FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


FAQS


City to Sea is a multi-sport adventure event involving kayaking, road cycling and running (or hiking). It is a 2 day challenge with significant levels of logistical support, plus additional support options available at additional cost. For more on what is included, click here.
You bet! It starts at Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne in the north and traverses the full chain of the Keys to finish up at Key West. That really is the end of the road.
Quite a bit! This route is one-of-a-kind and is the only multi-sport traverse of the keys that has been attempted in this manner. It’s all connected with first-class event support and is all achievable in a long-weekend. The kayaking leg particularly is very special: No-one has attempted such a sea traverse of the northern Keys and special permits are in place with Biscayne National Park in order for us to carry out the event. It’s audacious and an exciting proposition for sure! The logistic package we have come up will hopefully make it very achievable for those travelling from afar and for those who don’t have, or don’t wish to bring, chunky boats and bikes with them. And hey, what could be a better way to finish any event than dunking your mangled feet in the Ocean and kicking off those sneakers with a well-earned sun-downer in Key West!  
The route is 150 miles all up. That’s 33 miles in kayaks, 104 miles on the bikes and 13 miles on foot, in that order. The exact final route distance is subject to change and might be a little above or below these figures. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing. For an overview map of the route with stages, click here.
Either. It is for solos or pairs. Mixed or single sex. You choose. You can go it alone or do it as a pair. For the kayak, pairs can use single or double kayaks. We have rental options for both, or you are free to use your own boat(s).
No. It’s a challenge! Sure, someone will be faster than everyone else and as such, there is nothing wrong with you gunning it as hard as you can; or just cruise. It’s designed to be a seriously tough, but still an achievable objective.
There are cut-offs on the bike and the run stages, although they are very generous and are not there to make you fail. We want everyone to finish and the cut-offs are generous. If you do end up lagging behind and you really cannot make it in time, (or if you are injured) we will pick you up in an event sweeper vehicle and transport you to the overnight locations. You can restart the next day if you wish. There is none of this ‘if you miss a cut-off you’re out’ stuff on this event.

For the kayak, it’s a little different but there are still cut offs. Clearly once you are out there, you’re out there. However there are 2 safe harbour locations on the Northern keys where we will have safety staff and where we can take paddlers ashore if they a.) have problems and wish to withdraw or b.) are going too slowly and we need to cut you off. The latter is unlikely as we will of course have seen you paddle pre-event at the skills check and ultimately, we will only let you commence the event if we are satisfied with your ability to complete the leg. However, if this does occur, we will cut you off, bring you ashore onto one of these 2 locations and then transport you to the end of the stage. Your boat will follow, although we will not guarantee the arrival time of the boat as it will be collected en masse with other boats and transported together by one of our motorized support vessels.

No. There’s enough time available to walk it all and we have designed it that way. There will still be time for beers at the end, too!
It’s a big outing and you’ll need good conditioning and a solid dose of fitness, plus an appreciation of the task at hand as far as the kayak stage goes, too. See more on the skills required here. But this event has been designed for anyone to have a go at – not just seasoned adventure athletes. That is the Rat Race way. We have provided some commentary on the nature of the challenge and the ‘ratings’ we apply to it (Skill rating and Endurance rating) here. In terms of training, this is a personal thing, but a general training plan will be released shortly, which should act as an overall guide to help you prepare and get the most out of this epic adventure.
Well, the sea is the sea. There is an initial fairly exposed sea leg. It could be flat calm or it could be choppy. There are some currents in places but nothing that majorly out you off your stride. The paddling alongside and amongst the keys is beautiful water. It is likely to be sheltered in most conditions as we will paddle in the Lee of the Keys and through inlets amongst the islands themselves. But it is still the sea and that by its nature is unpredictable and susceptible to weather.

For the bike and run, hey it’s Florida. It’s sunny and flat! And it’s pretty much all tarmac – a mixture of designated bike lane on the side of the highway, separated bike lane and similar for the run.

For a description of the route and a general overview of the map, click here.

Not really. We will be issuing you with a ‘turn-by-turn’ navigational aid for the bike and the run (basically a satnav for your bike and feet) but ultimately, just follow Highway 1 and you’ve nailed it! For the kayak, we will use a suite of resources, including our boats used as early route markers. We will also require all paddlers to have a marine GPS on board with the route track and this will be used as a backup. You can provide your own or we can rent you one. See here for the rental options.

Extremely unlikely. But if you do get lost we have a suite of options in place to get you back on track. You will all have a satellite tracking device that we can use to see where you are and we have comms to speak to our sweeper vehicles and event control. Our crew can then attend to your position. Frankly if you get lost on the bike or run though, it really has gone wrong!

Still unlikely but more possible than the above. But still very unlikely and not something we are intending to happen to anyone. Again, we have a suite of options in place to get you back on track. You will all have a satellite tracking device that we can use to see where you are and we have comms to speak to our support boats and event control. We can then attend your position with our craft – kayak or motorized. There will be a protocol for such encounters and we will work hard to ensure that 1.) it doesn’t happen and 2.) if it does, we have your back. You should not worry about getting lost. At all times our support team will not be far away and we have co-ordinated closely with the National Park and the Coastguard on this one.

With the marine GPS unit you will have on board, the mobile markers on the initial sea leg and the fact that once you hit the northern Keys themselves, you pretty much keep them on your left and keep going, it’s all good. BUT we are serious about the safety plan at sea and it’s all very well considered.

Same as above really. We have medics on the event alongside safety boats and safety vehicles moving with you all the time. So if you need assistance we will be there.
The Event comprises 3 main locations:

  1. Key Biscayne, which is where it starts out from.
  2. Key Largo, which is here Registration occurs, the bike transition and drop-off point and your overnight mid-point accommodation location
  3. Key West – where we finish

It is up to you to sort lodging pre and post event; and to sort somewhere to stay in Key Largo at the mid-point of the event. Check out our route map here to see the various locations and how they all stack up. 

Check out what we provide on kit/equipment and what is included as far as food/accommodation/transport is concerned HERE.

No. We do not offer refunds but we do offer event transfer vouchers, so you can put your credit to another event. We need 2 clear months notice prior to the event to make these changes plus you will need to pay a £15.00 charge and 15% value (less the £15 paid) fee. Our pricing structure rewards those that commit furthest in advance and we recommend customers hold the appropriate insurance to cover non-attendance for issues such as illness or travel problems. Transfer requests can be made here. You can find full Terms and Conditions here.

Party! It’s the end of the road for the event and the end of the road as far as the continental USA is concerned. A party atmosphere pervades year-round here so suck it up, get involved and get a beer in hand! We will be laying on a post-event celebration meal and after that, see where the weekend takes you! We’ll be getting into town on Saturday night, so you still have the Sunday to keep on boozing. Or recover. Your choice!
Couple of reasons. The kayak is better done on a weekday to avoid too much motorized pleasure boat traffic in Biscayne Bay. If we really did need to pull the kayak due to weather, we do have a contingency day in tow then to possibly attempt the kayak on the Saturday. And then of course, if you get to Key West on Saturday, there’s Saturday night in Key West to party; and Sunday to make your way back home, nursing a well-earned hangover. You don’t want to be picking up the pieces on Monday morning, surely?
It’s Florida Man! Of  course it’s hot. It is not the hottest time of year for Florida but it is likely to be nice and warm. Some ocean breeze may help cool you off but seriously, you need to expect two long days under the sun, in the outdoors. You will get dehydrated and need to keep taking on the fluids and salts. Our pit stops will help but it’s up to you to keep yourself in check. Part of the mandatory gear will be a minimum quantity of water and food on your person at all times.

There is a list on the Kit/Equipment page of what is provided for you by the event and what we require you to provide. A full kit list will be provided in due course.

Not much. In general, you need cycling and running/hiking clothing that is suitable for a hot, Florida climate – good lightweight wicking clothing and sturdy sneakers or hiking footwear for the run/trek. For the kayak, there is the option to use your own gear (including buoyancy aid and paddle) or use ours. We also require a marine GPS unit to be used as mandatory safety gear on the kayak. You can provide your own (they are relatively inexpensive to buy) or we can rent you one. Check out more on kit and equipment here.

No. We have rentals on providing kayak, buoyancy aid and paddle. You can use your own if you have one, however. That can be a double or single and you must also supply your own paddle and buoyancy aid. Your call. We will ask to see all paddlers perform a skills test before we ‘sign you off’ for the event. Check here for more info on the paddling level required.

The nature of the distance and the conditions experienced on our sensational kayak leg dictate that sea kayaks are the catch of the day here. Whilst this event could be attempted with a sit-on-top, it’s a very long way for such a craft and frankly, we wouldn’t recommend it. Therefore we advise closed-cockpit single of double sea kayaks. We will be renting both types of craft. You can find out more about kayaking at this event here.

Depends on what you are benching it against. As sea kayaking goes, it is very, very inviting and accessible. BUT we are attempting an open water crossing of the ‘safety valve’ right at the beginning of the event, which is exposed and therefore may be rough, depending on weather and wind direction. For the most part, the paddling will be fairly sheltered and is beautiful. For us, the kayak leg is the essence of this adventure and a truly unique and very special opportunity for all concerned. Make sure you are up to the task and then simply enjoy it! How often do you get to say you paddled the Northern Keys? All of ‘em!

No. This is a supported format, which means that we transport gear for you from location to location. There will be gear you need to take with you on each stage however. Notably you will need to carry a daypack for all stages, which will have food, water, emergency gear and spare clothing in it, so you will have to carry something. But by no means all of your kit. We will do the hard yards on your overnight supplies by carrying a bag for you from location to location. This is a large logistical operation and is part of the value offered in this very special trip. We will also transport transition bags to the various locations also, so you have the right gear to change into after the kayak (kayak – bike) on day 1 and after the bike on day 2 (bike – run).

Pit stops feature food and drinks. Although please see the notes on these in the food section of this website. These are not full ‘sit-down meals’ – more-so grab n’ go snacks and hydration supplies. For the overnight on day 1, there will be food available to purchase. For the finish, we are supplying a finishers’ celebration meal, so that one’s on us.

Absolutely. We welcome supporters and they will have a great time down in the Keys too. We can provide vouchers for them to attend the post-event celebration meal. Check out the supporters section on the homepage for more info.

Yep for sure. This is a unique and very special part of our Rat Race spectator interaction set-up. Our bespoke and unique satellite tracking system is one-part safety system and one-part giant online-viewing gallery. Your supporters can see you on the map at all times and follow your progress.

The best. Rat Race is renowned for our commitment to the very highest standards of safety management and medical cover. We will have a trained event medic on the trip, plus water safety and rescue staff trained for the marine environment. It’s a comprehensive set-up. You’re in good hands.

We offer airport transfers at either end, plus other options to make it as easy as possible for you to access the Challenge and have a great weekend down in the Keys. For the full low-down on this, together with a description of all of the options available, click here.

Of course. You’re more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.

Yes you can. We welcome support from across the country and the globe and if you do decide you want to come and work with us on this very special event alongside our event crew, we will make sure we look after you. Plus you will be rewarded with an unbelievable experience in a phenomenal part of the United States, of course. Click here to see the lowdown volunteering on Rat Race events across the World.