Santa Cruz (Sentinel) Triathlon 2012 Race Report

I have lost track of how many times that I have raced the Sentinel Triathlon but I am certain that I will race it many more in the years to come. It was the first triathlon I ever did and every inch of the course is meaningful to me. The Sentinel falls at a tough time of year for me because of a long string of racing and recovering that leads up to it. By the time race day came I had been feeling tired for about a month but I was still performing well in workouts so for myself I needed to tough it out.

Leading into the race I was just trying to make sure everything was loose and opened up to perform at top end. I felt ok the day before and I with my parents coming to town and so many people I know racing I was excited to enjoy a race right in my back yard.

My morning routine ran right on schedule and with a quick trip down to transition I was soon catching up with old friends and teammates in transition. It is so fun to know all of the racers and volunteers and to be surrounded and engaged with them in mutual adventure! I was able to chat with people for a while and was feeling pretty good so I went for a quick jog to warm up. I noticed that the fog was a little heavy down by the wharf but did not think much of it at the time.

After some stretching and mobility exercises I scooted back to transition to get my wetsuit and get to the beach. Transition was packed and I was glad to see that so many people had come out for the race. The long train of athletes headed to the beach is always fun because you inevitably bump into people you know and have not seen in a while and there is always this moment of mutual understanding that you both can not believe that you are voluntarily up so early to go swim in the ocean :)

When we got to the beach, the fog was fluctuating in and out and compromising visibility fairly bad so we were in a holding pattern. I dove in for a swim a handful of times to keep warm and awake and after forty minutes found my parents and girlfriend to steal a snack and water from them. My breakfast and coffee had gone through me and I needed some more calories in my stomach. I am so lucky for the support of everyone around me because I wouldn't get through a single one of these without the support, be it through cheers, food, money, companionship or Facebook 'likes'.

We were delayed by an hour and fifteen minutes but the water was warm and smooth and once we got started it was a beautiful race day. I felt good from the start of the swim and soon found myself alone to swim my tempo. I may have stretched my wetsuit too much or maybe I didn't fasten the neck strap all the way because water was seeping into the upper arms. It did not effect me really and I had a good swim, coming out to the cheers of my friends and parents.

I pushed hard to transition because I knew Jack Calhoun would be flying and with his strength I would have to go deep if I was going to make up time on him. I pushed hard from the outset of the bike and by the time I saw Jack coming the other way he was already almost half way back to town. I didn't have a way to objectively measure the gap but I knew he was on a good ride so I tried to keep my head down, rail all the corners and extract speed wherever and whenever I could. There was an unusual head wind on the way back and it was really draining me but I took the pain for what it was and held on.

When I got to t2 people were giving gaps that indicated Jack was a up on me by a minute or so and I was simultaneously really impressed and a little intimidated with the task ahead. I knew that he could run time into me so at that point it was just a matter of going hard and hoping for the best.

Although I felt like I was running well I knew that I was not at my best and I knew that it would not be enough to get back the time I had lost. When we passed on the run l told him it was all him and that he was doing great. I held in for a decent run and ended up second overall.

When I finished I could not believe that it was second again and for some reason the irony of it just hung so heavy on me I couldn't do anything but sit on the ground and shake my head. I couldn't be happier that it was Jack who took the victory because he is an awesome guy and a tenacious athlete.

I suppose the elusive win at the Sentinel will have to wait at least one more year. Thanks again to everyone for all the cheers, nutrition, support, understanding and tolerance of my alternative lifestyle choice.

Pacific Grove 2012 Race Report

Pacific Grove Triathlon is one of the great, long-standing triathlons in California. It is put on by TriCalifornia events and they do an awesome job, taking great care of their athletes and providing a great race experience. This was my third time racing PG and my second racing it in the draft legal format. Things were a little different this year because the field was fairly small and with windy conditions the field was bound to get spread out a lot.

At the start of the swim we all barreled into the water and I was with the lead group until we started hitting the kelp and a group of four got a gap almost immediately. I knew that it was probably Tommy, John and Dustin because of how strong they all are in the water. There was no one else to do the chasing so I gritted my teeth and pushed as hard as I could. I could see from time to time that there was some separation amongst their group so I figured that we might be able to get it back together on the bike. The swim was really tough with lots of kelp and with the women's race starting just as we were getting started on the second lap. I had forgotten how tough it was to swim through the kelp!

Exiting the water there was one other guy just behind me and I couldn't see anyone else that was close so I thought we weren't in that bad of position. We were quick through transition and I got started setting tempo right away in hopes that at least one of the guys up the road was close enough to bring back and work with. At the first turn-around Dustin and Tommy were working hard together up front with John chasing less than a minute back and the other guy I didn't know half a minute behind him. We were another minute behind so after the turn around I really started to push the pace. After a lap and a half my companion found the pace to hard and said he was going to drop back. I put my head down and drilled the middle two laps but Tommy and Dustin were working really well together and John had gotten together with the guy chasing him and they were pushing too. At this point I was just trying to minimize my losses. I also noticed that Nick Thompson was inside of two minutes behind me and he is a really strong runner so I was trying to consolidate my lead on him as well.

I had a really quick second transition, the first mile of the run is flat and down wind so I was able to open up a really quick pace which felt great! The guys up front were already spreading out and I knew that a couple of minutes was doable if someone really cracked up so I kept my foot on the gas. Nick was making up time on me and I was making up time on the guys up front but not enough to catch by the end. I had a strong run but nick eventually caught me, which I expected, so I ended up sixth overall.

I was happy to be able to race hard and feel comfortable pushing the pace. I had told myself that if I felt good and raced well that I would take on one or two more events in the hopes of getting one good result before the year is out so there may be more to come still!

9/3 - 9/9/2012

This week I was trying to keep things loose and tuned to race Pacific Grove on Saturday. I had been struggling with some sort of stomach bug at the end of last week so I was not feeling all that well. It was a bit of a struggle to get the things done that I needed this week but I skipped all the busy work and  just made sure that I got the key workout done. By race day I finally felt rested and was able to race hard in some tough conditions.

The fall weather has begun to peek it's head out lately and it has been beautiful out.

The second in a series of adds for Magellan GPS that I modeled for also came out this week so that was cool as well.

Swim 11,000 yds
Bike   7 hrs
Run    21 mi