2018-08-30 / Views

Is Leelanau too weary to host another race?

Backers of the Ironman triathlon who want to bring the event to northwest Michigan might be looking in the mirror, wondering if they’ve missed a blemish or two.

Ironmen aren’t the problem. Instead, the almost kneejerk pushback against local promoters of the Ironman competition has more to do with the calendar.

Leelanau, known as the consummate host, grows weary by the end of August. We’ve been working overtime for months, entertaining and serving guests of our beautiful area.

Now we’re tired.

So the thought of shutting down road lanes and hosting another big bike race next summer draws a reflexive thumbs down rather than a wave and a smile.

We don’t know how the request will turn out, and nobody does. The decision falls mostly on township boards representing residents who live along a proposed 56-mile path for bikers. The route winds around south Lake Leelanau and up to Setterbo Road.

We count six townships along that route. Good luck getting approvals from all of them even in February when trustees won’t pass another car on their way to meetings.

We’re stating what we’re feeling. Negative reaction toward bringing new business to the Leelanau Peninsula has been uncommon. But now we’re tired.

Did we mention that?

Opinions can change with more information. Proponents are talking about aligning the race with the tart cherry industry, which promotes cherry juice for its ability to quickly refresh the muscles of athletes. That would help.

And the Ironman organization helps offset the cost of hosting the competition with grants to local organizations and communities. How much money are we talking?

Leelanau seems to be saying, “We’ve already been discovered. Now we need some down time.”

No matter how impressive the business advantages for hosting an Ironman triathlon, the bigger question may be if Leelanau wants to muster the strength to host another event.

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