Hy-Vee Triathlon Moves to Suburbs

Due to heavy flooding at Gray's Lake, Hy-Vee Triathlon race officials were forced find an alternate site for the 2008 event. A huge amount of effort went in to logistics and planning to locate an acceptable venue. The event ended up in West Des Moines.

The two-year-old Hy-Vee Triathlon has decided to make the suburban move permanent - starting and ending at Raccoon River Park. According to WHO-TV:

Hy-Vee spokeswoman Chris Friesleben says the 2009 event will start and finish at Raccoon River in West Des Moines. Company officials believe the probability of flooding in Raccoon River Park is smaller than at some of the sites they were considering.

I'm not generally a conspiracy theorist, but it is worth mentioning that Hy-Vee is headquartered in West Des Moines as well.

From an events perspective, the site at Gray's Lake seems much easier to stage. Access to the Raccoon River Park site is buried off Grand Avenue just east of I-80. At that point, Grand is a thin two-lane road. There is no pedestrian access or public transportation available to the location for viewing. Ironically, bicycle access is hazardous as well, as that section of Grand is narrow with gravel shoulders.

In addition, it is sad to me that suburbia is what the Hy-Vee organizers want to present to our national and international guests. In my mind, this doesn't represent the best Des Moines has to offer.

UPDATE (9/11/2008) - In a letter to the Editor in today's DM Register, Toni Ford said:

The Register reported on March 24, 2006, that the Raccoon River "routinely has higher fecal bacteria readings in summer than New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina," and "Since 1997, the average levels of fecal bacteria in the Raccoon River have been double to seven times the standard for human contact."

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