Bring on The Beast-St Croix Ironman 70.3-Pre Race Report-By Andi Neugarten

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 been Ironman Australia, just five weeks before St Croix. So I really put 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. I'm not sure where that leaves me, who is usually strongest on the bike! The run can be a sauna. Its super hot, and super 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. It’s pretty cool that the merchandise store is carrying Alii apparel! I have seen lots of athletes wearing my beautiful clothing….some said they had bought in Kona, and various locations all over the world. AND, I have also managed to connect with LOTS of women who have fallen in love with Alii and whom I have had the pleasure of meeting! I am relaxed and happy. Sipping ice cold French rose the night before the race!

As my friend Tamara pointed out…”All things are hard before they are easy..’ as said by a well respected San Diegan, Duane Roth.