Firstly, we both would strongly recommend this race for first time triathletes (and any intermediate open-water swimmers/triathletes who are still getting comfortable with open water races/swims). The organizers are super supportive of first time triathletes! Our fellow 500 or so racers came in all ages, heights and sizes. The youngest participant was 11 and oldest was 67.
We rented a car for the morning and we went down the West Side Highway to the Battery Tunnel/FDR South Street Viaduct, across the Verrazano Bridge and on to Father Capodanno Boulevard. However, it is also fairly easy to get to the start by bike if you chose to get there that way on race day. From Manhattan, you would get on the Staten Island ferry and then it is about another 4 mile ride to the race set up area. We saw a guy swiftly biking down the West Side Highway with his tri-bag on his back that morning. He kept passing us when we had to stop for the red lights. We guessed that he was also heading to the race. We saw him again when he finally arrived and rode up to the transition area.
The organizers stressed “no swimming over your fellow swimmers” at the pre-race talk. They also let first-timers know that they could stop and stand up if they felt that they needed to at any time during the swim since we were all so close to shore; however, everyone had to keep moving forward, and when everyone got to the last set of big buoys, we had to swim out and around the farthest one in order to have our swim scored.
It was a cool and slightly overcast morning. The water temp that day was 68 degrees. The water was fairly calm and gently rolling. There were 6 waves and we were in the 4th. The bike and run courses are flat and fast. Dave was the faster swimmer at 13:53 and I (Mike) finished it in 16:44.
Again, it is the perfect race for people’s first tri or the first tri of the season. And lastly, YES, the organizers/sponsors actually served hot, fresh pancakes at the end of the race. They were the perfect treat for finishing the race.
swim .25 miles, bike 12 miles, run 3.1 miles
swim 16:44 bike 39:16 run 20:45
swim 13:53 bike 39:56 run 24:22