Race Report: Pumpkinman Half-Iron Aquabike

Race date: September 8, 2019
Authored by: Liz Smith-Freedman

Pumpkinman is a weekend event in South Berwick, Maine, less than 2 hours from Boston. On Saturday the venue hosts a sprint tri and on Sunday the Olympic and Half are held simultaneously. Several team members have participated in this race before and it’s gotten mixed reviews. I found it a mostly positive experience.

Because this is a small, mostly local race, the vibe is very friendly and supportive. Even those guys with shaved heads and M dot tattoos were pretty chill. The swim takes place in Spring Hill Pond on the premise. The course for the half is a triangle and the course for the Olympic was a triangle within the larger triangle. Swimmers swam their respective triangles twice. I found that set up rather confusing, especially since for the first and forth leg of the swim was directly into the sun and difficult to see. But the water was a perfect temperature and there were no weeds (my pet peeve.) They also had wetsuit strippers, which were a nice touch.

After the swim and the strippers, participants ran up a short, steep hill to transition. The bike course for the half was a double loop through well paved country roads. The race promotes the bike course as the most scenic in New England, as it takes the riders past quiet farms and woodlands. There was support along the course; however, one Gatorade and water stop was halfway up a steep hill, which wasn’t too well thought out. There were rolling hills, but nothing too steep. Contrary to advertising, the course is just short of 56 miles – 53.3. Afterwards there was a Thanksgiving style meal with turkey, gravy, stuffing, etc. with pumpkin spiced Maine beer. 

This was my first aqua bike, so with the shorter course and no half marathon at the end, it felt like cheating. On my way home, after the lovely meal, I felt a sense of guilt passing runners on multiple loops of the 13.1 course. But it was a beautiful day and I was without the complete exhaustion from a 70.3, so I drove home happy and satisfied.