Travelled over from the UK for IM Arizona as a final race of the season. Loistically this is a pretty easy with direct flights with BA from LHR into Phoenix, hire cars pretty cheap or there is good transport links into Tempe where the race is held. Roads are easy to drive on, with a multi storey car park within 200m of the race village. This makes the registration process easy and and access on race morning straight forward.
Swim is in Tempe lake and its cold, with air temps in the single digits it make for a cold swim. Rolling start and easy to navigate with markers every 100m. The biggest issue is the cold and not being able to warm up before the start as this proves a shock to the system other than that the swim has no real standout features.
T1 is a decent run up but the helpers are awesome with bags handed to you and direct you to the change tent where they pt all the kit in the bag. Top Marks.
Bike is 3 loops out of the city onto the highway to a turn point. Its fine for the 1st lap but then its dull. The crowd pool themselves at the start/end of the lap by transition in about a 500m stretch then the only people you see are the aid station guys who are again awesome and so helpful.
Its a lonely 180km as there wasn't any chat on the bikes either which is different to what i have found in Europe and NZ. The roads are also not flat due to the heat cracks so it gets a bit jarring on that 3rd lap.
T2 has a bike catcher and same as T1 they are great. Cant praise them highly enough.
Run is 2 laps but a few turnaround points mean you pass transition at 4 miles. Its pretty exposed with little shade throughout and again spectators are in a small section by around transition making the far side of the run lonely. Marshalls & aid stations are great but its nice to see someone at some point. Never had a Long Distance where the crowd is in one spot.
If you choose this race then prepare for mental games as its a windy bike course, lonely on both bike & run and exposed. I will say the locals are very friendly and the marshals are top notch, on par with NZ & Roth