Posted by: Dennis Green | May 12, 2011

Twister! – Bluff Creek Preview

The Bluff Creek Triathlon is a race like a scene in a movie, literally.

Bluff Creek is in its third year, and includes both sprint and Olympic distances.  It’s an early season race, May 22 in Don Williams County Park in Boone, Iowa.  Around 300 racers are currently signed up, and the race is still open for registration here.  There is also a special package deal if you register for both Bluff Creek and Hickory Grove.

As far as course layouts go, the swims are point-to-point, so participants will be bused from the transition area to the swim start.  This means that the transition area closes earlier than in a lot of races, so figure your arrival and setup time accordingly.  Since this is a May race in Iowa, water temperature is usually in the upper 60s.  “It’s a pretty safe bet that wet suits will be allowed,” says race director Alex Syhlman with a smile.

The bike course for the sprint is a flat, out and back that heads north out of the park.  The olympic bike leaves north, then turns east and follows the Des Moines River valley.  The course has its share of fairly steep hills, with some grades over 10%.  One of these is “Twister Hill,” so named because the location was featured in the 1996 movie, filmed in Central Iowa.

The run stays in the park, a loop that sprint racers will take once, olympic twice.

Alex says the race is popular with new racers, describing the Bluff Creek experience as “beginner friendly.”  But he also expects this year’s field to be quite competitive.  Bluff Creek is a Midwest Special Qualifier for USAT in 2011, so he’s seeing a jump in registrations from outside Iowa. “We also have a good following of triathletes from Nebraska,” Alex adds, “so that’s a pretty good-sized group.”

Full details and registration info at


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