A Challenging Triathlon

family tri'ing together

Beauty & the Beast Triathlon on St. Croix is known to be one of the toughest triathlons out there. Quassy, the beast of the east, which is now called Connecticut 70.3, may come close, but after talking with some of the folks that did Beauty & the Beast, they say this one is the hardest course.

The 2018 St. Croix Triathlon

The St. Croix Triathlon had several different races – a 70.3, sprint, relays and an Aquathon (in the east we call this an Aqua Run).  There were 170 participants and the race was well-organized and well-orchestrated.

Since I did the Aqua Run, I was curious to see the Beast. The roads in St. Croix are very hilly and many of them were damaged with potholes from the storm (which, by the way, are no worse than the potholes in NY).

On my way from the airport to the hotel, I thought, there’s no way I can handle these hills. They were steep and with the heat, I felt it could be unbearable. But, at the race, there were nearly 100 people who climbed the beast.

Admiring the Bikes There…

One thing I noticed were the incredible race bikes. Everyone, or shall I say, most triathletes there, had incredible tri bikes with race wheels. I saw a few Argon 18’s with Zipp wheels, Reynold wheels and, I even saw ORR wheels. This was the first triathlon I was at that I saw such amazing bikes. I was impressed!

Pros Raced with Locals

The other cool thing about the race was that there were three pros racing in relays with the locals. They included Wendy Ingraham, Catriona Morrison and Karen Smyers.

This challenging triathlon has been in existence for 30 years. It had always been held in May. When Ironman left, and the race was about to die. Wendy Ingraham helped re-intstate the race. That’s when Scott Frick and Theresa Harper of VI TRI took over.

This year, the race was organized by the race directors and volunteers in the community. Athletes from St. Croix, St. Johns and St. Thomas attended as well as around the world.

The US Virgin Islands Tourism brought over three journalists, including Dawn Roberts of Pathfinders Magazine, Rachel Morris, freelancer and me to cover the event.

Since I did the Aquathon, I was curious about the Beast. We decided to take a drive out that way the day after the race. It looked mean!

The race was an incredible experience for everyone involved. I talked with several athletes after the challenging race and they all said the same thing, “it was well-organized and well-orchestrated race.”

Speaking with Athletes

Two athletes I spoke with on the plane back to the states were from Alabama. I saw them out on the course with their six-month-old, Owen.The couple, Eric and Kayla Boyles, asked the race directors if they could run the last part in town with their son and cross the finish line together. The race directors said, “okay.” They told me that was one of the most exciting and memorable experiences they ever had.

The Boyles from Alabama

“Once we started to organize the race, Scott and I decided that the weather was way nicer the weekend of December 1st, the week before high season and much more affordable for the athletes,” said Theresa Harper, co-race director.

After the race, there was an awards Banquet at the Deep End Bar & Grill. Food was served, and the awards were held.

Final thoughts…

The US Virgin Island Department of Tourism was a major sponsor of the event. Along with Theresa Harper, who lived on the Island for the last 25 years, Sharon Rosario of the Department of Tourism, presented checks to three local organizations in the amount of $10,000 to each charity. It was moving.

After the awards and the presentation, the athletes danced the night away.

I’m so impressed with the work that the Department of Tourism is doing for St. Croix and for athletes. I can’t wait to tackle this event again. This time, I will do the sprint and climb those hills! 

For more information or registration for 2019, check out the website.