Amica 19.7 Ocean Beach Triathlon

This morning, the  inaugural Ocean Beach Triathlon was held in New London, Connecticut at Ocean Beach Park. I’m familiar with the Amica name because the insurance company sponsored the 2009 Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island race. Amica is sponsoring a series of sprint triathlons around the country with 19.7 miles as the standard distance. The course format is 1/2 mile swim, 16.1 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. This link will take you to an excellent map.

I toured the Ocean Beach course in 1:18:13, about nine minutes down on the winner, John Babcock. He was way out front with second place at least five minutes behind him. The results should be up by this evening and I’ll add a link. It looked like there were about 350 athletes. The numbers may have been down because of the heat and last night’s thunderstorms. Between 1:45 A.M. and 3:00 A.M., a tremendous line of t-storms hit the Connecticut coast line, including Old Lyme, where we spent the night. Old Lyme is a 25 minute drive from New London. I got up early to make the 7:00 A.M. start.  There was no chance for a restful night with the storms making such a ruckus. The lightning and thunder were intense and they woke our kids up. Everything was wet in the morning since the roads got a good soaking.

I loved the course. It has a tremendous amount of character. Ocean Beach is a nice venue with a boardwalk and white sand beach. The transition area was set up entirely on the boardwalk, as was the finishing chute. There was a slight tidal current working against us on the out leg of the swim, but it helped to have it with us after the turn. I opted to do the seeded division, which has benefits and drawbacks. The main benefit was lots of room to move on the swim, since there were only 13 of us in the seeded wave. I think I came out of the water 7th and then picked up two spots within the first mile of the bike. The main drawback of the seeded wave was that the two people I passed were the last people I saw on the course; I was in no-man’s land for both the ride and the run.

Unfortunately, with the four-minute gap between waves, I was beaten by a handful of people who started behind me. My overall finish was 13th, which is respectable, but I was hoping for better when I signed up for this one. I hate making excuses, but I had a rough week. At least this Sunday was better than last Sunday, which I spent in bed with a terrible head cold. The cold has lingered all week, so I’m not on top form. I considered skipping the race, but I had pre-registered and I really wanted to do it.

I’m at the beginning of a major training cycle (only 75 days until the Ironman World Championship), so it was good to push hard, though the race was a sprint and I need to start going long again. So, I did the race, and I had a lot of fun. The bike course was fabulous, with decent pavement in most sections and several beautiful roads. Great Neck Rd. near Harkness Memorial State Park was a highlight, as were the little roads in the beach communities of Waterford. Harkness is one of the jewels in the CT state park system. There were awesome ocean views at several points on the course. I found it to be a little technical, which is how I like it. There was a fair amount of shifting and some good corners. Only one hill, on Rt. 156, required the little ring. Everthing else was rideable in the 53 and the course permitted a lot of time in the aero bars.

I never saw any of the other four riders in front of me, which means they must have had a good gap after the swim. There were several long straights, where I thought I might get a glimpse. It would have been so much easier for me to chase if I could see someone, but alas, it was not to be. I felt like my bike leg was pretty strong. I’m getting more comfortable with my new Seven Kameha SLX. I switched to a new stem that was 15mm shorter and it helped. I was more comfortable in my tuck.

The run was OK, but I fear that I faded again, much like the Pat Griskus Triathlon earlier this  month. Again, I had no one to chase, and I think that on the run, that is even harder to deal with. When I glanced at the results, there were several people within 90 seconds that I know I would have gone after. Instead, I had to push myself and I knew that I wasn’t holding my pace. The run course was also beautiful, especially on Pequot Avenue, where we had some excellent views of the mouth of the Thames River where it empties into Long Island Sound. The boardwalk finish, back at Ocean Beach, was really cool.

I haven’t done too many Hartford Marathon Foundation events in recent years, but have done many in the past. This one was well run with tremendous volunteer support. The police and course marshals did an amazing job. Without anyone around me, I was counting on them to provide directional support well in advance of every corner. This is particularly important on the bike course. All of the marshals were wearing brightly colored safety vests, which were visible from a long ways away. The corners were well-marked. There were a few vehicles on the course in bad spots, but the roads were open, so that is to be expected. The aid stations support was good and the post-race party had watermelon, which is all I felt like eating.

If this race is back next year, I plan to give it a shot again.

Race Results

3 Responses to “Amica 19.7 Ocean Beach Triathlon”

  1. 1 mpalumbo2 27 July 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Scott, thank you for sharing your race experience, it sounds like you had a great day!

    We would love to see you at Amica’s other tri’s in New England, the Amica 19.7 Boston and the Amica 19.7 Newport. For more info, visit

  1. 1 Ocean Beach/John & Jessie Kelley Road Race « Life Adventures Trackback on 7 August 2010 at 2:48 pm
  2. 2 2011 Amica 19.7 Triathlon Ocean Beach « Life Adventures Trackback on 24 July 2011 at 8:46 pm

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