Santa Rosa Island Triathlon: Swim, Bike, Run and Party!
Beautiful Pensacola Bay beckons! Enjoy the warm, clear waters, white sand beaches and tropical paradise that is Santa Rosa Island. And participate in one of the most enjoyable triathlons in the USA.
Posted Thursday, 2 September, 2010
Are you looking for one good reason to compete in the 15th annual Santa Rosa Island Triathlon (SRITRI) on October 2nd? Here’s four great reasons—the swim, the bike, the run and the after party. With a 600-yard swim in the warm waters of the Gulf, an 18-mile bike ride through white sand dunes and a fast and flat 5K run along the scenic beach community of Pensacola Beach, this USAT-sanctioned sprint tri dishes out something for elites, age groupers and newbie triathletes alike.
Race directors have taken every step to make sure this triathlon is one of the best around—a pre-race pasta buffet, low-cost local hotel rates for participants, a top-notch course rich in natural beauty on Santa Rosa Island, and the best post-race party in triathlon. Don’t miss out on your chance to compete; register today: http://www.active.com/running/pensacola-beach-fl/santa-rosa-island-triathlon-2010!
Playing in the Waves
The start of a triathlon can be nerve-wracking. Often, morning sun is barely peaking out over the water, tensions run high as athletes shake out their pre-race jitters on the shore. But standing on the sugar white sands of Pensacola Beach staring out on the warm ocean can calm any racer’s anxieties. Few triathlons can boast the beauty that the SRITRI has to offer—off land and on.
The swim is a standing start on the beach with a run into the water; the Elite wave will go off promptly at 7:30 a.m. There are a total of 10 swim waves that hit the water every three minutes, allowing you to easily get into a groove and enjoy a little bit of elbow room as you cover the 1/3-mile (600-yard) U-shaped ocean swim. And if the swim is still an unnerving part of your race, don’t let that worry you. Race directors will have 40 personnel in the water on kayaks, surfboards or wave runners just to make sure everyone is safe.
We all know that the weather can change on a dime, and race directors have taken this into account. If Gulf water conditions aren’t safe for the swim for any reason, it will be moved across the street to the Santa Rosa Sound. But you won’t feel as though you’re missing out, as both locations guarantee warm waters and aquatic beauty. Remember, warm water means no wetsuit. And no wetsuit means a faster swim-to-bike transition time!
Pedaling Through Pensacola
After exiting the water, you’ll have a short 75-yard run over sugar white sand [I prefer sugar to “lily”] to the transition area. Grab your bike, helmet, shoes and sunglasses and get ready to ride one spectacular bike course through sand dunes on well-paved beachfront roads. And since the majority of the bike course is closed to cars, you can take a moment to get out of your aero bars and enjoy the some of the most beautiful beaches in the country as well as the National Seashore.
Are you in this race to win it? Is the bike your strongest event? Well, this course is your chance to check your place and move up a few notches toward that age group award. The 18-mile fast and flat bike course heads out nine miles on Via de Luna into the National Seashore before turning and heading back. The out-and-back bike course is the perfect opportunity to check your positioning among other racers, motivating you to keep pushing to stay ahead of other racers in your division. If you’re not in it to win it, the bike course is a great chance to take in the beautiful sights from all sides and cheer on your friends and teammates each time you see them.
Running in the Sunshine
Would you like to see more of the beachfront sights? Well, throw on those running shoes and hit the Via de Luna again—this time in the other direction. But just like a good vacation, it may all go by too quickly. If you want that fast run split, you got it. This pancake flat coastal run is sure to be one of your best.
The 3.1-mile run heads down Via de Luna into the scenic Gulf-side neighborhoods before finishing back at Casino Beach Boardwalk by The Dock, a well-known local restaurant and hub for beach nightlife. After finishing the race, grab a water, find a friend and get ready for your last (and well-deserved) transition: the run-to-party transition!
Beach Party: The Fourth Event in Triathlon!
Most good triathlons feature the usual—swim, bike and run. But all great triathlons feature a fourth event—the party. And the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon fits into that “great triathlon” category. Even the elites know where the party is. Amy Kloner, former World Duathlon Champion and last year’s SRITRI winner, has even dubbed it as "the best post-race party in triathlon."
The outdoor post-race Awards Party is located in a tent behind the Hampton Inn—just a short walk from the finish line. If you worked up a hunger with all that swimming, biking and running, then get ready to dig deep. Carrabbas Italian Grill will be serving up an Italian buffet lunch; to top it off, Subway will provide sandwiches. There have also been rumors of ice-cold adult beverages.
So grab a plate, a cold drink and a seat; you don’t want to miss the awards and raffle! First place male and female elite finishers will nab $1,000 each; second place male/female elite earn $350 and third place male/female elite will go home with $150 each. Brian Fleischmann and Amy Kloner, 2009 SRITRI winners, will be on the course this year to defend their championship titles.
Age group awards will be given to first three overall male/female finishers, first master male/female (40+) racers, first grand master male/female (50+) and first great grand master male/female (60+). All other age group awards will go three deep in five-year increments. There will also be awards in the Clydesdale, Athena, Physically Challenged and Relay team divisions.
And what would a beachfront race be without a Tiki statue? Top male and female athletes in each of the first four individual divisions will receive a handcrafted Tiki statue that’s so cool it would even make Greg Brady jealous!
Heading to the Beach
Mark your calendar for the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon—a spectacular event on all fronts. Packet pick-up is available on Friday, October 1st in the Crystal Room at the Hampton Inn from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. Get there early so you have time to grab your goodie bag and check out the vendor Expo in the adjacent De Luna Room. The pre-race buffet will be held at Bamboo Willies on the Portofino Boardwalk Friday night from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.; tickets can be purchased at the expo. The cost is $6 for adults and $3.00 for children under 12 years.
Can’t make it to the expo on Friday? Race day packet pick-up is also available from 5:30 to 6:45 a.m. in the Crystal Room. Body marking is from 5:30 to 7:00 a.m. outside the transition area. For a full event calendar, check out the race Website: http://www.santarosaislandtriathlon.com/.
So get ready to have some fun and help out local organizations while you doing it. Proceeds from the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon benefit the Humane Society, the local high school wrestling team, Pensacola Beach lifeguards, Pensacola beach fire department and the local surfer’s association. Last year’s event raised nearly $8,000 for area causes!
Don’t wait. Register today for what’s guaranteed to be your new favorite triathlon. Registration is limited to the first 1,000 individuals and first fifty relay teams. Participant numbers have continued to grow each year, so don’t wait to register. Visit http://www.active.com/running/pensacola-beach-fl/santa-rosa-island-triathlon-2010 now to grab your slot!