Bring on The Beast-Pre Race St Croix
Posted: May 20 2014
I guess its pretty typical of me. Dive straight in and then figure it out later! So, when me and my group of ‘boys’ (the guys that I train and race with), and our various partners sat around post- race at Honu last June, we agreed to find another race, this time on the East Coast to accommodate John, our New York Connection. St Croix was suggested and the decision of the world. After all its in apart of the world that I absolutely love, the Caribbean. Who could say no. My main focus this year has ben Ironman Australia, just five weeks before St Croix. So I really out very little effort or interest into learning more about the race. I had heard mumblings about a huge hill called the “Beast”, but I can ride hills……
With Ironman Melbourne done and with just a few weeks to get ready fr St Croix, I started to do some reading! OMG!! It was not just the ‘Beast’ that’s a killer at an average grade of 14%, with parts that stretch to 24%, and…how about all the other hills on the second half of the course. The dangerous descents, windy roads, uneven road surface, heat and wind……. And that’s just the bike……the swim is in a harbor but it can be so choppy at 6.30am that some blogs have said you just do your best to get through the swim leg. Then, if you survive the bike, there is the run to contend with. And from what I have read, the race does not start until the run. Im not sure where that leaves me, who is usually strongest on the bike! The run can be a sauna. Its super hot, and suer windy and if it has rained a little, the humidity can hit you even harder. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Well, its fun enough for over 650 athletes to travel to this amazing little island, including some of the top pros, to a race that is one of the oldest in the Ironman family and has been around for over 20 years. AND, it probably has the closest conditions to Kona. In fact, I would say it’s kind of a Wildflower/Kona combo!
So, what do I think so far? I am nervous, although my nerves settled as I saw the intimacy and relaxed atmosphere at this race. There are athletes from ALL over the world. and yes, there are LOTS of pros. And they keep coming back. Must mean that this race is not all that bad. Or maybe we are all just typical Type A personalities looking for yet another way to punish ourselves.
This race has charm. It's one if the oldest races in the Ironman calendar. The atmosphere is very laid back and relaxed. It almost seems disorganized. And yet, its not! Its professionally run by Tom Guthrie who has been doing this for over 20 years. There is enormous participation and support from the entire Island. People are warm, friendly and very helpful. The roads are nothing like we are used to riding in the posh streets of suburban USA, but for this part of the world, the roads are awesome and Tom has spent a lot of time improving the road surface.The hotels are ovely, the town is quaint and again, the people are warm, happy and friendly.
And so, we rode the Beasts to test it out…..Yes its hard. Yes, its steep. Yes, it will hurt…..BUT, we did it! And we can do it! As my goodfriend, and Alii Lifestyle ambassador ,Tamara pointed out…”All things are hard before they are easy..’ as said by a well loved,respected and always remembered San Diegan, Duane Roth.