Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekend Recap - Aquaphor NYC Triathlon

For all of you Triathlon Geeks tuning in for John's race report of the Aquaphor NYC Triathlon sorry to disappoint.  This is our weekend recap "sherpa style".  Official race report with all of John's technical goodness will be out as soon as he can break free from training, work, and kid wrangling.

We kicked off our weekend on Friday night by dropping The A Team at my mom's house...for the ENTIRE WEEKEND!!! A full 48 hours to ourselves... and we are going to be schlepping all over the city with gear.  Then the anticipation, nerves, energy expense and exhaustion that comes with race day.  I want a white sandy beach.  I want a spa weekend.  Heck, I would have settled for a staycation at Casa Newman where I didn't need to lift a finger.  Could have read all day, watched mindless TV, organized the house (I love to organize), had quiet conversation with my man, etc.  NOPE.  Sherpa Wives spend their 48 hours of freedom schlepping MILES around the city with gear, navigating transition, doing course recon, visiting expos, hanging back during athlete briefings, and sweating their asses off in a hot, dirty city.  A large part of me thinks "yup, no better way to spend the weekend" and the other part of me says "I want a spa weekend pronto."  Balance is such a fickle friend.

Here Babe.  Take me HERE please!
This weekend, while exhausting on a level beyond my initial comprehension, was a great adventure.  Below are the Pros and Cons (or maybe the not so Pros) of the weekend.  John usually races very local so we don't need to factor in travel.  We learned some mighty lessons this weekend.

The Pro's:
  • We stayed at the host hotel which was the Hilton on 54th and 6th.  The hotel was OK...not sleek and shiny like I had hoped or expected.  However, we didn't really get too much time in our hotel room anyway.  We paid for early check-in.  John wasn't for this idea but thanked me after.  Staying at the host hotel for the event made it convenient to packet pick up, athlete briefing, and the expo.
  • We got to meet up with Arshad Bahl from Amrita Health.  We love Amrita's nutrition bars and meeting Arshad himself didn't disappoint.  He is an amazing human being who radiates light on everyone and everything. Arshad has a great story and quality product.  Check him out!

  • The race was well planned out:  spectator guides, athlete guides, real time tracking app, lots of security and an athlete bus to take you to transition the morning of the race.  A little note on the athlete bus: The bus was only for athletes but they didn't give me a hard time.  Wouldn't you know -- the bus driver had no idea where he was going (even with GPS).  This was starting to get my incredibly punctual, slightly OCD, already experiencing race nerves, athlete incredibly agitated.  
This App was amazing.  It was definitely real time.
The NOT SO Pro's:
  • The distance from the host hotel to transition area.  We walked this almost two mile distance three times over the weekend.  We had to get the bike to transition in Riverside Park the night before the race.  It was HOT!  Some of the crazier athletes rode their bikes to the start.

Heading to transition
  • This is not the best course for spectating all disciplines.  They discouraged you from watching the athletes swim and the bike course was the West Side Highway.  It really came down to the run (doesn't it always!).
  • All items brought into transition needed to be in a clear plastic bag (security!).  This took a little bit to sort out.   I could tell this made John incredibly uneasy.  John trains for transition just like he trains for the other disciplines.  His normal transition bag has all his needs in one spot, laid out just how he likes it.  Change is never good on race day.
Some lessons learned (in my opinion):
  • We did some course recon but not good enough.  While we noted the almost one mile walk to the swim start and almost half mile run into T1, we failed to notice the STEEP hill coming out of T2.  In the end, I think this might have been a benefit.  Less for John to obsess over!
Transition was Riverside Park on 72nd - 79th
  • We ate dinner in a restaurant that the hotel recommended.  They had THE shittiest food ever.  We put no time into evaluating restaurant choices.  We are used to John racing local and eating at home.  He did OK with a black bean burger but could have used more food for sure.  We did enjoy dining alone and being able to have a conversation that doesn't start and stop a bazillion times.  
But hey, I got this guy all to myself!
  • Again on the food front, we didn't research where John could get his traditional bagel with peanut butter on the morning of the race.  At 3:30 am.  In the middle of a city that apparently NEVER sleeps. Luckily there were a few local delis open at that time.  As well as a line around the Hallal truck.  Really?
Race Day:
Sunday morning was a 3:00 am wake up.  Yup!  This is my life.
Does anyone else find this funny?
I thought I was pretty HYSTERICAL!
While we were organized, it felt disjointed not being in our own home.  For one I couldn't make myself a cup of coffee and I had no expectation of finding a good cup that early.  Coffee is largely responsible for my charm at 3:00 am.  John quadruple checked he had everything he needed and we kept running through the checklist while we were trying to chase down a bagel and peanut butter for him.

Found on
Walking to the swim start was fun.  Tons of athletes walking together.  I left him at the swim start a half hour before the start of the race.  I headed back to get...COFFEE.  I felt bad leaving him to wait at the start by himself but the race officials kept saying that certain areas were going to be closed to spectators.  I am always very compliant (mmm hmm).  Turns out they were a little more lenient than they led you to believe and I could have hung around a little more.

Heading up to the swim start -- The Hudson at its finest
It was so crazy hot, even at 5:00 am, by the time I got to Starbucks (a mile or so walk) I was DRENCHED.   I hung out there for a while monitoring the Aquaphor NYC Triathlon app.  Thanks to the app I knew when John headed out on the bike and at what time I should start making my way to 72nd and West End Avenue (my first spectating position).

I was excited to see John start his run.  I am always so relieved when he is off the bike.  Cheering my head off as he passed and he didn't even see me.  Then I made my way to the finish line (another mile!).  There were a lot of people spectating but never did it feel crowded.  I was able to cheer for him as he headed down the finishing shoot.  I am an obnoxiously proud Iron Widow!  Again, he didn't see me.  Thanks babe! So glad I got up at 3:00 am!

Smiling and happy at the finish.
You would think we could rest easy, the race was over.  NOPE! We then walked the almost 2 miles back to the hotel so he could get cleaned up.  Anyone spotting a theme in my weekend? WALKING! This country mouse doesn't use the subway.  I assume that might have saved my legs a bit.  We still needed to head back to transition and grab John's bike/gear but we had a few hours before they would let us back in the area.  We eventually drove back and surprisingly found parking nearby.

Despite my complaining about the heat, it was a weekend that will live forever in our hearts and minds.  Spending time with John doing something we both love (without interruption) was priceless.
Just me and my guy!
This race was executed flawlessly by the race officials.  Organized, well mapped out, solid execution and a lot of fun.  We would definitely recommend any triathlete, beginner or seasoned to do this race.  Yes, even you beginners.  There were a ton of people that were doing a triathlon for the first time.  I have the sign to prove it.

I thought if we had to post this sign,
we are in BIG trouble!

Do you have any tips for traveling to a race location? How do you prepare differently? Do you prefer to travel or race local?

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