Thanks to Liz Glomb, Director of Marketing for the DC Triathlon Club for helping update our Welcome to Washington guide!
The Race Day countdown is on and we are really excited that you have decided to race and visit Washington DC, our Nation’s Capital. The Nation’s Triathlon will take you by some of this city’s most well-known and historical landmarks, but make sure you see other parts of the city that may not be along the course as well.
Over the years we have introduced you to some of the great places to ride, run, swim and eat in DC to make your race weekend enjoyable. This year we’ll continue this trend and give you some more options.
Where to go for your pre-race shakeouts:
Biking and Running
DC has many great running and cycling options and routes to try and you can even preview part of the race course by taking a spin around Hains Point (officially known as East Potomac Park) or you can venture towards one of the many trails around the city. Rock Creek trail is a local favorite for running and cycling which is why it can get a bit crowded on weekends. Your best bet is to hit these areas in the early morning. Additionally, parts of Rock Creek and Beach Drive are closed to through traffic during the weekend, a big reason why they are so popular. If you are staying in the Dupont Circle area for race day, you can easily ride the Rock Creek trail south to the race site to drop your bike off the day before.
The Health and Fitness Expo, which is located at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, is conveniently located just off of Rock Creek Trail if you want to bike or run to the expo. The Omni Shoreham Hotel’s location is also close to the turnaround location on the bike course for Sunday, so this would give you a great opportunity to check out the course.
If you are staying in DC or even Montgomery County, Maryland, the Capital Crescent Trail is another great option as it runs between Georgetown and Bethesda. One of your best trail options if you’re staying over the river in Virginia is the Custis/W&OD trail, which runs from Arlington to Reston and beyond. The trail may change names, but they connect, which makes riding easier. Another option in Virginia is the Mount Vernon trail, which runs between Arlington and Mt Vernon. This trail takes you along the Potomac River and past National Airport.
Want to get in a last minute open water swim practice? WaveOne Swimming is offering a sunrise open water swim practice at National Harbor on Saturday, September 10th.
Not able to get out to National Harbor? Public pools in DC are free for residents, but only cost a small drop in fee for anyone coming in from out of town. Make sure to check out DPR’s website for a complete list of pools and hours. Not staying in DC? Arlington (Virginia) and Montgomery (Maryland) counties also have pools that are open to the public and some are easily accessible by metro as well.
One of the easiest ways to get around the city (and the suburbs) is the metro and metro buses. If you’re staying at the host hotel, the Mount Vernon Square/Convention Center metro stop on the green and yellow line is just a short walk away and provides quick access to many of DC’s attractions. The host hotel is also a short walk away from many of downtown’s restaurants.
Please be aware that the metro runs less on weekends and does NOT go to the race start. Also, the metro system is currently undergoing a huge maintenance project which is causing even more delays and early closings than in years past. The good news is that the SafeTrack maintenance program scheduled for race weekend does not look like it will affect any of the downtown metro stations. You can check the WMATA website for any information and delays pertaining to race weekend. Please note that due to the SafeTrack program, Metro closes closes at midnight.
If you don’t want to be confined to a train or a bus, Capital Bikeshare is another great option. There are bikeshare docks all around the city – you can find them on the bikeshare site or download the spotcycle app for your phone to get realtime updates.
Where to eat:
DC has many food options that can interest almost anyone. Looking for breakfast or brunch? If you are in the area of the Expo, you can head over to Kramerbooks and Afterwords, Bethesda Bagels, or Open City. The Woodley Park and Dupont areas has a ton of light lunch options as well including Sweet Green, &Pizza, and Taylor Gourmet. Our personal favorite is District Taco, which has multiple locations around the city.
If you need special food items, there are multiple Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other grocery options throughout the city to help you stock up on staples.
Post Race Feasting
Now that you’ve finished the race, time to celebrate with a great meal! Some of our favorite food options include Ted’s Bulletin or Lauriol Plaza. Many of the places that were listed above for pre-race meals would also suffice for post-race as well.
Still looking for food options? Yelp is your best bet.
The other stuff:
DC is notorious for being ridiculously hot and humid during the summer and since the Nation’s Triathlon takes place in early September, be prepared for the humidity to still be around. It goes without saying, but stay hydrated while you are checking out the expo and dropping off your bike. Daytime highs in early September could be as high as the 90s, so plan ahead.
The water temperature is often right on the edge of being wetsuit legal, so plan for both options!
Last minute supplies:
Did you forget something? Did you forget your nutrition? Bike shoes? Helmet? If you can’t find it at the expo, DC has an array of cycling and running stores. To name just a few, Potomac River Running is right in the heart of downtown and Revolution Cycles, located in both Georgetown in DC and Clarendon in Arlington are both accessible by metro or bike.
Whether you are here to race or spectate, we hope that your visit to DC is an enjoyable one. Good luck on race day and we hope to see you again soon!
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