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Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Race Review-Part One

It’s been a little over a week since this author participated in the Beach2Battleship Iron Distance race, produced by Setup Events.

This isn’t a race report: this review will discuss the iron distance courses and the production of the race.

About Setup Events:

Setup Events is the largest triathlon production and timing company.  They produce the Inside-Out Triathlon Series, the Go Tri Sports Series, and the Virginia Triathlon Series, in addition to the TrySports Triathlon Development Series and a number of running and other events.

About Beach2Battleship:

Beach2Battleship is the premier event in the Setup Events series.  Beach2Battleship is held in and around Wilmington, North Carolina and features an iron-distance and a half-iron distance race.  The event starts in the ship channel at Wrightsville Beach and ends at the U.S.S. North Carolina battleship in downtown Wilmington.

2010 was the third year of Beach2Battleship.  The editors of Triathlon Magazine selected Beach2Battleship as one of the top five triathlons in the world in 2010

Beach2Battleship Packet Pick-Up and Expo:

Packet pick-up was held at the Coastline Convention Center in Wilmington, NC on Thursday and Friday before the race.  We arrived on Friday and the line was manageable and moved quickly.  Setup does an excellent job with the logistics and the process was uneventful.

The Expo was a bit crowded but had a number of interesting product for sale.  In a later communication with the race director, he revealed that next year’s pick-up and expo will be at a larger venue.  This is an excellent and necessary change: the crowded expo prevented us from browsing.  We’re certain a less crowded space would have meant more spending on related gear.

The athletes meeting was informative and very useful.  Although it was a bit longer than the hour we expected, the information was very useful, including descriptions of the race courses and details from the USAT officials.  Well worth spending the few extra minutes

Beach2Battleship Transition Zones:

Beach2Battleship has transition zones in two locations: the first is the swim to bike and is located at Wrightsville Beach. The second is the bike to run transition located at the battleship.  We dropped off our gear at T1 the night before.  This included a swim to bike bag, a bike to run bag, two special needs bags, and our bike, helmet, and other bike gear.

We were impressed that all of our gear was transported to the correct location and we didn’t hear any complaints about missing special needs bags or changing bags.

Beach2Battleship Swim Course:

To get to the swim course, about two miles from T1, you have to board a trolley for a quick trip down the beach.  We arrived at 5am for body marking and last minute checks of our gear.  Finding everything in order, we hopped a bus and headed to the beach.

Arriving at the beach, we had a great chance to scope out the swim start and chat with fellow triathletes.  We milled around for a bit before suiting up and dropping our changing bag at the designated location.  This bag of clothing would be available after the race at the finish line.

We hoped for a favorable tide, but the tide was completely slack when the horn sounded at 7am.  We held back a bit to let the elites get started and ended up hitting the water a few minutes after 7am.  The water was 64 degrees.  The swim course is very simple: a straight up the ship channel with a hard left turn about half a mile from the finish.  The course was well marked and featured numerous boats and officials making sure the participants stayed on course.

The toughest part of the swim was the run from the exit to T1.  Some of this path was on the concrete docks and the rest was across pavement in the parking lot.  After running through this parking lot, we crossed the street and into T1.

Beach2Battleship Transition 1:

After crossing the timing mat, participants picked up their changing bag and headed into the changing tent.  After the 64 degree water, the warmth of the tent was a welcome change.  There were plenty of tables to lay out your gear and numerous chairs to use while changing.

We changed and headed out on the bike course that would take us on a 112 mile journey across four counties in North Carolina.  Leaving Wrightsville Beach, we would head onto I-140 and into Pender, Bladen and Sampson counties before returning to New Handover for T2.

We’ll publish our second installment of the Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Race Review tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

About Eric H. Doss

Eric is a triathlete and writer. He has competed in all distances of triathlons, from sprints to full Ironman distance races. He founded FitEgg.com in 2009 to meet the increasing need for professional, unbiased reviews of triathlon gear.

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