Frequently Asked Questions
EXPO AND PACKET PICK UP
What if I can’t make it to the expo to pick up my packet? Can someone pick it up for me? Can I pick it up on race morning?
You must pick up your race packet in person with a valid ID during the Sports and Fitness Expo. The expo runs two days, Friday, from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.
Is the course briefing mandatory?
The course briefing is not mandatory, but is strongly encouraged. Race staff will review the course, race logistics, and can answer your questions.
How long does the briefing last?
Each briefing will last about 20 minutes including 5 minutes of questions and answers with race staff following the briefing.
Will there be a bike valet at the Sports and Fitness Expo again this year?
Yes! We will have a bike valet available at the entrance to the host hotel. You can leave your bike in a secure setting while you visit the expo and collect your packet, and attend a race briefing. Please note that space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Please keep this in mind and retrieve your bike as soon as you depart the expo.
BIKE RACKING AND BODY MARKING
Do I really have to drop off my bike on Saturday? What if I can’t drop it off? Can I bring it in on race morning?
All bikes MUST be dropped off in the transition area between the hours of 11:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturday. If you are not able to drop off your bike, another registered athlete can rack your bike. There will be no bikes allowed in or out of transition area on race morning, prior to the start of the race.
Can we drop our bikes off before going to packet pick up?
No. Your bike MUST have your race number on it prior to entering transition, with no exceptions. You will not have your race number until you attend the race briefing and pick up your packet.
How do I get down to transition area on Saturday? Can I take my bike on the shuttle?
Bikes will not be allowed on the shuttles from the host hotel to West Potomac Park. Athletes can ride their bikes down to transition, take the metro and walk over, or drive down.
What if I get down to transition and have forgotten to put the number on my bike?
You will need to go back and get your race number. Without the number, we will have no way to know whose bike it is. With thousands of bikes, it creates a security issue if there are any bikes allowed into the transition area without a number. It is strictly a security measure.
Is there parking at West Potomac Park? Are there any street closures in the area to be aware of?
There is parking on Saturday along Ohio Drive, however there are many areas that are marked as NO PARKING. Please keep in mind that the no parking areas are very strictly enforced during race weekend, and the cars parked illegally or double parked will be ticketed and towed. Ohio Drive will be one way on Saturday, so you will need to access the area via East Potomac Park.
How will you make sure no one steals my bike if I leave it out overnight? Is it safe?
The transition area is patrolled by security from the moment it is built until we break it down on Sunday.
Where do I rack my bike? How do I figure out where to rack?
You will rack your bike according to your race number. If you have trouble finding your race number area, please ask a volunteer or staff member for assistance, they are happy to help. Rack your bike with your seat and the sticker on the rack with bike number facing the same direction. Your front wheel should be touching the ground.
Will there be mechanics in the transition area on Saturday?
Yes, there will be limited mechanical services provided on Saturday during bike racking.
Can I leave my gear bag with my bike on Saturday?
You will only leave your bike on Saturday, and bring everything else with you on race morning.
Should I get body marked on Saturday?
Getting body marked on Saturday will speed up your transition preparations on Sunday. We highly encourage you to take advantage of getting one race morning chore taken care of the day before!
How do I get back to the hotel after I drop off my bike?
There will be shuttle service running from West Potomac Park at the intersection of Ohio Drive and West Basin Drive back to the the host hotel. It will run approximately every 20 minutes.
Can my friends and family take the shuttle with me?
Shuttles will be filled with racers first. Friends and family will be permitted on the shuttles based on capacity.
What time does Transition open? What time does it close?
Transition will open at 5:00 am on race morning. It closes promptly at 6:55am. The first swim wave enters the water at 7:00 am.
How do I get there? There is no parking nearby, and I have to carry all of my stuff. Can my family or friend drop me off on Independence Avenue?
Cars will not be permitted to drop off passengers along Independence Avenue on race morning. We recommend getting dropped off either along Constitution Avenue and walking across the Lincoln Memorial or along 17th street, and walking down Independence Avenue. Shuttles will be available from the host hotel to the Transition Area, from 4:30 am to 6:15 am, running about every 20 minutes.
Can I take my bike out of transition for a warm up ride?
Bikes will not be allowed outside of transition on race morning prior to the start of the race.
If I drop my bag off in the Gear Check area, where will I find it after the race?
The Gear Check will remain in the same location all day, so you will find your bag right where you left it that morning. It will be located outside of transition, near the swim start.
Will there be water available outside of transition? Where can I find it?
We will have water available just inside of transition for racers while they await their swim waves. Fill up your bottles before you exit transition.
Will there be any food or drinks for purchase outside of transition for my friends and family?
Yes, there will be some light food and drinks available for purchase from one of our vendors.
Can relay members wait inside of transition for their swimmer?
Relay members should wait for their swimmer in the relay pen, where all chip hand offs will take place.
How will I learn about any race day changes?
We do not anticipate any changes, but it’s important to listen to the loud speakers on race day for announcements of any race day changes.
My friends and family want to come out later in the morning to watch the race. What Metro stops are along the course?
Spectators can take the Metro to several different stops to spot participants during the race:
– L’Enfant Plaza
– Foggy Bottom
– Arlington Cemetery
Consult Metro’s website for more information about the Metro system.
What happens if the swim is cancelled?
New for 2017, Premier Event Management has worked with the National Park Service and city officials to host a duathlon competition as a back up contingency plan. Olympic athletes would compete in 5k run, 40k bike and 10k run, while Sprint athletes would compete in a 2mi run, 20k bike and 5k run.
How do I know which swim wave I’m in?
You will receive this information in your athlete confirmation email prior to the race. In your packet that you will receive at the expo, you will be given a swim cap which is a particular color. Each color designates a particular swim wave within your age group. Swim waves will also be posted online.
How many people are in my wave?
Waves will vary in size according to how many participants are in each age group. With a time trial start, you will be getting into the water with approximately 8-10 other racers from your wave.
What if I miss my swim wave?
Do not miss your swim wave! Waves will be well marked with volunteers holding large signs notifying you of the order of swim waves in line. If you do miss your wave, alert a volunteer and they will assist you with alerting a staff member on the dock to take down your number.
What if my cap breaks?
There will be spare caps available at the swim start. Find a volunteer for assistance.
Is the swim course the same as previous years? How far apart are the buoys?
The swim course is the same as in years past and will consist of a time trial start, with a feet first entry. The Nation’s Triathlon is famous for its amazing swim course markers. The white buoys are spaced every 100 meters, and are large and easy to spot from the water. You will know exactly how far you’ve swum and how far you have to go based on the orange markings on each buoy. It is the best marked swim course in all of triathlon.
It’s my first open water swim and I’m nervous. How many kayaks and lifeguards are going to be there? Can I stop and take a break without getting DQ’ed?
The lifeguards are stationed all along the shoreline, and on-water support is stationed throughout the course, including a self-rescue dock. All racers are encouraged to use any of the forms of on-water support should they need to take a break. The support will not move a racer forward in the water, therefore this type of use will not result in any penalties or disqualifications.
Is the swim usually wetsuit legal? What day will you announce the water temperature?
Every year, we have had at least one wave of wetsuit racers. The water temperature of the river has been between 76-78 degrees in the past few weeks. The water temperature will be announced during the race briefings, and the final race temperature will be announced race morning.
Is the 2017 bike course the same as the bike course for 2016?
We are going to be riding the same course in 2017 that we did in 2015 & 2016. This course featured two downtown loops before an out and back over the 14th Street Bridge, which we feel maximizes the race experience for competitors by creating a safe, flat course that optimizes access to some of Washington, DC’s most historic memorials and landmarks. We do this in partnership with both local and federal agencies and are mindful of creating a footprint for the race that will lessen the impact of road closures on local residents.
Why the need for the double loop bike course?
The double loop will ensure the safety of our competitors by utilizing flat and wide roadways which can accommodate the size of the field, while also maximizing access to Washington, DC’s scenic landmarks. In addition to consulting with federal and local agencies that oversee the roads and parks in the District and Northern Virginia, we were also pleased to work closely with the DC Tri Club on creating a course that will provide a stunning and exciting triathlon experience for all our competitors.
Won’t this make the course more crowded?
The roads that are used on the course will ensure that inbound and outbound riders have a full lane to ride in, providing plenty of room for each wave. There are also some sections of the course designated as NO PASSING zones, to ensure rider safety. In addition, the swim waves will be spaced further apart, providing more time between when each age group hits the bike course.
How will you know if all the competitors completed both laps?
There will be chip readers along the bike course to record that each competitor has crossed certain mile markers. If a competitor does not complete the entire course, they will receive a DQ and their results will not be included.
Will we see different sights this year on the bike course?
This year’s bike course will provide new views for the competitors, including Arlington Cemetery and Air Force Memorial, seen from the southbound lanes of the 14th Street bridge, the Pentagon, views of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Memorial, World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and other DC landmarks such as the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the White House, seen from inbound E Street, and the Kennedy Center and Watergate seen from Rock Creek Parkway.
I did the race last year and don’t understand the new bike course. Can you explain how the double loop course works?
The full description of the bike course including turn by turn directions can be found on the bike course map.
The double loop course will be quite spectator friendly, as you will pass by several intersections multiple times, and should allow for great crowd support along the way.
What is the best way to stay safe on a double loop bike course? Are there any special USAT or safety rules?
The best way to stay safe on a double loop course is to stay alert to other riders and all signage along the course, including No Passing Zones. For the middle and later swim waves, you will be merging onto a bike course that already has traffic. For those in the early swim waves, you will be beginning a second loop as others are entering the course. We anticipate that USAT officials will be watching this area, and will respond to any safety issues or unsportsmanlike conduct accordingly.
Is there any SAG support on the bike course?
There will be mechanical support in the transition area on race morning and limited neutral support volunteers riding the course to help with minor mechanical troubles.
Are there any water bottle hand offs on the bike course?
The bike course does not have any water bottle hand offs, so make sure your bike is equipped to carry enough fluid and nutrition for the 40k ride.
Is the run course the same as last year?
The Olympic run course is the same as last year’s course with the addition of an out and back section near miles 4-5. It will take you past the Jefferson Memorial, adding one more magnificent Washington, DC landmark to your journey.
How many aid stations are on the run course?
There are 5 aid stations on the Olympic run course, and 2 on the Sprint course. Each aid station will have water and Gatorade; the first aid station that all athletes will pass will also have energy bars and energy gel.
How many loops is the run course?
It is a one loop run course.
Is it a shady run course or is it in the sun?
The course has a mixture of sun and shade.
Can I wear my iPod during the run?
No iPods or other music devices are allowed during the race at any time.
FINISH LINE AREA
How quickly can I get my results? Where can I find them?
Results will be made available to finishers at the Timing Receipt tent, which will be located just to the right of the finish line.
Is there a good area to meet up with my friends and family once I finish?
We encourage you to find your friends and family at the finish line festival.
How long can I hang out in the finish line festival? Will there be anything to eat? Can my friends and family buy something to eat?
Racers can enjoy the post race food, drinks and listen to the DJ as long as you wish. The awards ceremony will begin at 11:30 am. There will also be food for purchase at the festival for your friends and family.
I won an age group award and want to learn about the awards ceremony! Will you have the schedule for the awards ceremony posted somewhere for me to find?
The awards ceremony begins at 11:30 am.
Where is a good place to watch my friends finish?
There are plenty of great viewing locations along Ohio Drive, on both sides of the road.
Can my friends and family come into the transition area with me to help carry my stuff?
No, only athletes are permitted inside the transition area on race day.
How soon after the race can I get my bike and bag out of transition?
Participants will not be able to remove their bikes and belongings until all runners have exited T2. Once all the participants have started the run, transition will reopen for removal of bikes and other belongings.
What if I finish the race and realize I dropped something during the day. Is there a lost and found?
Lost and found will be located inside the volunteer tent, which can be found on Ohio Drive, between the finish line and the swim start.