Monday, February 1, 2016

Location, Location, Location

by Sue Aquila

When I had the opportunity to open my business, I struggled with choosing the right retail location. Most of the available locations were open for a reason. A couple of times, I despaired and almost accepted an inferior spot because the price was right or it had potential. One night, after months of waiting, I received a call to let me know a prime location had just become available. I took it sight unseen. It changed my life.

There is more to starting a successful business than location but you can’t have a successful business unless you have the right location. Racing to the pointy end in triathlon requires a similar focus. You can race well on lots of courses but to truly be successful you have to learn what is the right location for you.

If you are just beginning in our sport, I would choose whatever races interest you. Mix it up. Look at very different courses, weather patterns and competition. I have learned I do best in a lake/river swim, a rolling to flat bike course and a flat run -- all on the surface of the sun (really hot).

I have been racing for a number of years now and I choose certain races specifically because of the venue. I don’t choose beautiful “destination” races. I lead a hermit existence up until the race, barely notice the race course and I am often too sore/tired post race to really enjoy the location. I save my destination trips for my family vacations.

I love races with an easily accessible airport that has Southwest/Frontier flights (less bike fees). Ideally the rental car service is onsite at the airport. The race location should be within an hour drive of the airport.

My favorite race locations have multiple hotel choices. I tend to stay away from the host hotel to avoid the often contagious triathlete disease known as “nervous energy.”

The race site itself will always be a one transition race. I just completed my first point to point race in Vegas and I spent way too much time in the car getting everything done logistically.

I like to eat healthy and it is a big bonus if there is a Whole Foods nearby or a cooking area available in my hotel room. I really appreciate some nicer restaurants to have celebratory dinners with my team.

Race venues with multi-lap bike/run courses tend to be more attractive for my spectators. It is also easier to track the competition as the sport has moved from mass starts to wave/time trial starts.

Finally, I look for races that have a reputation of being well run and attentive to athletes. A well organized race let’s you focus on the work. Success in our sport starts with location, location, location.


Sue started her triathlon journey with a 50lb weight loss and continues as a Kona qualifier. As a successful entrepreneur, she believes that, “You can run your business like your training and your training like your business!” As a coach (USAT Certified), she helps athletes to develop success in all areas of their lives: family, health and work. She blogs regularly at fewoman.com. You can find her on Twitter @fewoman.
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