Thursday, May 3, 2007

Triathlon Racing in the Caribbean

Dana and I are here relaxing on the beach in St. Croix. In a few days from now we will be racing St. Croix 70.3. I have to say, this is a destination race if I have ever seen one. It reminds me a little of Kona; a little village, epic course, hot, humid, and tropical. We have yet to race it, but it appears it is going to be very tough from what I have seen and the from the portions of the course we have trained on.

We arrived Tuesday evening. It took 12 hrs to get here. It was not a hop, skip, and a jump by any means. We left Tulsa at 6 am. We then took a short flight to Dallas, then a four and a half hour flight to San Juan. We were stuck in San Juan for 3 hrs at the airport, waiting for the 9 seater puddle jumper plane to whisk us off to St. Croix. Our luggage and bikes were taken in a separate cargo plane and was waiting for us when we arrived. A van taxi was reserved to take us to the.Buccaneer resort and hotel. The driver talked and talked about how much he liked politics and political oriented shows. I just kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to inadvertently piss off the taxi driver. I seem to have a knack of saying the wrong things in those situations.

The rooms are nice with an ocean view and a balcony. I would highly recommend staying here if you do come to St. Croix. A lot of the hotels in the town of Christiansted seem to have small rooms and the area looks a little seedy at night.

Wednesday, I took a little 30 minute run on the golf course trail. This is the site of a turnaround loop for the 70.3 race. When I returned I was soaked with sweat. The swim will take place in a working harbor. At 11 am the race organizers closed the harbor for an hour and opened up the swim course for the triathletes, and Dana and I swam the course. There were pretty strong currents and swells on the way out to sea, but we were rewarded with a smoking fast return to the swim exit.

We ran into Ahmed Zaher and his wife, Staci and chatted with them for a while. Then we rented a car and drove the course. I video taped some of the sections of the course including “The Beast “and will post them later. I didn’t find “The Beast” that challenging. The drive up it was really pretty easy. It might be a different sensation on my bike.

I have been told that “The Beast” isn’t the hardest part of this course, and after viewing it, and riding the last 15 miles of it, I tend to agree. The back side from Hwy 60 to 82 has some long grades into easterly trade winds which seem to be sustained at 20 mph or greater. It kind of reminds me of the climb to Hawi in Kona. It seems to get pretty tough at 40 miles into the bike, just when you start to die if you misjudged your half IM pace. Ahmed says a lot of people come back to you during this section., meaning that their pace dies off and you can catch them if you stay strong.

Since this is an “A” race for us both we are resting a lot and enjoying the facilities here at the resort. We don’t go out to eat that often back home, so we have been making up for it with our nightly gourmet meals at the Terrace restaurant here at the hotel.

Dana is freaking out because she keeps seeing Rocco DiSpirito around the resort. He’s a world class chef, and he used to have a reality show produced by Mark Burnett called “The Restaurant”. This is his first try at a half- iron man distance race, he sure picked a tough one. We’ve also seen Karen Smyers a couple of times.

Check in for the race is tomorrow. I just can’t wait to get out there and race this course.

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