Dr Hoffman takes off at Mighty Hampton Triathlon

Prepping for the race

5:30 AM Sunday morning. It's pitch dark as Dr. Hoffman and fellow triathletes arrive at the Sag Harbor race site. Here Dr. H. (right) and David Cowan (son of Healthtalk producer Laurie Cowan) unload their bikes and prep their gear.

They didn't teach us this in medical school . . .

Dr. Hoffman performs essential pre-race surgery on his bicycle.

Dr. Hoffman suits up

Dr. Hoffman (right) pulls on his neoprene wetsuit prior to the race. Mikael Hanson of Enhance Sports, Dr. H's personal multisport coach, is at left; David Cowan, Dr. H's frequent workout buddy, shares pre-race banter.

May I zip you up?

Dr. H. performs gentlemanly offices on fellow triathlete Rowan Mestecky.

Final check

Rowan Mestecky dons her wetsuit for the swim.

How many guys do they expect to start at once?

David Cowan seems to ponder the question as hordes of male competitors head into the water for the first wave.

Here they come!

Contestants perform final adjustments to their wetsuits prior to the start of the swim.

Somewhere in there is Dr. Hoffman!

6:45. The sun is just rising as white-capped racers bob in place awaiting the starting signal for the mile swim leg of the triathlon.

And now it's the women's turn

Blue-capped women await the start of their wave of the swim.

Like a lake full of piranhas

Closely packed swimmers thrash through the water like a frenzied school of predatory fish. Triathlon swimming is definitely a contact sport!

First out of the water

David Cowan (middle) is the first of our group to complete the swim and begin his run to the transition area

Here comes Dr. Hoffman!

Dr. H.(middle) emerges winded but undaunted from the turbulent waters of Long Beach. He races toward the transition area, raring to go onto the bike leg of the race

That's one determined guy!

The camera captures the look of fierce concentration on Dr. Hoffman's face as he completes his run across the beach.

Let's see . . . is this sock inside out?

Dr. Hoffman performs the important triathlon ritual of swim to bike transition. Speed and efficiency count, because precious seconds lost in sloppy transition can mar your overall race time.

And we're off . . .

Dr. H. prepares to mount his specially-equipped triathlon bike.

First you put one leg over . . .

Dr. H. demontrates world-class mounting technique. The course ahead is 23 miles of beautiful rolling hills through woods and potato fields dotted with luxurious East End mansions.

Pedal to the metal

Dr. Hoffman accelerates on the bike leg of the race.

David is back already!

Zooming through the swim and bike legs, David Cowan is already returning to the transition area even as other slower competitors are just beginning their bike segment.

Go David!

David Cowan wastes no time as he dismounts his bike and races for the transition zone eager to start the run.

Not far behind . . .

And here comes Dr. Hoffman completing a brisk bike segment and heading for the transition zone.

I think I can do this . . .

All that's left is parking the bike, changing into some running shoes, and a mere 6.2 mile run.

What--no valet parking?

Dr. Hoffman is reduced to parking his own bike in the transition area. Oh well . . .

Here comes David . . .

David Cowan musters a final burst of speed with the finish line in sight.

Go Rowan!

Rowan Mestecky summons up her reserves for a final push toward the finish line.

That's one happy dude!

With the finish line in sight, Dr. Hoffman is relieved that the race will soon be over.

Crossing the finish line

With a final surge of speed, Dr. Hoffman crosses the finish line. A look of satisfaction crosses his face when he realizes that he has surpassed his personal best by a slim 7 second margin--a mark set 14 years ago when he was 38.

Glad it's over!

Dr. Hoffman receives congratulations from his coach, Mikael Hanson of Enhance Sports.

We made it!

Dr. Hoffman reviews the race with Mikael Hanson and training buddy David Cowan.

No thanks--I'll skip the bagels

Gathering around the refreshment tent after the race. Dr. Hoffman prefers to adhere to the Salad and Salmon Diet, even though he's down a couple of thousand calories thanks to this morning's exertions.

What's next?

Dr. Hoffman appears absorbed as he looks to the future. What's next? Is there a Tour de France or an Ultramarathon on Dr. H.'s itinerary? Stay tuned . . .

photos by www.alanacowan.com