So what's a Nordic Ski Racer to do when he's on vacation some place warm in the middle of ski racing season? Why train of course!
Nine of us headed off to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands for 9 days. I'd been trying to figure out my training options before we left. Some were obvious: swimming and kayaking - neither of which I have much experience with. The other options were hitting a gym somewhere and going running.
In my searches on the internet, the word was "St. Thomas is a bad place to run." Narrow, twisting roads with blind corners heading up, down and around the mountains and no trail network made it sound like running was not going to be an option unless is was on a treadmill.
Well, the web was wrong. I found an excellent place to run in St. Thomas: hilly, interesting, safe, and used by lots of local runners and walkers.
Where to Run in St. Thomas: The Peterborg Peninsula
This 10K route starts from Magen's Bay on the north side of the St. Thomas and winds to the end of the Peterborg peninsula that guards Magen's Bay to from the northeast. (Magen's Bay is supposed to be one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world according to National Geographic magazine.)
I did not measure the distance - the 10K is what locals told me and the total distance may include running down the beach and back at Megan's Bay.
The route is pretty straight forward. There's only one real turn. In every other case, just keep on heading straight through intersections to get to the end on the peninsula. Here's a link to the Megan's Bay and the Peterborg area on Google Maps - use it to see the roads in more detail.
There are lots of hills, both steep and long - up to 2-3 minutes of climbing depending on how fast you're running. The hardest part was getting used to occasional car driving on the left side of the road!
1. Start at the gate exiting from Megan's Bay. If you get to Megan's Bay before 8:00am, you can park for free. Otherwise, it's a dollar a car plus $3 per person in the car. You can also take various taxi services to the beach.
2. Turn LEFT at the first paved road and start the first long climb. You can't miss it - there will be a dumpster or two on the right side of the road after you make the turn.
3. Near the top of the first hill, you can look down on Megan's Beach.
4. A down and more ups along the bay.
5. Bear left and down on the concrete road when you reach Peterborg Estates. The gates are closed to the public. There may be a guard dog or two on the other side of the fence that runs along the road.
5. At the bottom of the hill, bear right and head up. (I did not try it, but I think you might be able to take the low route to the left. But why? There's a nice view at the top of the hill on the right)
6. At the top of the hill is an intersection: keep on traveling straight over to the east side of the peninsula.
7. Review from the top.
8. Over the top and down along the other side. Watch for wild chicken....
9. Another climb to another intersection. Continue straight through and back over to the east side of the peninsula.
10. Down one hill and up another.
11. Getting close to the end. You can now see off both sides of the peninsula.
12. Pay your respects to Steuart. His memorial is on the right as you descend.
13. The paved road ends. Take the rock road toward the big rock then hang a left.
14. End of the road just ahead.
15. End of the peninsula. Enjoy the view, then turn around and head back!