While the hype centers on the hill they call ‘The Beast’, the character of the coarse starts with a choppy swim against a noticeable current, an absolutely savage bike coarse and a grueling run that uses hills and heat to slow competitors to a pace killing grind’
My coach, Michael Lovato, told me before the race that the toughest part of this course would not be the crazy steep hill known as ‘ The Beast’ but what came after that. Unfortunately he was right and not because my race was going accordingly, but I ended up with two flat tires after tackling ‘The Beast’ I only had one tube which meant I had to wait a good 25-30 minutes for bike support to come. One of the most helpless feelings is being stuck on the side of the road especially, when I was in a good spot to compete for a podium spot. But I did my best to shake off my bad luck and finish my race to the best of my ability given the circumstances.
Race results aside, I had such a great experience on this beautiful Island, the toughest course I have ever done. A huge thank you must go to my host family Joanna and Dick Isherwood for taking such good care of me, supporting me on race day and taking me to explore the Island a bit after the race.
The ST Croix swim is ranked one of the most beautiful swims in triathlon, the water gets a bit choppy further out of the harbor and drafting is made tougher with the smaller field, with only six professional woman. After I was dropped by Amanda Stevens and Lauren Goss, I was left swimming on my own and lost a bit of focus especially on the home stretch into T2. But still managed to have an average swim and come 3rd out the water.
A climb at around mile 20, it is around 0.8 mile with gradients ranging between 15-24%
The bike course is basically a loop around the Island with two smaller loop which you do at the start and at the end. The toughest part of the coarse is indeed what comes after ‘The Beast’ once you descend the monster climb you make your way onto the highway, where the heat, hills, humidity and technical turns are relentless and this is where the race begins. Although the bike times seem slow trust me when I say a sub 2:40 for the ladies is impressive!
This run is a brutal 2 loop course filled with rolling hills, mixed terrain and hot patches with no wind or shade. The finish is down a local street surrounded by beautiful Danish architecture and lots of locals cheering. Although I really struggled mentally on the last part of the bike, my run went better than I thought it would and my nutrition went very well considering the heat!
I am so grateful to have been able to see such a beautiful place and race such a unique course like ST Croix, thanks must go to my supportive family and especially to my mom for buying my flight to ST Croix. Thank you to my coach Michael Lovato for is endless support, understanding and knowledge. Thank you to First Endurance for their amazing products and support, ISM saddles and Kristen McFarland my massage therapist.
Next up is Challenge Knoxville this weekend!