Swim-bike-run meet again in the debut Oswego Triathlon in and around Lake Ontario
If swimming for your life, biking like there’s no tomorrow and running like a bat out of hell all in the span of one to three hours sounds insane, this is not the place for you. If it sounds like fun, you had better get your bike in gear. Triathlon season has arrived.
The inaugural Tri-Oswego will be a formidable challenge for athletes ranging from beginners to seasoned competitors. And the event spans a weekend of activities June 25 and 26, not just one day of races. Events take place at Breitbeck Park, 41 Lake St., Oswego, the only park in the Port City overlooking Lake Ontario. The way triathlon director, and 30-year triathlete, Ron Nelson organized the course will allow families and supporters to do something few attendees are able to do.
Of all the triathlons he has completed, he never did one that offers the opportunity to see all of the events from the transition area, Nelson says. The park’s elevation gives onlookers an exceptional view, providing they can distinguish who’s who in the pack of frantic racers.
To complete a triathlon is a feat in and of itself, but to push for a personal best speed requires every ounce of strength and endurance an athlete possesses. The minute each athlete leaps out of the water, goggles are ripped off and shoes are strapped onto meticulously designed bike pedals, and then the athlete has time to start breathing again.
To an onlooker, it’s chaos.
To participants, it’s a streamlined test of grit. Beyond the swim, it’s the chill of the water. More than the bike and run, it’s the hilly terrain and lakefront wind.
Tri-Oswego includes three race options: a sprint, an intermediate or Olympic distance, and a sprint relay, all taking place Sunday, June 26. The sprint event consists of an 800meter swim, 13-mile bike and a 5K run, all of which can also be executed in teams of three, with a separate teammate for each event. The intermediate/Olympic distance event is a demanding 1,500-meter swim, 24.9-mile bike and 10K run.
The transition area, where competitors park their bike, don their wetsuit, drop their goggles, change into biking gear, and later into running shoes, is in the parking lot on the edge of the water. All swimming heats will be held in the channel waters along the breakwall, while the biking and running portions are on traffic-controlled routes.
“Getting the permits was the most difficult part of the whole thing,” says Nelson with a laugh. Before many athletes would even start to lay out a training schedule, he and the rest of the Tri- Oswego board of directors sat down to start planning this weekend-long event in October. It took months of biweekly meetings to assemble the tri. The process has been a test of endurance all on its own, but Nelson was up for the challenge.
“It’s putting it all together, getting to peak condition in all three events that’s the best and most rewarding part,” he says.
While race day is June 26, there will be plenty of activities the day before as well. On Saturday, June 25, Tri-Oswego weekend will get under way with a youth fun run, a health and wellness expo, live entertainment, kite flying and bounce houses. Family members can also create race banners to cheer on their favorite triathlete.
To get kids moving (and occupied while mom or dad are competing), the local YMCA also provided its Zumba and yoga instructors to lead classes at the park during the triathlon. Most of these events will return the following day as well.
“We really designed a family weekend,” Nelson says.
“Athletes come to this event from far away, and this way we can keep kids entertained in the park, and they can see everything happening around them at the same time.” The layout of the park, with the parking lot area allowing full visibility of much of the race, will work to attendees’ advantage.
Tri-Oswego has an active social media presence, and those interested in the event can find more information on Facebook, as well as the event’s website, www.tri-oswego.com. In an effort to encourage green initiatives and sustainability, registration is entirely online and 80 percent of communications are being performed electronically. Registration ends on June 12, and costs $85 for the sprint distance, $100 for the intermediate distance and $110 for the sprint distance relay. However, it is strongly urged that you register soon as most triathlons sell out pretty quickly.
Saturday’s non-race events take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The transition area opens on Sunday, June 26 at 5 a.m., with the racing beginning at 10 a.m. For more information, call Nelson at 402-7001.