Update 2017: Don’t miss the Jump Up Carbo Feast on Friday night in downtown Christiansted from 6 – 9pm. Athletes get a ticket with registration, but families can purchase. Many restaurants in town participate and there’s a great party in the streets. I could find only one mention of the Awards Banquet on the Ironman site, but I’m assuming it’s being held. I hope so, as it’s one of the better awards events. Check with the race when you get there. Either way have fun!
It’s Ironman 70.3 St. Croix time!!! I’m sure you’re SO ready for some fun in the sun. Hopefully, you have read our Food & Fun Things to Do and Places to Eat series, so you know what to do and where to eat while you’re on the island. We’ve given you some great ideas for both activities. But, now it’s on to why we’re going in the first place – watching our triathlete have a great race.
As always, we recommend you check the Ironman site for any course changes prior to the race. People gather before the race in the bike transition area in front of Fort Christiansvaern. A lot of stretching, sun screen application, and pondering the day goes on. As the athletes have to swim across the bay for the swim start, it’s an early morning, so be prepared….
Here are tips for spectating Ironman 70.3 St. Croix and making the most of your experience:
The swim start takes place in Christiansted Harbour across the bay at the beach at Hotel on the Cay. The athletes have to swim across to get to the start and are expected to be there by 6:00 am. Spectators are not allowed onto the island. The swim goes off in waves, starting at 6:30, so make sure you know which wave your triathlete is in and what color cap they are wearing.
If you are standing along the brick wall and know your athlete’s swim stroke, chances are good you will see them go by. I lucked out one year and saw Carl. Once they exit the water at the wharf, they head to T1, which is in the grassy area in front of the Fort, for the bike segment.
You can easily get from the swim exit to T1 to see them off on the bike – helps to know ahead of time their race number and where their bike is in transition. They head out of town for an 8 mile loop and then come back through before heading out again for the rest of the bike segment. We like to position ourselves at Strand Lane, where they make a sharp turn and head for the “hot corner”. It literally has hay stacks in case someone doesn’t heed the warning to slow down.
Once you see them here, you won’t see them again until they finish the bike. So, you have time now to grab breakfast and take a break. Once you think it is getting close to when they should be done, you have several choices. You can either head to Hospital Street and find a spot in the shade if you’re lucky – you’ll see them pass on the other side of the street for the run – or along the tree-lined path where they have to dismount to enter the T2 area to see them come off the bike and check in with how they’re doing. You’ll want to be on the right side of the street heading out of town, as the bikers and runners share this road.
It’s a 2-loop run course through the Buccaneer Resort. They turn left on Hospital Street for the first loop and then repeat through town. We pretty much stayed along this street for the run and cheered them on a few times. Once they finish the second loop, they run through town a bit before heading for the finish down King Street. You will have time to get to the finish once you see them come back into town, but don’t dawdle, as you will have to maneuver the crowds.
Once they cross the finish line and you have the obligatory picture, you can chalk up having successfully spectated another race, collect all the gear, head back to your hotel, and get ready for the great awards banquet and beach barbecue at Divi Carina Bay Resort.
We’ve always had a lot of fun, although it can get long doing the roll down. Just relax and enjoy the island atmosphere…..
DO YOU HAVE SPECTATING TIPS WE MISSED?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.