The opportunity to fit in a late season race to close out the year makes Florida, Arizona and Cozumel attractive IM locations, particularly for athletes in North America. This year Arizona and Cozumel both took place on November 18, so it will be interesting to see if that remains a fixture or it turns out they cannibalize entries from one another.
It’s a split transition event, which adds a bit of pain for check in as well as on race morning, but they are well organized for it, with buses carrying athletes between the two. T1 is a bit of a maze, with bikes spread over a wide area, but well sign posted to help locate your bike in the panic and rush of race morning. The exit from the swim to bags and changing tent is maybe 100 yards (preceded by a pathetic shower line to wash off the salt water), with another 100 yards to the bikes and then another 100 yards to the mount line. T2 is extremely simple with bike catchers at the dismount, which is itself right next to the bags and changing tent (the men’s T1 and T2 tents were pretty disgusting with water pooling from athletes throwing water on their feet to clean them off – it’s definitely worth packing a towel to dry off). Pre-race T1 had a line of people with pumps to top up the air in bike tires, which was a great idea that more races could learn from. But take your own supply of loo paper – supplies got low…fast.
The swim was a self seeded (always non-wetsuit), rolling start, with 2 at a time jumping off a staging area. With coral right beside the entry it’s easy to slice your feet if you get off line and aren’t careful. They rolled people in very efficiently and the water current helped move athletes clear quickly. Unfortunately the wind was picking up by race time so there was a lot of chop and swell to contend with. At least 2.3 of the 2.4 miles of the swim are just a straight shot, and there is plenty of space so navigation is simple. Nevertheless, that chop made for a pretty draining start for any but the best swimmers. What the current giveth, the chop takes away, unfortunately.
and repeat two more times. Super simple and non technical, and in cooler conditions with wind in a different direction that would be a very fast course. I measured the course as long at 113 miles, but haven’t checked that against other people’s devices to see if mine was an anomaly.