Triathlon Across the USA: State #10 – New Hampshire

Triathlon Across the USA: State #10 – New Hampshire

Rye, New Hampshire, September 23, 2012 – Wallis Sands Triathlon, Rye Beach at Wallis Sands State Beach.

This triathlon, the second in as many days, started differently than others – with fresh scrapes on my right arm and right knee.  There was also the injured right shoulder.   After this race, I would not swim for four months while the shoulder healed.

These injuries were the result of a bike crash a day earlier in the Newport 19.7 Triathlon in Newport, Rhode Island.

On a positive note, I had a brand new front tire and tube, thanks to the fact that the previous ones had been destroyed by a very sharp, unknown object during the bike leg of the Newport 19.7 the day before.


Travel to the New Hampshire Triathlon

Joy and I left Newport, Rhode Island late Saturday morning of the day before the Wallis Sands Triathlon.  We made our way the 140 miles north to the Trek Bicycle Store in Portsmouth, NH, the triathlon’s main sponsor and location for packet pickup.

Since I was at the shop, I decided to have them look at my Trek SpeedConcept 7.5 bike for any damage.  The technician showed me a rather large cut in the front tire, apparently caused by glass or a rock.   There was no real option but to replace the tire.

Following packet pickup, bike repair, and a wonderful seafood lunch, we drove the bike course (a typical pre-race routine) checking out the road conditions.  One thing that struck us was the sheer number of cyclists, literally hundreds.  To this day, I have never seen an area with so my cyclists.

Before heading to the hotel, we purchased some liquid bandage which we later applied to the main cuts and scrapes.


Wallis Sands Triathlon

2012 was the 3rd running of the Wallis Sands Triathlon sponsored by Trek Portsmouth.

Distances for the individual legs of this USAT-sanctioned sprint triathlon were:

  • Swim: 0.33 mile (530 m)
  • Bike: 14.5 mile (23.3 km)
  • Run: 3.1 mile (5 km)
sign for Rye Beach

Rye Beach, site for the Wallis Sands Triathlon, is located on US1-A


One of the distinguishing features of this race was the swim.  The water was freezing cold, in the mid-60’s F and definitely ‘wetsuit legal’.  Oddly, there were still some hardy souls swimming in only triathlon shorts – without a shirt!

From my best estimate, the waves of the surf were 7 to 8 feet (2.2-2.4 meter) high.   Race organizers announced that the waves on this day were the highest they had been all summer.

During the warm-up, practice swim, it was clear that getting past the wave was nearly impossible through a frontal attack.  So, before the start of the race, the organizer gave those of us not experienced with swimming in such conditions some very simple advice for getting past the waves and beyond the surf – swim ‘under’ the waves.

Following this advice made all the difference.  Swimming under the wave before it crashed made it straightforward to get into open water where most of the swim occurred.

Of course, coming back to shore was much easier – sort of like body surfing.

Swim start at Rye Beach New Hampshire

Swim start at Rye Beach. (Photo courtesy of TriME.)


The ‘flat and fast’ bike leg began and ended on US1A where we road between the Atlantic Ocean on the right side and houses as shown in the background of the above picture on the left side.

Leaving Rye Beach, the course involved a two-mile ride north on US1A before turning inland toward the town of Rye and its adjacent neighborhoods.  At about mile 10, the course rejoined US1A south of Rye Beach for the final four and a half miles back to the transition area.


The run course left Rye Beach north on US1A with a turnaround at Odiorne Point State Park.  From here, it was back to the finish line back at Rye Beach.  I made one short stop during the first mile to remove a small rock from my shoe.  However, after this, I was able to finish the run with a respectable (for me) time and average speed.

One lesson that I took from this race is that I should plan to wear socks during the run when the air temperature is cold (as it was in this case).  My bike shoes are porous to allow air to flow through them. This is a good thing under normal circumstances when the air temperature is higher.  However, after this bike leg, my feet were quite cold.

While I typically run without socks (see How to Achieve Faster Transition Times) in sprint triathlons, doing so with cold feet is quite uncomfortable.


I am not sure what is ‘in the water’ in Rye, New Hampshire.  However, this race will likely go down as one of the fastest in which I have participated.   Despite respectable times for me – times that have led to top three finishes in several other races, I ended up 13th of 16 in my age group.


Race First’s

  • First time completing sprint triathlons on consecutive days.
  • First race with a swim in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • First race with bike and run portions of US1A.

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