I raced St. Croix 70.3 this past weekend which is known for it’s beautiful location and beast of a course. It certainly didn’t disappoint. This was the 23rd year of this race and it has been on my “to do list” for quite some time. Although my race didn’t reflect what I’ve been doing in training it was still a great experience and a race that everyone must do. It is known as a classic in this sport.
I arrived in St. Croix on Wednesday which is a bit earlier than I usually arrive for a Sunday race. Not sure if it was because this race was the same weekend as the Royal Wedding but I received the royal treatment from my amazing homestay, John and Patty Colburn. They picked me up at the airport, showed me around the island, and took me to incredible gourmet dinners every night. They were absolutely wonderful.
The swim starts on an island about 100 meters or so from the dock of the Christiansted Harbour . It was a nice little warm up before the race. I had an o.k. swim exiting first out of the water and grabbing the swim prime.
The bike course is honest, challenging and a bit technical. The roads were probably some of the worst roads I have ever ridden on. Lots of cracks, gravel and potholes. Supposedly the race organizers have the roads re-paved every year for this race. Although they did a great job re-paving some of the roads, there were still sketchy parts throughout the course. I felt strong the first 20 miles of the bike until I hit the infamous “The Beast” hill. Wow…thought I was going to have to walk my bike up the hill! Tough climb but I also thought the last 35 or so miles were just as hard or harder. Lots of wind, hills and technical descends. I loved the hills but the descents got the best of me as I would slow way down on the switchbacks so that I wouldn’t end up in the bushes. A bit disappointed with my ride I came into transition ready to have a solid run.
The run is a rolling out and back that takes you through a golf course with one nasty climb in there. The first two miles were extremely rough and even included some walking. My stomach was in so much pain that I didn’t know how I was going to keep going. Not the way I wanted to start a 13.1 mile run. There were two girls close to me starting the run and I thought I could stay with them. Unfortunately they were moving forwards and I was going backwards. I started to feel much better half way through the run (think I even negative split my run) but ended up so far back by then that I wasn’t able to move up from my 6th place position.
So although it was a tough day out there for me I still had a great time exploring a new place and meeting so many new people. It was great seeing so many people from the island out cheering and supporting this race. Back to work for the next few weeks to get ready for Ironman Brazil.