Musselman Half Triathlon

Musselman Half Triathlon

Musselman Half Triathlon

( 1 review )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Geneva,
    New York,
    United States
  • July
  • Other
  • Road Race
  • Event Website


Washington, District of Columbia, United States
6 8
"Great Race for a First Time Half Ironman"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Runaway 's thoughts:

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Sunday I completed my first 70.3 triathlon at the Musselman Triathlon in Geneva, NY. Four other girls did the race with me. We picked it because of its great reviews as well as the 6 hour drive time from the DC area.

The race was located in the Finger Lakes region on New York with the swim taking place in Seneca Lake and the bike between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake. The early bird registration was $185. The race organizers also offered a sprint, fun race, children's race, and aqua bike option.

Packet Pickup.

Packet pickup for the 70.3 distance race was Saturday at William and Hobart Smith Colleges. We went right when the tables opened and didn't have to wait in line at all. There were a couple of local vendors selling race essentials (race snacks, race belts, bottles, etc.) and the race itself was selling previous year race gear.

The safety briefing was the best I have ever attended. The race director, Jeff Henderson, is caring, witty, and charming. He loves the race, the participants, his volunteers, and Geneva. Each year he asks each participant a question during the registration process. I completely forgot. The question is different each year, and this year it was "One word to describe the best version of yourself." I could not remember for the life of me what I put. These were some of the race director's favorites that he shared at the briefing.


In our reusable race bags, we received a cotton blend race shirt (very cute and women specific sizing), a small notebook, a kite (yes, a kite), shampoo and conditioner, a race newspaper, and some electrolyte drink tabs and gus.

Upon finishing the race, volunteers handed me a Musselman water bottle and a recycled bike gear medal. The race was extremely green. Lots of reused and recycled items as well as it was wind and solar powered at the finish line.

The weather.

The swim started out with overcast skies, some decent swells, and a water temperature of 72 degrees. It was low humidity and in the 70s by the time we hit the bikes. However, the weather got worse before it got better with 20 mph winds and rain.

The swim.

The swim was in Seneca Lake for 1.2 miles with a finish in a canal. The water was extremely clean and, for the most part, shallow. Each of the five waves started out on the beach and walked out to waist deep water near two starting buoys. The waves were separated by five minutes. It was one of the least chaotic starts I have had. I credit that to the five minutes between each wave and not having a Clydesdale division.

The weather made the swim not quite a cake walk. I felt like a bobber on the ocean. Up and down. Up and down. I swam freestyle the entire distance and went from buoy to buoy without much swerving. When the swim turned into the canal, I became some disoriented and started swimming in every direction, but straight. The reviews I read were absolutely correct in the current slightly pushing you through the canal to the exit point. We exited the canal at a boat ramp and there were several volunteers there to help me to my feet.

Given the weather and the distance, I was thrilled with my swim time of 51:55. Everyone coming out of the water thought the swim was tough. It wasn't bad enough that I thought about calling it quits, but 36 people did.

The bike.

The bike course was 56 miles through the vineyards and farm lands that exist between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. It was gentle rolling hills for the first half, and very manageable. There were a couple of technical turns - one going down a steep hill, another going up a steeper hill, and a third down another hill in the rain.

The first 17 miles or so were south into a headwind. That was a really tough way to start the bike, but we eventually turned east and got a break before heading south again into the wind.

The bike support for this race was remarkable. There were five well stocked aid stations with port-a-potties. Slews of volunteers were handing out water, Heed, shot blocks, and gus. They were organized and very encouraging despite standing in the rain for hours. In addition to the aid stations, the race had roving mechanics on bikes to help those with mechanical issues. Jamie had a mechanic stop to help her fix two flats (one was a pinched tube from the first one he fixed). She said he was phenomenal and quick with the change. There were law enforcement officers and volunteers at every single intersection to help control traffic.

My bike time was 3:49, but given the wind and rain. I am okay with that. I expected to come in around 3:30 or less, but I cannot control the weather.

The run.

By the time I got off the bike, I was exhausted. The wind really took a lot out of my legs. But, I hurried through transition and started the run. It went through Geneva and out into the country side. Most of the run was flat with a couple of steep, longer hills in the middle. Like many triathlons I have done, it was a little bit of all terrains - Road, sidewalk, stairs, gravel.

But, much like the bike, it was well organized and supported. There were 11 aid stations with plenty of volunteers. They had bananas, fresh apricots, pretzels (soggy from the rain), animal crackers, salt tablets, gus, Heed, water, and flat Coke. My plan was to walk through the aid stations, which I did to help manage my fueling. The volunteers were super encouraging. One even ran a little with me and chatted after going up a big hill. He had done the aqua bike that morning, then came out to volunteer.

My run time was dismal at 2:48. The slowest I have ever run, but easy to beat next race.

The transition area.

The transition area was well organized and plenty of rooms between the bike racks. We were able to rack our bike the night before, and then set up transition as early as 5am for a 7am start time. There was no need to run very far between the swim and the transition, which was very welcomed.

To help locate your bike, they put country flags for the World Cup teams. I was in the Chile row. It made it super easy to find my row and locate my bike.

The support.

I cannot say enough how amazing the race is supported. It seemed like there were as many volunteers as there were participants in the race. Despite the rainy weather, they were smiling ear-to-ear and looked genuinely excited to be part of the race experience. I cannot think of one thing this race was missing in terms of support.

The finish.

The finish area was very close together. Red Jacket Orchard and Wegman's were two of the sponsors. The fruit - cherries, bananas, apricots, watermelon, juices - provided by Red Jacket were delicious and there was so much. Wegman's had three options for lunch - pork, chicken, and a vegetarian pasta dish. It was a ton of food, and there was also ice cream. We sat at picnic tables after the race, enjoyed our food, and listened to a live band play. It was a great way to wind down.

My take.

I loved this race and the experience! Jeff Henderson and his legion of volunteers put on a fantastic event. If you have not down this race, you should put it on your list.

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