Race Details Sea To Summitadmin2024-02-22T15:04:34-05:00
THE SEA TO SUMMIT TRIATHLON
The 2019 Men’s Podium
We want to thank you for registering to be part of the 2024 Sea to Summit Triathlon, to be held on July 27. Among the seven triathlons which we direct, S2S is a favorite. And a favorite of our racers, too: Sea to Summit was voted as one of the top five “bucket list” races in the world by the Triathlete’s Choice Awards.
This guide is our attempt to cover every detail which we have either experienced or could envision. Please take the time to read carefully and have your porter read as well.
We think most questions are answered below but if you have one please email Kathleen about registration, USAT and porter questions and Andy about anything else.
Train safely, and we’ll see you soon!
TUESDAY, JULY 23
7pm: Athlete’s Meeting will be held via Zoom. All racers and their porters must attend, or watch the recording of the meeting (on our YouTube Channel) before the race. Links to the video will also be posted on our Facebook page.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 24
Late Day: Race officials will record the first of several water temperature readings during race week. Temp will be posted on our social media channels as well as on this webpage. While wetsuits have been allowed most years, there have been two races over the years where the water temperature was too warm for their safe use, according to USA Triathlon guidelines.
THURSDAY, JULY 25
All Day: Race officials will scout the bike course and check in with the rangers at Mt. Washington. Any important notifications will be posted on our Facebook page and emailed to athletes
FRIDAY, JULY 26
4-6 pm: Packet pick-up at the site of the swim leg of the race: Spring Hill Recreation Area, 117 Pond Road, South Berwick, ME. The swim course and path to the transition area can be viewed, and scouting swims are allowed.
SATURDAY, JULY 27
4:00 am: Transition area opens at Spring Hill Recreation Area, 117 Pond Road, South Berwick, ME. Parking attendants will guide you. Rack your bike in the transition area.
5:30 am: Race start
6:30: Cut-off for swim. Any athlete who finishes after this point is disqualified. They can no longer be considered an official racer
1:00 pm: Cut-off for bike arrivalat Wildcat Ski Area. Any athlete who finishes after this point is disqualified. They can no longer be considered an official racer
2:30 pm: Cut-off for run arrival at the Appalachian Mountain Club shelter at Hermit Lake. Any athlete who reaches this point after 2:30pm can no longer be considered an official racer by event staff and by Federal/state authorities. They will be strongly encouraged to turn around and walk down rather than risk the headwall in dimming light and dropping temperatures
4:30 pm: Cut-off at finish line. Athletes who finish after this time will not have their time recorded or receive a finisher’s medal
Post-race: Turkey dinner (1-6pm) and primary awards ceremony (approx. 2pm) at Wildcat Mountain Lodge. Some age group awards will be presented at later points in the afternoon as athletes return to Wildcat from the finish line.
All athletes must attend the pre-race zoom meeting on Tuesday, July 23 at 7pm, or view the recording afterward
All athletes must pick up their race packet the evening before the event, or contact the race director at least two days ahead of event
All athletes must have a designated porter (support person). Multiple athletes who wish to use one porter should discuss this with race director (email to firstname.lastname@example.org) at least two weeks ahead of the event
All athletes must affix their race number and “safety tail light” to their bike’s seatpost (supplied at packet pick-up). If a racer changes bikes en route, he/she must also transfer the bike number and tail light
All athletes agree to review, fully understand, and abide by USAT rules regarding drafting on the bike leg. Time penalties will be assessed for violations. Eight vehicles will be on the course, all with authority to document infractions. Note: USAT’s bike drafting rules have changed for 2023. Review them here.
All athletes must have prepared their run backpack to meet race specifications (see “Run” below). If your porter is accompanying you up the mountain, he/she needs their own backpack with the same items! Both backpacks must to be presented to race staff at T2 (Wildcat) before the racer arrives. Keep in mind the porter may drop out at the Hermit Lake checkpoint (announce such to our staff); otherwise both racer and porter must arrive together at the finish line
All athletes agree to present themselves for a medical check after arriving at T2, and agree to abide by the decision of the medical professional as to their ability to continue
All athletes agree to abide by the intermediate cut-off times set by the race organization
With a start time of 5:30am, athletes are expected to have concluded their swim by 6:30am.
The most critical time cut-off, however, will be at T2, at the end of the bike leg. Athletes must have arrived at Wildcat Mountain by 1:00pmand have passed a medical check in order to be allowed to continue.
Additional athlete cut-offs are 2:30pm at the AMC shelter near Hermit Lake, and 4:30pm to be an official finisher at the mountain top.
Under no circumstances will an athlete be allowed to proceed as an official racer if they miss any of these cutoff times. Should they continue they will be considered to have left the race, with no further assumption of responsibility by the event organizers. All vehicles are ordered off the mountain by New Hampshire park staff at 6:00pm, and it’s a long walk down.
Please understand the reasons why these limits have been put in place. As the sun sets (much earlier on this, the eastern side of the mountain) the darkness on the headwall increases rapidly and temperatures plummet. Staff and volunteers at various points on the mountain need to get back down to safety before dark. Don’t put them at risk.
Layout: Start Area & T1:
Transition Area 1:
Parking lot of the Spring Hill Recreation Area. Transition will open at 4 am
The road to Spring Hill passes several residential homes. Please respect their privacy, drive slowly, and keep voices low (especially on race morning)
Athletes may park in the parking lot and on the approach road to the Spring Hill Lodge. After the swim, porters and families/friends must keep their vehicles parked until race staff directs them to leave.
Portable restrooms will be available
Be prepared to present your bike to race officials upon their request for a motor check. E-bikes — even without the battery installed — are prohibited from this race
The race-supplied tail light (or one of your own, fully charged lights) on your bike must be turned on before you head over to the start area for the beginning of the swim
Bike racks will be on a smooth asphalt surface. Open racking…select your own spot. No more than 3 bikes to each side of any bike rack.
Swimming is allowed the day before the race as well as warm-ups in the 15 minutes prior to the swim start
Thunderstorm warnings cancelled the 2017 swim. They sometimes happen in this part of New England in summer. Please be advised the swim leg may be postponed, shortened or cancelled. But any postponement window will be short, given the need to scale a mountain later in the day.
You may cycle along any road with the exception of these two:
any stretch of ROUTE 16 SOUTH OF NORTH CONWAY
any stretch of ROUTE 4 NORTHBOUND
There are no race-specific directional signs along the course; you are responsible for charting your own route by pre-scouting, review of maps, internet mapping services, past racer’s online postings (such as ridewithgps or Strava) or by following our cue sheet (below). You may also converse with your porter during the race as long as the porter is not in a moving vehicle at the time
There are no restrictions as to the type of bicycle you may use (except no e-bikes will be allowed — not even with the battery removed!), nor the type of road surface on which you may travel (gravel bikes are allowed)
There are no restrictions as to the type of wheels you may use on your bike. Be advised that as you climb the lower slopes of the White Mountains, winds may increase. Check the forecast for WILDCAT MOUNTAIN SKI AREA, NH on weather.com before deciding on race wheels
Bike changes and wheel changes are allowed en route but if it’s a different bike your bike number tag and safety light must also be switched (option: affix a fully charged safety light to the rear of your spare bike beforehand)
Athletes are allowed to visit their porter’s vehicle at any point in T1, T2 or parked just off the bike course (in a safe location from other traffic), but once a vehicle moves with you inside you are disqualified from the competition.
Your helmet chin strap must be securely fastened BEFORE you remove your bike from the rack to head out on the ride
We will strictly enforce the USA Triathlon “no drafting” rule. Marshals will be on the course: both moving and hidden. Nine athletes received significant time penalties in the 2019 race and two were disqualified. Thankfully, drafting incidents have been rarer in 2020, 2021 and 2022. But…we’re serious about this. And note: this year USAT increased the allowed zone between bikes to 30 feet!)
No transfer of any items are allowed from a moving vehicle directly to a cyclist. Porters must park completely off the road surface and only then may they stand aside the road or turn-out to pass items to a rider. Penalty may be disqualification.
Stay to the right except when passing
If you hear, “On your left,” you are about to be passed. Stay right. Likewise, verbally communicate when passing others
LITTERING is grounds for a time penalty
Follow all rules of the road as if you are on a recreational ride. Porters must follow all rules as well — including obeying stop signs (This is important, as numerous porters involuntarily contributed over $1000 to Carroll County’s treasury last year by rolling through stop signs…which upset not only the sheriff’s deputies but also town officials as well as — upon learning of this at a later date — the race directors)
Note: Five (5) railroad crossings. Hit ’em at a perpendicular angle!
Most commonly used route is shown here. More details below.
GPS files of the route: a collection of racer-uploaded files are located here
If you are doing any communication by cellphone with your porter, be aware that cell phone coverage is spotty/non-existent for much of the bike course past Mile 30 and before Mile 75. Plan accordingly.
The 90+ mile bike leg has a total elevation gain of 5,550 feet. 1600 of it is over the final 11 miles. Pace accordingly.
Bike Course: most often followed route:
For decades, the tradition of this race has been to not designate a “set” bike course, but rather allow competitors to choose their own “fastest way” to Wildcat Ski Area — as long as it is via a non-motorized bicycle. However, the race has always published a “most frequently followed route.” Here is that route:
– As you exit the Spring Hill Lodge, turn right onto Pond Rd.
– At the end of Pond Rd. carefully turn left onto Portland Street (Rt 4 South) Warning: you are crossing traffic
– Very shortly after, turn right onto Blackberry Hill Road. Stay on this road to its end — but note that it takes a sharp left turn when it meets Love Brook Rd. and Guinea Rd. It almost looks like you should be going straight — but don’t!
– Turn left onto Berwick Rd. for a quick few seconds, then right onto Rt. 236/Allen Rd. (Option, turn right onto Berwick Rd. and join up with 236 in 3/4 mile or so.)
– When you arrive in the Town of Berwick you will see a “End of Rt 236” sign. Keep going straight at the Rt 9 intersection onto Wilson St.
– When you can no longer go straight (the street becomes one way in the other direction) turn left onto Sullivan St.
– Very shortly after, turn right onto Eleanor’s Street and keep bearing right onto Rochester St.
– Stay on Rochester Street (it will turn into Salmon Falls Road) all the way to Route 125 in Rochester (2020 Note: much of this road was in need of resurfacing!)
– Take a right on Route 125 (Milton Road) In Union 125 merges with 153. You will cross over Route 16 at a light. Dangerous intersection!
– Follow Route 153 to where it meets with Route 25. Take a left onto 153/25 (warning: you are crossing high-speed traffic here)
– After a mile on 25, take a right onto Route 153 (Eaton Road). Option: turn right earlier onto School St. and follow that to 153.
For about 1-2 miles after you pass Purity Springs Resort on Rt. 153, the road surface was quite bumpy in 2023. Exercise caution.
– In Conway, NH go straight across Main Street to Washington Street and quickly bear left onto West Side Road.
– Watch out for train crossing on this road…don’t try and go around the barrier if it comes down. Its just a race.
– At stop sign take a Rt on River Road Take a left on Route 16/302 at the light (warning: you are crossing traffic here)
– Take a right on Route 16 (Storyland amusement park will be coming up on your right)
– Follow Route 16 to Wildcat Ski Area on your right. Dismount soon after turning into the parking lot so that you don’t get mixed up in the gravel surface.
Look for the NEEE vehicles!
Transition Area 2: As you reach the 80-mile mark of the bike and begin to climb Route 16 out of North Conway, your destination is the Wildcat Ski Area, located on the right-hand side of the road. Please exercise caution as you enter into the parking lot. The surface is a mix of asphalt and dirt — which with a decelerating bike and a tired rider creates perfect conditions for a fall. We suggest a pre-race scouting trip to Wildcat.
(While you’re scouting out Wildcat, also visit the nearby Pinkham Notch Visitors Center — where your run turns into a climb. Read the park’s signs! There are several hiking trails leading from Pinkham out to the mountains surrounding and including Mt. Washington, and you certainly don’t want to take the wrong one. We will have support personnel at Pinkham and on the lower trail of the mountain but it’s a large area and it would be easy to become confused.)
GPS address of Wildcat is: 542 NH-16, Gorham, NH
GPS address of Pinkham Notch is: 361 New Hampshire 16, Gorham, NH
Porters: We suggest you do not drive to Wildcat until after your racer has passed Storyland Amusement Park at the intersection of Routes 16 and 302. Pass them and head up the hill.
IMPORTANT! What you need to have in your run backpack to be allowed to continue onto the run as an official racer:
a wind-breaking, water-resistant jacket
a base layer in addition to what you might be wearing (wicking material recommended) for your upper body (a lower body base layer not mandatory but recommended)
warm hat and gloves
36 ounces of liquid
solid or gel food source(s) totaling 800 calories
basic first aid kit (a “backpacker’s kit” is fine)
sunscreen (travel size is fine)
flashlight or headlamp which operates on alkaline batteries, with a spare set of batteries. (You can always change your batteries, but on the mountain you can’t recharge a depleted chargeable flashlight). If you love your chargeable headlamp, then bring it and simply add a small flashlight with extra batteries to your backpack.
Also, hiking poles may be of help for some athletes. But practice with them (on a rocky slope) in advance!
All athletes must agree to be checked by a medical professional before being allowed to head out on the run. If at this checkpoint you are asked to wait a bit before continuing — perhaps to eat and drink and regain your bearings — please understand this is for your safety and is the honest judgement of an impartial but qualified clinician. If you are told that your race must stop at this point, please also honor the request without fuss. By simply getting to this point you have accomplished a difficult feat — and a turkey dinner awaits as your reward.
Restroom facilities are at the Wildcat Base Lodge, located next to T2. About a kilometer into the run, more restroom facilities are available at Pinkham Notch, as well as mid-mountain and at the summit.
Your porter must arrive at T2 at least 10 minutes before you do to present your run backpack for inspection. If he/she does not, it could delay your run start
Our suggestion: as your porter passes through North Conway (where cell phone reception is good) he or she may wish to log in by cellphone, laptop or tablet to the Mount Washington Observatory website for the latest report on weather conditions
You will start off running toward Jackson (in the opposite direction which you were headed on the bike) on a slightly uphill stretch for 1 kilometer to Pinkham Notch. You will cross the road at a safe opportunity. As you enter into the hikers’ parking lot, the trailhead is located to the left of the lodges and visitors center.
Several signs outside the visitor’s center point to the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail, which will be your only route up the mountain. Note: changing conditions throughout the season (yes, snow in July has happened) may cause U.S. Forest Service rangers to erect temporary detour signs. Please follow them.
The Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail is well marked but there are other trails leading up the mountain. Please be warned: if you take one, you are completely on your own, and will be considered to have left the race. However, every trail intersection is marked so it would be difficult to venture off in error.
It is a 4.4-mile journey from Pinkham Notch to the finish; however keep in mind that for each mile you travel you will average over 1000 vertical feet of altitude gain. The last two miles are the most difficult.
You are allowed to bring your porter or another companion along for the climb as long as they are physically fit, have signed the pre-race waiver, have presented his/her own backpack for inspection in T2 (same supplies as the racer), and both racers have a ride back down the mountain. While there is a privately owned shuttle service that carries hikers back down the mountain (Mt. Washington Auto Road Tours), it is first-come-first-served with no advance reservation allowed. Have another friend or family member drive up to the top to meet you at the finish.
Should your porter accompany you on your climb, they must finish with you. We cannot stress this enough. If they are below you on the mountain — even if within sight of the finish line — your time will not be recorded until they arrive. There is one other option: upon reaching our staff at Hermit Lake mid-mountain, your porter can choose not to continue. They must announce this to our staff. Then they can hike back down (not up!)
There are public restrooms at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitors Center at the base of the mountain. Mid-mountain, there are “real” (fully operational, with water and everything) restrooms near the Hermit Lake Lodge (watch for signs), and a few hundred yards further up the slopes from that lodge is a hand-pumped well for additional drinking water. At the summit, there are public restrooms, snack bar and secure indoor wind shelter.
Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail is a very popular trail in the summer and you will be sharing it with hundreds of recreational hikers. Once the crowd begins to understand they have a race in their midst they become our biggest fans. The trail is not considered technical by mountaineering standards but it is extremely rocky and becomes quite steep as you climb the headwall of the ravine.
Thunderstorms: perhaps our biggest concern for athletes above the tree line. The race directors reserve the right to alter the run course to stay below the treeline if thunderstorms are likely. This could be announced race morning but also upon your arrival at T2 — or possibly, Hermit Lake mid-mountain.
Should you be caught in a thunderstorm:
stay off the ridgeline at the top of the ravine. You are safer in the ravine or on the headwall, but conditions could get slippery fast
get low: crouch or even sit on your backpack to reduce your conductivity
if exposed to the storm don’t huddle with another or others. Position yourselves 50-100 feet apart and crouch, cover ears
get rid of any treking poles if they are made of metal
mid-sized trees are the safest; not the tallest or the only one around
Please also do plenty of reading in advance about Mt. Washington to fully understand and appreciate the unique conditions that can occur on this mountain. Weather conditions near the top invariably are much different from at the bottom — or even at the midpoint. Furious storms can pop up seemingly out of nowhere. In some prior years of this event, windy conditions have led race officials to alter the run course for safety.
Relay teams procedure:
All team members must be present to pick up their race packets 4-6 pm on Friday
Your team will receive one packet, as it contains your Swimmers Cap, Bikers Frame #, and Runners Bib number
Everyone in your team will get their own T-shirt & swag bag
As the swim is underway, team members may watch from shore near the swim exit
As the swimmer exits the water he/she should tag the teammate who will be cycling, who will run to transition and take away the bike
Before the cyclist reaches T2, the runner needs to present his/her backpack to the race officials at Wildcat for inspection
After the cyclist finishes the bike route and enters the Wildcat parking lot AND fully dismounts the bike, they may tag the runner who can begin running
Team member(s) are allowed to climb the mountain with the designated runner — as long as they are carrying a backpack with the same supplies as the runner and both participants have a ride down
All team members receive a finisher’s medal — whether at the top of the mountain or later at the after-party.
For our porters:
You are an important part of this event. Duties vary from racer to racer depending on individual needs. Please read the entirety of this Athlete’s Guide, but here are some basics:
Week before race: Please attend the racer meeting by Zoom, or watch the video of the meeting during before you travel to the event. Ask your racer for how to find the meeting.
Early race morning: Assist your athlete with preparation. Be considerate of other athletes as they prepare. If your racer forgets to turn on their bike’s tail lamp, do so for them.
Swim: As your racer leaves the water they will call out their bib number to staff. If staff cannot understand them, your assistance in clarifying the name and number would be helpful
Post-swim: You are responsible for picking up after your athlete. You must stay aware of other racers and keep out of their way! Next, please do not drive swiftly out of the parking area. Most likely you will wait in line for a short period while our staff makes sure the cyclists are departing safely. When released from the parking area, drive slowly along the access driveway and — of course — be super-considerate of the racers as you pass them on the route.
On the bike: You will want to carefully leap-frog ahead of your racer to be ready to assist if needed. Do not follow behind your racer along the road.Here are some popular spots for porters to wait for their athletes:
Where 153 crosses 16 in Union, about mile 20. There is a store with a parking lot just before the intersection.
At the right turn in Wakefield, at the top of the hill, where 153 and Wakefield Rd split
Alongside Provence Lake, at the ME state Line, about mile 40
Parking lot before the left turn from 153 to 25, mile 50
Overflow parking lots (right side of road) for King Pine Ski Area, at about mile 58
In the gravel parking area in front of The Little White Church, 2371 Eaton Rd (Rt 153), at about mile 62
Do not park in the Crystal Lake parking lot in Eaton, just past the Little White Church
Anywhere near the Rt 16 crossing in Conway toward West Side Rd. One easily identifiable spot is the Covered Bridge
Right turn from West Side Rd to River Rd at about mile 72 (at the drive through Jam farm and Saco River)
Close to the final right turn in Glen (at about mile 78) to head toward Wildcat
Racers are responsible to take care of their own mechanical failures on the bike. Porters are allowed to assist.
Never pass anything from a moving car to your cyclist. This is grounds for disqualification.
Communications: cell phone reception is non-existent at parts of the course, such as in the town of Effingham and on the approach to Wildcat’s bike finish, and is spotty in other areas. Plan accordingly.
If your vehicle moves anywhere with your racer inside, the racer will be disqualified.
Remember to bring your racer’s backpack to the staff at Wildcat Ski Area at least 10 minutes before your racer arrives. If you plan to accompany your athlete up the mountain, you must also present your own backpack as well.
Soon after your athlete hands over their bike to you, you may be asked by race officials to allow them to examine it. Refusal of such request is grounds for athlete disqualification.
On the run: After their athletes have departed for the run, most porters turn their vehicles to the right out of the Wildcat parking lot, then drive north on Route 16 to the entrance of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Pay your toll and drive slowly up the mountain. At the top is a rest area and observation deck. Your athlete will need anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours to scale the mountain. They will arrive via the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, which is marked near the summit. You may wish to venture from the top downward a bit toward the headwall to greet them as they near the finish. We do not recommend descending the headwall.
If you wish to accompany your athlete on the run, we suggest only doing so if you have another friend or family member driving to the top to take you down. The shuttle service fills to capacity late on weekend days. Also: you must be in very good physical condition and fitness, have signed a waiver, and have your own backpack with the same equipment as is required of the racers.
If you are accompanying your athlete on the run, you must stay with your athlete all the way to the finish line. You have one option to stop your upward hike: at the Hermit Lake Lodge, where two members of our staff are stationed. Announce your intentions to the staff. Your athlete continues up; you must head back down.
Abandonment: If your athlete decides to leave the race, you must text the race director’s satellite communications device at (254) 460-5948, or call her cellphone at (617) 240-4805. Please continue texting or calling until you have received a confirmation response.
In case of emergency:
On the swim: Raise your hand if an emergency arises. We have certified open-water lifeguards and professional kayak guides out on the course and a medical professional on the shore.
On the bike: Call 911 for medical emergency. Racers are responsible to take care of their own mechanical failures on the bike. Porters are allowed to assist.
On the run: We have staff, volunteer and professional mountaineering guides along the route, all wearing distinctive shirts. We have satellite texting devices for key staff, but in early 2024 we will be replacing our older devices for new ones. Check back here for the new text numbers. For serious emergencies we urge you to first call 911 as well as the Mt. Washington summit ranger’s station – (603) 466-3347. Also, there is a phone and attendant at the AMC Pinkham Notch Lodge at the base of the trail: (603) 466-8116. If you wish to reach the AMC Lodge at Hermit Lake mid-mountain (emergencies only), call the Pinkham Notch Lodge and they will radio up the mountain.
If you decide to leave the race, avoid the possibility of search crews being sent out to look for you. Text or call race director Kathleen at (617) 240-4805. Please continue texting or calling until you have received a confirmation response.
Most athletes and their families/friends stay in Dover, New Hampshire the night before the race. It is 15 minutes away and has a number of hotels. After the race, most stay in the North Conway region — again, full of lodging choices.
The primary awards ceremony at the Wildcat base lodge is scheduled for approx. 2pm. Medals presented to top three competitors overall (both male and female) as well as top age grouper (10-year categories) and Relay Team. Later finishers will have their awards presented to them immediately after their dinner at Wildcat.
Those who cannot attend the ceremony may receive their award by visiting the New England Endurances offices (39 Eldridge Rd. Brewster, MA) during normal business hours or by making arrangements with the race director IN ADVANCE to pick up at one of our future triathlons in New England.
Dogs and Smoking:
Racers and porters may have dogs accompany them at the starting property and at Wildcat. (Pick up after them.) No smoking is tolerated anywhere at this event.
A penalty! What, me?
No one likes to receive a time penalty, and our race officials understand that…but again, we all want a safe, fair competition. We will be very strict about drafting on the bike leg. Significant penalties will be assessed, starting with 5 minutes addition to finish time for the first occurrence. Note that for 2023 USA Triathlon has increased the allowed separation zone between bicycles: to 12 meters (40 feet!). Refresh yourself by reading the new rules here.