It’s getting close – Nation’s Tri event weekend! It’s a good time to get organized, check out the course maps (Olympic or Sprint) and make sure you have a plan in place for each important aspect of the race. Here are some tips from an insider!
Etihad Airlines Sports and Fitness Expo
The Expo will run both on Friday and Saturday. (Check out the full event weekend schedule HERE.) You will pick up your packet, goodie bag and hit all the vendors. Both days have course briefings, which are a great idea for first time racers. Parking is tricky in the area, but it’s not far from the Dupont Circle Metro OR there is a Bike Valet on site. Easy in, easy out!
Mandatory Saturday Bike Racking
Not all races have bike racking on Saturday, but at Nation’s, it’s a must. It’s nice to not have to bring your bike down with you on race morning. Just don’t forget – you must stop by the expo first because you’ll need your race number to get your bike into transition. It’s also a great time to walk through the swim in / bike out and the bike in / run out to see the route you will be taking on Sunday.
Race Morning Parking
Don’t be silly. Don’t try to park at West Potomac Park! If you stay at the Washington Hilton, our host hotel, free athlete shuttles will be running back and forth from the hotel from 4:30am – 6:15 am and then again once the roads open, restarting at approximately 2:00 pm. Hains Point will have very limited parking for the race, but from personal experience, don’t count on it! Have a friend drop you off near transition the morning of race day or park along one of the other streets in the area. Transition will be located in West Potomac Park, so the nearest metro stations are Smithsonian, Foggy Bottom, Arlington Cemetery, (blue/orange) or L’Enfant Plaza (blue/orange/yellow/green). There is also parking at the Ronald Reagan Building on 14th Street. This could also be a great day to test out Uber or Lyft!
Waiting for Your Swim Wave
Events DC Nation’s Tri has a sweet, staggered, swim start (aka a “time trial” start). You’re in luck if your wave is one of the first to jump in…but remember, this is a big event! If you’re one of those last waves to splash in the Potomac, you might be sitting in your Speedo for a bit in the morning. And as the anticipation builds, you may want a friend to hang out with you to pass the time. Call up a buddy or bring a book if your swim wave is toward the end. Don’t forget to pack a snack! There is also a gear check located right along Ohio Drive across from the swim start if you want to bring an extra shirt or shoes with you. They will be waiting for you right there following the race.
The Biggest Buoys in North America
Okay, so I’m not sure if they technically are or not, but they are gigantic and cannot be missed! Don’t worry a bit about not being able to spot the swim course…it’s clearly marked! Tinted goggles tend to work well for this race as that early morning sun can be annoying after you’ve turned around and are heading back to exit the water.
(Olympic Swim Map / Sprint Swim Map)
A Fast Bike Course with Some Turns
“Mostly flat” is accurate. There are a few places you’ll need to put on your game face and crank it uphill, but not often. Our new and improved “4-leaf-clover” course is exciting to say the least! Nothing like zooming past monuments (on closed roads nonetheless) while everyone and their mom living in the district shouts and cheers from their front sidewalk. It’s really a blast. Look out for the “no passing zone.” They mean it – no passing! Making yourself familiar with the bike course is always a good idea, but with a two loop course, it’s critical to know where that Lap one / Lap two division is!
(Olympic Bike Course Map / Sprint Bike Course Map)
The Final Jaunt
When your legs are telling you they’re not sure they can go further, this run course will give you the extra boost you need! Hands down, the water stations along this course are the very best in the country. Never have I seen such enthusiastic, costume-wearing, water-bearing volunteers who will gladly run alongside you to pass off some electrolytes and cheer you on as you scoot your way to the finish. It’s a phenomenal group of volunteer, city dwellers, and friends and family of athletes from across the nation. There’s so much excitement and energy on the run course that going slow is not an option!
(Olympic Run Course Map / Sprint Run Course Map)
Finish Line Festival
You’re done! It’s time to enjoy the Finish Line Festival. Grab a drink, some food and sit down to enjoy the DJ.