This is a great race. I think the reason I like it so much is because of the scenery. The race starts with all runners being bused out to Square Lake. If you've never been to Square Lake, I highly recommend you make the trip. It's a stunning example of the natural wonders that fill Minnesota. Plus, it would be a great lake to have a triathlon.
The race is run on both paved and gravel roads along the St. Croix River Valley. The St. Croix River is the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin and is tree lined the entire way with a few exceptions being corn fields and other farm land. It reminds me a lot of where I grew up in Michigan.
Around the mile 6 marker, the run turns on to the major highway to Stillwater which is also beautiful in its own right. For the most part, the road is cut through the hills there so it is lined with sedimentary rock on both sides. That part of the race reminds me of my college town. There are a lot of sedimentary rock cliffs all over the place and is astounding to see.
As for my performance, I ran this one 1 minute slower than last year which isn't really a disappointment. However, I was hoping to do the same or better. During the fifth mile I had a mental breakdown for some reason and slowed down for a bit. But, I managed to pull myself out and finish the job.
Here's the course. If you get a chance, you should definitely run this course.