New York City Triathlon, 2010

More than 3,000 athletes from around the world plunged into the Hudson early Sunday morning to compete in the 10th Annual Nautica New York City Triathlon. The race consists of a 1-mile swim between 99th and 81st Streets, a 25-mile bike loop along the Henry Hudson Parkway, and a 5-mile run through Central Park. The swim is widely considered to be the easy part of the race owing to the Hudson’s strong southward current.

While the 31-mile course may seem like the province of superhumans to those of us at the couch-potato-to-5K end of the fitness spectrum, the event has become so popular among aspiring triathlete champions that event organizers will adopt a NY Marathon-style lottery for those looking to compete in next year’s race.

This year’s top winners – Czech Olympian Filip Ospaly who finished in 1:46:28, and second-time pro women’s champ Rebeccah Wassner of NYC who ran home in 2:00:25 – both scored $8,000 cash prizes. Wassner’s twin sister Laurel, the world’s only pro triathlete cancer survivor, took second place in 2:02:16. I daresay a handful of determined contenders is still running.

Parks On Fire (California Burning Mix) used courtesy of Dj Rkod/cc Mixter

River Summer

I spent the better part of the weekend with a group of teachers staying on board the Seawolf, a research vessel docked on the Hudson as part of the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities’ River Summer program. The five-day session was packed with lectures, site visits and research projects. As glad as I am to have squeaked through my last chemistry class years ago, I didn’t mind the science lessons at River Summer. Studying the ecology and development of New York City with the entire Hudson River watershed as a classroom changes everything. The main thing you learn is that, in addition to being a source of wonderful stories, the river is also a great teacher.

Streams of Consciousness

Digital arts journal Underwater New York recently held a reading in Bryant Park devoted to stories inspired by objects found in New York’s waterways. They ranged from the tale of a survivalist family installing a formica dinette in their bunker to that of a peripatetic diplomat regarding a plastic flute. Author Said Sayrafiezadeh told the story of how he and his wife threw a bottle of momentoes into the Hudson on their wedding day. The event (and journal) grew out of a New York magazine article about objects known to exist underwater around New York City. “We’re a collection of stories, music and art and we want to remain that,” editor Helen Georgas said. “But we’re interested in the waterways, in preserving them and making sure that they continue to exist and be thought about and cared about.”