Ironman Craps on Its Brand with Lake Stevens 70.3

Ironman Craps on Its Brand with Lake Stevens 70.3

Recently Jason and a number of my triathlon teammates raced Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3. I had been training for the race but decided at the last minute not to do it because I had traveled to San Francisco, Napa Valley and San Jose the week before and had too much booze and horrible food sloshing around my system to feel prepared to tackle a half Ironman. Nonetheless, I watched the race anyway to cheer on my friends and the BFG. A word of advice to any triathletes out there reading this: if you’re thinking of racing Ironman Lake Stevens, don’t.

First of all, Lake Stevens sucks. If Washington state had a hillbilly cousin, Lake Stevens would be that hillbilly cousin’s poo-crusted butthole. It’s such a crappy town that the only thing the official Ironman race catalogs can advertise about the area is that it has a Buzz Inn Steakhouse, which looks about as classy as the bar where Jodie Foster got raped in The Accused.

jodie-foster

Her haircut is still considered trendy in Lake Stevens

The town literally consists of this skeezy restaurant, a Subway, a crappy foodmart, a burger shack, and, inexplicably, a town museum (maybe they wanted to commemorate the day they scored a Subway franchise). To answer your next question, no, there are no hotels in Lake Stevens, so if you’re thinking of flying in to do this race then lucky you, you get to stay in Everett or a neighboring city. (And no, Seattle is not “twenty minutes away,” as I heard one race official tell someone over the phone; it’s more like 50 minutes.)

Secondly, the “lake” part of Lake Stevens is filthy. It smells terrible and is full of garbage. When Jason swam in it the day before the race, he said the bottom of the lake was littered with beer cans and junk. Teresa said she spotted an old rusted chair while swimming. Jason and his dad once saw a half-submerged mattress in the lake after they finished a bike ride, and I had the pleasure of experiencing an obese kid with a rat tail throwing firecrackers into the lake as I was standing in it for a post-workout ice bath.

rat-tail

This is a form of child abuse, people!

This lake is the town’s urinal — they don’t give a crap about it and they certainly don’t take care of it, so excuse me for not wanting to pay a couple hundred dollars to do a race that involves swimming in it for 1.2 miles.

Thirdly, the bike course is horrible. It’s two loops and is a challenge for sure, with a few tough hills, a lot of false flats, and many twists and turns. However, what I hate most about the course is that the town’s inhabitants are so mean and inconsiderate to cyclists that it makes for a stressful, miserable ride. Every time I’ve ridden the course I’ve had some redneck in a Ford F-150 angrily honk at me as he passes me at 50 mph. And surprise surprise, Ironman didn’t close off the course during the actual race so my friends said they kept getting passed by jerks in cars who would angrily swerve and honk at all of the cyclists who were racing. Jesus Christ, this race is one day out of the year — you’d think that these a-holes could show some courtesy and put up with a few hours of inconvenience, but no, they’ve gotta get to Walmart or a monster truck rally or a Larry the Cable Guy viewing party or wherever the hell they’re rushing to.

truck-balls

And yes, this is the type of place that would likely have drivers who buy "truck balls" for their vehicles

The cherry on top of this turd sundae was the expo hall for the race. Race organizers had the expo hall in Everett, because, as I’ve already mentioned, there is nothing in Lake Stevens. Fun fact: Everett has an events center. Logically, you would think that the packet pickup, race briefing and expo hall would be at the events center or somewhere similarly sized…and you’d be wrong. Apparently the organizers decided that they wanted the expo hall to match the ghettoness of the actual race itself, so they held it in a Holiday Inn that was simultaneously hosting a Cash for Gold trade show. The lobby was a mess of athletes running into old, obese people who stank of ashtrays and were trying to turn in their gold brooches for fifty bucks.

cash-for-gold-customer

Typical Cash for Gold customer at the hotel

Organizationally, the expo hall was a disaster. There were nearly 900 people signed up for the race, and the organizers were forcing each athlete to attend a mandatory meeting before they were allowed to pick up their race packet. There were four meeting times, one of which was reserved for the elite triathletes. The meeting room held about one hundred people. You do the math: clearly, not everyone is going to be able to squeeze into the room for the meeting. Did they think about this obvious logistical nightmare?

No, of course not; instead, they had some pissy volunteer with a beer gut and a 70′ porn ‘stache angrily turning away athletes at the door when they tried to squeeze in and attend the meeting, sighing as if it was a huge personal burden. “Jesus Christ,” he’d whine, “There’s no more room. You have to come back in an hour” before shutting the door in their faces. Fuck that guy — the whole point of a volunteer is to make the athletes as comfortable and as prepared as possible. When you’ve got volunteers being rude to the racers, they’re creating a hostile and unwelcoming environment. Racing that distance is stressful enough as it is — you don’t need a poor man’s Burt Reynolds with a power trip barking at you and telling you what to do.

burt-reynolds

"Go away, we're full."

Speaking of the “mandatory meeting,” that is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard. I’ve done three half Ironman races and I’ve never been forced to go to an athlete meeting before picking up my packet. There is nothing unique about the Lake Stevens race to where athletes have to be subjected to hearing someone drone on for forty minutes about the course and the token safety information. Oh really, the swim starts here and ends here, and the bike is a two-loop course, and the run is ALSO a two loop course? Wow, I haven’t heard that information since I read it on the goddamn website! Thanks so much for rehashing this for me! Seriously, offer the meeting to people who are nervous and haven’t done a race of this caliber before, but let the veterans and pros skip it — that’s what waivers are for, people.

I honestly have never seen a race this ghetto, unprofessional, cheap or poorly organized — not a half distance, an Olympic, a sprint, or any running races. There’s no way this race is worth a $225 sign up fee. My advice to anyone who’s not raced Lake Stevens before and is considering it — skip it. And to the Ironman race organizers, my advice to you is to either lower the registration fee by $100 or move the race altogether. Lake Stevens is a shithole that doesn’t respect athletes or take care of the course. Washington has better locations for a half Ironman. If the organizers want to maintain the prestige and value of the Ironman brand, I suggest they do something to improve the image of the Lake Stevens race.

57 Responses to “ “Ironman Craps on Its Brand with Lake Stevens 70.3”

  1. Beth says:

    Someone should tell these people the chief of police in Lake Stevens said the race brought in over 1.5 million dollars for area businesses. Also, some jerk took down a woman on her bike.

    “Unfortunately, one of the female triathletes was injured while on the 56-mile bike ride. A car struck her, knocking her to the ground and sending her to the hospital. The driver drove away and she was unable to finish this year’s event.”

    http://www.lakestevensjournal.com/news/article.exm/2009-08-18_ironman_brings_thousands_to_lake_stevens

  2. Rebecca says:

    I can’t believe the town makes that much money from the Ironman race and still treats the athletes like crap. And yes, that a-hole who hit the female needs to be brought to justice by someone who can then kick the race director in the (truck) balls.

  3. Theo Carroll says:

    Thanks Rebecca!!! I didn’t say it but could agree with you on most all of what you said — just didn’t have quite the “intense” words to express it some of what went on in my head. I did send a certified letter to Ben Fertic, head of WTC, about my concerns about the race. I was one of those athletes stopped from completing the race (obviously erroneously) as somewhere somehow some even slower athletes were allowed to stay out there instead of being unjustly removed and their timing chips confiscated because of some arbitrary time cutoff that the directors claimed would not be.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Hey Theo!

    I forgot to mention in my post how bullshit it was that they stopped some people from finishing but let others keep going. It was so inconsistent and poorly planned, and it was really disrespectful to the athletes. I’m glad you filed a complaint–hopefully they’ll make some vast improvements next year.

  5. Johnny says:

    Hey everyone. I was passed this blog of sort because I am a triathlete and I live in Lake Stevens about 6 months out of the year. I can’t argue with your comments concerning the people of the town. I get it every time I ride! I’m not a small guy, so I of course stop my bike for an immature, old fashion pugilist encounter, to which the “tough rednecks” avoid and keep driving. I agree, the lake is crappy! After July 4th, every year, the lake turns to shit! When I heard it was being held in Aug this year, I chose not to ride it.
    Several small business owners have tried to lobby for improvements stating, if you want people to come, if you want people to enjoy their stay and come back every year, we need more than a Subway!
    As far as the bike course goes, it is a challenge. Close the roads and I think it is actually a great course. Did I say close the roads??
    Long and the short of it people, you want to do a 1/2 Iron in the northwest, Hulaman in Oregon is building up since its insemination several years ago.(funny how that turd director put it on the same day this year) The same course hosts some national races already, the streets are built for riders and I have never ridden there and had someone yell at me.
    Bottom line, Downtown Lake Stevens needs a revamping! The race director is a horses ass. (actually met him before for a lengthy discussion) And if the town wants to be a host to such an event, they DO need to make changes. I agree. I wish I could back up the town I live in more, but I can’t disagree with those comments above.
    Last note, yes majority of the people suck, businesses are mostly crap, but I do stand 100% behind the local bike shop, his skills to fix, repair and quality of service (I saw him give a bike to a girl whose rear derailor stripped away from the bike the day before the race. Major repair work needed. Granted, he gave it to her for the race only, but no charge, fit her perfect to it and didn’t have her sign a thing. He just wanted to her get out and ride) I digress.

    • Andrew says:

      I live in Lake Stevens. I’ve completed the 70.3 twice. I have to give a major shout out to the local Bike Shop. My tire blew immediately before the race during warm ups. I was screwed. Without thinking the local bike shop hooked me up. I completely forgot to pay him following the race. I went in a couple weeks later to pay him back. He said that over the years he’s given away over a 100 tubes on race day, but I was only the 2nd person to actually come back and pay him. I ended up taking my bike in for a tune up the following year. Now I would literally never take my bike anywhere else. His prices were awesome and he did a great job on my bike.

  6. Very well written Rebecca. Hopefully one of those turds comes across this post and reads about how their competitors really feel about their race. Or maybe they just don’t give a crap. Either way I’m sure this article will help many athletes not make the mistake of signing up.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hey Johnny,

    Thanks so much for posting your comment! It’s great to hear your point of view, especially since you live in Lake Stevens. I do hope they make some positive changes to the area if the race is to stay in that location; otherwise, I say move it the hell outta there. :)

  8. jennifer says:

    I’m sorry you don’t like this race, I would never deny you your opinion on that. In 7 years of racing I’ve found many races with horrible organization, bad venues, and less than welcoming locals, it’s just part of the sport. However, I have to say, I have never read a more classist, ignorant, and entitled piece of tripe in my life.

    People like you are the reason that triathlon scares away anyone who isn’t thin, fit, and wealthy. This post makes you come across as a horrible little spoiled brat and you should be completely embarrassed for yourself.

    • Rebecca says:

      What about my blog and this post makes you think that I’m thin, fit and wealthy? The name “Mediocre Athlete” should give you an idea of how successful a triathlete I am, and I’m still paying off my bike that I bought last fall.

      I don’t understand how I’m being ignorant by pointing out what countless people have said about how Lake Stevens was run and by how rude, hateful and uncaring the town is about the race. Besides, this is my blog and it’s my opinion. You’re entitled to your own sense of judgment and you clearly disagree, but obviously I’m not as embarrassed for myself as you think I should be, or I wouldn’t have written and published it in the first place. :)

    • darren says:

      Im sad that you found your time in our little town so distastful. Please dont come back! We live here because we dont like self absorbed, whiney, bitches such as yourself. We are a small community with the simple things in mind, not a good place for simple minds. I did however check your stats and as I figured you were a DNF…big surprise!

      Sincerely Sister jennifer

  9. Jason says:

    “I have never read a more classist, ignorant, and entitled piece of tripe in my life.”

    Wow. That seems like a bit of an overstatement.

    Personally, I would be “completely embarrassed” to publish this type of hyperbole.

  10. beth says:

    congrats on your new found wealth!

  11. Rebecca says:

    Haha, thanks Beth! A round of gus on me!

  12. Tiffani says:

    Hi Rebecca, I recently moved to Lake Stevens. I came across your blog when I googled “Lake Stevens personal training.” Wow, you have a lot to say about the Ironman. I live near the lake and watched part of the race, seeing such amazing athletes doing what they do best was a privilege. I would suggest emailing some constructive criticism to the city and the organizers of the race. Personally I love living in Lake Stevens and am proud to call it my home. I am sad to hear that you didn’t have a good experience; hopefully by contacting the folks that run the Ironman some improvements can be made.

    • Rebecca says:

      Hi Tiffani,

      A lot of athletes posted negative reviews of the race on Active.com, so maybe the organizers will improve things next time around. I did hear a rumor that the contract won’t get renewed after next year because the Lake Stevens townspeople don’t want the race there, but I’m not sure how true it is. I wish more people like you lived in the area — you’re the type of spectator and support triathletes love to have. :)

    • Terri says:

      I have called and written to the local media and have not seen them do anything about the situation. It seems they take the money and do whatever they do with it and never make any greater attempts to improve biker safety. They bring in those huge signs on the cut off a couple days in advance and thats it. There is no attempt at educating the local Rednecks or preventing the attacks on them while they ride. I also live here in Lake Stevens, have ridden the course as my response below indicates, and its very scary.

  13. Korey says:

    Wow!!! I am a young, going on 3rd yr, triathlete just starting to plan my 70.3s. I love Washington and was looking forward to doing this race!! Now its sounding like its a no-brainer….??

  14. TriMoot says:

    Woh…I am SOOO glad I found your post about LS HIM. I’ve been contemplating doing this half for my 3rd big event for 2010 (37 Mile Ultra and CDA IM being the 1st two) and when I saw a few pictures of the event I was unimpressed. So today I decided to dig a little deeper and man oh man, there is NO WAY I’ll be doing it based on your review. It sounds HORRIBLE!

    So I have a question: Last year two of my buddies and I did the Black Diamond HIM over in Enumclaw and although we had a good time, we experienced the same kinds of attitudes towards bikers during the race. And even at the pre-race meeting they warned us about the locals not wanting the event here in their neighborhood and even warned us to not tick anyone off while on the bike. Things like dropping food wrappers or bottles on the road can and has prompted buckets of cow or horse manure to be dumped on bicyclist during the race.

    So…does this mean that biking is not welcomed on the west side of Washington in general or just in a few “hillbilly” locales?

    Thanks again for your great article and I will be looking elsewhere for my end of year event…perhaps even in Cannada.

  15. Sabrina says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    Thank you for your post.

    I live in Seattle, Washington and know many local triathletes who have completed Lake Stevens. They enjoy that the race is close by and has a challenging bike course, but that’s about it. Most of them talk about how they have to “suck it up” each year just to go to it.

    It’s a pit. If WTC wants a 70.3 in the Pacific Northwest, there are MANY MANY other cities and towns that would be more than happy to host such an event. I just hope that WTC starts looking for another venue. Soon.

  16. Neil says:

    I paid the entrance fee and am comitted to this race, I hope it isn’t as bad as they say it was. Hopefully the organizers took the negative comments into consideration and improved the race. If it is at all like they say it was this will be my only time racing this race. I signed up because its the closest to home if I could re-do my sign up i would change to Calgary or Boise. I went to the town it doesn’t have much but looked ok. Course is quite windy but not too bad when I drove it.

  17. Rebecca says:

    @TriMoot — There are a lot of good cycling spots in the Washington area. Maybe it’s just, as you said, a few “hillbilly” areas that don’t take kindly to cyclists.

    @Sabrina — Yeah, a lot of my friends do Lake Stevens every year simply because it’s the only local 70.3 available. I’m doing Boise again this year because despite the annoying afternoon start time, I still think it’s better run than Lake Stevens.

    @Neil — I honestly hope the organizers took the criticisms into consideration and are making strides to improve the race. I’m personally not a fan of the course or the town, but the IM folks can still at least try to make the experience good by giving stellar service and organizing it well.

  18. Mark says:

    I signed up for Lake Stevens this summer. I think the biggest problem in these redneck areas is the driver – biker friction. I had a half-full tallboy tossed at me from a car passing at around 50mph when I was training out near Darrington. I expect more of the same at Lake Stevens unless they close the road to traffic, which would be the best solution. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for a half day race.

  19. Kevin says:

    I race Lake Stevens in 2009 and came away with mixed impressions. The Race Expo was pathetic, as was the schwag. For $200+ I want a frickin’ hat! I actually enjoyed the race itself, and the swim course was great with the underwater cable to follow. I had no problems with the bike or run courses. It would be nice to have the bike course closed to vehicle traffic.

    I came and pre-rode the bike course in Spring 2009 and had one of the incidents that you speak of with the local redneck contingent. Some honking asshole in the prerequisite truck. To be fair though, I’ve had the same behavior here in Coeur d’Alene on the north part of the IM course. I think IQ and social skills have an inversely proportionate relationship to the distance from town.

    Believe it or not, I’m back and racing Lake Stevens this year, without the pre-ride this time. The only reason I’m racing there is to support the Paralyzed Veterans of America (hooray for them!), so cheer for the 5 of us in PVA kits! Otherwise, no way I’d do this race again. I also left similar comments on the Active.com website.

  20. Sarah says:

    I just happened upon your website while searching for race reviews. My brother lives in Lake Stevens and I’ve visited him there several times. He’s different from the residents you describe but I’ve seen his neighbours and I’m not surprised that you saw what you saw! I love Seattle and I think Washington is beautiful so I’ve put the Lake Stevens 70.3 on my list of races to do – until now! I feel like you saved from a horrible race experience. I’ll visit my brother in Lake Stevens but no racing there for me!

  21. Rebecca says:

    Hi Sarah! I’m happy to hear that your brother is an exception to the rule. Hopefully the Ironman organizers will improve the race or pick a better spot in Washington to host their 70.3. Good luck with whichever race you decide to do!

  22. sandi says:

    It’s amusing to read these comments as I did this race in it’s first year and vowed never again. It is as has been reported. Dirty swim, bike course that is difficult by virtue of traffic that is a real threat to your safety-no hyperbole here and an ok run course. Overall, it is a pathetic race from packet to finish. Food, a joke. I’ve done 17 Ironman races in the WTC organization and don’t know why this half is allowed to continue under their auspice. We do these races for enjoyment and accomplishment-we pay the huge entry fees based on the premise of safety and support-this race should fold up and never return. Trust me-GIVE IT A PASS AND SAVE YOUR MONEY AND PUT YOUR SAFETY FIRST!!!!!!

  23. Rebecca says:

    Wow, 17 Ironman races and this one still sticks out in your mind as the worst? That says a lot — thanks for the feedback. I certainly hope they retool this course or just move it entirely.

  24. ekat22 says:

    I did this race last year. It is only the second tri I have done, so I don’t have much to compare it to. I thought the swim was fine. The underwater cable was really helpful. I swam without a wetsuit and the temp was great. I did not think it was dirty, but maybe I was too scared to notice. haha
    The bike was a harder course than I had expected, and I too was concerned by the traffic! I also would have liked more aid/water stations during the bike. The run section was fine. More support along the way would have helped. All together, if you are already in the area, I would not oppose this race as strongly as others have. However, because of the destination, it’s probably not the best race to travel to.

  25. Irateman says:

    Living in Penticton, I’ve come to hate the Ironman. If it only was one day, it would be bearable, but weeks before the race the iron monkeys flock in, riding all over the road interrupting traffic for the people who will be faced with the real cost of the event, paying the taxes. For some reason these assletes think they’re entitled to use our roads as they please because they pay an entrance fee. The course cuts the town in half like the berlin wall, pissing people off even more with hour long waits to cross town. Stay home and save us the trouble.

  26. teee says:

    Yeah…the OP is right on – Lake Stevens is crap. Of all the beautiful lakes and possible venues near Seattle, they choose… Lake Redneck Stevens?!! R u kidding me?

    I am just happy that whenever I google Lake Stevens Half Ironman that this blog comes up FIRST! Awesome! Thanks Mr . Google!

    I do think the volunteers who do this race and the actual racers are straight up fantastic. I am a top 10 runner and pretty good biker and the racers are chill and good camraderie.

    That being said… Lake Punch-me-in-the-balls Stevens?! WTF. I dont know if I’d do this again for 300 bucks…

  27. Terri says:

    This is fantastic. I actually live in Lake Stevens and have never done this race, ever, nor will I. I have however ridden the course in training for other events and have NEVER had a pleasant ride, there is ALWAYS a hillbilly encounter that scares the hell out of me. I have called into the local media and told them how bad the reputation of this event is, my husband and I have talked to so many athletes who despise this event for the hillbillies. My husband has done the race a couple times, he says the lake is super gross and freaky with all the strange stuff on the bottom, I’m sure that comes from the zillion people who pack onto the lake all summer drinking and waterskiing, the lake itself has become a place we no longer go either, and again, we live here. When out on my bike during the event to support or cheer for my husband I have witnessed the Ford F 150′s you speak of blatently ignore the limited police who are out there trying to protect the racers and guide traffic, they turn into crowds of bikers making their way out on the second loop. Its discusting and dangerous, and worse of all…typical. With all the revenue they claim comes in, no improvements to any storefront have ever occurred, nor do they make any attempts at road repair or anything. And as for Ironman, they roll into town a couple days ahead and put up huge electric signs warning people that the race is coming, all that seems to do is amp up the hillbillies. Its odd really, this area has two kinds, the wealthy who live on or near the lake, and the super nifty hill billy people, so in down town when the race is happening the latter is oblivious as they enthusiastically cheer on the participants that just outside town the people on thier bikes are being terrorized by lunatics.
    Lastly, for the record, its completely true about the Holiday Inn, everything that he said is accurate, and the manditory meeting is useless and stupid to boot. I have never been forced to attent one at any other 70.3 and I can’t figure out why they do it here…maybe to make the race seem better run than it is because of the shitty venue? If so, that too, like this race is an epic FAIL.

  28. Ron says:

    I have to say, I’m from out of town and I’ve done this race. it is among the worst organized and put together in the Ironman lineup, and I’ve done many. The so called expo is a joke, the volunteers didn’t seem to know anything about what was going on, or about half of the ones I dealt with didn’t anyway, I asked one volunteer where the swim start was and he had no idea.
    I came to town in 2011 a couple days early to ride the course and swim in the lake, etc. The lake was ok, a bit creepy with the strange things on the bottom, but the water was super clear and warm, but riding out on that bike course, which is tough enough in its own right but add these people who live there, the road has little or no shoulder and I was nearly run off the road twice, I saw the “bird” more times than I care to mention and had someone honk thier horn driving behind me for half a mile while I was riding downhill!!! On race day it was no different, I saw many bikers having to weave to avoid being hit by debris being thrown or big trucks cutting it to close. Among the athletes in transition it was a hot topic, these so called “hillbillys” and how the bike would be or was, seems everyone had either had an encounter or heard about one. Its unfortunate because this is actually a decent venue and a challenging course, i just feel the course should be a challenge with elevation gain and loss, or terrain, not having to survive vicious spectators or residents. It seems the athletes get the message loud and clear that they aren’t wanted.
    Ron

  29. NWRidley says:

    Wow. I read this blog and all the comments and really was trying not to have to post one myself, but I just couldn’t resist. First off, I am originally from Lake Stevens, and I have done the 70.3 and several other local races. I will say that I do not disagree with the problems that have been mentioned with the boat launch having dirty water near the shore, the bike course being unsafe for cyclist etc.. But really, do all of you have to continually blame us lower-middle class Americans for all of this. Can’t you just settle on the fact that if the race director changed and made some adjustments to the race things would get a lot better. Yes, a women was hit on her bike during the race by a truck, how much do you want to bet that Lake Stevens 70.3 isn’t the first race and won’t be the last race that happens at. Living in Lake Stevens I have had a chance to ride the bike course MANY times, both the old and new course. I train with other athletes out there and it is one of the best places to ride. Just get off the trainer and ride outside so you are confident on your bike and don’t get scared when cars pass you going fast. Sure I have had people yell at me, but I have had people yell at me in Redmond, Couer D’Alene, Spokane, Bellingham, and other places. With all that said, I agree the race is poorly put together and doesn’t get the support it should, but I feel like the slander to the people of Lake Stevens is incredibly unnecessary. Lower-middle class America exists, in real life, not just movies. And if you get past that there are people that maybe aren’t up to your arbitrary overly cultured ideals, and take in the scenery, Lake Stevens and the surrounding areas are quite beautiful if you enjoy things like lakes, farms, mountains, and rivers. But then again, that stuff isn’t for everyone and the extremely short amount of time everyone has spent there easily qualifies to pass the judgment that it is a “shit-hole”

    I do somewhat apologize for my venting, I am a prideful person and I felt it was necessary.

    • Rebecca says:

      I’ve ridden in areas similar to Lake Stevens demographically (Enumclaw immediately comes to mind), and in my opinion the way they treat cyclists compared to the people in Lake Stevens is like night and day. I have ridden in Lake Stevens numerous times, and during every single ride I have gotten heckled or harassed by a motorist. I’ve never had that happen to me in any other city or area to the extent that it’s happened in Lake Stevens. If this were an isolated incident I wouldn’t have written about it, but this is a chronic issue for me and my teammates when we go up there to train, to the point where I can’t help but think that a lot of the residents there are mean and inconsiderate.

  30. Liz says:

    wow, thanks for posting this and everyone’s comments. You just saved me $300. Come north to race, there are some great races in BC with closed courses and clean water!
    cheers!

  31. Ron says:

    Wow. I’m surprised. I live in neighboring Monroe and ride this course or at least a lot of it on almost every training ride I do. I just did an Ironman for the third time and trained here for it. I’ve done Lk. Stevens twice, and two other Ironmans since 2004. All my rides are on these backroads. While I have had some minor encounters with the infamous pickups, it is certainly the exception, not the rule. I’m sorry there have been so many negative experiences. As for the race itself I too have been unimpressed at the organization of it. The first year it was put on I did it and there was only one water station on the bike course and they had it in dixie cups! What a joke. I thought about doing it again this year but don’t feel recovered enough from Ironman CDA. However I would do it again cause it’s in my “backyard” albeit overpriced for what you get.

    • Rebecca says:

      Ugh, Rev3 gave out dixie cups on the run. When will race organizers realize that dixie = way too damn small when you’re racing? They should invest in Big Gulps.

  32. Ron says:

    Are you kidding me. Are you people for real.I’ve raced longer than some of you have been around and raced all over the USA and BC. People suck any were u go when your on a bike and don’t like you on the road.We all have bad races were things go wrong but to blame it on the town is bull. I have raced a lot places and lake Steven is one of the nicest.Maybe because I’ve won there and the town and people are super nice.

  33. darren says:

    Fire up the truck Cooter! We are gittn us some bikers that dont like us riding thru ar parish! Now where are those broom handles….

  34. Tom says:

    I have lived on Lake Stevens for many years long before the triathletes came to our small town. I personally like the character of Lake Stevens. I have never thought of myself or any of my neighbors as “rednecks” or “hillbillies. However, I did happen to become sophisticated enough to design those high tech jet airplanes that safely flew some your sorry behinds over here to race. Although the lake is murky due to heavy vegetation growth it is nonetheless a beautiful lake to swim, fish, and boat on. The town has a pioneer history that the museum does a great job of showcasing. It is a great small town with many wonderful and classy people. Although the triathlon probably does need improvement the town is just fine thank you. P.S… Rebecca, if you never visit our town again we won’t even notice. :D

    • Rebecca says:

      Calling the lake “murky” is awfully euphemistic–it smells, and a large reason why it smells is because people pollute it with random garbage. I’m sure you’re a decent person and that you know decent people in Lake Stevens; it’s just that my teammates and I (and other people who regularly ride in the area) by and large have encountered hostile, nasty people in the town, people who are not only angry towards cyclists but often go out of their way to actively harm us. That’s my biggest issue with Lake Stevens–the fact that there are people in that town who seem readily willing to hurt another human being just because that person has the audacity to slow them down briefly when they’re driving somewhere.

      • Lauren says:

        It is a fair argument to say that the safety and respect of CERTAIN people need to change in regards to the biking portion of the triathlon. However, to go about achieving this change by referring to an entire town as a “poo encrusted butthole” does not bode well for you’re own character. You trash the town I have grown up in and love wholeheartedly for much of your article while only mentioning the key issue of safety very briefly. I myself am an avid distance runner and do most of my training in Lake Stevens. While I have come across some inconsiderate people, I refer to them as such, inconsiderate. That is the respectful way to do things, not calling an entire town, instead of the small representative minority it is, disgusting names.

        Also, I work at a local business and myself and my coworkers dread working the shift during the triathlon because of many athletes and visitors being needlessly rude to us. However, you don’t see me going onto the official ironman website and trashing triathletes as a whole. I know that those triathletes who are rude to me are a select minority and are not representative.

        You talk about lack of respect from Lake Stevens residents, but in my experience you have to give respect to get it. Personally you have hurt my feelings, as who I am is so closely linked to this town. Closely examine your own character and words before judging others.

        • Rebecca says:

          Hey Lauren,

          You make some points I agree with and some I don’t agree with. I plan to follow up with an “Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3 Revisited” post to talk about this initial posts and which of my feelings about the race and town have change and which have stayed the same.

  35. Jazz says:

    I’ve been researching which location to pick for my first half ironman & I’m glad I came across this article! I’ll definitely be checking Lake Stevens off my list! By the way, great writing, I couldn’t stop laughing the whole time I read this article! Keep up the reviews wherever you go!

  36. Rider says:

    OMG than don’t go WE GET IT!!!!!! you don’t like it in anyway, God If you would run your mouth and whin that much during a race I would kick you off your dam bike and leave you as road kill for the hicks.

  37. Rachel says:

    Your post is funny, I entered the race this year to gain experience and happened to have stumbled across this. Although I’m not generally one to comment on blogs/forums, I couldn’t help but laugh. I imagine there is some truth to your opinion of Lake Stevens but I’m thankful my attitude and expectations are such that less than ideal racing conditions or environment can be seen as a way to grow as an athlete. I’m surprised you feel the way you do, the negative and entitled tone seem to perfectly mirror the “rednecks” running people off the road. Maybe it’s worth putting your judgment aside and see how you are embodying the very thing you are complaining about. Happy racing!

  38. Ryan says:

    This is my first ever triathlon and I grew up in Lake Stevens but live in Seattle. I signed up for this race out of pride and can’t wait to for my high school buddy to pick me up after the race in his lifted Chevy pickup — heading straight to Hawkeye’s to pound some PBR tall boys.
    I ride all over Seattle and have had several encounters in affluent neighborhoods by asshole drivers. I just think people get sick of cyclists breaking the rules of the road all the time. I can’t stand cyclists myself most if the time.
    Not sure about the venue and could give a rats ass. I’m there for the race.
    I thought your post was pretty funny because it was somewhat accurate with a heavy dose of cynicism. But you condescending, arrogant way you speak is just a reflection of your negativity and how you feel on a daily basis.
    Anyway, I’m finishing this race and will be at the Buzz Inn bar and grill right in town. Ill be the big guy – relative to most triathlete – with my hillbilly entourage! Watch out for the flying PBR tall boy coming you way!
    (Excuse typos – sent from my iPhone)

    • Rebecca says:

      I like the juxtaposition of threatening to pelt me with a PBR can and apologizing for any typos you may have written via your iPhone.

  39. josh saunders says:

    Rebeca im glad you bloged im ñot upset as i grew up here,just alittle point proven from people who come here with a im better than you additude,we are are small but growing town with beautifull sights , with no pan handlers on corners or peopl sleeping on the street corners just a great place to raise your kids , by the way, google our schools one of the best around for everything,also buzz inns a great place but forget the 20 plus great other dinng places maybe not the beverly hills but we love it ,maybe if you didnt get so wasted as you said in your blog other places you could be more sober an not hung over to enjoy our town ,thanx for not competing hope you get to drunk to not race again so real athletes can compete and not listnen to all you negativaty next time just have fun an stop bitching somuch, lifes to short and we wont miss you this year.ps wear do you get red necks from ,have you seen the size of the houses on this lake dont be mad becaus you cant afford one lol

  40. josh saunders says:

    By the way you have the same hair cut as the lady in the pucture above you say is from here lol i hope you find pleasure in life i know us lake stevens people have ,

    • Rebecca says:

      It’d be a nice burn if I did have the same hair cut, but as it stands, that’s just lazy insulting right there.

  41. Ron says:

    I have done this race 3 times (2008, 2010 and 2013) and I believe that you may want to try this one again as it has improved dramatically from your experience. I have done 27 Half-Ironman distance races and 4 Ironman Races. I have done Wildflower, Boulder, Buffalo Springs and Las Vegas, all of which are very well organized and well run. Lake Stevens has risen to the level of these races as many of the things that were issues in the past have dramatically improved. With the new bike course, traffic was less of a concern than some of the other races I have done and, at least for me, the very few vehicles that passed me were extremely courteous and gave me a wide berth. The swim was perfect though mats on the boat ramp would have been welcome. The underwater white line is unique and makes the swim much more enjoyable as I can’t seem to swim in a straight line. The volunteers were enthusiastic and organized and their energy was contagious. The new race headquarters at the high school was an improvement and the expo is getting better. The single loop bike course was a vast improvement. It is scenic and very challenging. The run is spectator friendly and just hilly enough to make it interesting. I just competed in the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas for the 2nd time and traffic, logistics and weather make that race a challenge. This race is much more fun. Go back and do this race again. It has become my favorite and is worth the drive from Colorado. I urge you to do it again as I believe that you will be very pleasantly surprised.

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