I’m writing this blog about being a first-timer at the Escape the Cape event, hoping to help anyone who might be on the fence about participating.
Saturday Morning
As a member of the ORC, there’s a strong sense of camaraderie among the triathletes. Everyone is welcoming and eager to help, which I really appreciated. We all met early on Saturday morning for breakfast at Uncle Bill’s before heading to the expo for packet pickup. Everyone was chatting about the day and what to expect on Sunday (Race Day). After breakfast, we went to the expo, got our packets, and racked our bikes together. Jim, our most experienced triathlete, showed us where the buoys would be placed and gave me tips on sighting landmarks while swimming. We then listened to Stephen, the race director, discuss important details about the event. After a hot morning in the sun, it was time to head home, relax, and get ready for the big day.
Sunday Morning
The alarm went off at 2:00 am so I could eat breakfast, pack my race bottles, and leave the house by 3:15 am. Driving down the parkway that early, I didn’t see many cars and was deep in thought. Then, I spotted a white Toyota Tundra ahead and felt a sense of comfort knowing it was Jim’s. Even Jeff, my husband, noticed and said, “Do you feel better now that we’re following Jim?” And I did. Having someone experienced to guide us made everything easier. At the transition area, we met the other ORC members who were also racing. Everyone was excited and full of energy.
Loading the ferry was a memorable experience. Walking up the ramp with the music pumping, the excitement grew. Joe led us to the third level to see the spectators on the shore. I started to question what I had gotten myself into. The ferry blew its whistle and backed up, increasing my anxiety. Jim reassured me I’d be fine, and Trish suggested I look at the shoreline, which helped a lot. Before I knew it, the ferry anchored, and Joe led us to jump. Surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous about the jump itself, but about the swim as the waves picked up. The swim was challenging, but the strong current helped it go quickly. Joe and I exited the water together, and we helped each other with our wetsuits.
The bike course was decent with a few bumpy roads, but overall, it was a good ride. I saw Trish and Joe on the course as we did two loops for the Olympic distance. Coming back into transition, I saw my husband, Ellen, and Patty cheering me on (it was Patty’s first ETC too).
On the run, I started to overheat. I tried to slow down, but the excitement and adrenaline took over. Half of the 5-mile run was in the soft sand, which got more challenging as more athletes ran the course before me.
Finish Line
There’s nothing like hearing the announcer call your name and having a volunteer place a medal around your neck. As I walked out of the exit chute, Jeff told me I placed 3rd in my age group. The post-race food was delicious, and we all sat on the lawn to cheer on the winners. What a way to end the day!
Escape the Cape is an amazing race. Where else can you start by jumping off a ferry into open water? The volunteers were supportive, the closed bike course was safe, and the run course was full of spectators. If it’s on your bucket list, it’s a must! Will I do it again? Probably, especially if my teammates do it too. Racing is so much better with people who inspire and encourage you to be your best!
Jenn G.