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We talked with Bill Scott, the CEO of TriHabitat, about his plans for his “Disneyland for Triathletes” slated to be built near Wilmington, N.C., by 2016. Scott has been a triathlete since 1982 and a triathlon race director for 25 years, starting Set Up Events on the east coast.
“It was about 15 years ago that I began to question what we, as a sport, were going to do to move into the future,” Scott says. “We were constantly running into situations where we were losing ability to shut down roads and close down lanes. I’ve had multiple events that we have been pushed out of town because of growth and infrastructure—it gets so expensive to produce some of these races. I started thinking, ‘What if?’”
What he came up with was the TriHabitat facility, which will span over 1,100 acres in North Carolina. Here are some of the cool features that are in the works for the project, which will take 12–14 months once ground is broken.
1. Ultimate swim course. They will be able to control water quality, and the 25-acre lake will have lane ropes and distance markers all around the horseshoe-shaped course.
2. Destination location. With gorgeous beaches, consistently great weather, and a location that’s hallway between New York City and Miami, it’s an easy trip for a lot of triathletes living in multisport hubs.
3. “Better than the Olympics” transition racks. The transition area will be permanent, and each station will have a six-foot pole with a bar to rack your bike, a seat and a hook to hang your wetsuit.
4. Bike rental fleet. The “Bike Barn” will house a collection of high-end rentals and be home to the tech support.
5. Nighttime (or afternoon) races! Because they won’t have to deal with road closures, TriHabitat can start races at anytime, including under the lights at night or at 1 p.m. for the optimal time of day from a temperature perspective.
6. Spectator friendliest. It’s nearly impossible to view much of a triathlon in normal circumstances, so Scott’s vision was to copy the PGA and create multiple, natural stadiums with elevated mounting so spectators can walk 200 yards from the epicenter and be able to see everything. Plus, spectators can even follow the swim with a sidewalk that will be built around the course.
7. Ideal setup for camps. The 20-room lodge will have a conference room and kitchens with two work stations so multiple groups can prepare meals.
8. Multiple race options. In addition to traditional sprint, Olympic and half-iron distance races, Scott says they’re open to new formats for triathlons as well as running races, bike time trials and open water swim races.
9. Activities for everyone. The venue is also right on a river, so there will be a marina for kayak, paddleboard and jet ski rentals.
10. Smooth surfaces for riding. No more dealing with potholes, cones and various road surfaces. Or even tight corners—the 14-mile loop will be two feet wider than a standard highway and have banked turns.