At Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square on Tuesday, Bret Gave stocked anti-chafing lubricant on shelves inside the makeshift Trek bicycle tent.
Gave, general manager of Trek’s Santa Rosa store, demonstrated the product’s uses by pointing to his chest, underarms and thighs. Chafing is just one of the many discomforts about 2,200 triathletes participating in Saturday’s grueling Ironman Santa Rosa are likely to endure.
At least they won’t suffer alone. The tent village where athletes began checking in Wednesday in downtown Santa Rosa was buzzing Tuesday, with vendors, race organizers and work crews scrambling to put up finishing touches. The public is welcome at the village, with scheduled events including for a kids’ fun run, movie and welcoming ceremony, all happening Thursday.
“We consider this the hub of the event,” Dave Reid, an Ironman organizer, said of the village, which will share space with the Wednesday Night Market.
Officials also were gearing up for race-day impacts, including extensive road closures tied to the last two segments of the race, the 112-mile bike ride starting at Lake Sonoma and marathon finishing and ending in downtown Santa Rosa. A full list of the road closures includes suggested detours to give motorists options for avoiding delays.
In May, some residents and motorists came forward with angry complaints in the aftermath of travel restrictions, delays and detours they said caught them off-guard amid the half-distance Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa. Officials said they’ve taken that feedback to heart in planning for Saturday’s full distance race.
“We’ve made a big push to help people in certain neighborhoods who are going to be impacted more than others,” said David Guhin, director of the city’s planning and economic development department.
He said the city has coordinated outreach and devoted a staffer full-time to answering concerns as they come into the city. The Ironman course also has been loaded into the Waze app, which people can use on their phones or computers to navigate their way around closures.
Guhin said emergency responders will be given priority to get into neighborhoods along the Ironman route should the need arise.
“We will hold racers to make sure that happens,” Guhin said. “The community comes first in that respect.”
Reid, the Ironman organizer, said the best tool for reducing event-day traffic problems is “educating people on how to avoid the course.”
“If you take the alternate routes, you should be okay getting around,” Reid said.
Rohnert Park will have a traffic sergeant and two public safety officers on hand, along with the CHP, to help with vehicle traffic in that city. The bike portion of the Ironman event passes through a section of the city along Golf Course Drive.
Officers also have canvassed businesses in the area to make sure people are aware of the event, according to assistant city manager Don Schwartz.
You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 707-521-5336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @deadlinederek.