Up for the Challenge? Challenge USA Triathlon Comes to Our Training Playground

An aerial view of atlantic city, nj.

In the past, Atlantic City, NJ has marketed itself with the slogan “America’s Playground.” While for many, this conjures images of the blackjack tables and the beach, the playground takes on a new meaning as the Challenge USA Triathlon has selected Atlantic City, NJ as the location for its inaugural event.

Image from www.ChallengeAtlanticCity.com. Photo: Bob Krist/Challenge Family

Now, Atlantic City will be recognized as the training (and racing) playground that John and I know it to be.

We enthusiastically welcome you to it!

We swim in these waters. We ride on these roads. We run on the boards. This is our training playground – and we are proud, excited and ready to show it off to those of you who hit the “submit” button on the registration page, locking you in as part of the inaugural Challenge USA event.

And, it’s all happening here: in little ol’ Atlantic City, NJ.

Are we excited? That word doesn’t quite capture it.

Once the courses gain their final approval, we will do a complete write up of what to expect on the swim, bike and run. But, for now, we thought we’d cover some of the basics of what makes Atlantic City a great pick for training and racing.

Swimming safety device. It doubles as storage.

Let’s start with the water. The swim for this race will be in the back bay, and that time of year should be wetsuit legal. Average temps for that time of year are around 65 degrees.

There may be some tidal “pull,” but it’s not terribly strong (like a river might be). Because it is a mostly protected area, you should have little to worry about with respect to chop.

While the water is not crystal clear, it is clear enough most of the time (unless there’s been a big storm that stirs things up). You should be able to see the feet of the swimmer in front of you without issue.

If you are going to train here before the race, be mindful of boat traffic. We recommend swimming with a buddy, and making yourself very visible. Perhaps with a flotation device of some type, like this. And, if you’ve got a good friend who will kayak with you, that would be safest.

Now, to the roads. The bike course is about as flat as it gets. The website lists the total elevation at around 775 feet. If you get that much, that’s a lot.

challenge_bike-6701592However, be prepared for a little wind. And, when I say “a little” I mean it could be blowing as much as 15-20 mph that time of year. That’s what we call


“hills” around here. 😉

The course includes a ride along the expressway, and then the ride on the country roads. And, it’s the country roads that we think you will really like. At least, that’s what we love about riding around here. The roads are well-paved, and if I see a dozen cars during a long ride on some of these roads, that’s a lot.

While we don’t have the majesty of the mountains, we have the quiet serenity of the Pine Barrens, with their own special type of beauty. You’ll ride past the blueberry farms that produce the best tasting blueberries I’ve ever had – grab a pint or two from a local farmstand while you are here. You’ll see what I mean.

Our country roads have their own quiet charm. Image from http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/09/photos/photos-challenge-atlantic-city-announced_84639.

So, that brings us to the run. One of my most favorite places to run is the Atlantic City boardwalk with its eccentric charm, which I wrote about a few years ago (click here). The AC Boards are not like Ocean City, NJ or like Wildwood, NJ – and that’s EXACTLY what I like about them.

Enjoy the time on the boardwalk – the surface is forgiving and the view of the beach and ocean is perfect. I’ve had some of the best runs of my life on that boardwalk. I ran my first marathon ever on that boardwalk. And, you will have a great finish on that boardwalk!

Brigantine Bridge. You will run over this bridge for a little jaunt into the island community where I grew up :). From this view, you see the bay as it prepares to meet the ocean.

Other highlights will be the run over the Brigantine Bridge for some of the best views of the the back bays and Absecon Inlet you’ll ever get. John and I have spent many-a-day doing hill repeats on this bridge. And, you’ll pass the house where grew up. So, obviously, that’s why you signed up. 😉

After the race, you’ll be in a resort town, just a few days before Fourth of July weekend! So come for the Challenge, and then celebrate your day in our playground.


Are you competing in Challenge USA? What are you most excited about for this race?

If you have questions about the area, where to stay, what to do, then contact us! We are eager to show off the best of our area. If you are interested in training clinics before the race, give us a shout. We are working on putting a few together and we’ll put you on our mailing list.

Up for the Challenge? Challenge USA Triathlon Comes to Our Training Playground
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