For next season I am trying to decide which one to do as my first HIM. Boise is closer to home...still about 8 hours away...but I'm hoping to hear from those that have participated in either of the races or both to hear what the pro's and con's are of each. Thank you for all of your input
There are some closer to home but for me I really want my first HIM to be of the IM Brand
Other people will probably have more information for you but I think the Vineman is hard to beat. It is very well run. Here's my breakdown of Vineman:
Swim: Relatively warm, cool air temps, shallow, no current, can be crowded though
Bike: Gentle hills, light traffic, nice scenery, great course. Some of the surfaces are rough (westside road). T2 is in Windsor not Guerneville so you will have 2 transitions.
Run: OK, can be hot if you are out there a long time.
Overall, a nice race, nice course and short drive from Sacramento or San Francisco. Good bike shops in the area.
I was just talking to someone on Saturday who mentioned having done Boise this year. He said that the swim was bitterly cold, but that he really liked the town.
I've heard great things about Vineman--beautiful course, very well run, etc. Afternoons can definitely be hot at that time of year (usually low humidity, though), so plan accordingly if you go with that one. I think registration opens on November 1st, and IIRC, it sells out relatively quickly. It's on my calendar for next year, so maybe I'll see you there!
I just did Vineman for my first HIM this year and it was great. Next year I'll be doing BOTH races you mentioned. Vineman was great for a first though - nice course, nice warm (but still wetsuit-legal) water, great support, great weather!