There’s nothing like racing in the nation’s capital, and the DC triathlon does not disappoint. This is a huge race with over 3,000 participants in both the sprint and Olympic triathlon distances.
Because there were over 3,000 people doing the Olympic and Sprint DC Triahtlon races, there is no race-day registration. Instead, you have to pick up your race packet the night before and drop your bike off at the transition area where it is left overnight.
This was the earliest I’ve ever woken up for a triathlon. 3:30 AM to be exact. I made it to the transition area fairly early, though, so it was easy to find parking and get all my gear set up without feeling too rushed.
The swim took place in the Potomac River, which really wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I was in the 24th wave, though, which was the final wave of the whole race!
So even though the race started at 7:00, the wave I was in didn’t even hit the water until at least until 8:00. Because there were so many waves, the swim used a corral start, which means that only a handful of swimmers jump off the dock at a time, usually every 5-10 seconds. In this case, it was only about three swimmers at a time. You jump in and then go.
Instead of having to fight with 50+ people trying to get position, you have a lot more room to maneuver initially, and since everyone is more spread out, you are able to swim around people a whole lot easier.
Which leads to faster times, which we all like.
Best. Course. Ever.
I’m sure there are some cool courses out there, but it was amazing to ride through downtown without cars.
That being said, it seemed that there were so many people on the DC Triathlon course that it was all I could do to focus on the road in front of me to make sure I didn’t run into anybody. I really wonder if anyone got penalized for drafting because it was almost impossible to not draft with all the riders.
The course was really fast and flat, and besides a few hidden potholes in the road, most people came out relatively unscathed. The best part was crossing the Potomac towards Arlington National Cemetery and then back again.
And since I was in the last swim group, I was able to pass a whole lot of people without getting passed myself.
Always good for an ego boost heading into the run.
The run portion of the race was almost equally as impressive as the bike portion. Being able to run through the streets of downtown DC was very special and it was easy to tell that many people racing were really moved by the experience.
Even though I did the sprint triathlon, the run was actually longer than a typical sprint run of 3.1 miles. Instead, the run was 4.5 miles. This is an important thing to remember if you do this race, because the last thing you want is to think your almost done with the run only to realize that you have another mile and a half to go.
The DC Triathlon had some of the best post-race food I’ve ever had at a triathlon. It was actually catered by a Mexican restaurant (Qdoba, I think) and everyone was treated to taco salads, which were great.
In addition, POM had a booth set up and were passing out their pomegranate juice, which was excellent.
From there we took the bus back from the DC Triathlon finish line to the transition area, packed up our stuff, and headed back to the car, for the trek home.
All in all, the DC Triathlon was a pretty well-run triathlon, and really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race through the streets of DC with so much history surrounding you. I highly recommend anyone do it that gets a chance.