Aquaphor New York City Triathlon. Race Report by Carol Buchanan

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Last fall, TCoB member Carol Buchanan received an email asking her to enter a lottery for the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon, an Olympic distance event held in the middle of New York City that raises money and awareness for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. After purchasing the $11.00 lottery ticket, Carol was later informed that she had won a slot.  The entry fee of $306, was expensive, but much less than the $1500 that each athlete is expected to raise for a normal slot, and it was all for a good cause.  Here is Carol’s race report:
The race is held in mid-town Manhattan.  Manhattan  means land of hills.  Who knew.  I never made it past Armani at 5th and 57th where it is flat.


The transition area is at the foot of 72nd Street along the banks of the Hudson River.  Due to the number of participants (around 3000) the transition is split into Yellow and Red.   Mandatory pre-race briefing and bike racking is held the day before the race.  My Yellow transition closed at 5:15 am with the pros going at 5:50 am.  You need to walk approximately 2.2 km to get to the swim start.  After the pros and elites, the age groupers go on a 15 person / 20 second time trial start by jumping off a barge into the Hudson River.


It is a straight shot swim.  The river bank to your left and a flotilla of rescue craft on the right creates a nice swim corridor.  Unfortunately it had rained the night before so it stirred up some interesting floating bits.  At the swim finish you need to swim right up to the exit ramp where you will be lifted out of the water.  Trying to stand just stirs up muck that you could sink up to your waist in.  Once you exit then you have a 700 yard run down to the bike transition.  Its recommended to use the showers along the way. I had river “silt” all over my face until a volunteer told me to dump some water on my face at the aid station going into transition.   This is the place to set a PR in the swim.  The river current is crazy fast.


The bike starts out with a nasty hard right up a narrow hill to the main course.  (See the pic I posted on Facebook.)  I made it up without problem although Ian said there were some people walking up the hill and some domino effect crashes later.  The bike follows the Henry Hudson Parkway to the Bronx, turns around and comes back to 56th Street where there is another turn-around.  Its then back to transition.  The course becomes more hilly the closer you get to the Bronx.  It is described as rolling hills.   The hills are similar to those around east or south of Guelph.  The course is closed which is really nice.  There is medical support on the course (yeah I a wee unfortunate incident and needed a few band-aids) but no other aid  other than a roaming tire repair motorcycle.


After racking the bike, your run up the evil twin sister of the previously mentioned nasty climb to 72nd Street.  This is what it must be like to run the NYC Marathon.  The whole street is blocked off and hundreds of people are cheering you on.  You run about one mile up 72nd to the entrance to Central Park.  You follow (clockwise) the park road way.  Did I mention Manhattan means land of hills? Aid is approximately every mile.  The finish is in the center of the Park.   You run down a long serpentine finish chute.  The crowd is awesome.   The run, which I understand is part of the NYC Marathon is similar to running on Northshore Blvd.  near Lasalle Park or parts of Britannia between Cedar Springs and Appleby.

The final evil is that you must walk back approximately 1.25 miles to the transition to get your bike and gear.

I was in New York for a week before the race – work plus some vacation.  It was a wicked hot week so the race day temp of 85F was almost cool.    Ian had never been to NYC so we did some sightseeing.   I think NYC would be considered a destination race but perhaps not appropriate for children.  We stayed at a decent hotel on 7th that included breakfast for about $220.00 a  night.  I rented a tri-bike from TriBike Rentals rather than shipping one of my bikes.  For me personally, this was a mistake as the shifters on the aero bars were difficult for me to use due to the rheumatoid arthritis in my hands.  (See the need for band-aids above.) The service and the bike itself were excellent so if you decide to rent rather than ship, check them out.


Carol Buchanan


More information about this Olympic Distance race (1.5 km swim, 40 Km bike and 10 km run) can be found at the Aquaphor New York City Website