We want to thank you for registering to be part of the 2020 Sea to Summit Triathlon, to be held on July 25. 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.
Remember, packet pick-up is the evening before the race, followed by a mandatory participant meeting (including all porters).
Safe training, good luck at the race and we’ll see you on Friday the 24th!
Andy Scherding & Kathleen Walker
THURSDAY, JULY 23
Morning: Swim course will be set with small marker buoys. The course can be accessed for scouting from William Bray Park (Route 101) — not from the race start site
Afternoon: Race officials will thoroughly scout the bike course. Any important notifications will be posted on the Facebook page; minor details will be discussed at Friday’s athlete’s meeting
FRIDAY, JULY 24
4-5 pm: Packet pick-up on the grounds of the Hamilton House (40 Vaughans Ln, South Berwick, ME). There will be no packet pick-up day of race. Bring photo ID. Porters must check-in on Friday, too!
5 pm: Mandatory athlete meeting on the Hamilton House grounds
SATURDAY, JULY 25
4:00 am: Transition area opens
5:15 am: Race start
6:45 am: Cut-off for swim. Any athlete who finishes after this point is disqualified. They can no longer be considered an official racer
1:30 pm: Cut-off for bike arrival at Wildcat. Any athlete who finishes after this point is disqualified. They can no longer be considered an official racer
3:00 pm: Cut-off for run arrival at the Appalachian Mountain Club shelter at Hermit Lake. Any athlete who reaches this point after 3pm can no longer be considered an official racer by event staff and by Federal/state authorities. They are encouraged to turn around and walk down rather than risk the headwall in dimming light and dropping temperatures
5:00 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 and awards ceremony at Wildcat Mountain Lodge
- All athletes must pick up their race packet the evening before the event
- All athletes must have a designated porter (support person)
- All athletes must affix their race number and “tail light” to their 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 hold to USAT rules regarding drafting on the bike leg
- 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
- 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
Layout: Start Area & T1:
Transition Area 1: We are fortunate to have the historic Hamilton House serve as our host for the day before the race and on race morning. A shipping merchant named Jonathan Hamilton built this striking Georgian mansion in 1785, located on the highest bluff overlooking the Salmon Falls River. This is a National Historic Landmark, the grounds are beautiful, and we know our athletes will treat it all with the highest level of dignity and respect.
GPS address is: 40 Vaughans Ln, South Berwick, ME
No swimming from the Hamilton House before the day of race (warm-ups in the 15 minutes prior to the swim start are allowed). If you wish to swim the course in the days before the race, we suggest entering the water from William Bray Park on Route 101 (just below the swim turnaround) and swim north.
The water at Salmon Falls River will be tested for quality the Tuesday before the event. Lab results are expected by Thursday.
DAY BEFORE RACE: Arrive at the Hamilton House between 4 and 4:45 pm to pick up your race materials, and to attend the race meeting at 5.
DAY OF RACE: Transition will open at 4am
- The driveway to the Hamilton House passes several residential homes. Please respect their privacy, drive slowly, and keep voices low (especially on race morning)
- Your bike MUST be placed on a rack. Three bicycles fit on each side of a rack.
- The tail light on your bike must be turned on before you head over to the start area for the beginning of the swim
- Thunderstorm warnings cancelled the 2017 swim. They are frequent in this part of New England in summer. Please be advised the swim race may be postponed, shortened or cancelled this year. But any postponement window will be short, given the need to scale a mountain later in the day.
- The swim is a long, rectangular course. You will be swimming with the current for the first kilometer (approx 0.6-0.7 miles) on the right hand (New Hampshire) side of the course. Marker buoys are bright orange. You will leave the turning buoy on your left side and swim across the river to another parallel buoy, again on your left, and then swim up-current along the Maine side of the course. You will exit the swim at the orange buoy located on the shore, 50 yards to the right of where you started
- Click here for map
- Wetsuits are not mandatory (water temp has been in excess of 72 degrees the past two years). While the water temp has yet to reach 78 degrees on an S2S race day (where wetsuits would be banned for award eligibility), we did come close one year
- All athletes must wear swim caps provided by the race. Latex allergy? Bring a brightly colored swim cap of your choice and notify personnel at packet pick-up
- Safer Swimmer devices are allowed. No other swim aids (snorkel, fins) permitted
- Swim warm-ups are allowed in the morning before race start. Note there may not be lifeguards on the water ahead of the race start
- Lifeguards (on rescue boards) and escorts (in kayaks) will be present on the course. You may pause your swim to rest at a kayak before continuing
- At the race directors’ discretion any swimmer may be towed to shore by a kayak or rescue board, and they no longer will be eligible for awards
Back-up swim location:
If for any reason the swim cannot be held in the Salmon Falls River (such as a negative water quality reading from the lab) we will start the race with a mile-plus swim in nearby Knights Pond (5 miles away, also in South Berwick). Many of you may have visited here before: it is the site of the swim for September’s PumpkinMan Triathlon.
Should there be a need to switch the swim to Knights Pond, we will announce it at the day-before Athlete’s Meeting (still to be held on the grounds of the Hamilton House). The impact on the length of the bike course appears to be a reduction of less than a mile. Still, all athletes should review the location and nearby roads in advance (either online or in-person) and prepare his/her own strategy.
Athletes may park in the parking lot and approach road to the Spring Hill Lodge. As with the starting site at the Hamilton House, porters and families/friends must keep their vehicles parked until race staff directs them to leave.
- You may cycle along any road with the exception of any stretch of ROUTE 16 SOUTH OF NORTH CONWAY. 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, 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 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)
- You are allowed to visit your porter’s vehicle at any point in T1, T2 or on the bike course 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 last year and two were disqualified. Yes, we’re serious about this
- Interaction with porters: no transfer of any items from a moving vehicle directly to a bike. Porters must park completely off the road surface and only then they may stand aside the road or turn-out to pass items to a rider
- 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 were on a training ride
- GPS files of the route: a collection of racer-uploaded files are located here
Bike Course: most often followed route:
– Follow the driveway of the Hamilton House (also known as Vaughan’s Lane) and veer left at the fork onto Brattle Street
– Left on Route 236 (warning: you are crossing traffic here)
– Right on Route 4/236 through downtown South Berwick
– Bear left on Route 236 towards Berwick ME, Rochester, NH
– Follow to Downtown Berwick and take a left at the light on Route 9 (warning: you are crossing traffic here)
– Take a Right onto Rochester St (learn this turn in advance well as it can be a bit confusing)
– Stay on Rochester Street (it will turn into Salmon Falls Road) all the way to Route 125 in Rochester
– 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 crosses Route 25. Take a left onto 153/25 for a short time Conway (warning: you are crossing high-speed traffic here)
– Take a right on Route 153 (Eaton Road)
– 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
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
What you need to have in your run backpack to be allowed to continue 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 (Lower body base layer not mandatory but recommended)
- hat and gloves
- 36 ounces of liquid
- food source(s) totaling 800 calories
- basic first aid kit (a “backpacker’s kit” is fine)
- ace bandage
- 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 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 check 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.
- 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 computer to the Mount Washington Observatory website for the latest report on weather conditions
- You will start off running toward Jackson (in the direction you came on the bike) for 1k to Pinkham Notch. You will cross the road at a safe opportunity to access the trailhead at Pinkham.
- Several signs outside the visitor’s center point to the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail, which will be your only route up the mountain. Changing conditions throughout the season may cause U.S. Forest Service rangers to erect temporary detour signs. Please follow them.
- The Tuckerman’s 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 may be disqualified. 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.
- There are public restrooms at the AMC Visitors Center at Pinkham Notch. 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 (good grief…it’s a touristy visitor’s center!) .
- Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail is a very popular trail in the summer and you will be sharing it with hundreds of hikers. Once the hikers begin 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 your treking poles if they are made of metal
- mid-sized trees are the safest; not the tallest or the only one around
- Please 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 4-5pm on Friday and attend the 5pm Race Meeting
- 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, but here are some basics:
Day before race: Please attend the racer meeting at 5pm at the Hamilton House.
Early race morning: Assist your athlete with preparation. Be considerate of other athletes as they prepare. If your racer forgets to turn on their 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: 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 leapfrog ahead of your racer to be ready to assist if needed. Do not follow behind your racer along the road. Here are some spots for porters to wait for their athletes:
- Where 153 crosses 16 in Union, about mile 20. There is a store with 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
- Left turn from 153 to 25, mile 50
- Brownfield Rd and 153, in the Crystal Lake parking lot in Eaton (approx. mile 60-65)
- 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 (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.
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.
On the run: After their athletes have departed for the run, most porters turn 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 if you wish to venture from the top downward a bit toward the headwall. 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 good physical condition, have signed a waiver, and have your own backpack with the same equipment as is required of the racers.
In case of emergency:
We have two medical professionals with us on race day. One will be located at start and, later, finish; the other at transition (Wildcat).
On the swim: raise your hand if an emergency arises. We have lifeguards and professional kayakers 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: seven of our staff members have satellite communications devices while they’re out on the mountain. Here are the satellite text numbers for the race directors: Andy – (254 ) 543-5653; Kathleen – (254) 460-5948. Again, these are text-only devices. For serious emergencies we also urge you to call 911 and the Mt. Washington ranger’s station – (603) 466-3347. Also, there is a phone and attendant — and, often, a ranger — at the Hermit Lake shelter mid-mountain: (603) 466-8116.
If you decide to leave the race, avoid the possibility of search crews being sent out to look for you. 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.
Travel and Lodging:
We have partnered with Destination Miles to assist our athletes in making reservations. They are a wonderful travel service: specifically designed to help runners and triathletes at national and international-level events.
The awards ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 3pm. Medals presented to top three competitors overall (both male and female) as well as top age grouper (10-year categories) and Relay Team.
Those who cannot remain for 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 the Hyannis Triathlon in September or GutCheck Triathlon in October.
Dogs and Smoking:
Sorry, racers cannot have dogs accompany them at the Hamilton House property at the start, or for the run on the mountain. And, while we know none of our athletes are smokers, perhaps a friend or family member may be. No smoking is tolerated on the grounds of the Hamilton House or at the Wildcat Ski Area.
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. You know all the rules, right? If not, read below.
1. Helmets: Only helmets approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may be used. A sticker is placed by the manufacturer inside the helmet. Helmets must be worn at all times while on your bike before, during, and after the event. Penalty: Disqualification
2. Chin Straps: Chin straps must be buckled at all times when on a bicycle — including when the bike is off the rack and in your hands while standing, walking or running with it. DO NOT unbuckle your chin strap unless you are off your bicycle and it is placed back on the rack. Penalty: Disqualification if on the course; Variable time penalty if in transition area.
3. Transition Area: All equipment must be placed in the properly designated bike rack. No person shall interfere with another participant’s equipment or impede the progress of another participant. All bar ends must be solidly plugged. No participant shall bring ANY glass containers into the transition area. Penalty: Variable time penalty
4. Cycling Regulations:
Drafting: keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into the zone, you must pass within 15 seconds.
Position: keep to the right hand side of the lane of travel unless passing.
Blocking: riding on the left side of the lane without passing anyone and interfering with other cyclists attempting to pass.
Overtaken: once passed, you must immediately exit the draft zone from the rear before attempting to pass again.
Penalties: Variable time penalties
5. Course: Cyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws at all times. Penalty: Referee’s discretion
6. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Foul, harsh, argumentative or abusive language or other unsportsmanlike conduct directed at race officials, volunteers, spectators or fellow athletes is forbidden. Penalty: Disqualification
7. Headphones: Headphones, headsets, walkmans, ipods, mp3 players, or personal audio devices, etc. are not to be carried or worn at any time during the race. Penalty: Variable time penalty
8. Race numbers: All athletes are required to have their race-supplied number clearly visible on their bike. For the run, they must wear their run number, clearly visible at all times. Numbers may not be cut or folded or altered in any way. Penalty: Variable time penalty.
9. Wetsuits: Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wetsuit without penalty up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees in the Salmon Falls River, then global warming has taken over the world and we all have bigger problems to deal with.
10. Abandonment: All personal equipment and belongings taken out onto the course must stay on the athlete the entire time. No garbage, clothing, etc. shall be thrown on the course. Please do not litter the course with water bottles, gel packets, or wrappers. Penalty: Variable time penalties
For a complete list of rules, please refer to the most up to date USA Triathlon Competitive Rules at: http://www.usatriathlon.org/resources/about-events/rules