Race Report: Nautica New York City Triathlon

I didn’t by any means believe I would be racing at the NYC Tri 3 years ago. In 2008, Anh and a friend of ours, Cesar, was riding up Riverside when we noticed “bikers” checking their bikes. The day after Cesar told us it was a triathlon. The Nautica New York City Triathlon. He even challenged me to sign up for it……..today is that day.

(Bike Checked in waiting for yours truly)

(from left: Brandon, Baker, Daniel, yours truly)

I woke up at 3am race morning. The bike was checked in the day before which is mandatory. I went with Andy who also put up a great race performance. Thanks again Andy for loaning me your race tires. Andy and I took the RCN transition tour, which was quite helpful. I deflated my tires to about 70psi given the heat during the day (high in the mid 90s). We were told of stories in the briefing of quite a bit of popping tires in transition during the evening of the race, so remember do not leave your tires fully inflated to 120psi or more. My swim wave was at 7:42am Β so I decided to have 2 breakfast servings. One around 3:30am when I got up and the other at 5:30 roughly 2 hours prior to my wave. Given myself enough time to digest all that fuel and use the …….. if need be. Anh’s companionship to and from my tris are priceless. She keeps everything organized and moving. I got to transition around 5:00am. Carried a floor pump with me just in case the lines were too long to wait for race designated pumps. However I still ended up using theirs due to the darkness around my transition area. If you have heard this before somewhere believe it so, the transition area is tight. I am 6’3″ my bike is a 60cm frame. All the racks at triathlons tend to be a tight fit for my bike as far as trying to get the saddle beneath and over. This time around I had to basically put the bike in on a wide angle to get it under the rack (I have to figure out a smoother solution, Matt Reed is a big guy, what does he do?) Anyways getting in early to set up your transition area is a must for me. I met Daniel in transition so we decided to hang until swim start. We all started the 1 mile walk North to swim start. We stopped just shy of the start and sat down watching pro waves and age groupers in earlier waves go by. During our wait Brandon and Baker joined us as well, both of which were doing the NYC Tri. Amongst us Brandon has done it once before. We all took the opportunity to use the potty potties. It was very entertaining watching the various waves go. The current was so strong, swimmers who backstroked, doggie paddled seemed to be advancing at times faster than swimmers doing freestyle. This venue is also host to the paratriathlete world championship qualifier. It is always heartfelt admiring paraathletes determination and commitment to endurance sports.

(A wave swimming along in the Hudson at the NYC Tri)

Swim: I thought about jumping in the Hudson and holding the rope which was an option at the swim start for age groupers. However watching the crowded rope I decided to jump feet first (cannonball anyone?) instead. Off we went. I was just thrilled to get my first Olympic tri started. All those months of training for today. My sighting was on point. My breathing was relaxed along with my stroke. The first 50 meters was not at race pace. I went through my mental and body check to adjust this observation. All was go for full throttle mood. I focused on long strokes with smooth breathing and occasional sighting. I began passing swimmers of the earlier “blue” wave, the prior wave. This was a much needed confidence builder for me. At this point I know that I’m making huge gains with my swimming. I was positioned to the far right as per race organizers advise to stronger swimmers. Β The current is much stronger to the right of the field. After swimming for about 500 meters I encountered a “silver” cap swimmer in my wave to my right who seem to be on my same or slightly above swim level. So the game plan was to breath to the right while keeping pace with him. I started to get into contact with swimmers in the “red” wave, those started two waves ahead of us. This was just the last boost I needed. I went from moderate to a much harder swim while passing “red” swimmers. Next sighting revealed I was maybe 100 meters from the ramp at the swim exit. I definitely sprinted the last 100 meters knowing that this would be ideal for the bike as per my heart rate zone.

T1: The volunteers were an amazing bunch. They assisted us tremendously. We were pulled up to the platform from the ramp and they also helped us unzip our wetsuits. I had my wetsuit down to my waist and ready to be fully removed before I got halfway into the 430 yd run to T1.

(Hammering on the bike, straw still intact)

Bike: Yanked my bike off the rack and headed towards bike mount. Made sure I was in my low gear heading up the steep incline to the traffic circle. My HR was at 160 right about where I was hoping to be. Headed up the Henry Hudson highway ramp Northbound. I kept a steady cadence of 90+ through most of the course. I hammered on all flats and descents. The NYC Tri bike course is pretty much split between elevation gain and loss. The feeling of overtaking tri bikes was very encouraging. 3 weeks prior I had decided to invest in clip-on aero bars for my road bike and also an Aerodrink bottle all from Profile Design. Both of which came in very handy. Aero bars for much needed power from the glutes and the Aerodrink for my hydration in preparation for the challenging Central Park 10k run ahead. The slowest I moved on the course was 9mph on a climb. The fastest was 38mph on a descent. In preparation for a flat if it occurred; I carried three C02 cartridges, 2 tubes, tool kit and tire levers (a bit much for some, but I wasn’t taking chances at my first NYC Tri especially next year being a lottery). One mishap was on a transition between changing gears and getting back into aero I lost the top straw for my Aerodrink. My elbows knocked it off. That would be fine as I also had two additional hydration bottles in my seatpost bottle rack. Kept hydrating whenever I was in a recovery zone. Finished the bike averaging just under 3:00/mile as I was anticipating. 91 average cadence. Garmin Bike Data.

(NYC Tri Bike elevation)

T2: The descent into transition must be ridden into with extra caution. Bottlenecking was a small issue as the area is narrow and some triathletes get tangled up. (some being confused with their transition area: Red or Yellow). Coming into T2, red must stay right and yellow left. I dismounted my bike and quickly went to rack “21” (loved my rack position, associated it instantly to my favorite basketball #). I opted for socks as I’ve never ran more that a 5k sans socks.

(Could not be more pleased with my form)

Run: Again steep incline out of transition onto the course. The run across 72nd Street was made great with spectators cheering us along from either side of the street. My goal was to keep a steady 7:32/mile. However with the humidity, my lack of brick “hill” runs this goal would not be attained. I was very comfortable with my running strides. I tried as much as I could to maintain the rhythm on all the rolling hills this course would present. Having my fuelbelt is always an asset I never want to be without, even with all the aid stations the course had. I finished off the run averaging 7:49/mile. Note: Train more clockwise runs at Central Park. Garmin Run Data.

(NYC Tri Run elevation)

(I was not able to see Anh on the course, caught up at the finish)

Race Results

Swim (1500 meters): 16:58
T1: 5:15
Bike (40k): 1:13:09
T2: 2:06
Run (10k): 48:28

Overall time: 2:25:54
(227 out of 3485 finishers)
67th in my age group of 475

(Official Results)

Nautica New York City Triathlon 2010 Results

Triathlon Performance Scorecard

Post race Anh and I met up with Adam at Isablella’s for brunch. Adam also put in a solid performance despite his one bottle on the bike falling off.

(My order: Breakfast Burrito with fries, 2 eggs over with toast and 2 mimosas.)

Improvements/Reflection: There is always room for improvement. This is my second year doing triathlons. I enjoy the experience every time. So far I have done 2 sprints and this is my 1st olympic making this my 3rd triathlon to date. My transition still needs some work, though I felt it improved slightly. This is the fastest swim I may ever do at an Olympic distance. Bike was right on target. I am satisfied with the run given all the elements: humidity, rolling hills, etc. I am looking forward to next year. Thanks to the organizers who did an outstanding job along with the volunteers. Great race to volunteer in btw. I actually did my part on Friday – stamping triathletes hands as they left the briefing area to validate their packet pickup. Hope your enjoyed the race report and pics.

One comment

  1. Fantastic report on a great triathlon, Alex! Sounds like everything went pretty well according to plan. That’s pretty awesome! Maybe three years to my first NYC Tri too! The clock just started ticking…Haha!

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