Friday’s weather update from meteorologist, Ron Smiley

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13963016_1102527299822754_7896795032208316232_oNo changes to the Triathlon forecast. Have added more information on expected rain and conditions. Also the picture is what to expect on Saturday morning.


Friday Expo *Noon – 8pm: Hot! A high of 92 expected with scattered showers. Heat Index: 99°

Saturday 6am – 10am: Temps in the mid-70s to near 80 Isolated rain showers, maybe a rumble of thunder with a passing storm.

Sunday 7am – 10am: Temps in the mid-70s to near 80. Best chance for rain, an isolated storm can’t be ruled out.

Wet, soggy and steamy conditions for this year’s Pittsburgh Triathlon. Dew points will be in the 70s (very humid) for both Saturday and Sunday. Get ready to sweat…

Saturday’s rain chance appears to be relatively small, but rain is expected overnight. At this point it looks like the heaviest, if not all of the rain, comes to an end just before sunrise. That’s around 6:30 a.m. this weekend. There should be a lull for the rest of the morning with perhaps some drizzle or light rain remaining for the race. Saturday morning temperatures should be in the mid to upper 70s hitting the 80s by the end of the race.

Sunday is a little more complicated as rain is expected all day long. There doesn’t look to be many breaks through the day. Overall, from Saturday night through Monday morning I am calling for about an inch to two inches of rain region wide. The good news is, similar to Saturday; the lowest rain chance will be as the sun is coming up on Sunday. Some of the earlier finishers may only see light rain with heavier rain building the closer to 10 a.m. it gets.



Meteorologist, Ron Smiley, shares race weekend forecast

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This year am getting to forecast for the Pittsburgh Triathlon that is going on August 13th-14th. For those competing this year it looks like you’ll see tough weather conditions along with whatever the race course throws at you.

Ron Smiley, Meteorologist, KDKA TV


Friday Expo *Noon – 8pm: Hot! Highs near 90 with scattered showers.

Saturday 6am – 10am: Temps in the mid-70s to near 80 Isolated rain showers, maybe a rumble of thunder with a passing storm.

Sunday 7am – 10am: Temps in the mid-70s to near 80. Best chance for rain, an isolated storm can’t be ruled out.

The forecast sounds worse than it actually is. Still caution and being weather aware is advised for this weekend. A wet and soggy pattern will hang over the region for this weekend. There will be periods of dry conditions but rain chance will remain through the weekend.

The set-up: High pressure will be located to the southeast this weekend just off the Carolina coast line. Meanwhile a cold front will sag down from the northwest. Off and on rain should be expected. It will also be extremely humid with dew points near 70°. Temps could be in the 80s by the 10 a.m. hour. on Saturday.

The good news is that severe weather is not expected for either Saturday or Sunday. At this point it looks like there won’t be a lot of rain around on Saturdaymorning with a better chance on Sunday morning. The chance for lightning is low but is something we will need to watch for



What do you need this weekend for the Pittsburgh Tri & Adventure Race?

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Athlete Checklist

You’re excited and a little anxious too and there’s so much to remember to bring so we’ve created a quick checklist for you to do this week and another to print or keep on your phone for race day.

  • Bicycle Safety Check—Big Bang Bikes and Pro Bike + Run are the official Safety Check Stores. They are not mandatory but highly recommended.Checklist pic
  • Proof of USAT Membership must be current and athletes must be able to show proof at athlete check-in before you are able to receive your race number. If your USAT Membership has expired, be prepared to pay at Triathlete Services.
  • Gear Check—Each athlete is allowed to check gear at the swim start. Bags will be available at the athlete check-in.
  • Timing Chip—You must wear your timing chip in order to receive a time in the official results. If you lose it or forget it, you can get another one in the transition zone on race day or at the start of the swim.
  • You must have your bib to get into the transition or to take your bike out of transition
  • Check-in if you leave the race – If you leave the race course and go home, you must check in with athlete services so you are accounted for at the end of the day and we know you are fine.

River swimming advice from a guy who knows his stuff

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Photo Credit: Lou Blouin

Darren Miller wants you – and everyone else up to and including the people who often call River Rescue to come to his aid – to know that swimming in Pittsburgh’s rivers is not only safe but also enjoyable.

We first became aware of Miller, who is an open water marathon swimmer, through an Allegheny Front article posted to our Facebook page:

He’s passionate about open water distance swimming and about encouraging others to take advantage of Pittsburgh’s rivers, so we thought he’d be a great person to offer advice to our new or less experienced river swimmers.

First of all, “There’s nothing to be worried or afraid about,” said Miller, of Murrysville.

It’s a point Miller makes often.

The rivers are also cleaner than they often get credit for, he said.

“I never had issues running into logs or fish or garbage,” he said. “For the most part, the water is very clean. I can see my hands and my arm strokes ahead of me.”

Miller has experience swimming in all three rivers. In fact, in 2014 he hosted the first annual Three Rivers Marathon Swim, a 30K race in which swimmers do 10K in each of the three rivers. The Ohio River is pretty calm, Miller said, while the Monongahela tends to be a little warmer than the other two and can also be a little murky. The Allegheny River, which is the one swimmers and kayakers will be in for the Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Race, is typically clean, he said, and although it does have a current, it’s not going to sweep anyone away.

When you’re swimming against the current, Miller said, just know that you’re going to be about 30 to 40 percent faster coming back.

For those who aren’t used to swimming in the river, Miller advised just taking some time to get comfortable with being in the water before race day.

“A great way to do that is if you’re able to take a boat out, just start hopping off and hopping back on,” he said. “If you can’t do that, I always jumped in at Allegheny Landing down by PNC Park and Kayak Pittsburgh. I’d just hop right off the dock there, float around and get used to it.”

Of course, it’s important to pay attention to the current state of the rivers and whether ALCOSAN has them listed as safe to enter. See our earlier blog post about water quality and how you can check on river status here:

So as long as ALCOSAN says you’re good to go, hop on in!

And, if you’d like to learn more about Darren Miller’s Three Rivers Marathon Swim, which will take place on Sept. 24, visit his website here:

Or email him at

He also needs boaters to volunteer for the race, so drop him a line if you can help out.

Why we’re happy to be helping Friends of the Riverfront

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WFORlogonewhen you register for the Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Race, you aren’t just making a commitment to test yourself and enjoy a great morning of racing. You’re also helping Friends of the Riverfront, with proceeds from the race helping them to continue the stewardship and great work they’ve been doing for the last 25 years.

In case you aren’t familiar with their stewardship and great work, read on to learn a little more about the group we’re so excited to be supporting by taking over management of the triathlon and adventure race.trail

Essentially, if it’s a trail that runs along any of the three rivers beginning at the Point and stretching in all directions, it’s a trail that’s maintained and cared for by Friends of the Riverfront. They manage the 24-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which is made up of different sections of trails that pass through neighborhoods and areas including the North Shore, the South Side, Station Square, Lawrenceville, Washington’s Landing, Duck Hollow, Chateau, Millvale, Route 28, the Strip District and Hazelwood.

The trail is also the final segment of the Great Allegheny Passage that goes from The Point in downtown Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., then continues on to Washington, D.C., via the C&O Canal Towpath.They also maintain the 21 Three Rivers Water Trail access points and promote the use of recreation on the rivers as well as beside them.

Friends of the Riverfront staff and their many volunteers are passionate about th
e continued transformation of our riverfronts and rivers into places where people can pursue outdoor activity, be healthy and be social and about helping nature to thrive in environments where heavy industry once ruled.

Who wouldn’t love being part of something that helped support those goals?

Lots of Pittsburghers both benefit from and contribute to their efforts, as well. A 2014 survey showed an estimated 822,873 annual user visits to the trail, with a total economic impact of $8,286,026. The survey also showed that 75.5 percent of trail users live in the city of Pittsburgh and 59 percent of respondents said they use the trail at least twice a week, if not more.

runner on trailThe majority of trail users are on bicycles (44.1 percent), while walkers make up the second largest group at 32.7 percent followed by runners and joggers at 20.8 percent. Also notable about the survey was that more than 83 percent of respondents rated the cleanliness and maintenance of the trail as good to excellent, and 82.5 percent indicated that safety on the trail was good to excellent.

It’s not easy to support those types of user and satisfaction numbers, and Friends of the Riverfront gets a lot of help. They had 1,702 volunteers who contributed 5,326 hours of service to the organization in 2014.

Not bad for what started in 1991 when then-mayor Sophie Masloff authorized a strip of land on the South Side to be used as a public trail at the urging of the Riverfront Planning Committee, which became Friends of the Riverfront. The organization still has lots of plans for the future.

By 2018, Friends of the Riverfront plans to extend the Three Rivers Heritage Trail further into Allegheny County, to complete the Ohio River portion of the trail to connect to the Montour Trail, which would allow cyclists to bike to Pittsburgh International Airport, and to continue serving as the primary stewards for the trail.

Their more immediate projects include completing the design and raising capital funds for the Etna Riverfront Park and Trail, building a portion of the trail along Neville Island on the Ohio Riverfront, constructing a portion of the trail from Aspinwall Riverfront Park through PWSA property and into the Township of O’Hara and maintaining their current high level of volunteer and stewardship events.

So when you’re out there swimming or kayaking, biking and running on Aug. 13-14, know that you’re not only enjoying the results of Friends of the Riverfront’s hard work but also helping to ensure the future of Pittsburgh’s waterfront trails and waterways for recreation and healthy living.

A few words about sewers

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It’s not the most glamorous topic, but one some of you are probably interested in at least as it relates to the water quality in the Allegheny River.

As many of you know, heavy rains can have an adverse affect on Pittsburgh’s waterways. Lots of rain can overflow the sewer system, at which point not only untreated sewage but also trash and litter from the roadways flow openly into the area’s rivers and streams.

Because of these events, called combined sewer overflows, or CSOs, ALCOSAN created a Sewer Overflow Advisory Key, or SOAK, system to advise the public when it isn’t in their best interest to go in the water.

The pollution makes the rivers unsuitable for users of all kinds while the overflows are active, and unsuitable for what ALCOSAN terms primary users – swimmers, jet skiers, water skiers and anyone else whose body is coming into direct contact with the water – for up to 48 hours after the overflow stops. At that point, the river goes back to what they call dry weather operation and it is considered safe for all users to enter the water.

If you want to read more about ALCOSAN’s definitions, testing, alert system, etc., go here.

All this obviously impacts the triathlon and you because we don’t want anyone putting themselves at unnecessary risk for illness, infection and other unwanted consequences by swimming or kayaking when the rivers are unsafe.  Therefore, we will only hold the swim leg of the race in the triathlon and the kayak leg of the adventure race if the river is in dry operation status, meaning it’s been at least 48 hours since the last active overflow stopped.

So what are the chances that there won’t be a water-based leg of the race?
Tough to say.

ALCOSAN reports on status changes from May 1 to Oct. 31. Since May 1 of this year, river conditions have been in active overflow status 29 times including twice last week. The river has been in dry weather operation status since 12:11 a.m. on Saturday (July 10), so had the races been this past weekend the swim and kayak events would have gone off as planned.

In the event that we’re not as fortunate a month from now, the format of both the triathlon and adventure race will change to a time trial bike-run.

We did consider going to a run-bike-run, but some of the feedback we got suggested that a number of athletes just aren’t prepared or in favor of that format. We also learned of a number of triathlons elsewhere that switch to a bike-run format under similar circumstances.

Our fingers are crossed that nature cooperates in the days leading up to the triathlons and adventure race, but our top priority is keeping you as safe as possible out there. We do want to also emphasize that even if the river is in dry weather operation status, you are still entering open water and are swimming at your own risk. No system is perfect, so exercise your own judgment if come race day you have any open wounds or other issues that might make you particularly susceptible to bacteria.

If you want to read the official Friends of the Riverfront water contact policy, click here.

If you want to sign up to receive ALCOSAN river status changes by text or email, click here.

Some more details on the Pittsburgh Triathlon course

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Pittsburgh Triathlon - Photo Credit Matt Mead (253)

Happy Fourth of July weekend everyone!

Whether you’re planning to catch Billy Joel at PNC Park on Friday, cookout with friends, watch the spectacular fireworks the city puts on or just train, train, train, we hope your long weekend is going to be everything you want it to be.

In our last post we told you about the challenges we’re experiencing getting this year’s Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Race course set. We also promised you that no matter what, you’ll be entering a safe, well-organized event this year.

Now, we want to go into a little more detail about what we do know about the course as it stands right now.

First, the swim.
The entry for the Olympic distance swim is going to be near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. We’re going to build a dock and ramp so that no one has to jump in and it will be a nice, comfortable entry into the water.

The sprint distance swim will enter the water from the North Shore Riverfront Park near the Water Steps. Again, we plan to have a ramp so that sprint swimmers will also have an easy entry into the water.

We will be shuttling everyone to the swim start locations. You will not be responsible for getting yourself either up to the convention center or across the river before the race starts.

Both swims will exit the water at Point State Park. We’re going to do everything possible to make sure that both the water entries and exits are easy, comfortable and get you on your way as quickly as possible.

We also plan to have lots of buoys to help guide you along the way in the water as well as lots of support personnel in the river.

The secure transition area will also be located at Point State Park.

Next, the bike.
We know many of you would rather not bike on the I-279 HOV lane, and if it were up to us we would change that for this year. Unfortunately, the only feasible option from a financial standpoint, at least for now, is to keep the bike course on the HOV lane.

To get there, you’ll go across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, make a left onto W. General Robinson St. and a right onto Mazeroski Way.

Here’s something new: There will be a medical tent and a bike check/repair tent at the turnaround. There will also be roving bicycle mechanics on the course in case you get a flat or have another issue and need assistance. You won’t be alone. There will be help.

Finally, we are working with PennDOT to make sure that the HOV lane gets swept on Friday night and to mark any potholes, grate covers or other potential hazards along the course of which you will want to be aware and possibly avoid.

Finally, the run.
We told you that our plan to have you run along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the North Shore won’t work because we just found out there will soon be construction starting on that trail that will still be active at the time of the race.

Our hope is to have the 5K on the city side of the trail and it will be an out-and-back, if all goes according to plan, while the 10K may follow a different format. We do know there will be construction on this trail at some point this summer and are working to determine when that will begin and how it could affect our course.

In all three segments of the race, athletes can expect to have a much greater volunteer and support presence than in years past. We’ll also provide more port-a-potties along the course than there were under previous race management. And, of course, athletes can also expect an awesome shirt and finisher’s medal just as they are accustomed to getting in all P3R races.

So that’s what we can tell you about the course as it stands right now. We will continue to provide you with updates as quickly as we can, so check back often. We hope to soon be able to provide you with an update on water quality and testing, our discussions with ALCOSAN and how we plan to handle the race day format should issues arise. Also soon to come will be information on the adventure race, relays, tips and personal stories from triathletes so stay tuned.

Happy Independence Day Triathletes of Steel!