General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Best Half Ironman in Texas Rss Feed  
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2014-08-06 3:27 PM

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Subject: Best Half Ironman in Texas
This has been a down year for me in the way of tris. I started them two years ago. First year doing 3 sprints, last year doing 3 Olys, plus various long distance bike rides and runs of various lengths up to 13.1. Kinda got burned out. However, the one thing still on my bucket list is a Half Ironman. I looked at some of the threads and noticed that Kerrville was a popular one. If I could have your top three venues for a half here in Texas for a first timer, I would really appreciate it. I am starting to get some of my motivation back and would like to possibly do it next year.


2014-08-06 6:19 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas

Texas 70.3 in Galveston.  Love that race.

2014-08-06 6:42 PM
in reply to: GMAN 19030

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas

Originally posted by GMAN 19030

Texas 70.3 in Galveston.  Love that race.

Agreed!  Great first 70.3 venue. 

2014-08-07 12:29 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
Another vote for Galveston. Love the venue. I wish I could race it again next year but to close to IMTX.
2014-08-07 5:15 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
Ok, since there are 3 votes for Galveston...which I've looked at...how is the ocean swim? That's the only part that kinda scares me. Galveston water is so murky and can be choppy. Open water lake swims are great, but I've never done a tri with an ocean swim.
2014-08-07 6:40 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas

It's in a somewhat protected bayou so any chop is much, much less than if it were in Galveston Bay.

Most years it's been relatively calm.  2010 was pretty choppy (I'm a 31-34 minute HIM swimmer and that year my swim time was like 41 minutes) and this year was like swimming in an endless pool until the first turn.

Otherwise it's a typical wetsuit, salt water swim with wave starts every 5 minutes.  Typical water temp is 65-72 degrees.  Expect the water temp to be a bit warmer than 2011-2014 when the race was in early-April since it's in late-April next year.



2014-08-07 10:10 PM
in reply to: GMAN 19030

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas

The heat that early in the season can be a factor to watch for, coming out of winter training. Practicing hydration and fuel is important to a strong finish.

2014-08-08 8:41 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
My first half was Kerrville. I loved it. Very beginner friendly and High Five Events puts on an awesome race. Bike is pretty flat for the area.
2014-08-13 12:09 AM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
My first half was the Oilman in Montgomery. It used the northern portion of the IMTX bike course.

Fun race. I would do it again. In November so water might be a little chilly
2014-08-13 2:20 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
I'd add the HIM in Tyler at the end of March. They also have OLY and Sprint distances. Have heard great reviews and it's a scenic ride. May choose this over Galveston next year(raced Galveston the past 2 years).

http://tritylerhalf.com/about_us.php

Edited by Fmode11 2014-08-13 2:20 PM
2014-08-13 3:08 PM
in reply to: HelmoAlkou

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
I have done Kerrville and Austin, volunteered at Galveston twice.

Kerrville: the water was very nice swim, very easy sighting, the bike was the worst roads I have ever seen and there were several serious crashes from the condition of the roads. the run was horribly boring 4 loops - 4 loops for 13 miles? the finish line wasn't so great, the swag even less great (70.3 gets the same swag as the sprint people), and the food - what is it with events sponsored by grocery stores always having the worst food?? HOT weather

Galveston: even though people didn't finish the swim on time, the didn't take their chip away, they let them continue the race, that was pretty cool. while some chop, pretty mild for the ocean. the bike was windy, but it's Galveston, so always windy, but no real hills. the run, great scenery, great for spectators. HOT weather.


Austin: I loved the fact that on the run there is this chute you circle through three times on the run and the crowd is a bunch of people enjoying their drinks, so each time you pass by, they are a little more rowdy and cheer even harder. that was a fun lift on the run. the swim was a little weedy, but still pretty clear water. the bike had some rough parts, and some steep turns that people didn't pay attention to the caution sign and paid for it, but good location and great finish line. HOT weather.


of the three, I would do Austin because of the crowd, the location, and sometimes that one is not hot


2014-08-18 9:29 AM
in reply to: sheesleeva

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
So far i've done Kerrville, then Oilman in 2013 and Galveston 2014.
I thought all three were fun and well run courses, but all three are different.

Kerrville: Was signed up to race in 2014 but broke foot so this one is out. The swim is the best course of all 3 by far. Water is silky smooth and fresh feeling. The bike was a 2 loop course and as someone mentioned, the roads are less then great, but only 1/2 the time. It's basically an out and back, but not on the same road back as it is going out. The part going out from T1 is GREAT! mostly rolling downhills on smooth pavement. Then when you "head back" it is on crappy country roads that are mostly uphill and steeper hills with that. With that said, I live in the flats of Houston and never training on hills and had the bike of my life until I flatted at mile 50. To me it was a fun and challenging bike. The run was 4 loops of mostly flat with one big hill per lap. I've heard that that hill won't be part of the course this years since some road construction that was going on last year is done and the course is going to be moved. The swag did pretty much blow. I didn't eat the food bc I was too pumped and trying to find my buddies that I forgot to. All in all, it was my favorite race until Galveston this year and it will be one I try to do for years to come. It is also VERY family friendly and the whole town comes out to rally you on the run course.

Oilman: Did this a month after Kerrville. If foot heals enough I may try this one again. The swim is in Lake Conroe, and is fine. Not great, but not bad either. The bike was mostly nice rolling hills, and there is some rough road for maybe 10-15 miles right around the turn around point. The run is a 3 loop if memory serves correctly and there are a few small hills, but nothing bad. The swag was normal. Don't remember the food.

Galveston: My first IM branded race and it is another world from other races. I'd say for families, Galveston is the most kid friendly with Moody Garden being right there. The swim was more choppy than the others, but wasn't anything like when I train in Lake Livingston with 4' swells, so it's fine. The bike was crazy this year. I think every person I talked to PR'd the bike split. It was flat and on good roads. The winds this year were at the back and cross on the way back to T2. The run course was 3 loops through the area in and around Moody Gardens.

I really enjoyed all 3 races and would do any and all of them again. To me, you could draw straws to pick one of these races, or base a decision on factors other than how good are the races since they are all good. Some considerations could be, proximity to home, family atmosphere, ease of getting in and out etc... Not sure where you live, but these aren't really "close" to each other especially Kerrville. Kerrville and Galveston have a mandatory saturday check in, so you must be there 2 days. This was not the case for oilman. Living in Houston, I went to a local packet pickup and just drove up to Conroe on race morning and drove home after the race.

I attached some pics of the 3 race race medals.



(medals-small.jpg)



(medals-long.jpg)



Attachments
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medals-small.jpg (48KB - 3 downloads)
medals-long.jpg (60KB - 3 downloads)
2014-08-19 1:46 PM
in reply to: sheesleeva

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
Originally posted by sheesleeva

I have done Kerrville and Austin, volunteered at Galveston twice.

Kerrville: the bike was the worst roads I have ever seen and there were several serious crashes from the condition of the roads.

Austin: the bike had some rough parts



I haven't done Kerrville (on the schedule this year), but I would hardly call that description of Austin accurate. Most of the course is chip seal and there are massive cracks that can easily swallow a tire all along the course. If you stop paying attention or get your sight lines blocked by traffic, your day could end in a damn hurry.

I live in Austin and do at least 2 races a year at Decker Lake. The run to T1 is uphill and somewhere along the way you're guaranteed to pick up a sand spur in your foot and another in T1 itself. If you don't know what those are, do a GIS. They suck. The roads are generally lousy. The run has minimal shade. Yes, the run through the exposition center is cool and the stadium-like finish is great. Post race food last time I did it in 2009 and 2010 was crap because they were required to use the expo center catering. Maybe that part has gotten better.

I'll check back in at the end of September to opine on whether Galveston or Kerrville is better.
2014-08-20 8:11 AM
in reply to: #5036039

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
The Austin 70.3 is arguably the worst triathlon I have ever done and basically all due to the horrible bike course conditions.
2014-08-25 1:36 PM
in reply to: GMAN 19030

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
I really appreciate everyone's replies. I've looked at the Triathlon calendar and notice that Texas doesn't have many Half Ironmans - just 8. The Tyler one is actually up near where I live. However, I have done their Olympic and I do Rose City Tri so I sort of wanted to go elsewhere for my first half.

There is the Tall Texan, Marble Falls, Prairie Man and Onalaska that round out the list. Has anyone done these?

Thanks again.
2014-08-25 1:40 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
I've only done the 3 mentioned above, but as far as Onalaska goes. We folks have a house on the lake just a few miles away. I swim in the lake pretty often during the summer when we go visit. The water is dark, and tastes HORRBILE!!!! but it's not much different than most other races in the area. The swim is down the side of a bridge/jetty thing that protects it from the very rough waters of that lake. I can't speak for the bike or the run, or the production of the race either. It is also, normally very hot still during the time of that race.


2014-08-25 2:31 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
I have done the Tall Texan (twice) and the Tri Tyler Half (once). Tall Texan is all on chip seal which can make for a rough ride. Other than that, I would say the bike courses are similar (lots of climbing on both). Tall Texan is a 2 loop run course and MUCH easier than Tyler.
2014-08-25 5:38 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
Hi

I have done Marble falls HITs Half the roads i can't complain about just same old same old regular bike ride roads everyone find the difficulty to be the hills 2600 FT. elevation. I would do it again no complaints. I was also there at Kerrville the roads dont seem to be bad maybe its just the Austin area where the roads are bad those around Austin like Kerrville and Marblefalls maybe not as bad.

Hopefully my PTO is approved i want to do Onalaska and definitely im eyeing Oilman again

Goodluck on your choice

Cheers!!

Edited by strykergt 2014-08-25 5:41 PM
2014-09-30 6:46 AM
in reply to: strykergt

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
Tyler Tri Half is my favorite, thanks to Cobb you get a few pros there and unike most Texas courses it is very hilly. I paced that one like an IM and my quads were more sore than after IMTX.

Don't forget about that race just north of our border in Redman. Easy course and if they will have to get the back area of the bike finished up before ITU worlds.
2014-10-12 7:43 PM
in reply to: #5036039

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
I did Tall Texan in its 2nd year (around 2003 I think). Back then it was not well run. I do not know if it is run by the same group.
I've done Prairieman a couple of times. It is very well run.
if the weather cooperates, the Prarieman course is easy as far as 1/2 IMs go.
I have also done Buffalo Springs, Austin, and Iron Star which i think is now defunct. That is a shame because that was my favorite course. It was in Conroe.
2014-10-12 8:26 PM
in reply to: Hugh in TX

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
Originally posted by Hugh in TX

I did Tall Texan in its 2nd year (around 2003 I think). Back then it was not well run. I do not know if it is run by the same group.
I've done Prairieman a couple of times. It is very well run.
if the weather cooperates, the Prarieman course is easy as far as 1/2 IMs go.
I have also done Buffalo Springs, Austin, and Iron Star which i think is now defunct. That is a shame because that was my favorite course. It was in Conroe.



Ironstar is now called Oilman. I haven't been doing tri's long enough if the course is exactly the same, but I know on the website, it is called formerly Ironstar. Still going on and it is just coming around the corner on nov 2.
http://www.out-loud.org/index.php/triathlons/oil-man-texas-triathlo...


2014-10-13 9:46 AM
in reply to: toodamnbroke

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas

Yes, Iron Star was renamed Oilman in 2011 if memory serves.  Same race.  Same race company.

Basically, WTC/Ironman threatened legal action against the Iron Star organizers for using the word Iron in the name of their race.  It was a war they couldn't win so they changed the name of the race.

2014-11-12 4:11 PM
in reply to: luv2bhealthy

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Subject: RE: Best Half Ironman in Texas
I've done the Onalaska the past two (and only years) they've done it. The swim isn't that bad actually, it is dark/murky water, but comparatively the taste is better than the diesel & dead fish smell that you get in the marina swims. As someone else mentioned in a previous post the bridge protects you from a south wind. I suspect if a north wind was blowing, it could create some chop from bouncing off the bridge.

The bike is refreshingly challenging. A lot of rollers (at least for a flat lander like me) and for the most part, pretty smooth roads. My Garmin recorded just over 1,900' of elevation gain for the course. The bike is my favorite part of this race as most of it is on very rural roads. The police support controlling the traffic was great and the traffic that did encounter cyclists gave us plenty of room.

The run is probably my least favorite of the race...partially because I hate running and part of it is the course. You run out about 2 miles to a mobile home park and do 3 loops inside of said park. It isn't the most scenic of routes, but a good number of the residents that live in there do seem to embrace it and sit on their porches or end of their driveways and cheer you on.

The post race spread is pretty good. They had subs, sodas, water, beer on tap, and a few other things to eat. There were massage tables set up for participants after the run. The transition area is a KOA campground and they graciously allowed us to use the community showers after the race before we drove home.

There are improvements that can be done to this race that the RD seems open to as the race continues to grow. She is usually pretty prompt to respond with any suggestions that are given. While there are certainly nicer races 70.3s out there, this one is a very good value race in my opinion. The surrounding area seems to welcome the event warmly as just about everyone we encountered from the hotel we stayed at to the restaurant we ate at took time to wish us a good race and enjoy our stay. In addition to the typical race swag bag, the city gathered a few things as well and gave all of the entrants their own version of a welcome/swag bag.

Give this one a consideration if you want to squeeze a 70.3 in on your schedule.
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