She also heard reports of a family banging pots and pans in its front yard as participants traveled the bike course.
"We've gotten such great reviews from thousands of visitors," said Stout, the executive director of the Augusta Sports Council. "The rumor is that Augusta has truly embraced the event."
The half Ironman event returns Sept. 26 and will feature more than 3,000 triathletes competing in a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike race and 13.1-mile run.
The 2009 event set a record as the largest half Ironman event in the world. Stout said 3,200 participants are registered for this year's event.
"I am told we are maintaining that designation again this year," she said.
Event organizer Bill Burke said the course won't change. Participants will start with the swim at the Riverfront Marina, then exit the water near the Augusta Boathouse. From there they will embark on a 56-mile bike ride that takes them into South Carolina and back, and the final leg is the run through downtown Augusta that finishes at Augusta Common.
"Everything is going great," Burke said. "We're right where we need to be in our planning. The event was a huge success last year."
Burke said the Augusta event is the last chance for triathletes to qualify for the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3, which will be held Nov. 13 in Clearwater, Fla.
"If you tried to qualify and haven't been able to do it, this is the last race to do it," Burke said.
Last year's pro divisions were won by the husband-wife duo of Greg and Laura Bennett.
Several events will be held in conjunction with the competition, and Stout said more than 800 volunteers will be put to use. More than a dozen hotels are booked, she said, and the city is expecting another big economic windfall.
The Ironman has a deal with Augusta through 2011, but Stout is hungry for more.
"I'm looking forward to negotiating an extension after the 2010 event," she said. "We've got a three-year contract, and I'm pushing for an extension."