The Halfmax Championship was the big draw and
consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 miles run.
All three events shared the same course at the same time,
so it did get a little difficult to figure out who was where in their race.
All the events took place at a spectacular venue in Grande Dunes,
an elite development on the intercoastal waterway.
As we approached the course, you could see the transition area. That is the area where each competitor has an assigned spot to store their bike, running shoes and necessary gear. The first event of a triathlon is the swim, followed by the bike and ending with the run.
We walked down past the finish line and found
Mary and Tim of Grand Strand Bicycles have two Bicycle Shops in the area. They provide all the bike support for this event. Tim was getting ready to head out on the bike course to provide support for the cyclists, but took a minute for a photo ;o)) If you are ever in this area and need bikes or bike repairs or clothing or parts…these guys are the BEST!!
Nancy and I headed out toward the intercoastal waterway to see the start of the swim leg. It was a chilly morning (mid to upper 50’s) with about a 20mph wind. Nancy and I agreed that we were glad we were not jumping in the water in these conditions.
The competitors line up on the bridge along the marina. They walk down the ramp and enter the water in groups (waves) of about 30 swimmers at a time. This first group is the fastest group and probably will produce the winner.
They tread water until the horn sounds and then ...
It is a mad scramble down to the buoy and
out to the intercoastal waterway.
They head south for about 1/2 mile, turn around and swim
back towards the Grande Dunes Bridge.
At the bridge, they go around the last orange buoy.
Below is the first swimmer to arrive at that buoy.
There are volunteers all along the course to provide
assistance and help if needed.
Once the swimmers reach the yellow buoys,
across the road and into the transition area
to ditch their wetsuits and get their bikes.
Remember, they just spent 35 minutes swimming 1.2 miles and
These fellows were just too fast for us to see
them leave the transition area on their bikes.
We couldn’t keep up and all we were doing was watching them ;o((
This is a very flat course.
Except for the transition out onto the bike course.
It is a difficult uphill transition and caused a few riders some trouble.
This competitor is May from Grand Strand Bicycles.
Having some local knowledge of the course,
she decided she would run the bike to the top of the hill and
avoid any possible problems :o))
Smart Girl :o))
The bike course is a closed course which means
they have shut the roads to car traffic.
After that, they will run a half marathon…YIKES!!
From our spot on the Cycling Course,
we still had a view of the swim and run course.
Here comes the first cyclist to finish
28 miles or lap 1 of the cycling segment.
The riders make two sharp left turns
to get to the turn around circle.
Then a hard right into the circle…
All the way around the circle and back out
to the highway for another 28 mile lap…
Whew...are you tired yet?!?!
There are lots of young families here supporting and
cheering on mom or dad.
We love being around all this energy.
If you have the chance to attend one of these events, don’t miss it.
You can’t help but come away with a special high!!
Speaking of high…
How about this spectator !!
Once the athletes finish their swim and bike segment,
they transition into the run.
For the HalfMax, that is a half marathon or 13.1 miles…
We watched for about 4 hours and decided to call it a day.
As we crossed the highway to get to our car,
we still saw more and more cyclists.
The Top 15 Finishers in each division qualify for the
World Championship in Europe this spring—WOW!!
However, most of these athletes do this for the love of the sport.
Some will be out there for many hours with no chance of winning,
but just trying to beat their last time!!
We love being around all these positive people!!!
Now we need to go home and get a nap :o))