That’s Coeur d’Alene for those folks not familiar with the Inland Northwest.

Yes, today is the Ironman in CDA. We look forward to it every year, as a spectator not a participant. It’s a triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon (42.2 km) run. It makes me tired just writing about it. It starts very early in the morning, yawn, yawn, yawn…but we like to be there before the professionals start which is at 6am. We are not used to these hours! Even though it is less than a 15-minute drive for us, especially at 5:15am on a Sunday morning, we still have to get up early so we can get downtown and park and get to the event before the start.

All parts of the race are interesting but the swimming is great to watch along with the transition from swimming to biking. If you see each of them in their peak transitions it is amazing to see what looks like chaos become a very organized event.

There were over 2,300 competitors and over 1,000 that were first timers. Got to admire these people.

For the swimming they do a staged start to help avoid traffic jams in the water and of course, any mishaps.  They start with the professionals by 6am (of which there are probably less than 50) and the amateurs by 6:40am. They want all competitors to have started by 7am. That means there is about 20 minutes to get over 2,000 people in the water all going through a starting gate so they can be electronically tagged as to their official start time and also to record who is going into the water and who gets out. The organizers are meticulous at accounting for everyone. Don’t want anybody left in there.

It was a very cold morning, I mean really cold and windy. We are used to hot weather and hot water in the lakes by this time of year but somehow Mother Nature has something else in store for us.  But we managed to get there and back but it took a few hours for the chill to wear off. Seriously. It was a bitter cold and overcast morning. The sun popped out a few times but still we managed, lots of hot coffee!

Here’s what we saw on our 10 minute drive at 5:15am.

Coeur d'Alene round about

We made it in plenty of time and enjoyed watching both the swimming and the biking. We didn’t stay around long enough to see the marathon start.