If beach sand, clear ocean water, beautiful tropical scenery and friendly locals is your thing then this is the race for you.
The swim is unique (at least in my experience) in that you swim in salt and fresh water. The race kicks off with an out and back 1.2km swim in the clearest water I have ever raced in. Not that there is much to see down there, but it does help with swimming straight(ish). On exiting the swim you run over the beach and dive into the lagoon where the last 600m awaits you in the murkiest, darkest, triathlete infested water you have ever seen. The race director did assure us the water was tested and declared safe for recreational use… whatever that means.
The one-lap bike course is nothing short of spectacular, although race day is no time to be sightseeing. Two days earlier we were taken on a police-escorted ride of the bike course (like pro’s ), something I would highly recommend. The course is quite technical. There are maybe 4km worth of hills, but at gradients of up to 22% their presence are felt early on in the race. The downhills are equally steep, which combined with a couple of switchbacks leaves a lingering scent of burnt out brakes in the air. There is also no road closure; traffic is a real concern on the blind corners… of which there were plenty. But it is stunningly beautiful, and there are more than enough straight flat sections to keep the TT bikes happy. It was with a sense of sadness that I racked my bike in T2 and headed out on the run.
The two-lap run is mostly flat, hot and humid. Towards the turnaround you are taken onto a detour heading out and back on the golf-course… very Sun City-esque, just a lot greener. You are never bored, constantly keeping your body in the red zone. And why not… 12kms is just around the corner… not. Somehow they keep the coke and sponges ice cold… a great effort from the local and international volunteers. Definitely a race I will do again.