Dorset Daily Bugle

Published once a year in Dorset, Minnesota whether there's news or not


The Dorset Triathlon:
Eat, Sleep and Shop

The most popular, satisfying and easiest triathlon in
Minnesota will be hosted by Dorset again this summer that

Will census prove
Dorset is a big city?

City officials in Dorset are encouraging all residents in the Dorset metro area to fill out and return census forms this year to prove that its population really is 3.2 million, a figure that has been disputed when federal censusofficials made a secret trip to the city in 2000. Those census officials said they found a little town barely three blocks long and with only a handful of houses with 22 inhabitants. But Dorset city officials said many visitors draw a wrong conclusion because they are confusing the original, HistoricDowntown Dorset that has been preserved within the metro Dorset's boundaries. Downtown Dorset has been buffered by a rural look of farm-like fields and hilly countryside so the Dorset metro
area with the Mall of the World, Dorset Dome, Dorset International Airport and light rail lines can't be seen. "We did a pretty good job of hiding metro Dorset from visitors to the downtown," said Dorset's development planner. Those visitors driving on I-34 between Park Rapids and Walker take the off-ramp north to Dorset and can't see allof metro Dorset's office towers, such as Trump Tower Dorset, or the tall condos along Lake Dorset or the light rail line from Hubbard, "but they're there," the planner said. Downtown Dorset's small-town feel wasn't done without a lot of planning and work that began after the logging era ended in northern Minnesota. Strict building codes require that all shops and restaurants have wood storefronts, boardwalks and one-level shopping and dining. "Big-box" retailers aren't allowed in downtown Dorset, nor are there any national chain stores. Stoplights and crosswalks aren't needed due to the many courteous visitors to Downtown Dorset, where honking a horn or talkingloudly on a cell phone is considered poor etiquette and politicians aren't allowed to give speeches. Outside downtown Dorset, however, things are different. Traffic on the freeways circling and splicing the area are often bumper-to-bumper during rush hour, buses run continuously on the main arteries and thousands of houses line neighborhood streets. "That's where we put the 3.2 million people," said Dorset's planner. "You can count them, if they stand still long enough."
But visitors who wonder if that's true don't seem too anxious to venture outside Downtown Dorset to see for themselves. As one visitor said: "Why spend time looking
for the illusionary Dorset when the real thing is right hereto be enjoyed?" And that's what happened in 2000, according to some observers, when census officials were seen in Downtown Dorset but were so enamored by the small-town feel that theynever verified the metro Dorset census count, and, some say,
just made up a number.


will bring thousands of "triath-eats" to "The
Restaurant Capital of the World."
The three segments of the triathlon -eating, shopping and
sleeping- can be done in any order, at any time, for any
length, as often as desired and in as many days as desired
with no need to register, train or keep time. In fact, the
longer triath-eats take to do the triathlon, the more
satisfied they feel.
The laid-back event is so casual that most triath-eats
rarely break out a sweat, even though they go back many
times to Dorset do another triathlon in a city that has more
restaurants, shops and lodging rooms per capita than any
other city in the world, and all within the three-block
Historic Downtown Dorset area that makes participation so
While some of Dorset's 3.2 million residents have wanted
to expand the triathlon's boundaries outside the Historic
Downtown Dorset area and include more strenuous activities
such as swimming Lake Dorset, biking/running the Heartland
Trail or paddling Dorset Creek, triath-eats have disagreed,
although many have suggested that reading a book would also
fit within the triathlon's vision.
Newcomers are always invited to visit Dorset and "try a
tri," especially between May and September when there are
so many persons happily doing a triathlon segment that the
fun is contagious, rain or shine.
The eating segment can be done almost any time of the day,
from an early morning breakfast to a late-evening dinner
with all kinds of options in between. Shops of all types
with a wide variety of unique items can be visited with no
need to rush, since triath-eats try to spend as much time in
Dorset as possible.
While watching triath-eats sleep at a bed and breakfast
isn't very exciting for spectators, Dorset triath-eats say
the quiet surroundings and fresh night air makes the
sleeping segment the hardest to quit, as if they were on
vacation. Some have also been tempted to squeeze a nap in
between eating and shopping activities, even on the spacious
lawn at Dorset's park.
The triathlon has become so popular that participants head
straight to Dorset as soon as they arrive in the area,
driving right past the Mall of the World, the Dorset Dome
and not even looking up to the 84th floor of the Trump Tower
office building. Those places could just be a fantasy world,
as far as they know, because the goal of doing a triathlon
is just so satisfying when done in the Dorset-style.