It is Sunday morning. It is 0300. What am I doing up? Right, in a couple of hours I am going to voluntarily jump off a boat and swim across the San Francisco Bay.
I arrived in transition at about 0415 and it was pretty empty. I was lucky enough to be close to the bike in/out and close to the overhead lights so I could kinda see what I was doing. I felt for the guys at the back with nothing but their iPhone lights for company.
I got on the boat around 0500, opting to not leave it to chance as the boat would leave with or without you at 0630 (they actually left on guy on the dock). I chatted with some fellow racers, grabbed a 15 minute nap, and readied for the start.
The swim start can only be described one way; organized chaos. The gates open, and the swimmer start firing off the boat. 1900 swimmers in 6 minutes. Organized chaos.
Some dude hit me as I was coming to the surface, but it must have been his hand or arm as it didn’t hurt much. I swam towards the left for the first bit to get a feel for the current. I wasn’t as bad as anticipated, so I adjusted my aim to the right heading for the beach. Came out of the water in a perfect position.
The mini run to transition is kinda funny; some opt for shoes and some go barefoot. I was in the latter group. The pavement didn’t suck, I run midfoot anyways, but he tall grass in transition didn’t feel good on the top of the toes as my feet came forward.
The first 2 miles of the bike are flat, and that is it. I am glad that I hammered a lot of hills and intervals throughout the winter and spring sessions as I was one of the stronger climbers around me. It was either up or down, some hills steeper than others, and with a couple of hairpin turns at the bottom of the descents, all my momentum was gone for the next climb.
The view on the bike is exceptional. To a flat lander like myself, being able to ride through The Presidio, Lands End, and Golden Gate Park is not only one of the highlights from the race, but my triathlon career.
Coming home there was a rough patch on Lincoln Hwy and some dude was on the pavement. I didn’t see the crash but it didn’t look good. Felt bad for him a little, but we were warned about taking chances on the downhills.
Just like the bike, the first 2 miles of the run is flat, but that is pretty much it apart from a stretch on beach, but that doesn’t count. Everyone always talks about the sand ladder; a steep stair case that takes you up off of Baker Beach. Yeah, well no one mentions that first stair case. I wasn’t prepared for that one.
The run was good, although my stomach by this point was turning bad; remnants of a stomach flu I picked up the week earlier. I pushed as hard as I could despite the stomach and crossed the finish line strong.
Swim – 2400m – 36:34 – 167/1586
Bike – 29km – 1:00:29 – 279/1586
Sand Ladder – 3:52 – 1035/1586
Run – 12.8km – 1:06:19 – 520/1586
Total – 2:52:13 – 276/1586
A volunteer put my finisher medal around my neck, and at that point I noticed that what I thought was a little irritation from my wetsuit was worse than I thought. Man, it hurt for days.
So the race was a crap load of fun. I was able to swim from Alcatraz, something not many people have the opportunity to do, and I raced to the best of my ability. Sure I could have been a little faster if my stomach wasn’t so messed up, hammered on the bike a little more, or put more time into stairs here in Calgary.
But who cares.
I had a great time, enjoyed myself, and raced in the second coolest town I have ever been to. Sorry San Fran, nothing will beat Calgary in my eyes.
May Long Weekend, who would have figured the weather would be less than ideal?
Last year it rained in transition, then promptly stopped once the race started and everyone had a good time. This year, the opposite happened.
My swim was uneventful, but I always seem to be slow in the pool; 1:37/100 is not bad, but I was aiming for faster; my training has been sub 1:30/100 most of the year. Alas, it was still the second fastest swim of the day.
Not bad I reckon.
It rained while we were inside so my cycling gear was wet before I got on. It always gets wet anyways so I didn’t worry too much about it. I went barefoot, as I always do, and later regretted it. More later.
The wind was coming out of the east, resulting in a headwind for the first 5k. With a wet body, rain, and a cold wind things started cold and didn’t get any better. I made the turn, headed West toward the final turn hoping for a little help from a tailwind to gain some time.
Why does a headwind never turn into a tailwind?
The rest of the bike was pretty easy as I tried to warm up my toes before the run.
Running on frozen toes sucks; if you were wondering. My pace was great, I felt strong, and I was passing pretty much everyone I set my sights on. I ‘high-fived’ a buddy of mine at 4k, encouraging him to stick with me to the finish line.
Swim – 750m – 12:06 – 1:37/100m – 2/107
Bike – 10k – 39:33 (30.3km/hr) – 5/107
Run – 5k – 21:56 (4:24/km) – 2/107
Finish – 1:13:34 – 3/107
So second year, and a second great result.
I decided this year to ride my road bike, my Argon 18 Krypton, instead of the TT bike as I wanted to get a race with the gear I was bringing down to San Francisco. I probably lost some time on the bike due to this, but again, this was a ‘C’ race. I won’t lose any sleep over it.
Sometimes, only sometimes, can a fun run turn into a PR attempt.
I ran this last year as a favor to my company’s organizing committee, they were short of runners and didn’t want to forfeit. I ended up having a great time and set a pretty decent time. This year was a little different. I planned to participate months in advance marking it up as my attempt at another 10k PR; and my result didn’t disappoint.
Race morning started a little different for me, as any triathlete can attest to. No transition bags, wetsuits, or race nutrition. Simply put, put your shoes on and run; run like you stole something. Oh, the best part of a running race? No 0645 start times.
After registration the team, all six of us, headed to the start chute. I noticed we were lined up at the 50-60 minute pacing banner, but no worries, I would rather start with the ream than shuffle my way up at the last minute. Passed a lot of people in the first 4km, I guess they all had the same idea as I did. I set in for a decent pace, around 4:20/km, and started setting my sights on the runners ahead of me. I continued to pass runners all the way to the finish. My legs started to pack it in around km 7.8, so I had to convince them to continue on. “Keep Calm and Drop the Hammer” right?
The last 700m or so up hill, kinda cruel for the end of a running race. One runner came up along side, fist bumped, and encouraged me to pick up the pace to the finish line. I happily obliged and kicked it up for the last 200m; it hurt, but I had it in me.
Crossed the line with a 43:36 (4:22/km) finish time. I have no idea how I placed, there were timing chips, but no posted results.
I had fun. It is refreshing to race without the added pressure of a full training season hanging in the balance.
I think that is where some of the ‘after race blues” come from; knowing that your season is over, and 200-300 hours of training ends with a 2-3 hour event.
I will be back again next year, hopefully with another PR under my belt.
My daughter races the Kids of Steel, I race the Olympic distance.
I have got in a habit of writing short and sweet race reports, so my next challenge is to fit two reports in the same space as one. Try anything once right? So here I go, KOS first, Olympic after.
They revised the course for the 7 & under as the boat ramp was pretty slippery. We would swim along the shore, up the beach, then into transition. Great, water, sand, and sensitive skin. I quickly tried to figure out a way to clean off her feet, and the wet grass would do the trick between the sand and pathway. We got in the water, waited for the start, and got our motorboat on. It was a long run, who I am kidding, walk to transition.
Once we got there, she changed and off she went on the bike alone. Before the race, she asked me to swim with her, but she could do the bike and run alone. Well after she came off the bike, she wanted me to run with her to the finish. So there I am, wet shorts and nothing else running the KOS run course with my daughter. It was kinda fun, but kinda weird at the same time.
Hit the aid station (always have to) and worked her way to the finish. The great thing about kids is that they don’t care about their time, or how they finish. Actually, I am not sure if she really knew it was a race.
No matter, we had a great time playing on the beach before and after the race, munching on post race snacks, and celebrating when we got home.
Now onto the main event.
I had a decent swim by my standards. The start was the most hectic I have been in for a while as I started near the front, smack in the middle of the pack. I didn’t get kicked in the face, but I did knock elbows, knees, and feet with most everyone around me. This lasted for about 300m, and once we hit the first buoy I was clear. Tried to catch a quick group 10m ahead of me, couldn’t for the entire 2 laps of the lake.
On to the bike. I noticed a racer that I competed against at Chinook (tough to miss a BMC Time Machine) who passed me on the bike with a little attitude. I made a point to pass him when I could, and succeeded at km 6 never to see him again. Come to think of it, I hope he is alright and didn’t have a flat or something. I crushed each uphill section, standing for the last 50m or so to keep my speed and cadence high for the flat section. Before I knew it, I was coming up the hill for the last time and heading into T2.
I was targeting a fast run, but today was not my day. Not sure if it was the effort on the bike, but I couldn’t convince my legs to keep my pace above 4:40/km after the first 1.5k. I settled in for a tough run, but was determined to finish under 50 minutes. I eventually crossed the finish line with total time of 2:23:23 (49:45 10k run split). I was a little bummed as my main rival was 3 mins ahead of me out of T2, and with a 42 min 10k, I would have raced him to the finish line.
Still, not too shabby; beat my time from last year by 8:06 and placed in the top 10.
Overall it was a great weekend. I enjoy the ability to share racing with my family and not just have them come out a watch as I race past. I may even try to convince my wife to participate in the relay next year. Stay tuned to see how good of a salesman I really am.
Question: Did you race on the weekend? How did it go?
This was my second time registered for the Chinook Triathlon Festival. After breaking my collar bone 3 weeks before last years race, this is the first one I participated in.
I had a great swim, by my standards. Out of the water in 23:28 with my second lap 11:23; maybe I am getting an handle on this negative split thing. Hopefully I can use the same strategy for the run. Got kicked in the face trying to pass a swimmer at a buoy, that will teach me for getting too close. I ran past the wetsuit strippers, opting to strip myself on the way to T1, and made the long run to my bike. Had a little difficulty finding it this time. Usually I have no issues.
On to the bike. This course is known for a tough first half, uphill and into the wind, and it lived up to it’s reputation. On some of the downhills, I had to pedal just as hard as I had a few moments previous going up. At least coming home is gonna be fun. At the turn, I set my sights on 2 bikers who were about 1 minute ahead of me; they were hard to catch. I passed the first one about 10k later, then passed the second one on an uphill section 5k after that.
Headed into T2 I knew I had a good chance to hit my target time of 2:15, so I settled in for a quick, but manageable run.
Leading up to race day, all I could think about was the weather. Rainy all week with some pretty cold temperatures. Not today, the sun was out and the temperature was rising for the run. I held a 4:30/km pace for the first 2k as I had planned, stopping to tie my shoe once. Crap. After that, I decided to kick it up a notch and run on feel and not pace. The last 3k hurt a bit, and that hill didn’t help. I was passed by 3 runners around km 9, with one holding his hand back for a thank you handshake for pacing him around the course.
That is why I love this sport.
Highlights – I raced real well. I was happy with my bike, even though a couple of guys passed me before the turn, and my run was solid.
Lessons – Continue to work on my run; with my focus on the run over the past 5 months, the results don’t lie. I am a full 0:20/km faster coming off a harder bike than Chaparral. Don’t mess with my GPS just before race start. There is a stupid reason why I don’t have my GPS data.
Result – 2:18:08 Finish Time 17/134 Overall 8/52 Age Group
All-in-all, it was a great race and a great result. I will definitely be back next year.
This was my first race in Airdrie. Actually, it was everyone’s first race in Airdrie.
I have a special place for this race as it was my first triathlon back in 2011, and the one that eventually got he hooked. After the Olympic event was cancelled due to lack of registration (11 including me), traffic pattern concerns, and issues with the facility, I was ready to hammer the sprint distance instead. Earlier in the week the forecast called for 25-35mm of rain on race day. Awesome, better check my tires. Race morning was wet, and 5 minutes after arriving in transition, the rain stopped.
The swim was in a pool, 6 lanes, 4 people per lane. I had to wait for about 2 hours for the slower swim heats to finish before I hopped in the pool. I had a decent swim, even though the lap counter figured I swam an extra 50m. By my count, I was bang on. No problems, I was on my way to transition before I gave it another thought.
On the bike. After weaving through the park with no passing (which was killing me by the way), I settled in for a good bike. It was windy, with a crosswind gusting to 50-60km/hr. Some of the racers looked like the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ trying to stay upright, I handled the wind pretty easy. Hey, I am born and train in Calgary, I am no stranger to a bit of wind. Once we turned south is when the fun started, freshly paved road with wind at our backs. The speed limit said 80km/hr and I am sure that some of us could have picked up a speeding ticket.
On to the run. My winter training was dedicated to increasing my run speed, and it didn’t disappoint. I was passed by one racer, and once he passed me, I was intent on keeping pace with him for the rest of the race. Ended up with the 5th fastest run of the day, 4:23/km.
Result: 1:14:27 4/20 Age Group 5/99 Overall
Highlights: Everything worked as planned. Transitions were fast and organized, and I pushed a good pace on the run.
Lessons: Need to add some more pacing drills in the pool; 1:43/100m is slower than I anticipated and how I felt in the water. Need to spend more time on the bike. With the wind it was tough to judge how I did, but I know I am capable of more.
All in all, it was a good race. The course was a little weird, but with what they had to work with, I reckon they did a good job.
I am ready to go for my first ‘A’ race in June.
I thought Trevor Wurtele’s New Orleans 70.3 Race Report was pretty awesome, so I figured I would give a condensed race report in addition to a long, windy version.
So here I go.
This was my first time at this race, thought why not support 1/3 of the guys and gals who make Calgary the best city in the world. After a quick warm up, I positioned myself where I thought was about my pace. Was I wrong. I spent the next 5k passing runners. No big deal, just keep running I thought. Said hi to Oliver as I passed the hospital where he was born; I miss you buddy.
Passed the Lululemon support tunnel at km 7, high five on both the left and right. Felt like a super star. This guy in an orange shirt was tailing me from km 8 to 10, and I decided to try and drop him from my shoulder. I did, and he stayed there up to the hill at km 14, then passed me on the way up. Along with a couple of others.
Tried to hit it after the hill, but my legs didn’t want to cooperate. In the words of Trevor, “If you want to run with the wolves, then you best stop playin like a puppy.” So I sat back for a little bit, and once my legs felt better, I kicked up the pace and headed to the finish line. Crossed at 1:41:32, right about on my target time.
Need to figure out a couple of things for my next race. Eating before and during the race so I don’t get too hungry 3/4 of the way through, position at the start line, shoelaces, and pacing. Should be pretty easy hey?
Thanked the volunteers, had a blast, and supported a great cause. All before 1000 on Sunday morning.