Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blink and You Missed It: Ironman NYC

11 minutes? Seriously, that's the amount of time it took for the inaugural Ironman U.S. Championship, to be held August 11, 2012, in the New York City area, to fill its general registration. I can barely get ready for a bike ride in 11 minutes. You can't watch a complete quarter of football or basketball. Even an elite can't run a 5K that quickly.

I can understand why so many people are obsessed with this a point. A race that's in a bustling metropolitan area--I don't think you could consider Louisville or Panama City Beach hopping when compared with New York. A race that's guaranteed to have plenty of crowd support--if everyone in the tri-state area understands and knows to line each mile of the course. A race that runs between two states on the bike and the run--and finishes in Manhattan with the most urbanized backdrop in the states? OK, I get it.

But still, I don't think I'd pay $895 to it--if I even had $895 to spare. I thought $525 was bad the first time I registered for Ironman, yet I still coughed up the $575 to do it again two years later. But I like the Wisconsin course and the farmland tour--I don't think I could say the same for the bike route along the Palisades Parkway and the Hudson River swim. While I appreciate that the Parkway will be closed to traffic--it's scary when the cars pop up in Wisconsin--I can't help but associate it with cars, cars speeding far faster than they technically should be. My cousins grew up within walking distance of the Palisades and I remember trips to their house and from their house that were rarely at the speed limit and still having cars whiz by. Thank goodness that's not a concern for this race, but the Hudson River can be. Not the nicest body of water to want to swim in. If I thought Town Lake in Tempe, Ariz., looked awful, I'd be even less inclined to swim the Hudson.

It's not for me, which is a good thing for those clamoring to grab a spot when registration opened at noon yesterday. Price tag and course aside, I'd have a bed to sleep in that doesn't require a hotel stay and guaranteed crowd support--I'm sure I could convince my parents to visit my aunt. But I guess all you other Ironman triathletes are thinking, "Good riddance, more for me." And I'm fine with that. Sorry, but Ironman St. George excited me more. But that's likely because I know the New York region far better than Utah--and I love wide-open spaces.

But from an organizational standpoint, it's pretty impressive a race of this magnitude, which has to cover 140.6 miles in a tight metropolitan area, found a way to do it. Closing the Palisades when it's only been closed for emergencies? Not being allowed to close New York city streets except for two blocks? Race organizer John Korff is a logistics genius. I know why any local would rush to register. But how do you train for the bike? Does the Palisades Parkway allow cyclists or is this a CompuTrainer-only practice session?

Photo grabbed from Koshyk at flickr.

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