San Diego Triathlon Classic Race Report

Wow, what a race. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it but overall I learned a lot. In the week leading up to it I  put in some good work in the swim/bike/run. I threw in some intervals on the bike and run and I felt I really dialed in my swim. I did two wetsuit swims where I did 3X500 at race pace where I was hitting 7 1/2 - 8 minutes each interval which I figured would put me around 24-25 minutes in the open water. I just really wanted to get a feel for the wetsuit, the pace and my breathing. I do all of my swim workouts by breathing bi-laterally (every 3 strokes) but for races I always end up breathing every other stroke because of the pace. I definitely swim a lot faster breathing every other stroke. Not sure why bi-lateral breathing is so important. I think it's important to be able to breath comfortably from both sides (in case there's waves hitting you from one side), but when you're racing you obviously want to be able to swim as fast as possible and as long as you can swim straight (more on this later), breathing every other strokes seems to be the most effective way to swim fast.

Friday of course I had a golf tournament to work. This means standing for 8+hours, running around and usually a pretty stressful day. Although these are usually fun events where you can just hang out, talk to customers and drink beer all day - with the race the next morning, the timing was not ideal. I stayed away from the alcohol but I ended up eating out twice (which I never do) and getting home late after barely making it to check in that night. Moment Cycle Sport hosted the race and expo so I ran over there as soon as the tournament was over, checked in, hung out a little a learned some things from the talk they were having (rules, setting up transition, course info). By the time I got back to my in-laws place (in Ramona), I crashed and 4am came way too soon.

Swim start
Pre race: I got up, had a bowl of raw oatmeal with some agave, blueberries and soy milk, then a cliff bar and 2 slices of bacon. Amy and I headed down, found parking pretty easy and I was off to set up at transition while she went back to sleep. She's a trooper! I could tell the race was well organized. They even had separate porta-potties for #1 and #2! I set up my transition, got my body marking and hit up the bathroom before I headed out for a quick progressive run warm up. 30-34 was the second to last wave to start. I was so confused on why they set it up this way. I'm sure its so they can wrap things up quicker (with older age groups starting first), but it can get pretty dangerous out there, especially on the bike course. They also wanted everyone out of transition like 40 minutes before my race so I had to cut my warm up short.

Swim- 1500 meters: 33:42, Rank 53 in AG, 414 overall!

The Orange line is the desired swim route...Red was my route...
 I just stayed loose and warm in my wetsuit and before I knew it our group was allowed down in the water, put in about a 200 meter warm up and they set us off. Now this diagram pretty much shows you my swim. If I had a garmin that tracked my swim, it would most definitely look like this...maybe even worse. I just have no experience in the open water and it showed. Even with the zig-zags, I was still in decent position by the time we made our turn back home. At this point I decided to "hammer" home and try to pick some people off. This is where things got ugly. I put my head down and went for it for about 300 meters without looking up to spot. Soon I found myself swimming alone and thought to myself, "Maybe I breaking away from this little pack!" Not so much. As you can see by the diagram, after I turned at the buoy, I apparently continued to turn and head straight back to where I just was. In this case breathing from the right side really hurt me. ha. I heard 2 guys on paddle boards yelling at me. I stopped, looked up and was completely disoriented. They said, "Your going the wrong way!" I yelled which way do I go? They pointed, "That way!" So I seriously laughed to myself....You've got to be kidding me. I look up and almost all of the navy blue caps (my age group) were in the distance already. I couldn't believe it.
In disbelief

When I made that last turn I must of just overcompensated or something. I started swimming back, zig-zagging all over the place. At one point I swerved so far to the shore that I started seeing seaweed. I literally stood up and started running through the water until I finally got deep enough again. I should have just kept running along the shore, probably would have been faster! By the time I reached the last buoy, I was tired. I tried to make up for lost time and I was paying for it. My arms were done!

T1: 2:05 (almost sub 2...)
I ran through transition, saw Amy and just shook my head. I couldn't believe it. I knew in order for me to stay in this race, it was up to the swim. Swimsuit off, shoes, helmet, glasses on. As I was running out of transition I powered down a Gel, hopped on my bike and was off.

Bike: 40k (24.8 miles): 1:06:36 (22.3 mph) Rank 2 in my AG, 15th overall

Time to make up some ground!

As I started the bike, the race demons came out. At this point I knew I was out of contention to get on the podium. Heck, I was even wondering if I'd be top 20 at this point. This is when I made the decision to just go for it. I have worked so hard on the bike and run, it was time to see what I could do! So from the gun I started hammering. This course rides over a big part of what the SD Int'l course does, but a lot more climbing, including "The Hill" which was a pretty long/steep climb that we hit up twice. The course actually played to my strengths because of all the climbing. We did have to go through this ridiculous 200 yard "No pass zone" twice though. You just had to slow down to like 5mph and cruise through this section on the military base. I just took it as a chance to get some calories in...Still messed up your rhythm though. On my first lap I was passing hundreds of people. I kept looking for guys in my AG but didn't find many.

Before we hit the big climb, this guy flies by me which kind of surprised me. He had this crazy yellow TT bike and had on what looked like a national jersey (blue) that said "Hincapie" in big block letters just above his butt (like the pros wear). I was a little confused because why the hell would George Hincapie be racing a triathlon? I understand he has a line of clothing, but this wasn't that. I actually saw a few guys in the race that had national jerseys on (looking kind of like this including a guy from GBR that won my AG). Either way I was pumped so I went after him (legally). We hit the big climb and I was passing a ton of people - including him. Then later as it flattened out, he passed me again. I caught up to him on another climb and he put in another surge. After lap one I didn't see him as he was already on his 2nd lap. I was so confused after the race on who the hell he was. I later looked up his twitter and it definitely wasn't him...Which didn't surprise me, he would have blown me away! But still confused on to who it was. Didn't even see a Hincapie in the race. Maybe this guy was in the relay? Relative maybe? Dunno, but whoever it was, the mystery man pushed me. Maybe I was delusional after my swim?? At the end of my 2nd lap I really wasn't too sure on where transition was. The guy in front of me started slowing down and taking his feet out of his shoes. So I figured it was coming up so I did the same. Bad idea. We passed transition, but we had another 1 1/2 miles to go! So I did my best riding barefoot on my shoes until we finally hit the transition.

Coming into T2, ready to kill the run!
T2: 1:22
Nothing special here. I was running to my area and was actually surprised to see a lot of bikes gone. Maybe there was still hope to finish top 10? Amy was there outside the gate and actually helped me find my area. I grabbed another gel and headed out.

Run: 10k - 39:15 (6:19 pace). #1 Rank in my AG, 5th overall (excluding relays)

Trying to play catch up
The run was 2 laps and supposed to be a 5k each lap. After looking at the fastest times of the day, they were pretty slow. Mine ended up being 39:15, which is pretty slow -especially considering it was a fairly flat course. It was about 50/50 on dirt and concrete, but either way it seemed pretty slow. Dunno, maybe biking the hills took it out of everyone? Who knows, either way I was stoked to have the 5th fastest of the day. I always feel great running off of the bike...It never seems like I have to ease into it, I can hit my pacing right off the bat. Of course I forgot my Garmin so I had no idea what pace I was running. I was flying by hundreds of people. It was a pretty narrow road throughout the course, so there was a lot of slowing down, surging by groups, and dodging old folks. I noticed a lot of guys in my age group as I was passing people. The problem was, all of the guys I was passing (in my AG) seemed very slow and not very good. This just confirmed my suspicion that I was WAY back. After the first lap I started getting some serious cramping. Like the diarrhea type cramping....oh no...I was taking quite a bit of those Margarita Shot Bloks to keep the muscle cramps away, but apparently they weren't settling well. I slowed down for about a 1/2 mile and they finally went away. Lap 2 I really picked up the pace and then I started catching guys that were actually running. I started thinking I was nearing the top 10 in my AG at this point. Then with about 1/2 mile to go I see a guy that is really moving and so I put in another gear and went by him with authority. I ended up crossing the line in 2:23:00, 6th place in my AG and 35th overall. I missed the podium (once again) by one spot.

Just finding out I missed the podium by one spot!
As soon as I finished I had no idea what place I got. I found Amy and I was instantly bummed. I know I blew the swim. Even Amy said I was out of the water WAY later then she was expecting. I checked the results and was very surprised I was 6th. It was a huge sign of relief that I managed to bike and run my way back into the race. After checking it out later, I was actually 53rd out of the water so I had to pass 47 guys in my AG alone just to get 6th. If I would have just swam the same pace as I did in the San Diego Int'l it would have moved me up to 3rd place. Oh well, would've, could've....I know I need to work on siting in open water. I actually feel like my technique in swimming has gotten a lot better and I'm faster...I just need to learn to swim straight in the open water. Practice, practice.

May have thrown up in my mouth a bit...
We hit up the beer garden where they were serving up Stone IPA, Mimosa's and Wine and even better, it was all you can drink! My first beer was a bit rough and I thought I might puke...As Amy got a shot of that. How do you fix that? Drink more! After a few more, I felt great and meeting new people was fun and the disappointment of my swim faded away, only to make me hungry to get better. I think what motivates me most to get better at swimming is just so I can race with others! Every triathlon I've done, I've just had to make up for the swim. I've never really raced anyone - except for that mysterious Hincapie guy! That's what I always liked about racing and I just haven't had that yet. Once I'm able to get out of the water with the lead group, I'll finally be able to race, mix it up and actually push myself. It's hard to push yourself so hard when you're just passing hundreds of people - racing nothing but the clock.

Again, this was a learning experience for me and a good kick in the @ss for me to get in the open water more. Soma Triathlon is next month and I think I'll shine a lot more there. Mostly because you have a lot more time to make up for a bad swim! It's going to be fun to actually race the bike longer and on a flat course. All of the triathlons I've done this year just have mega climbing. Soma is flat, so we'll see what I can do there. Can't wait!

Some more pics from the weekend:


Enjoying drinks before 10am!

Just finding out transition is another mile and a half away (shoes already off)


Lap 1

Kicking it in to the finish

Fun race!

My boy already earning medals!


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