The small town of Sweet Home, Ore., is home to the Best in the West Triathlon Festival, to be held for the fourth time this year. The beautiful venue is nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range at Foster Reservoir and features a family-friendly weekend packed with multiple race distances—ranging from a “Try a Tri” super-sprint for beginners to a half-iron-distance race. Blair Bronson, the owner and director of Best in the West Events, expects more than 600 athletes to participate over the course of the weekend.
The course starts in the reservoir’s clear, snow-fed waters, which are about 72 degrees in late summer, followed by a bike ride on winding country roads through the hills and along the river. The race finishes with a run that follows the wooded (and shaded!) shoreline and finishes in a campground. The race emits a Western feel from the shotgun start (yes, you read that right) to the elaborate post-race barbecue and evening bonfire by the lake. The barbecue includes burgers, chicken, hot dogs and veggie burgers plus fresh, locally grown produce and an ice-cold Oakshire beer (or root beer).
“This is so much more than a race—it’s the perfect end cap to summer,” Bronson says. The family-friendly atmosphere, beautiful venue, fun course, cowboy hats and bonfire set the race apart from other races in the area. “We are athletes, too, so this race is designed with athletes in mind, and we cover every detail to make sure this really is the Best in the West.”
What: Best in the West Triathlon Festival
Where: Sweet Home, Ore.
When: Sept. 5–7, 2014
Distance: Half-iron (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run), Olympic (1500-meter swim, 40K bike, 10K run), sprint (500-meter swim, 12-mile bike and 5K run) and “Try a Tri” (300-meter swim, 5-mile bike, 3.1-mile OR 1.5-mile run)
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