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Hundreds of Ironman 70.3 athletes are resting up for the morning’s race in Christiansted, St. Croix, and we just got some drizzly rain here on the island. Weather predictions for tomorrow are in the high 70s to mid-80s, with a 30 percent chance of rain.
Based on today’s weather, athletes think tomorrow’s race will have quite a bit more wind than previous years, and the beautiful Caribbean water has been especially choppy the last two days, which will make this course, one of the more difficult courses on the 70.3 circuit, even more challenging. One of the biggest challenges of this course is nicknamed “the Beast”—a 600-foot climb on the bike course over 0.7 miles at an average 14 percent grade (that goes up to 21 percent).
The historic race, which started in 1988 as America’s Paradise Triathlon, has had its share of triathlon greats on the course. And it’s been favored by some of the greats of the current era of triathlon—Craig Alexander, Mirinda Carfrae and Chris McCormack. Alexander, Amanda Balding and Tim O’Donnell all listed St. Croix as one of their favorite-ever races in a Triathlete magazine article on the best triathlons in the world. Pros Michael and Amanda Lovato have raced here for the last 10 years (until this year). And reigning Ironman World Champion Carfrae loves this race for the “grass-roots feel.”
This year’s race shows a somewhat wide open men’s field. With Terenzo Bozzone, the 2010 champion, pulling out last week, it will be a battle among men such as Luke Bell, Richie Cunningham and Maxim Kriat.
The women’s race has a strong pro field, with returning two-time champion Catriona Morrison and reigning Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae facing off tomorrow, as well as Angela Naeth, Amy Marsh and Lesley Paterson.
Check back tomorrow for a full race report from Christiansted, St. Croix.