|SAUGERTIES, NY (April 17, 2017): More than 1,500 athletes competed in the HITS Triathlon Series – Napa Valley triathlon race event that took place at Lake Berryessa, Napa, California on Saturday and Sunday, April 8-9, 2017. This year’s race experience was made more challenging by abnormally cold air temperatures in the early morning hours on both days and rain on Saturday. Many athletes who had not anticipated such cold air and did not have sufficiently warm cycling attire, decided to brave the elements and proceed with a race for which they had been training for months. The dampness from the swim and the rain coupled with wind chills that lowered the perceived temperature even further caused several athletes severe discomfort while on the bike course.
Thanks to the immediate response by CHP officers, who were on hand for traffic control, and by emergency responders from Cal Fire, our athletes were able to access refuge in a variety of warm environments. American Medical Response (AMR) was on hand throughout both days to provide all necessary emergency medical services to the participants. Following the race, AMR reported a total of 20 patient contacts, 14 of which were environmental (related to cold conditions). Cal Fire reported approximately 30 contacts, all of which were environmental. Another local volunteer ambulance reported 8 patient contacts, 6 of which were environmental. Of these contacts, only one resulted in an athlete being transported for hypothermia.
Tom Struzzieri, CEO of HITS Endurance, said “We are extremely grateful to all the officials who assisted our athletes during the event. We strive to provide a safe and comfortable race experience for participants at all of our races and plan to ensure that athletes and race officials are even better prepared to deal with difficult race conditions in the future. Pre-race communications will include the most current weather forecasts together with recommendations for proper gear and best practices for navigating the race courses. We will also work closely with all of the other area agencies to develop contingency plans for unusual weather and to ensure that they are properly communicated so that responses are seamless.”