First, if you're ever faced with a choice between drinking Schuylkill River water and Hudson River water, go with the Schuylkill. Visibility in the two urban rivers is about the same: you can see your fingers under water, and you can see the hands and feet of other swimmers as they're about to knock off your goggles. But the flavors are distinct. The Schuylkill has a light body with a touch of cooling algae, while the Hudson is dense. Dense like diesel-fuel, with a flavor that is really hard to describe due to the many ingredients that I'd really not dwell upon.
The good news is that I'm still alive, my skin has not turned odd colors or fallen off, I have no infections or irritations, and I'll probably go back to swim in the Hudson again, next year. Thanks to 30-plus years of the Clean Water Act, even the mighty Hudson, in New York City, is clean enough for recreational swimming.
OK, so on to the race. The NYC Tri is a big event: 4,500 participants, including some of the world's top pros at the Olympic/International distance. The transition zone (i.e., bike parking lot) is broken into two corrals to make navigation easier for harried, blurry-eyed athletes. Organizers break the field into waves of roughly 100 people at a time to start the swim, with each wave scheduled to start four minutes apart. As I was finishing the bike, nearly two hours after starting, the starting line was still sending out new swim waves.
Results: (click here for interactive stats and a video of the finish line)
Swim: 23 minutes, 30 seconds for the 1,500 meters. The awesome force of the Hudson, with a falling tide, makes for a very fast swim. Although this was my PR (personal record) for the 1,500 meters, it had everything to do with the current. My swim time still fell behind 74% of the field. That's OK for now: running is the focus for this year. Swim can be next year.
Bike: one hour, 25 minutes, 55 seconds, right at the 51% mark for the field. The ride along the West Side Highway into the Bronx, turning around at Gunhill Road, was beautiful. Great views of the Hudson and the Palisades across in New Jersey. The ride was much hillier than I had expected, and helped weed out riders who didn't put in enough hill work during training.
Run: 50 minutes, 50 seconds, ahead of 65% of the field. I clocked an average pace of 8:05 per mile, which is now my fastest run in a triathlon. If that's the result of all the focus on running this year, I'll take it!
Overall, I finished in 2:50:48. That put me at the 52nd percentile for the field of 2,900 finishers, 41st percentile for males, and 40th percentile for my age group (40-44 year-old mid-life crisis males).
Watch the video of Ben and me crossing the finish line. This is a 30-second streaming loop. We come into view at :06 and cross the line at :16 - Ben's the only kid, and I'm in yellow.
Official race photos HERE.