Did anyone read the Triathlete magazine article about America's 20 Best Places to Live if you are a tri-geek? There are a few at the top of my list: Austin (#4), Tempe #17), and Tucson (#1). All places I would not mind retiring to (or go to NOW!) if I have my druthers. I lived in Texas for three years and loved the ability to train year round OUTSIDE. I dread the thought of another winter riding the trainer or running on the treadmill, all the while staring at a wall waiting for the snow to thaw.
And before any of my Texas buddies start harping on my short memory of the heat and humidity....I'd rather have that than frozen toes, fingers, and ears for six months of the year.
I kept reading the article. I wanted to see what other places were named. I literally spewed the Hammer Perpetuem I was drinking when they named Plymouth, Minnesota as an honorable mention. Holy shi....iskobob. Um, that's where I live.
This comes on the heels of Plymouth being named Best Place to Live by Money magazine in 2008 (Money's list of America's best small cities).
OK, we have great trails. No doubt, but the majority of those are chock full of the Hen Clusters. You know what I mean. The lady power walkers who can only walk three or four abreast talking to each other. The only decent trails where a guy can muster up some speed without fear is the Luce Line (the majority of which is limestone and not great for your components) or the Dakota Rail Trail, which is wonderful as long as you aren't riding it on the weekends (see aforementioned reference to Hen Clusters).
But just west of Plymouth, on the outskirts, is a wonderful area of rolling hills and open roads in Baker Park. This is where Gear West sponsors the Tuesday Night Time Trial series. This is where I spend the majority of my time training.
Recent Dakota Rail Trail workout, Garmin style.
Recent Baker Park workout, Garmin style.
There are several lakes in which a person can train in open water, but there are local ordinances so unless you have a boat/kayak/canoe spotting you it is not advised. We do have the local Life Time Fitness indoor swimming facility which is shared with Wayzata high school.
Finding a place to run is fine. There are many local trails, both on- and off-road. The off-road trails, such as at French Regional Park, offer great trail running for those who need to take a break from pounding the concrete. Just be sure and end your trail running before the Minnesota State Bird (mosquito) emerges in early summer. Once the first frost hits, you can once again go off-road without fearing of being 'swarmed'.
There is Gear West, one of the best triathlon shops in the country. Officially located in Long Lake, so Plymouth can't officially claim it. But close enough (10-mins from my house) to claim it.
While Plymouth doesn't host any triathlons, there are no shortage of first-class events all within 90-mins. If so inclined, a local could certainly race twice each weekend there are that many events during our shortened triathlon season.
For the record, the Top Twenty Cities were:
1) Tucson, AZ (voted best terrain as well)
2) Boulder, CO (voted best place to find a training group)
3) Carlsbad, CA (voted best climate)
4) Austin, TX
5) Santa Barbara, CA
6) San Francisco, CA
7) Bend, OR (voted best quiet roads)
8) Clermont, FL (voted best facilities)
9) Alexandria, VA
10) Park City, UT (voted best small town)
11) Maui, HI (voted best big climb)
12) Reno, NV (voted best trails)
13) Madison, WI
14) Wilmington, NC (best place to find a race)
15) Barrington, IL
16) Believue, WA
17) Tempe, AZ
18) Providence, RI
19) Cary, NC
20) Bloomington, IN
The Honorable Mentions
- Boise, ID
- Chattanooga, TN
- Columbia, MD
- Coral Springs, FL
- Des Moines, IA
- Little Rock, AR
- Omaha, NE
- Plymouth, MN- State College, PA
- The Woodlands, TX
So, I guess in my case I should not be complaining too loudly. The grass is pretty green on my side of the fence. To be sure, the grass dies from November to mid-April. But then if I have to live in a city where cabin fever is a real disease, it might as well be Plymouth. That is, until the Boy® is off to college. All bets are off then!
Does anyone have any thoughts on places they've lived (inside or outside the U.S.), and how conducive the atmosphere was to triathlon? It'd be nice to hear anyone elses thoughts on the cities mentioned...or not mentioned.
Special thanks to fellow triathlete Steven Schurtz of Mason City, IA for the heads-up on the article. A few weeks back, Steve tripped and fell getting off his sailboat - caught his foot on a "safety line" fracturing the tibia and fibula. And here I'm complaining about a bad ham and nagging Achilles. Speedy recovery Steve!