Today’s guest poster is my favorite TriForcer, my wife Caroline Bontia. In addition to being an athlete herself (she’s training for the NYC Marathon), Caroline is an Iron supporter extraordinaire. I’ll be lucky to have Caroline’s support for the 3rd straight year when I race Ironman Coeur D’Alene, ID in a week and a half. She’s my cheering section, photographer and barista, among many other things. In this post she shares some tips for other Iron supporters on how to enjoy your stay in Coeur D’Alene.
Let’s put aside our significant others’ soon to be accomplishments and let’s talk about us: the great spectator. With a little bit of imagination and some prep time, you can make your Coeur d’Alene trip more than about being the best support crew that you can be. Here’s how I plan to enjoy CDA guilt free before my spectating duties begin on race day.
1. Explore the Race Expo. It’s fun to look at the next installment of some of the most expensive race gear among all the vendors. Almost all the hardware is sleek and sexy and arguably faster…that’s what she said. My husband abhores shopping of any kind, but at race expo, he lights up. If the equipment holds little interest to you, the apparel and souvenirs are cool to browse through. “My Dad runs faster than your Dad,” exclaims a youth shirt. Well, “I can count to 140.6,” brags another. I need to find more Mom shirts.
Ironman has slapped their logo on almost everything such as shot glasses, hitch covers, cookie cutters, and Christmas ornaments. It’s all fun and games and it sells out! And while at the expo, keep an eye out for any last minute race equipment that your SO might need. It may save you some “me” time later. For example, it’s surprisingly not that easy to scour the town for electrical tape. Scissors, duct tape and a sewing kit always come in handy.
(2012 IMCDA race expo)
2. Before race day, experience part of the racecourse. To gain an appreciation for your Ironman’s race challenge and CDA, walk or jog part of the course. Driving counts too. While I was training for my first marathon last year, I ran 16 miles of the run course and was taken aback by the sparkling beauty of the lake. The town itself is quaint, modest but wholesome. There are plenty of gorgeous craftsman homes that’s Pinterest worthy. It was also a nice surprise to run into my husband biking along the path and it made for a good photo-op and time check on dinner plans.
(My Garmin 310xt satellite read)
3. If you can afford it…consider staying at the CDA Resort. This hotel knows how to run a business on race day and it’s pricey–up to $400 per night with three nights’ minimum stay–and it fills up a year in advance. In the past, the hotel has given us a $85 per day credit to use for all the services. Once you get over the sticker shock, you’ll be treated well. The service and facilities were solid throughout the hotel i.e. front desk, restaurant, spa, and pool. It’s less than half a mile from race transition and a few blocks from the finish, so the convenience and proximity alone pays it forward. On race morning, the cafe lobby was open at 4 a.m. and proudly served Starbucks. A breakfast table booth was also set-up on race morning selling more coffee, bagels, oatmeal, and fruit.
4. Spa Day. If budget and time allows, treat yourself to a spa day at the CDA Resort. Schedule it in advance. It’ll be my third annual spa appointment here, and perhaps my last. A luxurious 2.5 hour spa retreat to reflect and meditate about the next day’s Ironman insanity–my husband’s Kona qualifier race. For any iron-mate (or soon-to-be iron-mate) supporting and spectating an Ironman can test your patience and your wallet. We’ve come this far together. And soon, it’ll be over. Exhale…
I’m picky about my spas and consider Hotel Healdsburg and Solage Calistoga Resort to be sublime. But the treatments and service at the CDA Resort have been outstanding. Services are averagely priced by comparison. Come early or linger a bit after to soak in the tranquil views from the nature inspired lounge room overlooking the marina. It’s so quiet and peaceful here that it’ll help you fall asleep (faster than your SO’s T1) race night’s eve. For me, that means lights out by 7 p.m.
[CDA Resort spa lounge has a spectacular floor to ceiling window overlooking the lake.]
5. Dine at one of the best burgers of the West (and other delights). Hudson’s Burger. At 105 years old, it just might rival In-n-Out burger for its simple, fresh taste. Sunset magazine recently crowned it as one of the “West’s Best Road Food”.
There are also a lot of other decent cafes, bars and restaurants on Main Street. My favorite cafe is the Java Coffeehouse Café. The coffee was deliciously strong, their latte art swell, and their food menu will satisfy your brunch cravings. There’s plenty of seating and free WiFi. Another great spot to people watch.
So that’s my great spectator agenda for CDA. If you need spectating tips on race day, check out my post. Good luck out there and enjoy.