West Lake QC Triathlon photo

West Lake Park – You Should Tri or Try it

Every June for the past 10 years, my husband has completed in the Quad Cities Triathlon at West Lake Park in Davenport, IA. Each year when we go to cheer him on, I am reminded of all the unique recreational opportunities in the Quad Cities. Doing a triathlon at West Lake is pretty fun, but just hanging out there is something else you should try.

Two things you should tri/try at West Lake:

If you’ve ever considered competing in a triathlon, there are a few reasons the QC Triathlon is a great one to do:

1. It is extremely well run (ha, pun intended). Seriously though – from the first email to the clean up – the race organizers do it exactly right. The information, the volunteers, the after race party, the awards, the packet pick up – all the things are done well!

2. The racecourse itself is a good one. There is an easy swim route, clearly marked with giant inflatables, safety kayaks and assistants, and the entry is smooth and easy off the beach. The bike is pretty flat with very minimal traffic. Admittedly, the run course is a little tricky at the start through the park grass and a bit up hill, but once you get on the road, again, it’s a pretty flat course as it overlaps some of the bike route.

3. This race is GREAT for spectators. Many triathlons make it difficult to cheer on the competitors for more than one leg of the race. At the Quad Cities Triathlon, we can cheer for Dad (and others) at the start and end of each leg – and with four boys, we offer our support loud and proud! There is also a playground right near the transition area – so the kids can play while we wait for Dad to complete each leg of the race.

athlete: guy biking, running, standing
Quad Cities Triathlon competitor Luke Cooley:  Swim, bike, run! (photo credits: Phil Pancrazio)

While it’s busy on race day, usually the park is open to the public and you won’t believe all there is to do at West Lake Park and for a reasonable price. Here are our favorites:

1. The beach is a well groomed, life-guarded beach offering a fun place to get a taste of the sand and sun without traveling to Florida! The sand is smooth and mostly rock free, the water is clean and mostly seaweed free, and the staff are friendly and helpful. Our kids love playing here for a different swim and sun day than the Rock Island Whitewater Junction Aquatic Center (which we also love).

2. The boat house offers paddle boats, kayaks and fishing boats for rent. You can bring a picnic to eat at the shaded tables or enjoy a snack from the concession area.

3. The playgrounds. There are multiple places to play throughout the park. There’s also a Children’s Forest where kids can identify different trees.

Fun at the beach
Building sandcastles at West Lake Beach

There’s a ton more to do including camping and disc golf. You should definitely give West Lake Park a try or compete in the tri or both!


About the author

Meghan Cooley Meghan Cooley moved to the Quad Cities from St. Charles, IL, as an Augustana College student over 20 years ago. She left briefly after graduation and then returned to work in admissions and then marketing at Augustana College for 18 years. She now works as a consultant for admissions marketing and social media. She also does copy editing and writes for the Quad City Moms Blog. Now a true Quad Cities transplant, Meghan lives in Rock Island with her husband, Luke (R.O.W.V.A. and Augustana grad and Modern Woodmen employee) and four boys. She loves living in the Quad Cities and finds it the perfect place to raise a family, plan a date night, and go on adventures.

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