Update 2016: We won’t be going back to Arizona this year, but I wanted to give you some updates for the race and venue anyway. I also updated all events below, so they are current for 2016, too.
I actually lived in Phoenix for quite a few years, so enjoy going back to see how the area has changed, not to mention catching up with old friends. We did our Food, Fun, and Spectating pieces last year, so I’m just giving you some updates and a few new things to do and see. Of note, many of these ideas, especially the restaurants, came from locals, who live and actually eat there…
- If you like Farmer’s Markets, don’t miss the Open Air Market in downtown Phoenix Thursday evening and Saturday morning. It has some of the most gorgeous fruits and vegetables, especially peppers and lots of arts and crafts, lots of food trucks, and it’s next door to the Public Market Cafe, which is really cool.
- If you want to get a jump on holiday shopping, visit the Holiday Mart at the River of Time Museum in Fountain Hills.
- A current exhibit at the Arizona Science Center is Alien Worlds and Androids. It sounds amazing. They also have Robots in 3D at their IMAX Theater and a really great Planetarium.
- You can visit the Art Fest of Scottsdale 11/19 & 20. It’s one of the most popular holiday traditions in Phoenix.
- Two restaurants that made Open Table’s Top 100 Fit for Foodies were Crudo, which has seafood, pasta, and wood-grilled fare and Nobuo at Teeter House for Japanese.
- Phoenix New Times has lists of best restaurants should you be looking for more, including the 5 Best Healthy Restaurants in Metro Phoenix.
- Several restaurants we ate at last year in Tempe and really enjoyed were House of Tricks, Caffe Boa, and Witch Which sandwiches. House of Tricks had the most awesome veggie burger I have ever eaten..
- The IronKids Fun Run is Saturday at 10 am. It’s always a great event if you have little runs and gets them in the spirit of the race. You can register before the race at the Expo.
- Here’s the 2016 Spectator’s Guide from Ironman. Always be sure to check the Ironman website for any changes to the course.
- The swim takes place in Tempe Town Lake with a rolling start. The pros go off at 6:40 am and age groupers start at 6:50.
- The bike is 3 loops and the turn around is at the corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado.
- Just an FYI on the run – if you’re NOT looking to see them up to 7 times – after they first head out and you see them again at Mill and Rio Salado (about 4 miles), you have a bit more time as they head out of town – should be about 8 miles and then they repeat.TA great spectating spot for the run is past the Expo right by the water, close to the bridge. You’ll get to see them come by multiple times
- The Opening Ceremony is Friday from 5 – 7 pm with live music. The post race celebration breakfast is Monday at 9 am and the Awards Ceremony is at 9:30. All events take place at Tempe Beach Park.
- Make sure you choose which side you want to spectate on, because crosswalks became almost impossible to cross last year when the race was in full swing. I literally waited at least an hour to get across when the bike segment was going on and a fight ensued, because people were getting very frustrated and starting yelling at the volunteers.
- Parking – If you aren’t staying in town, one of the best lots is at the US Airways Building on Ash between 3rd and Rio Salado. But, there are many others to choose from in the Mill Avenue District.
To all those racing Ironman Arizona – have an absolutely awesome day and most of all, have fun. To all the trisupporters out there – well, you have an awesome, fun day, too, and be sure to take care of each other out there…