What will the water temperature be?
This time of year this cove hovers around 69 degrees.
Do I need a wetsuit?
You do NOT need a wetsuit, considering the above water temperature. However, if you have a swim run specific wetsuit you are welcome to wear it. Examples of swim run specific wetsuits are here. Also, you do need to carry a safety buoy with you (see below.)
What should I wear, and what is required?
In terms of apparel, there are many options in addition to the mandatory safety buoy (outlined below) and shoes (also outlined below).
Athletes may elect to wear triathlon suits, swim skins or swim shorts which are all permitted. Ideally athletes will wear something that won't cause drag in the water and will not retain water on the running portion of the course, OR cause undue chaffing. Triathlon suits or shorts are great options, but in an ideal world your suit/shorts will have a removable chamois as to not hold water on the run course. Compression running shorts are also a great option, as they'll dry quickly and allow for optional freedom of movement, and are quite affordable. They obviously also are lacking a chamois.
Please note that any gear that you start with must be carried with you throughout the entire loop. Athletes will have a drop-bag area where they can access their gear to either leave or add equipment as they see fit, just before they jump back into the water on each loop.
What's this Safety Buoy rule and where do I get one?
There are two different "bouy" options that are allowed in The Odyssey. Each competitor must have one of these two options on their person for the entirety of the event.
Option 1: The "tow buoy" is a tow-behind swimming devise that
allows for aided flotation in the case that you are in trouble in the
water. It is tethered to your waist and towed behind you during the swim.
Considering this event has athletes changing between the disciplines
of swimming and running multiple times through out the event, there
is a higher rate of cramping and a higher rate of potential challenges
in the water. Therefore, the tow bouy is an added layer of protection
and an added level of visibility to help our lifeguards spot issues.
The tow bouy is held in the hand during the running portion of the
event. One such example would be the "tow buoy" made by New
Wave seen HERE.
Option 2: The "pull bouy" is another option, and is kept between the upper legs while swimming as opposed to being towed behind the athlete. If you opt for this option please note that your bouy must have a strap system for attaching the bouy to the inside of the legs during the swim. Bouys without straps are not allowed. These straps make it so that the pull bouy can be rotated to the outside of the leg during the running portion of the event. One such example would be the pull bouy made by Orca, seen HERE.
Each athlete must determine which option is best for them, while considering which is more comfortable for them in the water and on the land, while keeping in mind the option chosen will have to be carried during the swim AND the run.
Are swim paddles allowed in the race?
Swim paddles are NOT allowed in The Odyssey.
What is recommended for shoes?
You are looking for a few different things in a swim/run shoe... You are looking for a quick-drying shoe that does not hold onto water upon your completion of the swim portion of the course. You're also looking for something that doesn't create much drag in the water, causing a slower swim. And specific to the course at The Odyssey, you're looking for something that can handle both pavement and some very non-technical trail/grass.
One of our favorite recommendations would be the Salomon Crossamphibian Swift. Our race staff has personally tested these ourselves on this course, and they work perfectly for this application. They are fast, light, quick draying and comfortable in and out of the water. They provide the perfect traction for the running course, and don't break the bank at around $90 (or as low as $60 on sale.)
If you don't want to invest in a new pair of shoes, you don't have to. This course can easily be run and swam in your existing pair of running sneakers. If you are interested in getting the most speed and comfort out of your Odyssey race, simply consider investing in something that dries quickly and hugs the foot well in the water.
Should I wear socks?
This is a personal preference. Not wearing socks means less weight and less absorption of water on each lap. However it leaves more opportunity for chaffing, especially on The Odyssey's long-course option. Simply test out both some workouts using both strategies and find what works for you.
Do I swim with shoes!?
Yes, part of swim run is that you swim in your running footwear. Part of this is due to the constant switching between swimming and running disciplines. This is also because here in Rhode Island we have a rocky, grassy shoreline. Your exit out of the water on each loop will be on a rocky shore. The shoes will be an added layer of protection as your find your way up the embankment and onto the run course.
If I finish on the same lap as another athlete, who wins?
The race is scored by loop AND time. The more loops an athlete covers, the more they move up in the ranks. In other words, an athletes that covers 4 loops wins over an athlete that covers 3 loops. After distance, ranking is scored based on the time it took to cover the distance. In other words, an athlete that covers 4 loops in 1:49:12 wins over an athlete that covers 4 loops in 1:52:37. Only full-loops count. Therefore, pacing over the course of the event is crucial, and makes for a very strategic competition. Run as many loops as possible, pacing yourself to use as much of the clock as you can.
How is the event timed?
The Odyssey is chip timed.
What surfaces am I running on?
The Odyssey run-course utilizes has a mix of pavement, grass and non-technical trail. The trail section is very short (roughly 30 seconds per loop) and not at all rocky/rooty, therefore doable for even a trail-running novice. The grassy stretch of the course is relatively short (a few minutes per loop) and freshly mowed each year before the event. The remainder (and majority) of the course is pavement.
What surfaces are the water/land and land/water transitions on?
Athletes enter the water on concrete boat ramp that slopes gently into the water. The race utilizes an in-water start before the official starting signal. They re-enter the cove on this boat ramp at the beginning of each lap. The water to land transition is on a rocky shoreline on the other side of the cove. The "smoothest" exit from the water will be marked with buoys and pennant flagging. However, athletes are asked to use caution as they exit the cove due to the rocky bottom. Proceed to the swim exit carefully to avoid stubbing toes, twisting ankles, etc. Triathlon Mats will be used to guide athletes up onto the trail that leads them to the run-course.
Do I need a partner? Will I be tethered to another athlete?
If you've seen other swim run events from the more European side of the sport you might have seen that it is common to have athletes tethered together as they traverse the course. This is not the case with The Odyssey. This is a solo competition. You're on your own, against the other athletes, and against the clock.
Is there a cut-off to head out on a final loop?
You are responsible for your own pacing. You may head out on as many laps as you like in the time alloted in your division (either 2 hours or 4 hours). If you don't finish a lap, it doesn't count, plain and simple. If you are 10 steps from the finish line and the clock strikes zero, the lap DOES NOT count. Plan, pace and strategize accordingly.
Where do I put my stuff and can I access it during the race?
Very much like a triathlon, you will have access to your stuff on each lap. As you finish the run and prepare to head back out on your swim you will have access to your gear. Each athlete is granted a location in the race staging area for their equipment. You'll pass this on each loop. We ask that athletes keep their gear preparations restricted to the size of one duffle bag. You may pack changes of socks, shoes and apparel if you wish. You may also bring any nutritional support you think you may need.
What is the policy on spectators?
This is a completely closed course and we allow spectators EVERYWHERE. Please bring friends and family. They are welcome to join us at the starting/finish line, as well as anywhere on the course they'd like to cheer and spectate. There is a great view of the entire cove from all over the Mt. Hope Farm property, so watching the swim and run are both very easy. Also, family and friends are welcome to enjoy the post-race festivities, as well as roam the course to provide support wherever they see fit.
Are there aid stations on the course?
There are two aid stations on the course. The first is at the halfway point of the run course, as you begin your return trip towards the cabin from the westward side of the farm. This will give athletes a chance to refuel with Gatorade and Water, as well as various "snack" options, including energy gel. The second aid station is at the main race staging area/starting line/finish line, which will feature water only. This is at the Cove Cabin, just before athletes return back to the cove for their swim. Also, at this aid station athletes will be able to leave a drop bags at numbered stations. Therefore, athletes may stop at this station as much or as little as they like, before heading back out into Cabin Cove.
Do I need to be a member of USAT to compete in The Odyssey?
No. However, athletes must either be a USAT Member (you can join here) OR secure a 1-day pass to race for $15 within the registration process for The Odyssey. The option of a one-day pass will be presented to athletes when they proceed with registration. Details on one-day USAT passes are available here.
How does the Long Course Relay Division work?
In an effort to open up a team option in The Odyssey we are offering a Relay division for only the long-course (4-hour) race. This is a full-lap relay. In other words, each athlete completes a full lap (both swim and run) and then returns to the staging area to hand off their timing chip to their teammate who will then enter the water for their own loop. Therefore, each athlete must be proficient in both the swim and the run, AND meet the qualification standards to the race. However, considering the rest time that each athlete will be granted while their partner completes their loop, this will be a great option
Are there "finisher" awards?
Yes, but only for athletes the complete the minimum required to be considered a "finisher" per the race rules. In the 2-hour race athletes must complete 2 loops, and 4 loops must be completed in the 4 hour race. For athletes that meet this standard, medals will be awarded.
Awards for Top Finishers
Due to the smaller field size there are no age-group awards at The Odyssey. However, top three overall male and female finishers in each of the two race divisions (2 hour and 4 hour) will be honored in the finish line party.