The New York City Triathlon was my second crack at an Olympic Distance non-drafting race this year, and I was excited to have another solid race like I did at St. Anthony's Triathlon. Leading into the race, I knew that Cam Dye was the big favourite, and that Jason West would be my closest competition. With Jason's run speed, I would need to swim and bike well to get a big lead on him, and also put together a strong run of my own to have a chance to hold him off. I raced at the New York City Triathlon in 2015 and finished 6th with a time of 1:51:38 (current aided swim), so beating this Olympic Distance personal best time was another goal on the day.
The swim starts by diving off a pontoon into the Hudson River. The further you are to the right on the pontoon, the closer you are to the center of the river where the current is the strongest. Unfortunately, I had bib number 14 so I wasn't near the right side, but Jason had bib number 15, so at least I wasn't at a disadvantage to him.
As soon as I dove in, I starting moving over to the right side of the swim course to maximize the help I got from the current. I could see that Cam had gapped the field, but I stayed near the front of the rest of the field and came out in 4th.
On the long run to transition (about 600-700 meters), I passed a couple guys including team mate Garrick Loewen, and I got passed by Jason West and Robbie Deckard. I mounted the bike right with West and Deckard, but West went out very hard and got a big gap on me in the first 500 meters of the bike course. I went to work and passed him about 5 minutes later, then tried to stay relentless for the entire bike ride to get as big of a lead on him as possible. I also could see Cam up the road, and hoped I could keep him within striking distance for the run. I saw at the final turn around about 37km into the ride that I had at least 1 minute on West. After the bike I had about a 1:20 lead on West and about a 1:40 deficit to Cam Dye.
On the run I immediately felt good. My turnover was quick and my legs didn't feel too beat up from the bike. About 500 meters into the run someone yelled a split, I was 90 seconds down on Dye. I figured I had a slim chance of catching him if he didn't have a good day on the run, but my main concern was West, who was about 1 minute back I thought. The gradual uphill to Central Park seemed to go by quickly, but the non stop rolling hills in the park were tough. I powered up the climbs and tried to use the momentum from the downhills efficiently. I knew I was having my best run of the season, but I'm disappointed because I think I could have endured more hurt. Knowing I was running well I settled for a good pace, rather than pushing the pace until I couldn't imagine more pain. West caught me with 2km to go and I tried to go with him, but his speed was just too much for me to handle. I finished 3rd, 20 seconds behind West and 1:33 behind Dye.
I don't think I would have beaten West even if I pushed the run harder near the middle of the course, but I don't like the thought of having gas left in the tank at the end of a race. Short course is different from long course in that way, the former must be constantly hard, the latter must be constantly smart pacing. I plan to do a run race or time trial soon and really make it hard on myself, this should get me ready to leave nothing left on the course for the rest of the season.
I am happy with my 2017 NYC Tri result overall. I improved by nearly 5 minutes compared to 2015, and finished on the podium. First and second place have eluded me this season, but that's quite alright given the level of competition at these races. To become the best I can be, need to race the best.
Next up will be some racing in Ontario for the first time this season, thanks for reading!