July 2019 - TRIATHLON
Three Rs of Triathlon: Register, Race, Repeat
By Dr. Tom Denham
Triathlon season is in full swing. Time’s a wasting so I encourage you to banish analysis paralysis and get registered before summer is over. Registering is the most difficult part of a triathlon because you are making a commitment. It’s a financial decision, time decision, and a training/physical decision. If you’re too stupid to stay home like me, put one or more of these five triathlons on your calendar. Trust me when I say you will create some wonderful and lasting summer memories with your family and friends. Then just race and repeat!
Duanesburg YMCA Triathlon on Saturday, July 20 – This is a great sprint triathlon for beginner and veteran racers, which is held in Schenectady County. The swim starts at beautiful Mariaville Lake with an out-and-back of just 325 yards. Heats are every three minutes at the dock. The bike portion begins on Batter Street and winds around the Mariaville Lake onto NY Route 159. The course then goes through the scenic area near Featherstonhaugh Lake, and Lake Road’s State and County forests. There is a nice downhill section toward the end of the 10-mile bike leg.
The run transition starts at Bassett Health. The 5K course does have a big hill, but you can handle it. It finishes in front of the Duanesburg YMCA. There are no finisher’s medals so if you want to bag some bling, you’ll have to earn it with an age-group award. However, they will feed you well when you are done. Register at zippyreg.com.
Crystal Lake Triathlon & AquaBike on Saturday, August 17 – Produced by the Capital District Triathlon Club, this is the August triathlon place to be in the Albany area, whether you’re a newbie and experienced racer. The 19th annual classic sprint tri begins with a half-mile swim on a triangular single-loop course in the calm waters of Crystal Lake in the town of Averill Park. The bike leg is 18 miles out-and-back to the gorgeous countryside of Rensselaer County. There are some steady hills so be prepared. You may even want to take a practice ride to familiarize yourself with the course. Get a jump on the competition by joining the CDTC which holds its weekly practice there.
The run portion is a three-mile loop out onto the roads, past the local school, up the one hill, and around the lake. If you are not a big fan of running, then just do the AquaBike (swim/bike) and get to the refreshment table faster. Crystal Lake is a fun and popular event that I always do. Bring your friends and family to root you on! Register at cdtriclub.org.
Lake George Triathlon Festival on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1 – Want to take your triathlon game from entry-level to the next-tier and beyond, then try one of these races. Saturday is the 14th annual Lake George Triathlon (Olympic) and Sunday is the 10th annual Big George Triathlon (70.3). All events are held at the Lake George Battlefield Park in the village of Lake George.
The Lake George Triathlon (Olympic) is a 0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, and a 6.2-mile run. The bike course is a single-loop that has a few hills, descents, rollers and flats. If you are not up for the run, do the AquaBike (Olympic) with a 0.9-mile swim and 24.8-mile bike. The Big George Triathlon (70.3) is a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run. It includes an out-and-back bike ride with a counter-clockwise loop around beautiful Brant Lake. The AquaBike (70.3) is a 1.2-mile swim and a 56-mile bike.
Now for the fun combos… The “PRINCE George” – complete the full Olympic on Saturday and AquaBike (70.3) on Sunday. Or, the “KING George” – full Olympic on Saturday and full 70.3 on Sunday. These are awesome races for spectators and racers, and you’ll finish with the “Queen of American Lakes” as your backdrop. Pizzas, subs, milk, cookies, fruit, and a finisher’s medal await you at the end. Register at adkracemgmt.com.
Greene County YMCA Triathlon on Saturday, Sept. 7 – This is another great environment for first-time and experienced racers, which takes place in the town of Athens. This sprint triathlon is a 350-yard out and back swim on Sleepy Hollow Lake. It’s a reasonable 11.5-mile bike ride through picturesque Greene County. The 5K run is on an open course within Sleepy Hollow Park.
It’s not a huge race and that’s what I like about it the best. Every registered participant receives a dry fit T-shirt, swim cap and a banana; two bananas if you are nice to the volunteers. No finisher’s medals here, instead you gotta be in it to win it! Register at zippyreg.com.
Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 15 – Round out your season with the 43rd annual race in the nearby Berkshires. “Josh” is named after Josh Billings, the pen name of Henry Wheeler Shaw who was born in Lanesboro, Mass. He was a renowned 19th century humorist and is famous for saying, “To finish is to win,” which is the motto of the event. Josh is one of the oldest and largest bike-paddle-run triathlons in the country – and it attracts elite and not-so-elite racers of all ages and ability levels.
About 500 teams start in Great Barrington, Mass., with a 27-mile bike leg through five towns of scenic backroads and rolling hills to Stockbridge Bowl (aka Lake Mahkeenac) in Stockbridge. Racers pass off a wristband to paddlers waiting at the lake. Canoes, kayaks and SUPs – all are welcome – race for five miles around the lake ending at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac, transferring the wristband to runners waiting on the beach. They run for six miles around the lake and finish down the main gate of the Tanglewood music venue in Lenox.
If you want to challenge (or punish) yourself, enter as an “Ironperson” and do all three portions. Proceeds from the race, support the Berkshire United Way in Pittsfield, Mass. Josh also has a “MatchMaker” for individuals looking for teams and teams looking for individuals. Register at joshbillings.com.
Finally, Quick Tips for the Swim – Join a triathlon club and practice your open water swim weekly; Buy a wetsuit; On race day secure the race timing chip with a safety pin to reduce the risk of it losing it; Sight the buoys regularly to avoid veering off-course and adding unnecessary distance and time to your swim; Apply Body Glide to prevent chaffing; Exhale when your face is in the water, then turn and take a quick inhale (create a rhythm); Look for landmarks when you come into transition to guide you; Pull the wetsuit down to your waist while running to the bike transition area to save time; Take off your goggles and swim cap after you have pulled down your wetsuit; and keep in mind that the swim is the warm-up for the bike and the run – just do your best.
Remember my friends, life’s a playground so play on it every day, and make it happen!
Dr. Tom Denham (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a career counselor, motivational speaker, and enthusiastic high adventurer. He loves to share his passion for high altitude mountaineering, kayaking, curling and especially ice and rock climbing with others, but only when he is not trying to win his age group in running, duathlons and triathlons.