Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The State of Triathlon in Jamaica

Inevitably, moving back to Jamaca involves giving up or foregoing some convenience or easy access that life in a First World country affords.

For my wife, it is the convenience of Target, Starbucks, Publix and independent or foreign films.

For me, it is the number and variety of triathlon races I have available to me.

Unfortunately, Jamaica has only a single race per year on its shores... the only other one having disappeared.

The single race, Jakes Jamaican Off-Road Triathlon, attracts about 40 participants, many of whom compete in relays. The race takes place in May in Treasure Beach, a few weeks before the Calabash Literary Festival.

During that weekend, triathletes, JamDammers and other athletic types descend on the small town of Treasure Beach in small but influential numbers. Bikes appear everywhere, the water is filled with swimmers and runners are seen running up and down, warming up for the event and also gauging the competition.

The race is a sprint, meaning that it is shorter than Olympic distance. It involves a 500m ocean swim, a 25k mountain bike ride and a 7k run through some pastures. It is quite hot at that time of the year so hydration is a big issue, to say nothing of the deeply rutted "technical" bike-path... also a big issue.

But it is a lot of fun, as the photo above appears to show, as I exited the water (hoping that I would not do something stupid like trip and fall, or leave my trunks behind.)

And this race is all there is in Jamaica.

Around the region, there are other races to enter in places such as Tobago, Cayman and the Bahamas. The challenge is that they ALL involve getting on airplanes. This means paying plenty, plenty money for a very short visit.

It also means going through the hassle of dismantling the bike and placing it in a box, where hopefully it will be safe until it arrives, if it arrives. A friend of mine recently had his down-tube cracked by American Airlines. They are being remarkably uncooperative as he tries to get something... anything back as reimbursement.

So, there are drawbacks...

I miss being able to jump in my car and go to race just about every month if I wanted. Although South Florida was inaccesible to other states without a long drive, there were still many races to choose from.

I really, really miss that. Especially as through the running with JamDammers, and regular rides at 4:00am on Tuesdays and Thursday, I am fitter than I have ever been in my life. Faster too.

Having said that, it looks as if I will be going to do a race in the Bahamas. It is not what I would call "easy access" but I guess that I am willing to pay the price, reluctantly.


At 8/06/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger Mad Bull said...

Francis, just arrange a few races yourself. Get with Franno of the Jam Dammers, seek some endorsement and roll your own race. If you want I can try to find some of the triathlon people over here and put you in touch with them. You could set up some competitions between Jamaica and the Caymans. There are a few Triathlons over here annually. Let me know.

At 8/07/2006 6:15 AM, Blogger fwade said...

Mad Bull,

Funny, we were just talking about that yesterday (again.)

To be frank, I have no interest at the moment in the administrative side of setting up races, but I am looking to encourage those who do have the inclination.

Franno I know well, as a Jamdammer myself, and he is nothing short of expert in this area.

I have been considering doing a race in Cayman, but don't have their full calendar -- is one available anyplace online?



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