Some races are about chasing a PR and some races are about having fun. California Sprint Triathlon was all about having fun and maybe trying to beat last year’s time but I was trying a few new things at this race so I was going to be happy with just having fun. My girlfriend and I volunteered at packet pickup the day before so we got to see a lot of friends that came through to check in. We also made a few new friends which is always fun!
We were lucky enough to be able to stay at a friend’s house who lives only 20 minutes away. We set our alarms for 4:10 am to get to transition when it opened at 5:00 am. Last year traffic was backed up to get into Shadow Cliffs and delayed the race by 15 minutes so we wanted to get there early just in-case there were issues again.
We arrived at 5:10 and got our bikes into transition. I found a great spot right by swim in/run out and had a comfortable 1.5 hours to set everything up and get our bikes in the right gear. We even had enough time for some transition dance parties because that’s how Bettys get pumped for a race!
I had gone back and forth all morning whether I wanted to swim with a wetsuit or not. The swim was wetsuit legal but it was low 70’s. It should be comfortable to swim without one or a bit warm for a full sleeved wetsuit. I decided at the last minute I really didn’t want to put it on so opted to race without.
My wave started at 6:53 so we headed to the water at about 6:45 to start warming up and getting to the “deep” water start. I put deep in quotes because the taller men can touch the bottom but it’s still not a beach start. We found Leanne at the water entrance. Last year was Leanne’s first triathlon and we finished the swim together; it’s by far my favorite swim exit pictures. We started getting used to the water (which was a perfect temperature) and slowly made our way towards the start area. Leanne and I were in the second wave together (34 & under) right after challenged athletes. We git to the start area and figured out our swim course by 6:50 and were ready for our swim start. The first wave time passed and they hadn’t started yet. About 5 minute we were wondering what was going on and hoped the race would start. The water was starting to feel chilly. Soon the mc announced the race would be delayed until an ambulance arrived with no ETA; the race was not allowed to started until we had an ambulance on sight. He suggested athletes get out of the water and wait on the shore. Just when every was grumbling walking to shore we saw the ambulance turn into the parking lot! We later found out the original ambulance broke down and a replacement was sent. There wasn’t anything the race could do but we were all happy to finally start. We were delayed by almost 30 minutes, finally starting at 7:21. My swim was pretty smooth and uneventful. It was obvious my consistent swim training has been paying of. I never felt out of breath, tired, or wanted to reorient myself. One caught up to a few challenged athletes at buoy #1 of 3 which was a surprise; I rarely catch up to an earlier wave in the swim. I tried my best to go around swimmers instead of running into them. Right at the turn buoy a guy was breast stoking so I gave him a very wide birth. The last thing I needed with 500 more yards to go was to be kick in the head by a violent breast kick. Thankfully he didn’t kick me and I navigated around the buoy and past him.
Just before bouy #2 the next wave started catching up but most people just went around. Now time for the home stretch! I started seeing some plants on the sandy floor and soon just sand. I stood up a little early but jogged my way through the last bit of water.
The transition run was all carpeted which is always nice. Last year there were buckets with water that I was counting on dipping my feet in but were missing this year. I decided to try going sans socks for the first time at this race so I wanted to rinse off any debris before putting on my shoes. Oh well. I got to my bike, wiped my feet off, slipped my shoes on, popped my helmet on and went on my way.
I mounted my bike and pedaled a few times before shifting down 2 more gears to get up the hill right out of transition. The hill isn’t bad as long as your in the right gear. I took a few moments to compose myself and settle in to my aero bars. My bike goal was to stay around 160 watts. I tried my best but there were a lot of athletes blocking which made passing correctly difficult. For some reason I couldn’t quite get my grove today. I felt sluggish and slow. I passed a LOT of people on the bike but don’t remember anyone passing me who I didn’t end up passing back. We seemed to have a head or crosswind pretty much the whole time. It wasn’t strong, but still there. When I turned back into shadow cliffs park I glanced at my average watts and was a little under 160. Pretty close to my target after feeling off.
It felt weird putting my running shoes on bare feet but just hoped for the best. I ran out of tranistion caring my race belt and visor and out them on the run course.
If my race had ended here I would have had a PR. My swim was a little faster, transition faster, and bike marginally slower. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the weather yet. We had a heat streak in California this year. It was a high of almost 90 degrees and I think I counted 3 shady patches on the whole run course. Running is already my weakest discipline and then add in all of the experienced runners say this run course is difficult. Heat + difficult course made for a suffer fest. Oh and I had blisters start at mile 1.25. Yeah! Between all of these I had an awful run. As soon as I hit the pavement for the last 1/4 mile I gave it everything to finish strong.
I don’t think this no sock thing is for me. My transition was only 6 seconds faster with a whole lot of discomfort. I suspect I am at least 5 seconds per mile slower which negates all of the transition savings.
Even though I didn’t feel like I had a great race I still managed first in my division.
Place: 1/11 Athena, 61/140 Women, 164/294 Overall
Swim: 21:57 (900 yards)
Bike: 27:53 (9 miles)
Run: 37:51 (3.1 miles)
Special thanks to my bike sponsor Rubber Soul for always keeping my ride in tip top shape, Betty Designs for decking me out in the best apparel, Boco gear for the best hats and visors, Coola for keeping my skin protected with top quality sunscreen, and my other sponsors SBR sports, and Momentum Jewelery. Last but not least thank you Ryan and the USAP family for putting on a great race and supporting me this race season