Take Two: Block Island Triathlon

Over the weekend I took part in one of my favorite events of the summer: The Block Island Triathlon. I competed last year and loved every second of it. This year was different, I had a race team.

IMG_1387I must have made it sound easy or something as my mother, Karen, and friend, Evan, decided to sign up as well. My mother is a fit lady who loves to be active in many ways (especially Jazzy ones), and Evan is a runner who has never competed in a triathlon.
Mom was pretty confident. Saying ,“Michael Phelps isn’t even a stellar athlete” as we watch him carry the US flag at the Rio opening ceremony the night before. I guess she thought she could take him on the swim portion if she had to.

 

As race day approach we were all nervous about the weather with storms predicted. I said my prayers and wished for the best. Luckily, Saturday arrived with sun and smiles. We prepped our transition stations with “recyclable” footbaths.

At 9 am the race went off. I was in the first heat. Ekk.

The race consisted of a ¼ mile swim at Fred Benson Town Beach. It was tough as I was running into the water and headed towards the same buoy as the rest of the pack. There was a lot of arm flaying and no apologies.

When I ran out of the water and went to throw my sneakers on I swear everyone else was dilly-dallying. I had places to be. The bike ride consisted of a few close calls with cars and other bikers and only once did I yell “MOM!” at the wrong lady.

13901547_1233309526699427_8045180890117176352_nBy the time I got to the beach, I was pumped yelling, “These are my roads” to everyone I passed. The run was tough as the high tide meant wading through calf-deep water at some points. I was cheered on my beach goers loving my St. Lawrence T-shirt (and Cole Hann shades).

I finished in just over 1 hour and 30 minutes, third overall female and first in my age group. For anyone else that did the race, I had to search far and wide for the results (here they are) I am now the proud owner of the coolest T-Shirt on Block Island. So yes ,this blog post is somewhat a humble brag, but I know you care.

Besides me, my mom did phenomenal. She finished 12th out of 20 people in her age group. Take those Tri Veterans! Her biggest feedback was that the race was the perfect choice for her. The mixed training was better than simply training for a half-marathon that she had been interested in.
IMG_0963Evan crushed the game as well placing 2nd in his age group. I had to say no when he mentioned a “cool down” run after the race.

Block Island is a great place to race. There is one more chance this summer to “Run Around the Block” on September 10th. I won’t be able to be here for it so you might have a chance.


Have you ever raced on Block Island? Is Michael Phelps a stellar athlete? How many scoops of ice cream did I eat after the race? (Wait, don’t answer that)

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She definitely earned her cone.

Block Party: Blues on the Block

IMG_1236Blues on the Block is a Block Island tradition that brings together many of my favorite things: music, early evening activities, sand, the list goes on and on.

On select Wednesdays at Fred Benson Town Beach Pavilion, join the “cool cats in town” for a shaking good time. This summer you still have one chance to go, August 3rd.

IMG_1226Go prepared. Music starts at 6pm going til about 8pm so make it a picnic. Serious tailgaters you know what to do here, but if you’re new to the game here’s your short introduction. Start with drinks, a nice wine says “I’m classy and I know it” and pairs well with a hummus spread. Throw in some pita chips and a quarter pound of sharp cheddar and you’ll be turning away the Queen from your beach blanket.

On Block with limited resources? Go the take-out route and pick up some pizza pies at Aldo’s. You won’t have to worry about utensils, and you’ll make your evening hassle free. Just remember “carry in, carry out” the seagulls are not hungry for your beer bottles.

So once your bottomless pit (stomach) is full, time to dance. The musicians at Blues on the Beach changes each night, but all of the groups play for the crowd and play very well. After 7pm once the crowd is really there, the platform in front of the Pavilion becomes a dance IMG_1229floor. To my surprise, people really dance (myself included) (yes that link is worth clicking)! Say awe when they slow it down for couples and enjoy watching older couples circle the floor (if your faith in love isn’t restored, you’re a cold one).
The night winds down as the sun sets and music fades. Blues on the Block is the perfect cap to a Block Island day.

If there is inclement weather, Blues on the Beach is held at Captain Nicks. So mark your calendars for August 3rd, you don’t want to miss this show.

Do you like Blues music? Is 6pm the new hot hour of the night? Is Bruno Mars considered Blues?

Bonus Blog

Today, I had my lovely grandparents on Block Island. They choose the perfect day to visit with calm seas, a farmers’ market and a natural-born tour guide with the day off. And hey, this isn’t their first time.

We had lunch at the Spring House because why go anywhere but the best? Then we were ready for a quick dip. We headed to Ballard’s beach because of its location, but I did so begrudgingly. Ballard’s is too crowded for me with too much alcohol to worsen the situation. But it did the trick. We dunked and dashed, dodging Ballard’s finest.

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It was a quick trip, but these two did it right. I tried to offer them a hotel room, but they forgot their toothbrushes. Thanks for visiting Grandma and Grandpa, see you soon!

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Soar and Tour: Heliblock

What’s that? I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the roar of my helicopter (ok, the helicopter). Regardless, there is something new in the skies above Block these days.

There is a unique and different way to explore Block Island this summer and you don’t even have to exercise or sit in a stuffy taxicab to take part. Heliblock is new to the island offering “hell of a good” Block Island tour.

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Co-Owner Matt Hallet will take you up in the Robin II.

I always thought I would be in some kind of medical emergency if I found myself in a helicopter above Block Island, but it turns out I can skip the moped accident.

Zoom above the beaches and bluffs for the best views the island has to offer. The helicopter goes up about 1,500 and makes Block feel much smaller than it already is.

For those of you who are skittish when it comes to being more then 6 feet off the ground, let me tell you. The ride is certainly smoother then any airplane flight I’ve taken. Add to that is being able to watch the pilot handle the controls makes the whole “no-control” thing a little less worrisome.

The Tours

Block Island Tour

P1080260Approximately 10-12 minutes, costs $60 per person. When the helicopter takes off it cruises over the western half of the island. This allows for surveying of private homes and beaches you never knew existed. The tour then loops left towards the Mohegan Bluffs taking in views of the Wind Farm and Southeast Light. The aircraft goes up the eastern coast making riders feel a world away as the entire island is visible at once. The entire tour is awe striking and leaves passengers ready to go check out a new beach once they have returned to land.

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Can you say hot date? Cruise over Block and hold their hand, this option is about 20 minutes in length and even if your date rejects you, the Instagram likes will make the trip worth it. #nofilter

Islands Tour

See the neighbors. Fly over Montauk, Gardiners Island, Fisher’s Island, Westerly and come home to Block. This option runs for $300 for two passengers.IMG_1066

Want to learn to fly yourself? Matt Hallet, co-owner of HeliBlock is a certified flight instructor. Demo flights are available.

Oh and it’s probably best to just take a tour or lesson. Fun Fact: This helicopter costs about $500,000.

Reservations are accepted, but walk-ins are welcome. There is no age limit or physical requirements to riding. The HeliBlock helicopter is found on the western end of the Block Island airport. Check out Heliblock on Facebook and Instagram . (Their photos kinda rock!)

Are you afraid of flying? Where on Block do you want to see from above? Does the tour count if you don’t Instagram a photo from it?

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POPportunity Knocks

Pop on the Block is the new kid on the Block this summer. This new shop is bringing the trendy treat of sweet and savory popcorns to the island.unspecified

The shop is eye-catching and mouth watering with something for everyone. Owned by a mother and son duo, there is something for everyone.

Popping Products

Prepared Popcorns

With 25 flavors to choose from you might be in here a while. Like any good store THERE ARE SAMPLES. Flavors range from candy inspired to spicy Siracha. My favorite sample (making my mother proud) was New England Maple. Come in try a few and note your favorites or recommendations on the wall. Owner Lisa Rose takes these notes serious.

Kernels and Spices

More of the independent type? Want your popcorn your way? Also for sale find numerous kernels and flavorings. Salts and sugars are available large and small. Small “make-your-own” variety packs come in clutch when you are the can’t-make-up-your-mind type.

Popcorn Pizzas

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I have never seen anything like these before. Small and large size “pizzas” combine popcorn held together with a chocolate “crust” and topped with other crunchy, sugar-filled toppings. No they don’t deliver.

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Almost any toy, housewares or clothing item that has popcorn on it is here. Think Popcorn “Corn Hole” (which puns itself) and Popcorn jewelry.

Corn Hater? No worries, Pop on the Block also carries a range of candies and snacks. Making it a one stop shop before heading into Empire for a movie.

Pop in. See what new flavors are being added. I know it’s corny, but don’t miss your popportunity for a fabulous snack.

What kind of popcorn do you want to try? Should this place sell POP-sicles? How many popcorn pizzas am I going to buy this summer?

Help Float the Glass Floats

The Glass Float Project returns once again this summer to Block Island. The hidden glass floats, otherwise known as “Orbs”, are a Block Island tradition that delights and frustrates visitors throughout the summer. The softball-sized, hand-blown glass balls are scattered across the island to be found by lucky souls.

The glass balls are crafted by Eben Horton, and funded by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Block Island businesses. To support the project, a Kickstarter campaign in progress until May 19.

If you help fund the project you are REWARDED! Here are some highlights, be sure to check out the site to see the full details and to donate.

  • $10 or more: Glass “coin” and subscription to the email34c88b2336445ea426bccba4a37f839a_original alerts of when more floats are being hidden
  • $50 or more: Your own signed float
  • $60 or more: Pendant Block Island Necklace
  • $70 or more: Special extra large float
  • $90 or more: Solid glass float paperweight
  • $150 or more: Exclusive blue glass float
  • $250 or more: Signed Gold leaf float

So far the campaign has raised $6,500 of its $8,000 goal. The project works with the Nature Conservancy to encourage visitors to explore all that the island has to offer. Giving helps support this mission (and might help you find your own orb this summer!). Give here.

 

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All photos from The Glass Float Project.

 

Getting a Running Start

Guess who’s back to Block? This lady right here! I’m headed back to the island later this month for another summer of living in paradise.

As I think ahead, I have begun to plan out some of my race training. I am excited to participate in the Block Island Triathlon again, but there are a few other races that take place on the island as well . So if you are looking for a great reason to race over to the island, look no further.There are races throughout the summer for all abilities. The racing on the island is the whole experience, whether it be for only race day to race or even turning it into a whole weekend.

Here is a complete list of all the races on the island for the summer of 2016:

 Block Island Shad Bloom 10k Trail Run

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Details: Hosted by the New Shoreham Recreational Department this race is a mix of trails and road terrains. Be sure to train for hills and pack an extra few layers as it will likely still be chilly this weekend. Sign up for this race if you are looking for a quiet island experience; it should be quiet on the island just runners and wedding guests.Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 6.41.45 PM

Check out last year’s results to see what you’re up against.

Block Island Triathlon 

Saturday, August 6, 2016.IMG_4006

Details: As the only race I’ve personally participated in, I can vouch that this is a great sprint triathlon. The race consists of 1/4 mile open water swim, 12 miles of YOU CAN DO IT biking and a 4 mile run on Cresent Beach. It is great for rookie tri-hards and experts alike. Compete in this and have bragging rights for a least a year.

Block Island Heath Service 5K Beach Run/Walk

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Details: Block Island’s spin on the average 5k. It’s in the sand! If you can still walk after the triathlon, make it a real weekend to remember (or at least for your body to remember) with this race. Running in the sand might not be the path to PR but it is an excuse for some extra (insert great Block Island food here).

GOPR0142The Great Salt Pond Swim

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Details: Though open water, this 1-mile swim takes place ou of the heavy surf of most of Block Island’s beaches. The race is a part of an entire day to “Celebrate the Pond”. The race is capped at 150 racers and staggered starts to keep from people clobbering each other. A great race for all to train swimming abilities for! All proceeds go to the Committee for the Great Salt Pond. 

41st Annual 15k Run around the Block

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Details: See the whole island on this mid-distance run. Beginning in New Harbor, the race explores close to all of the paved roads. September is beautiful time on the island. It is also popular! If you want to stay on the island be sure to book ahead of time.

A few things to know if you plan to race on Block Island

-Most races will be postponed if ferries are not running due to weather

-Most hotels require a two-night stay on the weekend, so plan to make a real weekend out of a race

-Don’t cut off anyone on the course! You’ll likely see them again in a small place like Block Island!

Are there races you know of taking place on the island this summer? What is your favorite?  Have a great training course on the island, share! Last question (and most important) where are you getting your post-race drink?

Orbs: An Editorial

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As I have mentioned before, glass “orbs” are hidden across the island for islanders to seek out and take home. I have had a struggle of a summer in my attempt to find one. As I near closer to my island departure, I am in need of some closure. But like with a bad boyfriend, I’m not going to get it.

Dearest Orb, where art thou? I have no idea why I speak with any sense of fondness for you spherical globe. There are a few things I would like to share with you. But as much as I curse the physical glass globes, I am devoted in the finding of the scared glass floats.

What does “orb” even mean? Orbit the entire island in a journey that ends fruitlessly? Or maybe it means absorb all your time so you never get to the beach? Who knows? Who cares? I want these things out of my life and I want it now.

Orbs are like a bad boyfriend. You think for so long you are having great time, that there is a great future ahead, but really you are just going in circles and there’s no orb or diamond ring to be had.

I have searched high, I have searched low. I have search in the early morning and I have search under the light of a Blue Moon. I have considered the possibility that the whole thing is a ploy and anyone I know who has found one is only “in on it”.

The paranoia does not only exist during my waking hours, but finds me in my dreams as well. Not once, but twice I have dreamed a dream of orbs. In one I spot an orb only to then enter a foot race with someone else who beats me to the glass. This was a two-part blow as a runner, being out paced by anyone, and as an orb hunter, the worst kind of defeat, so close but still empty handed.

While I have the attention of the public, I have a strong suggestion; throw your cans in the proper receptacles. The high of spying something shinny in the thicket, taking a few step backwards only to realize the reflection came from a Pepsi not the orb of my dreams, is deathly defeating.

With summer’s end drifting closer, others orb findings being listed and my hunts yielding zilch, what am I to do? The anger expressed in my opening lines will get me nowhere. Instead, I have begun to retrace my steps.

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Orb hunting may have not left me with a memento for my summer, but maybe it brought me something else. It brought me out onto the island Greenway trails. Instead of racing through the paths, I meandered. I felt the sun on my back and the sweat drip as I poked and probed the many paths of Clayhead trail. I grew closer to my mother as she and I bonded in frustration over our failed quest. I spoke with strangers and swapped tips of “pre-combed” paths.

IMG_3993Orbs, you are not as bad as I may have made you out to be. Instead of a ranting letter, I believe I owe you an honest thank you. You got my behind out of the beach chair, you made me friends in the woods, and you gave me satisfaction knowing I have become a part of the tradition of Block Island summer. Thank you orbs, but I’m not giving up yet.

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