Pacific Grove Triathlon 2008
I haven’t been to the triathlon at Pacific Grove since 2000, the first year I started doing triathlons. To the left is picture of the relay team from 2000. That year my friends Gregg, Alex and I decided to do the race as a relay. I’m not sure how I ended up doing the swim leg since that’s my weakest leg…but I did. The Pacific Grove triathlon is known for the swim because: the water is usually really cold and you have to do the “kelp crawl” because the swim course is through kelp beds and the only way to get across is pull yourself over the kelp.
It’s definitely somewhat of an equalizer on the swim leg.
Fast forward 8 years and I went back to Pacific Grove this past weekend. Heather and Kevin were there to cheer and Kevin greeted Dad at the finish line.
For those of you who don’t want to bother with the details, here is the summary. I spent Friday night at a hotel near the start, Heather and Kevin drove down Saturday morning to spectate. I managed to spot them in the crowd just before the swim started which was nice.
I saw Heather and Kevin along the bike and run course numerous times. The bike is 4 loops and the run is 3, so there were lots of spectating opportunities. The race went well, for some reason I really felt good on the run from the beginning and really had a great run. I finished 3rd in my age group and got a cool plaque for my efforts.
The race details.
They bunched all the old men 45+ into one last wave I lined up in the second row..but according to Heather didn’t run very fast at the gun and ended up in the ocean behind a lot of people. Whatever the case, I got beat up pretty good the first couple hundred yards…lots of elbows and hands crawling over you. Finally by the time we headed back on the triangle shaped course on the first lap, things opened up a little bit. The swim is 2 loops and you have to get out of the water, run around a buoy on the beach and then dive back into the water. There is something about having all the blood go to your legs when you stand and run…and then returning to horizontal when you dive back in that is very unsettling. I’m sure your brain (and body) isn’t quite sure what’s going on. Anyway, the 2nd lap was more of the same. Kelp crawling on the first two parts of the triangle and then the return leg was pretty free of people and kelp.
From the beach you run up some steps to the transition area. I knew what row I was in and quickly found my bike. I knew in the past that I had problems getting my wetsuit off quickly so I actually practiced the day before and figured out how I was going to do it. I guess I need more practice because it didn’t work race day. I ended up sitting down and wasting 10-15 seconds getting my wetsuit off my feet.
I’ve never done a race before with so many laps of the same course. This bike course was a flat to rolling out and back 4 times. It’s great for spectators but the times aren’t all that fast because of all the 180 degree turnarounds. I felt pretty strong the whole way. It certainly was nice to see Heather and Kevin on every loop…even though Kevin seemed preoccupied with anything but the race! 🙂 Somehow in between watching Kevin and cheering, Heather managed to take some great pictures like this one on the bike.
I cruised into T2 with my feet on top of my shoes…a quick dismount and ran and racked my bike. I slipped my shoes on quickly…grabbed my hat and race belt and I was off. I felt like I had pushed hard on the bike but certainly still had something left in the tank.
The run is also a multiple loop course. I started the run not feeling any of the tightness in my back that I’ve normally felt the last few years. (Maybe my minor bike fit adjustments have helped) In any case, after loosening up the first mile I was feeling really good and started passing lots of people on the course. Again I saw Heather and Kevin on the run course..and again Kevin was busy…but not paying attention to the race.
These graphs show my place after each portion of the race and how I did compared to everyone else in the 45-49 age group.
After the race, I hung out waiting for the awards ceremony (not until 3PM) while Heather and Kevin headed home. It turned out to be a beautiful day in Pac Grove once the sun came out. Here’s a view from the beach where we swam.