I ended up following the interesting & challenging audio/acoustic jobs to Silicon Valley. Between temporary housing (including on the beach in Santa Cruz), and travel to China, my event calendar has been extremely sparse.
I have to say that training out here is amazing. We live in the redwoods, about 10 miles from the ocean. I can drive 20 minutes to Skyline drive (near Alice's restaurant), or to Los Gatos and have more arid setting. It's hard to do a ride without climbing at least 1000'. It's been harder to find "modest" events though. When you see a flyer for a triathlon, it's usually at least a half-ironman (yeah, yeah, that was supposed to be the goal this year - I just haven't maintained the training workload).
August 2: Santa Cruz Rough Water Swim
- 1 mile open water (ocean) swim around Santa Cruz Wharf (29 min)
- Done in preparation for the triathlon that swims in the same place
September 14: Big Kahuna Triathlon (Swim, Bike - no run)
- 1.2 mile open water (ocean) swim around Santa Cruz Wharf
- 56 mile ride up to Pigeon Point Lighthouse & back
This one felt good. There were only about 50 people in the start corral for my wave (which included people doing the swim/bike, swim/run, and swim only). A smaller start group was nice - no crawling over, and being crawled over for the first 1/4 mile of the swim. I felt my form was good, and passed a few people. I was surprised to see the turn buoys about 100 yards past the end of the wharf - in the previous swim we turned close to the wharf (so I think that 29 minute time was not for 1.2 mile). In the 2nd half of the swim I caught some people from the earlier 2 start groups (5min and 10min ahead).
It was a lonely jog to the bike, and unfortunately I had to stop for a nature break. That cost me a couple of minutes. I was pretty casual in the transition, and not as organized as I could have been. I spent almost 11 minutes in transition - almost 4 minutes behind the median (it was a 1/4 mile from the beach to the transition area). I should have:
- got my wetsuit more off on the way to transition,
- had the gels and tools (for my jersey pocket) strapped to the bike somewhere, so I could step right into my shoes,
The bike felt great. The forecast called for a slight headwind going North, and a slight tailwind going South... I flew going North - about 18 mph (flying for me). I spent 90% of the time on the aero-bars, focusing on efficiency. Ate 3 gels, and drank a bottle and 1/2. I started to worry about the headwind going back South - it's tough facing a headwind on a return leg of a ride. For the first 10 miles, after the turn around, the headwind was frustrating. It felt like 10-15 mph. I tried to keep myself on the aero-bars, but at that point I needed 30 seconds sitting up every 10 minutes or so. My speed dropped to 15 mph or so (middle ring).
Thankfully, after climbing up from Big Basin the headwind seems to turn into a tailwind again. Except for the couple of bigger climbs, I kept it in the big (44t) ring, and churned on. My legs were burning by Davenport with a hint of cramping. My bike time was more than 15 minutes faster than anticipated - 7% slower than median. I thing about the best I could have done (until I lose more weight).
My total time was over 19 minutes behind the median. There's another race, exact same course, in November. I think I can easily shave 2-3 minutes off of transition, and 2-3 minutes off the swim - just through training and practice. That leaves about 15 minutes to close in on a median time. With a practical limit to training volume (to increase the numerator in power to weight ratio), it comes down to the denominator. 30 lbs should be worth 1.5 mph on the bike, or more than enough to close in on the median.