I’d never been to Lake Balboa and only once before been in the land of Spanish explorers. Hot Springs Village (where everything is named for a Spanish explorer), northeast of Hot Springs, Arkansas is a beautiful place with rolling hills, small, beautiful lakes, golf courses and views of the Ouachita Mountains. This past weekend it became home to its first triathlon, Tri the Village.
The race was directed by DLT Multisport, the folks that brought you the DeGray Lake Triathlon, the Dawg Dayz race weekend, the Arkansas Trail Running Series and some races in the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series among other events.
Tri the Village is the first of the Arkansas Triathlon Series. Seven sprint races plus two intermediate races make up the series where points are earned by participants that go to a final championship ranking. This race was a sprint distance with a 500 yard swim, 13.5 mile bike ride around Lake Balboa and a 3.5 mile run that took participants through the beautiful Magellan Golf Course along the cart paths. If you’ve ever looked longingly at a golf course as a place to run but weren’t allowed, this race is for you.
The race starts early which was nice since the the day would soon be heating up. Still, 7am came a little early and we made it to the race transition area just minutes before the start of the race. The field consisted of over 120 participants, not bad for a first time race. The racers may have been outnumbered by the volunteers who were out to support the race. Local volunteers from Hot Springs Village and young people from Teen Challenge Arkansas were among those helping out the race director and cheering on the racers.
The course was well laid out and the race director had to overcome a one entrance start/finish/transition area by running the course around the transition into the finish. This is were a bulk of the volunteer work took place directing automobile traffic and racers into the proper chute. Once racers were out of the water they entered the transition area and soon emerged on the bike with a short up hill out of the parking lot and onto the road for a counterclockwise trip around the lake.
Once the racers made the 13.5 hilly miles around the lake they were then back in the transition and off on the run. They then headed off on the road again for a short downhill run to the entrance to the golf course. This was one of the most beautiful sections of the course, it was also one of the hardest according to racers we spoke with. Lots of short steep hills through the rolling course and then finally back up the hill to the transition/finish area. It’s a pretty fast course and the overall winner, Alex Goff, finished in 1:02:43.8. A full list of finish times is available on the DLT Multisport website.
Tri the Village looks like a great addition to the Arkansas Triathlon Series and I expect it to grow as word gets out.
BONUS FOR RACERS! – a special contest from Joe
I have over 1300 photos from the event and as always they are free for you to download and share. I hope we got at least one of everyone but the problem is they are a bit out of order on our Flickr site. This is my fault and I want to make it up to you. If you are willing to take the time and go through the site to find your photo you might be rewarded. Post it on our Facebook Page, post it on twitter with our twitter address or post a link in the comments below and I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a CycleOps t-shirt (I only have large or medium), a book on triathlon training and a couple of ArkansasOutside.com stickers. You’ll have until Friday at 5 pm to get this done. Good Luck! (Make sure you check both pages of photos)