I jumped off a boat and escaped the cape!! Ok, so this race is definitely a must for anyone on the east coast or in general. It’s not as long as Alcatraz or as expensive but I loved Cape May and I recommend it highly!
I arrived in Cape May Saturday (4-hour drive from DC) and immediately went to check in. Now I want to say immediately because there are “mandatory” athlete meetings and they only take place 3 times during the day. Plus you have to bike or shuttle or park in a nearby neighborhood to get to the venue (no on-site parking and the shuttle location is a mile from the ferry). The check-in went very smooth, there was a bike valet section to park your bikes in the meantime and we went upstairs to get our packets. They provided us with the awesome Delmo swim caps that aren’t a painful latex, some really nice and soft shirts (cotton but super soft) and disposable timing chips which I found to be fascinating.
Afterwards, we went and walked over to the expo where I purchased some Kaenon sunglasses cause they were deeply discounted (review later) and walked around the minimal amount of booths. There was food available and I wish I ate but I was running chatting with fellow SOAS member Holly and going to the bathroom.
I stayed in North Cape May which is really the downtown area on the ocean side. It was beautiful, an adorable town and right on the beach. I stayed at the Lafayette de Marquis which was a nice hotel, let me extend my checkout times and provided free parking. I will say I wish I ventured more into town to find a restaurant to eat for dinner because I just stayed at the hotel (mainly because I didn’t want to change) and enjoyed the poolside bar and ocean breeze. I then drove to CVS to get some water and an iPhone charger (forgot mine) and then walked around town.
The next day was an early wake-up call, 4 am to drive over to the parking field (no on-site parking remember) then were shuttled to the race site. I probably could have slept in longer but I was more nervous about long shuttle lines. I gave myself plenty of time to set up my spot, go to the bathroom and hang out before we boarded the vessel. While in transition someone said no bike pumps allowed after transition closes. uhh, what? I hid mine in my bag since it was big enough. I don’t think many people listened to that statement.
The sprint race would not start until 8:30 so I had some time to kill so I brought some magazines. I also ate half a bagel and a honey stinger energy bar while I waited.
|Me behind the guy jumping|
It was choppy and lots of waves! I jumped off the boat and swam to shore. It was probably the most challenging swim I have had because of how choppy the ocean was. I was getting rolled and rocked and had to float on my back to get in some air. The current was also incredibly strong that I was pushed to the beach.
Our bikes were racked by groups of numbers, not necessarily having our own spot given the 2000 people racing so I had to really remember my row and rack. It was a semi-long run to transition, through soft sand a mud. I also did not want to run in my wetsuit so I took it off at the beach.
I don’t know if this is a Delmo thing but I could have sworn he said 10 miles at the athlete meeting when in fact it was 12.5. Anyways the bike course was challenging because of the high winds. I had to grab onto the handlebars many times to keep from blowing about. The bike course was beautiful, the roads were meh and I was doing an average of 20-21 until I saw the accident. Two guys collided and it freaked me so much that I started biking a little more cautiously and slower. The wind also didn’t help mentally. Then once I hit 10 miles I swore the bike course was ending but I was wrong and we were forced into a headwind and crosswind for the next 2.5 miles. The bike finish was congested and not safe in my opinion because there was a cement pole in the middle of it so they had volunteers directing people around it.
I dismounted and got stuck behind a slow girl in her bike shoes so it took me awhile to get back to my spot. Put on my shoes and headed on out.
The run was flat except for the sand section which was up and down and soft. I took it easy on this section. It was beautiful don’t get me wrong but challenging at times. It wasn’t extremely hot but it was also 3 miles.
The athlete guide says awards would begin at 10:30. 1 hour later they finally started. I got mine at 12, biked back to my car (2 miles away) and booked it to the hotel to shower, pack and change before checkout and then headed back home.
This race was run very well, well stocked and a beautiful venue. You can’t do much about the weather and ocean but for future competitors, might be something to remember. Delmo is awesome and I can’t wait to race Ironman AC in September with him!