This New York City triathlon was very special for me. I have been captain of the Tri Achilles team for a few months now, this race is our main event of the year and I really wanted to show this City what we could do!
I was surprisingly relaxed on race morning, it was great to see some old friends such as John Chan, along with about 30 other para triathletes. This triathlon is the only one (as far as I know) that has prize money for the para division, we always have a great race and a deep field. Hopefully other race organizers will follow this example in the years to come, it will help our sport grow significantly. By the way, you should read this article about John, he is a great guy:
When Thomas and I jumped in the Hudson I quickly realized two things, there was a very strong current pushing us, that’s good, but my goggles were on my forehead, not so good. I was never really locked in during the swim, but the natural push was so powerful that it didn’t really matter. We swam the 1500 meters in 17:30, yep, new PR, and ran to our tandem, which was half a mile away. That’s quite long when you are barefooted.
The bike course is challenging but fun, I don’t remember going that fast on a bike. Thomas probably did 60% of the work, but who cares! I spent many hours at Tailwind this winter, during the second part of the course I really felt a difference. Around mile 20, I asked Thomas to add one more gear, but he simply responded: “Charles, this is it, there is no more gear!” We finished the 26 miles in 1 H 09, things were starting to look really good.
Of course I started the run a little too fast, as always, probably at a 6:50 pace or so, but reality quickly settled in. The crowd on 72nd street is incredible, I had the chills! Wearing an Achilles jersey is almost like using PEDs, I had wings while entering Central Park. But for the first time in my short career, my guide started to slow down ever so slightly. I was shocked, I mean, Thomas is a cyborg, but I was also flattered! We checked his heartrate afterwards, we realized that he spent over 30 minutes in zone 5 during the run, I think that I would have collapsed had I gone through the same thing. Thomas, thank you for toughing it out! Oh, one last thing, when we were dashing toward the finish line, I pushed for a final sprint, I touched the shoe of someone in front of me. I heard a few stumbles, cursing, and finally, a crash. Sorry sir! We met my victim afterwards, apparently he had a large bandage around his knee, ouch. But don’t worry, when he understood why I didn’t see him, he was very gracious.
This new PR of 2:17 was a nice treat, but my 1st place in the para division was an incredible surprise! Achilles was all over the podiums, it was a good day at the office. Thank you Thomas and thank you Achilles!