||New York City Triathlon
||Sunday, July 22, 2007
||New York, NY
||Triathlon - International Distance
||Male 35 - 39
||52 / 2998
|Age Group Place:
||13 / 13
||Welcome to America - First real pro race - #1 of 4
NEW YORK CITY TRIATHLON
July 22, 2007
Sunny / Water temp 72F / Air Temp 73F / Winds variable 5-12 knots
My vacation from Greece, and my 2007 triathlon racing “season”, consists of four very different races. NYC is the first of the four, and it is my first real pro race with a pro prize money purse, having earned the honor of a pro license through that great finish at the 2005 Reston Triathlon. Of course, I had no dreams of flying out of New York with earning money…a last place finish in the pro division was my expectation all along, and my “A” race in the four-race series is race #2. Yet, it was that pro card that got me into NYC after it had sold out long ago, and NYC was a necessary warm-up for the following week’s Armed Forces Championship.
I still haven’t written a report from my 2005 NYC race. Stv Smth and I still have quite a few logistical secrets about this race that are still valid, so if you ever what to know the inside story, just ask. What has changed over the past two years is the size of the field…now over 3,000 racers in a race that was approaching 2,000 back in 2005.
Aside from the hassle of getting the bike from the airport to the hotel in Manhattan (SuperShuttle was horrible in this regard), I arrived from Greece two days before the race with no hassles. Before the race, I met up with my mother (newly retired, taking a summer class at Harvard), my brother (flying up from Atlanta), and Derek Oskutis (great Navy triathlete from Annapolis) and his friends.
One other thing from the pro athlete perspective…at this particular race, there was very little set up or done differently or separately for the pros. There was a separate chip pick-up place and dry bag drop, but that was about it. Pros went through the same pre-race briefing, had the same goody bag, and waited in the same lines as everyone else. Things may be different elsewhere, but the moral of the story is that with a few minor exceptions, pro triathletes are treated just the same as any other full-price paying participant…oh, yea, I paid full price to enter, too.
Being a pro had one big benefit here…being able to sleep with my bike. It allowed me to work on my tire pressure in a permissive environment…and I did have one tire that needed more than just simple maintenance to behave.
I did not leave a whole lot of margin time in the final setup, although I was going through the pre-race setup at a comfortable pace. By the time that I made the barefooted jaunt of a mile to the swim start area, I had about 15-20 minutes before the race start. I made a couple of mistakes here, neither of which I could foresee. First, I dropped off my dry clothes bag at the designated place, and then later discovered that there was a special place for the pros to drop off their bags. This allowed my bag to get “lost” in the shuffle of other bags and eventually, slow to find after the race.
The second error was that I arrived at the swim start right when it was announced that it would NOT be a wetsuit-legal swim, despite being told at the pro meeting that “It has always been, and will be, wetsuit legal.” Had I known that it would not be wetsuit legal, I would have put on something more hydrodynamic than I had. Oh, well.
SWIM (15:59 - was 15:54 in 2005)
Breathing to my left, I saw that I managed to stay with the triathlon stars of the future for about the first 50 to 100 meters, and then reality started to take hold. I don’t know if it was the three days out of the water before this race or what, but I started to do the hyperventilation thing and hit a big wall. I can’t imagine what kind of pain it would have been had I been wearing my wetsuit, but I darn near came to a stop as the field pulled away. I started backing off, and at the same time, started moving away from the seawall to take advantage of better currents. A few hundred meters further downstream, after passing outboard of a couple of small marker buoys and drawing a yelling or two from kayakers, I was back on course with a full bag of air again. I even had one swimmer still in sight, but too far ahead to try to catch.
In spite of giving up 2-3 minutes to most of my fellow pros, my 15:59 was practically the same time that I did in 2005, with a wetsuit and a stronger current…so this was a bit of a victory.
T1 (3:49 vs. 3:13 in 2005)
This race has a LONG run from the swim exit to T1 (especially if you have the southern transition zone like me). It took me over two minutes to run, barefooted, the distance to the entrance to T1. I sort of needed all that time, too, as for some stupid reason I tied my drawstrings with a knot that took the full quarter-mile barefoot run to untie. At least it was easy to find my bike…it was the last one on the rack. Just as I approached my bike, however, I looked outside the T1 fence to see the lead women running by. The transition was quick by my standards, but I was still the slowest of the pros by 19 seconds.
BIKE (1:06:57 vs. 1:03:45 in 2005)
No problems mounting the bike and navigating the quirky exit path out to the Hudson Parkway. The first part of the ride was going to be the tough part…into the wind and generally uphill. Despite the rough road, I felt that I managed to get into a good rhythm early. Nonetheless, I saw one rider in the forward distance about 45 seconds ahead, and soon enough started seeing a pair of bikes and motorcycles to my rear. Pretty soon, I would have to try to figure out how to do this staggered positioning thing.
The guy in front of me was slowly pulling away, and the lead two ladies, Julie Diebens followed by defending champ Emma Snowsill, caught me at the GW bridge. Surprisingly enough, as the hills started to become more frequent, I kept up with Julie and Emma. A little later on, by the time we reached the Hudson bridge crossing into the Bronx, Julie started pulling away, but I was keeping up with Emma and at one point passed her briefly.
The times on my watch weren’t looking spectacular, I was on pace to be well over an hour, but it seemed to be a slow bike day for many. At the turnaround, I was a little more than three minutes behind Derek and exactly two minutes behind the last man in front of me. Emma and I had exchanged positions a few times, and while I passed her on the final climb to the turnaround, she ended up passing me back and then taking a sizeable lead heading back to Manhattan.
I was still having a “good” ride, enjoying the relatively open road, only having to worry about keeping the lateral stagger on Emma, who was still in my sights. Back in Manhattan, we started to hit the downhills and this is where I started to reel Emma back in. Soon enough, I rushed by her somewhere high up on the west side near the swim start. The time still looked a little ugly, but I managed to see Derek and Holden (the last two men in front of me) again as I was speeding to the final turnaround. Emma closed in at the turnaround, but I managed to stay in front and maintain that all the way back to T2, where I finally yielded in the final few meters before the dismount line and waved her by. At this point, I thought that she was going to finish solidly in second, but she ended up running a 32-minute 10K to successfully defend her title.
My 1:07 was well above the 1:03+ that I had in 2005, but my alibis here include using the “backup” ITU-rigged bike without a disc wheel and needing a tuneup (I couldn’t use my lowest rear cog), and the early headwinds. I didn’t push beyond the red line here, but I am concerned going into Pt. Mugu the most about the bike, and whether my Grecian environment took away too much bike fitness.
T2 (1:03 vs. 1:04 in 2005)
Really quick, and again it was easy to find my spot…just look for the hole. Still, I was the only male pro to go over a minute in T2.
RUN (40:22 vs. 41:42 in 2005)
This run starts with a climb, which makes it even harder to get the run legs going. However, although I didn’t feel superfast, I did feel that the run legs were coming quickly. The first mile of the run is one of the exciting parts of the race, where spectators, onlookers, policemen, and taxi drivers are making noises in your honor. Emma had zoomed off into the forward distance, and I pretty much had a chunk of W 72nd Street all to myself with the remainder of the female pros and the elite amateur men still well back, but gaining.
The run felt fine early, and the weather was perfect. Not terrific speed, but a quick pace. The amateur men and a couple female pros started to trickle by. In all, seven men and two women passed me in the park. It did seem that I was getting a little slower in the later miles, even though the later miles were more downhill than uphill. In the last mile, I started to get a little stomach cramp, and I had to slow down a little to ease the pain. I still had enough to make it to the finish line in front of Dave Scott, who raced in the elite amateur division. (I got to be the first to congratulate him!)
My run time of 40:22 was, of course, well off the pace of the other male pros, who were all under 37. Yet, this run was faster than my 2005 run time, even with this year’s course a little longer due to the addition of the run up and around the hill adjacent to the finish line. (In 2005, this hilly pathway was part of the ITU transition and run course)
Mission accomplished for race #1…get the first pro race under my belt, and not get totally embarrassed doing it…get needed race experience before Pt. Mugu and evaluate what needs to be tweaked with equipment and training…successfully entertain mom and brother…meet some cool people for the first time, and reunite with some cool people that I haven’t seen in a couple of years…Scott Baldwin, Todd Long and Espen Kateraas, who helped make me want to move back to DC again.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS FOR PT. MUGU
- Swim practice…especially dealing with the first 500m
- Sustained bike power…and a tuneup.
- Running stronger in the second half of the run.
Mom: For financing much of this, and for cheering cheerfully.
Brother: For occupying mom when I couldn’t.
Derek: For making my first taste of pro triathlon racing unintimidating and stressless…for introducing me to other cool people…and for the extra space in your dry clothes bag.
The ITU-style, draft legal Armed Forces Triathlon Championship, July 28th at Point Mugu CA.