USAP’s Half Moon Bay triathlons are a great season opener. Dust off the cobwebs, get out the creaks and cracks, and remind your body how to move fast.
For me, HMB was my first race after the first off-season filled with consistent training in my life. I started working with Mitchell Reiss and ETPA last fall and pushed to relearn how to run over the winter. By April, I wasn’t expecting miracles but I also wasn’t quite sure how to set a goal for the race – especially when it came to my weakest leg, the run.
I have procrastinated massively in writing this up. It isn’t short. I’d like to say I’ve moved past this, but I can’t lie – I haven’t. I’ve had ten flats in less than two months, and now every time I ride I feel the anxiety pit in my stomach: will I flat again? Will I be stranded in the hills? Will I be forced to walk to my destination?
It’s been a little rough.
I’m going to attempt to get what I need out of this, and still enjoy looking back.
First of all, the Monte Rio Triathlon holds a special place in my heart. This was the first triathlon I ever raced (…a whole year ago). It also is the first race I’ve ever repeated – raced more than once – so far. The course is beautiful, Monte Rio is a quaint and quintessential California vacation destination, and the organizers are pros (ran/run Ironman Vineman 70.3 and [independent] Vineman 140.6, now both Ironman races). Despite what seemed like perfect conditions, my day did not go as expected. If you look at race results, I’ve got a super strange (..slow) bike split – and that’s due to my first-ever flat (and first-ever flat change under pressure).
Second of all, I hate to fall on ‘excuses’ for why a race didn’t go the way I pictured it. Unfortunately, a flat derails anyone’s race – from beginner to professionals – and I’m learning that it’s how you react that makes it into an ‘excuse’ or ‘race day condition.’
Last year, this race required you to pick up your timing chip in the morning at the parking lot (four miles away from the start) – they fixed that for this year. Packet pick up was just as easy, timing chip included, as last year. I scoped out the swim, and my teammate confirmed what I’d been hearing: there was most definitely a current in the Russian River, but it was also much deeper than last year!
And then… I wandered over to the finish line.
I knew it existed, and I really didn’t want to remember that it existed. Especially after my body’s reaction to a finish line sprint at Half Moon Bay.
I made the mistake of thinking a burrito would be a fantastic dinner choice the night before. Spoiler alert: it was a great dinner, it was not a great choice for the night before a race.
The race went off without a hitch. It is a small-town 5k – easy parking, easy logistics, and awesome people. The course would be perfect for a PR – assuming no burritos – and there were some fast racers out there. Here are the results – the winner went a blazing 16:42 – and a member of Oakland Triathlon Club came in 3rd with a 20:34! Everyone was thrilled to be there and excited to race.
Quick note: anything ‘rock’ related was fair game for jokes this weekend. Detour on 101? Rock Road. Instagram topic? Dwayne Johnson. Looming geological feature which Mom and I spent hours reading about on Wikipedia? Morro Rock (it is actually super cool). Really – all we talked about this weekend was ‘rock’ in all its forms. Except when Mom (aka the super-sherpa) found a Great Blue Heron and was very sad she missed a picture and then was super-ecstatic when he was there a few minutes later.
Date: November 9, 2015 | Location: Morro Bay, CA
Weather: Cool, clear skies, 60-70 degrees (except for the 58 degree water)
Race: Sprint | Age Group: 20-29
Results: Division – 2/14; Overall – 36; Women – 7/44
What happens when UC Berkeley’s Triathlon Club hosts an intercollegiate-but-also-open-to-the-public draft-legal, ITU rules race?
Well, a team from OTC decided it would be super fun to compete in the mixed team relay (it was super fun!) and try our hand against a bunch of college kids (this was not as fun!). The four of us arrived plenty early for the event to discover that we were really the only ones not directly connected to the Cal Triathlon team. Whoops. The Bearathlon was a great event!
The mixed team relay event is a really cool way to race. If you geek out over triathlon like some of us do, you can watch sweet videos recapping the elite races.
Every athlete races a full, but mini, triathlon. The order is typically woman/man/woman/man. At the Bearathlon, scheduling actually made more sense to have the first male leg go first, so that messed with our plans a little bit. I was originally going to lead off, because my swim is strong enough that I probably (hopefully) wouldn’t fall too far behind in the mile run. With our plan out the window, we entered the race just hoping to have fun and go as fast as we could.
Sprint triathlons are just that – you’re moving pretty fast for a fairly long period of time but not so long that you’re not, you know, sprinting. This was a super sprint. I could NOT stand up straight during the run, because I was trying to move fast and my body was not ready for it!
Cal put on a great little triathlon. I saw a friend (who won his event, easily) I used to coach with, which was a nice treat, and met Kaori, the Race Director for Morro Bay. I had no traffic issues, and since the race was so short there was no need for support on the course. It was super fun, priced very well, and a great experience!