Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Idle thoughts

(I have had an overly distractible morning! Will do double spin class this evening at Chelsea Piers.)

So: taking a short break from the essay I'm working on, my thoughts on a topic of interest: the possibility of a NYC Ironman!

Much talk in recent weeks about this. The early Harvard Club event where they're going to make some sort of announcement is charging $125 for a basic ticket and something like $675 for an unspecific "early entry" privilege into the notional race - target audience is clearly triathletes with lucrative finance jobs!

I am secretly convinced that despite all this publicity being oriented to 140.6, they really are just going to roll out a NYC 70.3, immensely logistically easier to organize.

If they do actually pull off a 140.6....

... it is going to be impossible to get entry! Commenters at Slowtwitch are speculating on a qualifying entry time or a higher-than-average race fee, but what I think is much more likely is that it will be priced the same as every other North American Ironman, but that both the regular and the foundation slots will immediately be gone, and that WTC will have made an arrangement with the Robin Hood Foundation to designate a large chunk of fundraising slots where you have to raise, basically, corporate-style rather than friends-and-family-type donations. A lot of the charities that have NYC marathon slots ask for $5,000 minimum donation (you give them your credit card, and many people just pay it themselves and do only token fundraising). Since many of the people who would do a notional IMNYC work in money businesses where both they and workplace friends have large amounts of disposable income, it would be entirely feasible for Robin Hood to get a block of, say, 300 slots and make a $10,000 minimum fundraising commitment for each of those slots - I don't think they'd have any problem finding people to take them up on that sort of a deal, especially as the sums are tax-deductible as charitable donations for athletes who choose to pay them themselves.

The NYC Nautica Triathlon closes down the Hudson parkway, and obviously any bike course is going to be mostly in either NYS or NJ - I am hearing talk of NJ, but if Korff is organizing, I wonder whether they wouldn't really be more likely to work with the local folks they've sorted things out with before and go north on the east side of the Hudson rather than crossing over the river early on. That said, the NJ route would be a better course. Korff says the swim would be in the Hudson, which would pretty certainly mean point-to-point; the 79th St. area is where they've had transition for the Nautica tri, but there would be more room to spread out if you moved further north up the Greenway and took over an area more like in the 140s (perhaps swimming downstream from the Little Red Lighthouse!). A swim in the Hudson would most likely mean wave starts. If the race were held in September or October, the water would definitely be wetsuit legal, but in July it's an issue: I think (this is based on conversations I've had in the past, though I happily do it myself!) many triathletes would be nervous about swimming in the Hudson without a wetsuit.

Nautica's a demoralizing race because if you're slow, you're basically doing your run in late-morning heat and humidity on a July day, but I think that July weather would not be at all prohibitive for a longer-distance race: there are only a few days each summer that are really dangerously hot, and you wouldn't be likely to get heat like Louisville let alone Houston (which sounds to me utterly hellish).

Obviously I would love to do a hometown Ironman! And actually I think NYC is a great location in many respects, barring these complexities about courses and road closures - it is surrounded by major airports and there's a huge amount of lodging, it would be affordable for someone to fly into LGA and stay out in Queens at a motel in a way that it is simply NOT ever cheap to get to, say, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho if one lives outside of driving distance! If a 140.6 is announced and it is at a time of year that I consider feasible, I will almost certainly try to get a slot, though not at the cost of making a large fundraising commitment...

All right, better get back to work, that was an irrelevancy!


Anonymous said...

NYC is never cheap, but I'm dying to do a race there. Any race. I'd love to do a Half or Full Iron there! There used to be a race that went from the Statue of Liberty to the Liberty Bell that I thought would be cool. You have no idea how secretly envious I am that you get to be in Manhattan every day! I not-so-secretly want my husband to get a professor gig there!

Jenny Davidson said...

Yes! Some of the NYC Swim races are pretty cool - take a look at the Little Red Lighthouse swim for instance....