offered a variety of fluids and gels.
The finish line at the Michigan Titanium is an awesome experience as athletes are allowed to bring family members (even dogs!) across the finish line with them, which always adds to the overall experience! Athletes are then treated to pizza made on-site and other post-race snacks while waiting for awards. If you’re looking for a fun way to end your summer, put the Michigan Titanium on your August calendar!