Toughman Half-Iron Triathlon

It's been a year since I did this race.  I won't be racing it this year due to my stupid meniscus, but I'll be on the bike course with my wife volunteering for my friend Rich who's the organizer and race director of the Toughman Triathlon.

Last year’s race was fantastic.  Rich, who I've known for years training with the Westchester Triathlon Club, had a goal to make his race the best run race in the region.  He's a veteran of numerous full Ironman triathlons and wanted his Half-Iron distance race to have all the same support and amenities that you'd receive, and come to expect, at a full Ironman distance race.  And he's doing just that.  More bands on the course, cheerleaders on the tough climbs of the run, wetsuit strippers as you head into T1.  Really top notch amenities.

Packet pickup: One of the most well run I've been to.  Incredibly well organized and very quick "in and out".  And let's just talk about the SWAG.  Great stuff.  Tech shirt from Zoot, water bottle, Hammer products.  Very nice.

Vendors and race village: Having massage therapists on site for pre-race was nice.  A nice,  easy rub down (no deep tissue the day before a race please) was great.  Lots of local vendors, including Westchester Road Runners,  was a nice addition.  Everyone in the greater New York area knows about Andy's store in White Plains.  In my opinion, the best running store in the tri-state area.

To top things off in regards to pre-race, the Toughman triathlon had a few training camps that allowed for open water swims, bike and run clinics, all on the actual race course.  A great opportunity to become acclimated with the course with water stations, sag wagons, and elite athletes there to help more novice athletes - or those new to the Half-Iron distance - with transition area tips, racing insight, and be available to answer any questions that may come up.

Race day proved to again be one of the most well organized events I've participated in.  The location is easily accessible from anywhere in the tri-state area.  To that point, racers coming up to Croton Point Park in NY from Manhattan had the option to have their bikes shipped up to the race site, and back down to Manhattan, via a local bike shop that the race organizers partnered with.  This allowed participants coming up from the city to take the Metro North mass transit to within a mile of the transition area and not have to worry about their rigs.

Pre race again was great.  Local bike shops were on hand for repairs and emergency blown tube replacement.  Marshaling of waves was painless and efficient. 
The race itself?  Well, let's just say they don't call it the Toughman for nothing.  The bike course by itself - a great loop with some challenging climbs and technical sections.  And a conveniently positioned water bottle exchange is always a welcome site.  The run course, again by itself, is a great course with some tough climbs and nice shaded trail sections.   Aid stations with water, Heed, and gels are plentiful.  However, when you put the two together it becomes an amazing test of fitness while still allowing one to really enjoy the day.

Personally?  I felt great on the swim and felt just as good on the bike.  But whatever I neglected on the bike (not enough Heed or nutrition) the run handed my ass to me.  My legs just didn't come around like I thought they should.  The bike was a little more taxing that I thought it would be - even though I'd ridden it a few times before race day.

Bottom line, this is a must do race.  I'll be towing the line next year when I'm not nursing a knee that's keeping me of the roads, as I need to improve my 13th AG (32nd overall) place last year.  And you'll need to register early.  This is only the 3rd year that this race has been held (this year’s race is set for Sunday 12 September) and the number of athletes has grown exponentially every year.  Rich looks to have Toughman max out at 1,000 athletes.  It's anticipated by race organizers and staff that registration for Toughman will be closing out on or about Friday 27 August.