Finish Time: 5:36:35
Redemption. That’s what this race was all about. I wanted redemption on the bike course from when it was Challenge Atlantic City. However, Delmo sports changed the bike course but actually made it longer than 56 miles. Ultimately, I realized that the focus of this race would be to see if I can PR my time. I did not but I did take home 5th in my Age group. Overall successful race day? Yeah I ‘d say so.
We arrived Saturday morning to Bader field where the race and expo was. Already major points for having it in the same place! I went to check in and roamed around the store. Found some new goggles which I’m stoked about and then made our way to the hotel. After some shopping at the outlets downtown, we went to dinner that was over by the Pier. Afterwards, it was back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Race day wake up and drive to the venue was pretty easy. The hotel lobby was stocked with water bottles, granola bars and bananas so that was a pleasant surprise. We also called ahead to make sure the car was waiting for us when get got downstairs. Note: if you stay at the Courtyard Marriot, do this so you don’t have to wait. A lot of people stayed at this hotel and they only do valet so the pull-up area gets super crowded.
The swim a rolling start where you lined up by expected finish time and then 5 people at ta time jumped into the Back Bay. The course was different than last years as people got caught in a major current and they had to shorten the swim. This year I didn’t really notice a current but some people said they did. Not super happy with my time but fun fact, it was the same as when I raced the course in 2015. Go figure. I exited the swim where there were strippers helping us with our wetsuits and then the long run into transition.
My bike spot was closer to the exit so that was very convenient for coming in and going out. I strapped on my helmet and headed out.
The bike course changed from the previous year. To be honest, I like the old course better. Going back and forth on the expressway got boring especially when you had to deal with the trucks blocking us from the lanes, forcing us onto the shoulder where there were… rumble strips!! Luckily, I did not get a flat or lose a bottle as many people did, but like I said, I liked when we rode past blueberry farms on the previous course. It also got a bit congested given that we were going back and forth on the road with only 1-2 lanes available.
Also the course was longer than 56 miles. I wish that was advertised because it would have been nice to know. My Garmin has some serious issues because it said I bike 62 miles. So gotta get that checked out. The nutrition stations on the course we great and fully stocked, positioned every 10 miles.
I rolled into transition and ran out as fast as possible. The problem with the rolling start separated by time rather than age and the looped course was that you didn’t know where your competitors were. So I bolted out of transition as fast as possible, not before stopping for sunscreen J.
The run took you around the Bader field airport for the first mile and I felt really good. Second mile out onto the road and towards the boardwalk, same feeling. Ran by the Base tent and danced a little while dousing myself with water and sticking sponges and ice down my clothes. Oh did I mention it was hot?
Thankfully the clouds stuck around but only for part of the run. It was along the boardwalk and had some random out and arounds to add to the total distance but overall it was a nice run. I felt really good until the turnaround where the wind picked up and the sun came out. I started to slow down a bit and take in some more fluids and Gatorade. We hit the pier and I felt that I was on point to finish sub 1:50.
Being on the boardwalk and the beach, you are in the direct line of wind, so when the wind got stronger, I really slowed down. I was ecstatic to hit the second turnaround where the wind was at my back and felt strong again. At every hill, I saw many struggling to run up it, but the hill sets that I had completed thanks in part to my NYC marathon training were super helpful and I was able to run up all of them. Thankfully I did because those 10 seconds separated me from 5th and 6th.
Overall I was very happy to have a better race time for this course. I bested it by two minutes and made the podium. Delmo once again put on a great race!