We get a lot of emails asking what to expect at a race like the Sea to Sea. So here’s a short, descriptive guide, of what you can expect…
The Sea to Sea – How it Works
Training: Get out there and get some long workouts, hiking, biking, paddling. You need to be capable of doing any of these three as a team for at least 8 continuous hours (at an easy pace). Also you need to train some at night and get used to headlamps and bike lights.
Gear to Bring: You will need to bring your bikes, any paddling gear you want to use (paddles, seat cushions, life vests), and one gear bin that will follow you around the race. The gear bin should have gear and food that you want for the race. Food will be supplied at some transitions, but not all. You will want food during the race and you will have segments with no civilization (i.e. no food marts). As for the gear – think long hike, long paddle, long bike – and bring what you would bring for those. You will NOT need a tent (we supply those at transition), but you may want a pillow in your gear bin. The USARA gear list is a good guide – http://www.usaranationals.com/
Wednesday: You will show up at the host hotel and check in. We are supplying lodging for Wednesday night as part of your registration fee (one room per team). We will work with you on packing your gear bin – and there are stores nearby for last minute purchases of food, etc… There will be a pre-race meeting where we will go over the course and we will supply you with course maps. Chat with other racers and get ready for a true adventure – and get some sleep (we know how hard this will be). You will load your gear bins and bikes on Wednesday night, you will see them at the start on Thursday morning. You will want to go over the maps with your team and work out your race strategy.
Thursday: Get a good breakfast and load the buses. Bring some food on the bus, you will want it. The ride to the start takes 2-3 hours. You will be dropped off with all the other teams at a beautiful scenic location, get some words of advice from the race director, and then the race will start. You will be racing for the next 72 hours so no need to be a jackrabbit.
Thursday night: Don’t bother trying to sleep on the first night, the adrenaline will still not have worn off. You may want to rest some – but I have never seen anyone sleep the first night.
Friday: You will be amazed that you are still going strong, especially given your lack of sleep. By now you are in a race groove – and looking forward to hot food in transitions. The weather could be hot or cold – but luckily you have the clothes for both in your pack. You are amazed at the incredible locations you are visiting, and have had at least a couple of navigation challenges by now.
Friday Night: While some teams appear to be pushing through with no sleep, the hallucinations convince you sleep is a good idea and you drop off in the TA in the supplied tent area. Of course the hot food helped and you are feeling pretty good. After a few hours of sleep you are ready to get back on it and keep the team moving.
Saturday: By now you are really in the race groove – but tired. The team is still moving, just slower than a few days ago. You have made friends with at least a half dozen other teams and gotten to know your team-mates better than you could possibly imagine. You talk about that hard section and are in awe of some of the teams that are muscling through the course with no sleep and moving incredibly fast.
Saturday Night: Why did I ever agree to do this? I am exhausted and it is dark and cold. At least I have my team-mates. The hallucinations are getting good – but we are still moving. We may sleep.
Sunday: We are almost done! The last sections of the course are incredible. I am so tired and sleepy. This is awesome. What was I just saying? I hope we have all our gear. Why can’t I think straight? I hope we are going the right way. At least these other teams are going the same way.
Finish: OMG – we really did it. This was awesome! I want a bed right now! What are we going to do with all this gear? Can I rest before the awards ceremony?
Awards: Food, glorious food – that is all I want. I wonder how much weight I lost? We still have to pack up everything. I am going to miss everyone so much. This was the most incredible experience of my life.
Next 2 weeks: Does anyone else feel like the civilized world is an illusion – why do I feel this way? I just want to get back out there – when is the next race?