Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pacific Grove Sprint Triathlon

I really enjoy this sprint triathlon crawling over the kelp beds in Monterey Bay (it cant be called swimming), riding down the Pacific coast, and then running through cheering crowds of "America's Last Hometown".

I haven't done this tri in a couple of years. When I raced it in 2003, I was fourth in the 35-39 bracket and would have taken third if had known in transition that I was seconds behind the third place guy. In keeping with my "fifty races a year" goal, I had raced on Saturday, so perhaps I wasn't prioritizing this race. But I still thought I had a reasonable chance to show if I could come close to an hour.

I got down to Monterey at 7am to see the sun shining over Monterey Bay. Amazing. In the transition area, I ran into my old Commerce One colleague, Scott Walecka and we chatted for a while. I walked down to the water, bought a coffee at the food vendor right by the bitch and waited for my "old man" wave to take off. The water was fine - the kelp didn't bother. I ran off course a couple times but not as bad as I normally do. I remember getting pounded a couple times by another swimmer and looking over and seeing it was Scott.

I got out of the water in a typically mediocre 9:46 (had done 8:33 a couple years ago). After a leisurely strip of my wetsuit, I followed a biker running the wrong way out of transition and a whole procession had to run back out the other entrance.

I love this oceanside windy bike course. Just enough of rolling hills to be interesting. I'm not crazy about the double loops (at least they are chipverified versus Treasure Island which has six loops on the honor system). I finished the bike course in 35:30, a minute faster than a couple years ago (when I was the fastest rider over 30). I'm guessing the course is actually shorter now?

I finished off with a 10:54 run (better than 5:30 mile pace). I think the run isn't quite two miles. I didn't feel like I was doing that pace (6 minute maybe). I got passed by a guy running barefoot (and it was a street not a beach run!). That is too cool. I am going to try that at least at the next beach tri I do. My finish was 1:01.42 (I was in the +20 minute wave).

Could I take a minute and 42 off and do one hour? I think I could do an 8:33 swim again next year leaving me with thirty seconds more to shave. A faster T1 could probably do that or just the motivation of approaching an hour at the end of the run.

I had to get some work done so I headed up route 1 back to the valley and didn't hang for the awards ceremony. I found out later that day on the website (TriCalifornia is pretty amazing about timely updates in that regard) that I had taken third. My daughter Elizabeth is looking forward to getting the plaque next week. It was a fun race and I look forward to shooting for one hour next year.

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