LIers relish time together at NYC Triathlon
Published: August 8, 2011 4:18 PM
By LAURA ALBANESE firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Collins wheezed and sputtered with the burden of what he’d just accomplished – teetering noticeably against a railing while gasping “can I have a minute?” to the video camera in front of him at the New York City Triathlon, where he’d just placed first.
Ryan Siebert and Tom Eickelberg, Long Islanders who train with the same coach, were slightly better off, though marveling, minutes after the race, at the grueling 40k bike ride that took them along the West Side Highway.It was a brutal race on a wet and balmy Sunday morning. A 64-year-old man died on Sunday during the swim leg of the triathlon and a 40-year-old woman died Monday morning at a local hospital. No further information was available, out of respect for the families and due to patient confidentiality, said Emily Vicker, an event spokeswoman.
“On behalf of all of us in the triathlon community, our thoughts and prayers are with the athletes and their loved ones,” said race director Bill Burke in a statement.
The death cast a pall on an otherwise jubilant few hours, as an estimated 3,000 racers took part in a course that kicked off near Riverside Park and culminated with a 10k run to and through Central Park.
For Siebert, 20, of Patchogue, who was third the elite amateurs, it was a few thousand steps toward his goal of going pro. Eickelberg, too, said he hoped to re-qualify for his pro card, having already secured a sponsorship with PowerBar. The two, who work together as bike mechanics at BabylonBike Shop and train under coach Mike Monastero, finished within minutes of each other. Eickelberg, 22, of Hempstead, recently graduated from Adelphi, and finished 17th the professional heat in 2:02.30.
“The bike ride was hilly and wet andthere was some serious headwind,” said Siebert, who attends Suffolk-CC Selden and finished in 2:04.15. ” a year and a half seriously with my coach, swimming before work, before school.”
And how did he feel after?
“Terrible . . . terrible. Very happy.”
There were different goals for different racers. Collins, of Seattle, was intent on victory, finishing the race in 1:48.11. For the women, it was three-time champion Rebeccah Wassner, of Manhattan, to take first, coming in at 2:03.19. For Paul Marsac, 56, of Bethpage, it was another way to bond with his son, Justin, 28, of Park Slope, even though they raced in different heats.
“There’s nothing better,” than doing this with his son, he said. “It doesn’t matter when I finish, or if I finish. We get to spend time together.”
The two began taking part in mountain bike races when Justin was 12, he said. “There was a time where I’d always beat him,” said Paul of his son, a ship inspector for the Merchant Marines. “Now, he’ll always beat me.”
Paul finished in 2:44.48, while Justin snuck in at 2:34.11. Close, pretty close.