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!
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!