We train and prep so deftly for our races, that sometimes, we forget the fun that can be had in the destination we are traveling. And thus, in addition to a pre-race checklist, I‚Äôm advocating that you create your own post-race check list to ensure that you have something additionally and equally fun to look forward to when your race is over. I had the pleasure of racing the ITU Grand Final in Chicago, and I developed the following checklist ‚Äì use it on future trips to Chicago. Any race destination, give it a try and enjoy the post-race fun!Things to do in Chicago when you‚Äôre done racing the ITU Grand Final:
Play Country Bingo and try to collect all the participating countries. Leigh JapanWe tried to be sneaky and get candid shots, but Japan caught us-thankfully he was cool with it and posed! (I think he tried to flex a bit too and broaden those shoulders!) Spent the whole weekend trying to track down the Turks and Caicos athlete or a Dutch Antilles (I think I saw 3 on the start lists).
Get to a Cubs game. I grew up in section 137 of Coors Field, and there is something so cool about being in a stadium that is over 100 years old. September-baseball-great atmosphere.
Have a beverage in the Terrace at Trump Tower. It rained both evenings post race and hard, so I didn‚Äôt get a chance to capture the Chicago skyline in a photo! It‚Äôs been a while since I‚Äôve experienced a good ol‚Äô Midwestern thunderstorm. Last time I saw that much lightning I was driving back from Kansas 70.3 and we didn‚Äôt need the headlights!
If you‚Äôre a beer person, you‚Äôve got to try Revolution Brewing. Chicago breweries are really starting to pick up on the micro trend, and while they don‚Äôt really rival Colorado Beer, they‚Äôre definitely in contention.
Go watch the Elite races; Juniors, U23 and Elite Paratriathlon are especially cool. Being very involved with the collegiate scene, I have a soft spot in my heart for the next generation of speedy people, and paratriathletes I find inspiring.
Curse the weather when it forces the race directors to change the schedule, making you miss the women‚Äôs elite race because the Cubs tickets you bought ahead of time is now at the same time. Be sure to also weird out the bachelor party in front of you as you stare at the live tracking on your phone and mumble about Vicky Holland being a real threat to Gwennie because she, Vicky, nearly out kicked Gwen in the last race. Then nearly knock your buddy‚Äôs beer over when she, Ms. G, finally pulls away and wins for the second year in a row. (Yes, I really wanted to be there!)
Take a walk along the lake front.
When dining out, definitely find some local pork or sausage. Chicago is quickly rising in its notoriety for excellent sausage and charcuterie, even if you‚Äôre not really into sausage, like me. They‚Äôre working on some interesting (read: tasty!) flavors you wouldn‚Äôt expect.
Leigh pre race
Get excited for your next race!