Atlantic City 70.3 Race Report 9-15-2019 Atlantic City Race Report, By Ken Junior Atlantic City, New Jersey September 9-15-2019
Why I chose this race?
After racing Maine 70.3 3 weeks prior I was on a finish line high and just couldn’t get enough. I knew I had built my fitness really well this year and my body felt great, I heard some training buddies were doing this race as well as some first timers and had to sign up to get another race in before seasons end. I remember my support and how it felt when I was a first timer at 70.3 Atlantic City a year prior so I wanted to give that feeling back to someone. One of my teammates was doing his first 70.3 and I had to give back and be there for support! After signing up, I got my bib number I found out I was racked right next to him and this made it all the more awesome!!!! This race was not my “A” race for the year, so I wanted to go into it confident, happy, and just lay it out there and see where the chips fall! I knew a PR for this course was likely, and if I somehow PR’d the 70.3 distance for the second time in 3 weeks I would go into the off season on a really big motivational high!
Last year I stayed at a hotel north of transition, not in the actual city or a casino and it worked out well not dealing with any traffic in the AM. We booked at the Ramada about 1.5 miles north of transition. It was a little cheaper than were I stayed last year, and I guess you get what you paid for. Check in was a line of athletes and then some local transients who were complaining about a security deposit charge. After 20 minutes we got our room and headed to the 4th floor, last room, and a perfect quiet spot for a room! I opened the door anddddddd there was peoples stuff in the room. Back down we go to the office and get the end room this time on the 3rd floor, we walk in and there’s still balloons in there from the prior guest. Oh well, we were only staying here for 12 hours basically.
Ramada by Wyndham West Atlantic City 8037 Black Horse Pike Pleasantville, NJ 08232 1(609)646-5220 $120/night
(photo It’s AC what do you expect?)
Schedule of Events We arrived Saturday AM with a drive time of about 3 hours and no traffic, we got to the expo and transition around noon time, checked in, racked our bikes, shopped a bit and headed out, pretty standard stuff. Dinner that night was a local Italian place Sapore – 6501 Ventnor Ave – DELICIOUS! Carbed up with a few people and had a great time! Goals for the Race First goal is always to finish no matter what!!!! A sub 6hr time is great, a PR for the course which at the time was 5:28:51 would be perfect! And a long shot goal of a 70.3 PR beating 5:13:05 would be unreal!!!! It was a weird 3 weeks between Maine 70.3 and AC 70.3, I was sick for a little over the week and trained through it, I didn’t get the distance in I wanted to in between, and in the last week before AC I decided to just go into the race well rested. Life and work were getting crazy schedule wise so it was the smartest thing I could think of. Race Day Again like Maine 70.3 I actually got some sleep the night before which is rare. We woke at 415am just minutes before our alarms went off to head down to transition. Arrived and saw my teammate and rack buddy getting pumped up and ready to crush his first 70.3! We got setup and proceeded to the swim start. We are about the same pace swimmers expecting about a 40-45 min swim time. So we seeded ourselves in the 36-45 minutes wave against his will, but I learned to always seed yourself a little ahead of what you think. 630am was the start time and we got postponed cause of lightning in the area. Race time was now 7am. They called for a brief 40% chance spot thunder storm around 7am, but the day looked clear after that. Swim Water temp was 73.9 degrees and while waiting to start, the rain rolled in and we got word it was pouring out on the bike course, wonderful!!!!! They upped the amount of swimmers going in at a time to get the party started and catch up time wise. This caused a bit of a log jam out on the swim. The water was not calm, and people were beating the shit out of each other out there, I got sucked into the inside lane and got banged around, at the first turn buoy I got caught up in the rope as well. I kept forward progress and kept banging away. Finally the end of the swim came about and I immediately looked at my watch to see how it compared to the prior year since it felt like it took forever! I gained 1:30 over the prior year and that made me push ahead fast into transition. The swim also measured long, most people were getting almost 200yds longer!
(photo Check that watch boy!!!!!!)
T1 LEGS ON THE GROUND FINALLY! Always a good feeling in my book!!! Since I registered late my bike was the first rack basically at the entrance, which means I had to run with my bike past 2000 athletes to get to bike out. I hustled and got to the exit and mounted up! Now transition in AC is about a mile long. You have to ride out of the air field before hitting the timing mat, this makes for a longer transition time than usual in T1 and T2. I got out onto the bike shaving some time off last year’s transition time. Bike Well……. The Bike…… Where to start…… This course is a 2.5 lap course and it gets crowded on the second and final half lap with all those athletes out there. It also runs along the right lane and shoulder for a good portion on the Atlantic City expressway, and has rumble strips separating the lanes. The first lap I just wanted to get settled in, but within 5 minutes the skys opened, and same story as last years race, rain rain rain, the streets started to flood in the north section and it was tough to see the road marking where the pot holes were. The expressway is smooth but the northern portion of the course is riddled with rough areas. There was reportedly 80 or so people with flats during the bike leg, and multiple people with multiple flats. I wish I knew what the root cause was, over inflation? Pot holes? Or debris? There was also a few people down in some accidents, some people just were not staying right, or would go to pass and rigde 2 or 3 wide and block. The race officials were not really out because of the weather and seems they were tending to a lot of people who needed help on the road along the way. I started losing my voice yelling LEFT, again my poor swim in comparison to my strong bike leaves me passing A LOT of people on the bike course. On the last climb at the second turn around by the casinos there is a ramp that leads back up and onto the expressway that starts after a SHARP slow right turn. Once I made the turn I started pumping hard to climb quick and didn’t realize I cross chained my gears pretty bad and my chain rode up off the back cassette, clanged, came back on the cassette and then the chain immediately came off the big ring up front towards the pedals, SHIT, I looked down quick gave it one pedal and BAM chain came back onto the big ring and I was able to keep climbing. The guy behind me was amazed as he yelled to me “That Was Fucking Awesome!” I laughed and shook it off and kept hammering down!!!! All in all it’s a fasssssst course even though I had to slow down for road conditions and people getting in the way. I can’t imagine that bike course on a nice day!!!! I managed to PR my bike time and shave 13 minutes off my prior year. Nutrition on the bike was 2.5 bottles of my electrolyte carb mix and had 2 GU packs and Salt every 10 miles
(photo Nutrition on Point! #Gugels in Mouth lol)
(photo Glorious Time In The Rain)
T2 I rode in socks this year, and it was pointless because they were soaked after being out in the rain, I debated taking them off but said screw it and kept them on. Getting off the bike is hard on the feet if you leave your shoes on the pedals because you’re running on a grooved portion of an airfield. It had stopped raining at this point and was cloudy, and I knew it was supposed to get humid out. I trotted in to T2 and thankfully it wasn’t muddy like the prior year. I threw my bike on the rack got my shoes on, and boogied out! Saved 2 minutes off my prior years T2 time! At this point I knew a course PR should be good to go even with an OK run. I tried to do the math on my 70.3 PR but decided to just keep running the race I was running. Run The run takes you over the waterway you swam in and onto the boardwalk of AC for a full run along the boardwalk and some out and backs to sum up the distance. Of course when I looked over to the swim course which was broken down already the water was like glass now!!! These things just make melaugh. It stopped raining and the sun peeked a little bit. Once I hit the boardwalk it felt like a Sauna! The heat radiated off the planks, and I knew this was going to hurt. The AC run seems like it just takes foreverrrrrrrr it takes you all the way one way then turn around allll the way back around the finish line at about mile 8 and alllll the way to the other end of the board walk. There are 2 out and over the water pier runs you do which is nice and break it up a little bit as well as a stint on the sand. Again I started out making sure my heartrate was in the right zone for the run, and after a few miles I started to lose some speed. I expected this and kept pushing forward. I was going to take my last ½ bottle of nutrition with me from the bike but forgot to. So now I was relying quickly looking for the aid stations. Once I saw what was offered I came up with a plan. 1- ice down the suit 2-slam back some Gatorade 3-swig of water and the rest on my head…… I also brought salt with me and made sure to get 3 licks in before each station. Ironically my legs held up great through the run, no cramps or aches, it was just the humidity slowing me down a bit. I couldn’t calculate a finish time anymore in my head and just kept pushing forward knowing I had locked in a course PR.
(photo Flying to the finish)
FINISH There is nothing like coming off the Pier and turning back left onto the boardwalk and seeing the finish line chute you passed running the other way about 5 miles ago……. Knowing it’s there, a little further! I hit the carpet and galloped in to the finish. Passed through, got my medal and looked at my watch…….5:08:03 HOLY SHIT, I was ecstatic!!!! I knew I hit a 70.3 PR again. After a none ideal day I made it work and pushed on to a great finish!!!! Post-race food is on point! Everyone turns to the left and is met with a Food truck with burgers, fries and chicken and a tent with fruit, bacon soda, drinks, and beer, whatever you want!!!!! We hung out and caught some teammates crossing the finish line, and by this time it WAS HOT! The sun was full shine, anyone who was still out there was getting baked!!!!!!
(photo Finish Line Feels)
Overall Experience Ask around and people knock AC 70.3, but it’s special for me because my first 70.3 memory a year ago was made here. It’s a 3 hour drive and you can race it in a weekend and not have to make any crazy accommodations, just plan on traffic on the way home!!!! Delmo Sports puts on a great race and they spare no expense!!!! Although I most likely won’t be coming back to this race in 2020, I will definitely be back again. It’s a great race for someone new to this distance, or someone looking for a PR, as it isn’t a very technical course.
(photo Biggest Medals for this race!)