On Saturday morning I traveled to New York to compete in the New York City 51.50 Triathlon. We started by jumping into the Hudson River and swimming 1500 meters downstream (with the current = fast!). Once out of the water we had a 40 kilometer bike ride from Manhattan to the Bronx and back, followed by a 10 kilometer loop through Central Park. I've been racing all 70.3 distances this summer, so heading into the race I was very excited to test my speed in the shorter Olympic distance triathlon and see how I could do against some of the sport's best.
Swim: 14:02 (1500 meters with the current)
Exiting the water sans cap
I was a little worried about swimming in the Hudson River. A recentNY Times article detailed serious pollution problems in the river, so swimming through it did not sound appealing. In fact, it was a real possibility that the swim would be cancelled until the final water quality report the day before the race declared the river safe. Hopefully the report was accurate because I swallowed an awful lot of the Hudson in the short 14 minutes it took me to finish the swim (gross.).
The weather Sunday morning was not great: rain, rain and some more rain. After a 45 minute delay to the start of the race, the race director called the male pros out to the dock and we were set to go. The swim started off with a dive from the pier and I made a tactical error by starting in the second row of athletes. The gun fired and we were off. Being in the second row, I quickly caught a couple slower swimmers and was rewarded with a quick kick to the face. The kick was perfectly placed right under my left eye, taking off my goggles and swim cap and leaving me in a daze that lasted about 500 meters. I was also a bit disgusted that I was now swimming through the Hudson goggle-less exposing my eyes to the disgusting water. During my dazed and confused state, I dropped off of the lead pack, but regained my composure and made up some of the gap over the final 750 meters. I left the water about 30 seconds down from the first swimmer, but was happy to be in a pack of guys 4th through 13th.
With the horrible weather my goal was simple: ride well and don't crash. The road was full of puddles and because of the "stagger" rule, I had no choice but to ride straight through several puddles. I don't mind getting wet, but the puddles were actually hiding potholes and upon approaching a small pool of water, I had no idea if I was in for a little splash or for a jarring encounter with a hole. In the first 5K I nailed a pothole at full force. The impact sent my areo bars down, but fortunately I stayed upright. Overall, the 40K was challenging with some nice short climbs. Particularly hard was the ride home; the final 20K was into a tough head wind. Combined with the rain and road quality, times were not too stellar, but I was happy to have stuck with a good group (riding at the front this time to avoid any penalties) and came into T2 in 5th or 6th place.
Run 34:52 -- I had a smooth T2 and was excited to start the run in the top 10. Including myself there were seven athletes in our group, Tim Reed, (3rd place), Kevin Collington (5th place), Dylan McNiece, Joshua Amberger (7th place), Kevin Everett (8th place) and Jared Woodford (10th place). The run led us up a slight incline away from the river and towards Central Park. Tim Reed started the run at an extremely fast pace and took a few of the other runners with him. The first mile I struggled badly experiencing some cramping in my upper back. I was quickly gapped by the group and went into damage control. I needed to relax and find a good pace. About a mile and half into the run I found my stride and started to reel a few of the guys head of me in . I first caught Jared Woodford and then set my sights on a few others. Jared and I ran together for a while, we passed Andrew Yoder who had gotten off the bike ahead of us and we were gaining ground on the athletes in 6th, 7th and 8th. With less than a mile to go I made a surge and created a gap of about 30 meters between Jared and me. I kept running my pace to secure my 9th place finish. After rounding a turn, I headed into the finish chute with a good lead over 10th.
Next up is Ironman Lake Steven's 70.3 on Sunday August 14. Shooting for another Top 10 finish.