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Ironman Wisconsin triathlon alters bike course due to flooding

September 6, 2018

Athletes begin the bike race from the top of Monona Terrace during the 2017 Ironman Wisconsin triathlon.

Neither rain nor floods nor piles of sandbags will keep Ironman Wisconsin competitors from completing their appointed rounds on Sunday.

At least that’s the current stance of Ironman officials four days ahead of the event that annually attracts more than 2,000 premier athletes and about 45,000 spectators in Madison and around Dane County.

Ironman officials said Wednesday that a portion of the bike course has been adjusted because of flooding in the area.

“Due to the severe rain and flooding that the greater Madison area and Dane County have experienced over the past several weeks, it has become necessary to make some modifications to the first and last three miles of the bike course due to the flooding on the trails,” Ironman officials said in a statement.

Officials said the swim and run courses remain unchanged and that “removal of debris and monitoring the water quality remain top priority. Ironman officials are continuing to work with the local authorities to closely monitor the current situation. We remain committed to creating a safe and enjoyable experience for the event.”

The Ironman competition, which is in its 17th year in Madison, begins with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Monona near Monona Terrace and Law Park. That area has been impacted by flooding and city crews have been working in the area.

“Our operations team is continuing to monitor everything on a daily basis,” said Ryan Lobato, coordinator of communications for Ironman. He said no final decisions about any other adjustments to the event will be made before Friday.

The swim portion of the event is followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run ending Downtown. The affected part of the bike route is the start and finish between Monona Terrace and Rimrock Road.

Ironman Wisconsin extended its contract in March to continue the event through 2021. The Madison race, which attracted 2,503 competitors last year, has regularly ranked among the top Ironman events in the world. In 2017 it was ranked as best host city and second in overall satisfaction among the competitors.

This year’s event has 2,400 registered participants from all 50 states and 24 countries. The race will offer 40 age group qualifying slots for the 2019 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

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