23rd annual Copperman Triathlon Saturday

COPPER HARBOR – Saturday marks the 23rd annual Copperman Triathlon. Set in Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, the triathlon includes a 1/2 mile swim in Fort Wilkin’s Lake Fanny Hooe, followed by a 23-mile bike ride along the shores of Lake Superior and a 5-mile run at the tip of the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula. The event is great not only for participants, but also for spectators.

“It’s easy to be a spectator at this event because there’s one area where you can catch all the action,” said Stacy Bussiere, assistant race director, in a June interview.

The triathlon begins with the 1/2 mile swim at 9 a.m. where spectators can gather to watch the start of the race on Lake Fanny Hooe.

“The start of the swim every year, you just get goosebumps watching it,” said Crystal Holzberger, race director, in June. “It’s quiet and then the gun goes off and there they go.”

From there, the triathlon progresses to the bike ride and the run. Although those segments take place mainly in other areas, every transition is conducted in the same place by Lake Fanny Hooe. Spectators are even allowed to go out on the floating deck to get a better view when participants start the swim.

“You see them go in the water, get out of the water, get on their bike, get off their bike, start their run, end their run – it’s all in that transition zone,” Holzberger said.

While the time it takes to complete the triathlon varies, it can take up to three hours to complete, Holzberger said. For hungry spectators, the Library Restaurant provides food for purchase right at the transition area. The proceeds of the event go to the Keweenaw Health Foundation and an annual presentation check, which is given out during the event.

Parking is limited at Fort Wilkins and requires a state park recreation pass, but the Copperman provides shuttles and vans to bring people up from the community center in downtown Copper Harbor. The shuttles run in the morning with assistance from the Keweenaw Adventure Company from 6:30 to 9 a.m., then start again around 11:30 before taking a final break for the awards ceremony, after which shuttling will resume. However, people can also arrive by foot.

“It’s only about half a mile from the community center to the venue so people could walk or ride a bike, and there’s a nature trail they can walk on that leads right up there,” Holzberger said.

On-line registration is closed but there are still spots open for individuals or teams to compete in the triathlon. Interested parties can register at the Copperman packet pick-up tonight from 4 until 9 p.m. at the Copper Harbor Community Center. For more information or registration inquiries, visit keweenawcopperman.org or email info@keweenawcopperman.org.