A few weekends ago, a bunch of friends and I took part in the 9th annual 2017 Staten Island Triathlon held at the Midland Beach, Staten Island, New York. Held in honor or Rocco Laurie , this race raises money for the Rocco Laurie Foundation.
This is a convenient local sprint race plus this year I managed to convince a bunch of friends to sign up and do relay teams . I would be doing both a team relay and a solo effort.. The course is very flat, a short 400m swim in the Lower Bay, followed by an 12 mile bike on FR Capodanno Blvd , and a short 5k run along the beachfront and boardwalk.
Weather was perfect low 70’s , clear skies , when you have great weather it puts everyone in a good mood. I was super stoked to have such a large bunch of friends take park and enjoy a little friendly competition. After the national anthem, we all completed our warm-ups and it was time to get to business.
I would be joining Team Happy Feet as their swimmer, with team mates Devang (run) and Oscar (bike), Team Barras would be João, Francisco, and José Carlos, and Team Wheelbarrowers would be Jared (swim+bike) and his friend Neal. A total of 8 Triathlon relay teams took part in this year’s race.
This is a beach start, and being in wave 4 where most of the relay teams were in , we waited as cheered as the other competitors being their race. This is an excellent first time race, especially the swim, shallow along the sure course with plenty of lifeguards present. Then it was wave 4 time, we assembled in the coral , I gingerly made my way to the front, and after a brief ten second countdown off we went.
Swim was largely uneventful, a fast run into the water a couple of steps and then dive in and time to start swimming, some mild jostling at the start and then a quick right turn to the first buoy. No sun glare issues as the mostly southwest bound had the sun at our backs. The swim is super fast and short. I didn’t feel particularly fast, even though I had a wet suit on, just never seemed to settle into a good rhythm . But before I knew it I saw the small rock outcropping which meant its time to turn right again and head towards sure.
A few more strokes and it was out of the water, and a run up the sand and about a 150m run mostly through sand back to T1. Started removing my wet suit and as I came into T1, Devang took our team timing chip and I continued my race solo.
Wet suit was a little more stubborn to come off , but finally once off, I grabbed my helmet and shoes and onto the bike course. The Bike course is a flat 12-mile , 3 loop course along Fr. Capodanno Boulevard. The road is closed to all traffic during this event. Entering the bike course, I immediately settled into a rhythm . I did spike my heart rate at about mile one and my Garmin started yelling at me as my HR was above 174bpm. So I pulled back a little, as usual started passing riders in front, and kept peeking around seeing if I could spot Oscar or Francisco, I never did see Jared as he started in the wave behind.
This year’s bike felt slower than last years, we had a soft crosswind blowing towards the bay the entire ride, so I rarely every saw my speedo above 23mph . Also I few guys passed me but I was never able to hang with them they were just putting out too many watts for me to even consider it. The 180º turns are pretty wide so no issues here . Kept moving along, fairly uneventful bike ride, but as usual a blast for me..
Twelve miles came and went pretty quickly and before I knew it , it was time to dismount and start the 5k.
the 5k run is pretty nice, it begins right next to the finish line, and you see the Verrezano Narrows Bridge in the distance. Then about halfway you run on a boardwalk. The run started like all most of my runs do , slow, pathetically slow, about 9:30m pace. Eventually I managed to pick up the pace to sub-9″ but still as is most of my races a steady stream of runners started passing by me. Overall on the run I felt ok, unlike the the last few runs, not much heat or humidity to deal with, and I tried to hang with a few runners but just couldn’t .
Before the turn around I saw Devang who was already powering his way back, already almost a mile in front of me. After the turn around, I high-fived Jose Carlos as he was moving pretty well. Then a little bit more and effort and back onto the concrete straight for the last mile. Because of the long straight you see the finish almost a mile out, but you still need to work to get there. Devang came along side as he was warming down and offered a few words of encouragement, as I steadily crept closer to the finish line.
Then one final effort and crossed the line, Jared was there to high-five and the rest of the gang were all milling about . After catching my breath, I went back to cheer on Jose and Neal.
Finish and Results
Overall I’m happy with results. Our Team Happy Feet finished in the relay division, first in at a respectable 59:04 , followed by teams Barras and Wheelbarrowers followed about 10 and 20 minutes behind. Individually my time was about the same as last year 1:10:20 , my runs keeps holding me back 🙁 . This year’s race was more competitive and had a larger turn out about 255 individuals participants plus many other in teams and duathlon events.
Overall I had a great time, and to have a large group of friends participate made for an even more enjoyable event. Thanks to all the volunteers and organizers. This is one of the best first time triathlon races (if you want to try it yourself), because of the nature of the course. Also the race gets some local coverage in the local online paper SiLive.com