Sandman triathlon 2009

This is the 3rd year in a row I’ve done this short, fun race. It’s always a family outing to the beach in Santa Cruz. This year it worked out great because Kevin went to a birthday party on the same beach the day before the race. That night we stayed at our friends beach house which is only a few hundred yards from the start of the race.

Being able to stay so close to the race start sounds great, but with Kevin it’s always unpredictable.  Heather and I found out that he has become very use to his comfortable crib at age 2 and doesn’t much care for his pack and play anymore. He spent most of the night flopping around like a fish in our room trying to get comfortable. So neither Heather or I got a good nights sleep.  Then Kevin was up at 6:30AM waking the rest of the house up by playing with a toy vacuum cleaner that made a lot of noise!

With the lack of sleep I poured  a few extra scoops of Pete’s Major Dickenson’s blend “The Major” into the coffee maker and drank a few cups to get me going for the race.  I headed down to the race start to pick up my chip and race number while the rest of the household slowly woke up, had breakfast and made their way to the beach for the 8AM start.  While they were making their way to the beach I did my usual warmup routine, a little biking and a 10 minute run.  The biking is a relatively new addition to my warmup routine. I never did that in the early days of my triathlon career, but I’ve found that it helps to the get the legs going in the race at my “advanced” age 🙂

I finally made my way down to the beach and spotted family and friends standing on the boardwalk. I went over to say hi prior to my swim warmup.  I came back later to tell them how freakin cold it was. The water was 56F and that’s cold enough to make my head hurt when I get in.  The fun part of the warmup was swimming 20ft from a sea lion (who was wondering what all the people were doing in his swimming pool).

The race went off in 3 waves, the first wave was all men 35 and under. The second was my wave, all men over 35. The 3rd wave was women and relays.  The swim is around a big boat wreck sticking out from the beach and is about a 1/2 mile long.  I felt pretty strong the entire way and was later pleased to find that I did better than the swim on my last race at Treasure Island.  As I approached T1 I spotted Heather, Trilbe and Kevin. I took time out to come up and high five Kevin. He was very excited and I was just happy he recognized his Dad.

This year was the first year they have split timing, so we ran across the timing mats entering the transition area. I was quickly out on the roads and decided this year to just start out steady and strong and try to build. In past years I’ve tended to blow it out on the first couple hills and struggle towards the finish.  The entire bike course is very hilly, so it’s good to have something at the end.  The roads were very wet from the morning fog and there were several turns where my back race wheel slipped out and I was lucky to recover. After those first few incidents I decided to take it a bit easier around the corners so I didn’t end up crashing.

The biggest difference between this years race and the last 2 years is that my main competition from the last 2 years was missing.  In both previous years he passed me on the bike 2/3 of the way through the course and then I slowly reeled him in on the run only to have him out spring me at the finish.  This year I didn’t have any competition and with the youngsters 5 minutes ahead in the previous wave I had nobody pushing me on the run. I was running all by my self the entire way.  The run was a bit harder this year because it was high tide.  There were also several “sea lion obstacles” where they had beached themselves and volunteers had actually set up cones around them so that we would run around them.

After the race it took a while for the race organizers to sort out the results.  In the end I managed to win my age group and ended up 6th overall.  While we were waiting for the awards ceremony, Kevin had a blast playing in the sand with his friend JT and his Grandma.

He was one sandy mess and exhausted but had a great time.  It was also fun getting the race trophy with him.

Next up is Pacific Grove, then Sentinel and a week later baby #2 is arriving!!!

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