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Escape From Alcatraz - TriathlonOther


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San Francisco, California
United States
Tri Californiai
65F / 18C
Sunny
Total Time = 4h 22m 24s
Overall Rank = 1624/1694
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 249/253
Pre-race routine:

I did not sleep well. Some police sirens woke me up at 1:30 am and had trouble sleeping after that. Woke up at 3:30 am and quickly ran a block to a gas station for a cup of coffee. Ate a banana and muffin. Left hotel at 4:15 for the bike ride down to transition.
Event warmup:

None. Myself and some other BTers got on the first bus to the boat. This allowed us the opportunity to relax, get body marked and use the port o'pottys before any one else. When does that ever happen?

Once on the boat, I got a wall position and just chilled. The old men were on the second floor. The entire field of the race was on the boat. There were two people that were late that were able to get on as we were starting to pull away from the dock. The race organizers stressed the importance of getting there early. I later spoke to one of them and she said they were simply late. She felt bad because she was part of a relay team.
Swim
  • 1h 08m 32s
  • 2640 yards
  • 02m 17s / 100 yards
Comments:

The boat made it's way out to the island and parked just off the shore and waited until everything was a go. I was surprised how close we were to it.

All of the racers were off the boat in 6 minutes. We were told to jump to open space as soon as we stepped outside. I got outside and waited for he person in front of me to jump. Once there were clear space, I was in. I was expecting a jolt due to the cold water but there was none. I poured a bottle of water on my chest and back while on the ship.

We were told to sight off of a radio tower. If we were slow to sight just to the left. I am slow and so I did. I started out fine swimming with the pack. My goal was to allow most of it to be on my right. I ran into a few and a few ran into me breaking my rhythm a bit. I swam over two 9 inch jellyfish which scared the bejeebez out of me. I started to realize that the current which was 4 knots was taking me out furter than I should be. I started to sight off of the Palace of Fine Arts until I got closer. The kayaks started to get closer to me which told me that I was off course. I was then able to swim the last 400 meters or so to shore. It was tough as I had to fight the currents. What is surprising is I thought I was following the directions correctly, so I was shocked at the time it took to swim. I did not feel like I was struggling in the water and was expecting teh swim to last 45-50 minutes. I am grateful that I made it without getting picked up. The swells wer 3-4 feet at times.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I do not have an ocean in AZ to swim in.
Transition 1
  • 11m 39s
Comments:

The swim exit was about 3/4 of a mile from the bike. I got out and found my bag with my running shoes. I dumped out the shoes and hand towel that I placed in it. I sat down to take off the wetsuit and naturally it got stuck on one leg. I could hear Shelley and Emmy behind me as I got my shoes on.

I stopped to take a picture with Emmy and made the run to the bike.

I can say I was in transition at the same time as Andy Potts. The thing is, he was leaving T2 and I was leaving T1.

I ran with my bike out of transition and did a flying mount onto the bike. It took a minute or so to get both feet in the shoes as they were damp.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I'm pleased that I put a hand towel in the first bag as I was able to wipe myself off on the run to the bike.
Bike
  • 1h 24m 2s
  • 18 miles
  • 12.85 mile/hr
Comments:

I was concerned about the hills on the course as they are not my strength. I found myself standing on some climbs and spinning in the granny gear on most of them. I was able to drive the course on Friday so I had some familiarity with it. There were several descents that immediately had a 75-90 degree turn.

I felt strong going out and recall thinking that the 5 mile marker came up quickly. I followed the race directors advice and coasted the downhills. The scenery is by far the best there is. The Golden Gate bridge was the backdrop to the entire course. Seriously, you ride along the bay under the GGB down the Pacific side by the Cliff house into Golden Gate park and reverse course. This is not a bad way to live.

I passed several including someone from PHX tri club on the bike and felt pretty good.
What would you do differently?:

I'm surprised my avg was so low. Although, I was slow on the climbs, I thought the downhills would make up for it.
Transition 2
  • 03m 18s
Comments:

I was going strong until I started to run out of transition without my number belt. I had to turn around and get it. Naturally, it was under the wheel of a bike. This is an example of why you do not change your routine on race day. Usually, I put it on in T1. I did not want to risk losing it on the bike downhill portion.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Run
  • 1h 34m 53s
  • 8 miles
  • 11m 52s  min/mile
Comments:

I had fun and felt that I had a strong run. I walked where appropriate and ran the rest. I started out along the bay and passed a few folks. I ran with each of them for a few minutes and asked them how there swim went. I figured that they must have had a tough time in the water to be back with me at this point. I quickly left them and ran ahead. I stopped by th warming hut RR under the GGB to make a brief stop.

After the RR break it was time to climb the first set of stairs. I did a brisk run/walk of the stairs and walked up a steep path to the tunnel. I ran threw it and made sure to duck as needed. On the otherside of the tunnel was a path that goes under the GGB to the Pacific side. The course then turns into a single track path. I had to weave through people returning from the sand ladder.

I walked down the steep cement steps of an old battery area used to protect the city back in the day. It was a short path to the road that was part of the bike course. This was a downhill run to Baker beach. I go down to the beach and did a soft jog on the deep sand straight to the water's edge so I could run on the wet compacted sand. Let me stop right here and say life does not get better than this. Running along the water with Land's End on one end and the GGB on the other. I ran to the turnaround and headed to the sand ladder. I kept looking for a seal that popped his head up and spotted several jellyfish that washed to shore.

The Sand Ladder. This is at 4-5 mile mark of the race. It takes you from the beach up to the road. I made a quick walk of the ladder. I passed a few along the way. Turns out I did it in 5:02. Good for 57th overall. I guess I did it the right way.

At this point it was a return trip to the finish. The tourists were starting to come out to play. I had to dodge several casual cyclists touring the bridge area. I returned to the tunnel area and a woman behind me yelled to some tourists that there were runners. They did not move so I yelled we are in a race and they promptly moved to the side. On the other side of the tunnell, I heard her say to someone else that she was going to catch me. I had passed her at the top of the sand ladder. Well, that was all I needed to hear. So, I picked up the pace and decided to not stop for any reason. She never caught up to me and I managed to pass several others on the way back. There was one guy who was walking until he heard me. He started to run so I picked up the pace a little more as I got tired of hearing his footsteps behind me. Soon, I heard them stopped and thought to myself that he must be walking. I passed the last guy with about 3/4 of a mile to go. We had passed each other off and on throughout. I figured that I had to pick up the pace once again if I expected to stay that way. I was basically sprinting at this point. I made the final turn into the finsih chute unaware of where he was. The area was slick matted down uneven grass. I figured if he passed me again, that I would stop. I wanted a finish photo with only me in it. Just before the finish, I saw Shelley and Emmy up in the VIP area. I was running blind without pace. I figured that I negative split the last three miles.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing
Post race
Warm down:

I took a few moments to catch my breath, got my cool medal and headed for the finish photo. I then headed for the food line and loaded up. I proceeded to the VIP area to sit and eat. I was able to relax eat and enjoy a beer.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This is tough. The main goal was to have FUN and enjoy the race. I did that. I'm working on speed but must admit I'm an old slow guy. The swim set me back but made the rest of the course wide open to me.

Event comments:

Here is the deal for me. This is the race that first told me that I wanted to do a triathlon. I toured Alcatraz when I was a teenager. I recall the park ranger saying that it was impossible to swim across the bay due to the cold water and sharks. Once I heard of this race years ago, I knew that someday I wanted to do it. This is a bucket list item if you will.

The race was everything I expected. It is extremely well run and the volunteer support is fantastic. Turns out it was easier than expected. It was challenging and there are plenty of areas where something could go wrong. I think it goes back the Alcatraz days where the prison guards put fear into the prisoners that they could not make it. I had the same fear of the swim and bike course but overcame them by racing.

This race is a one of a kind and I would encourage everyone to race it at least once. Given the chance I would race this again.

I want to add that it was great to have the support of BTer's and the East Side Cool Kids of AZ. MissKelly gave me some great advice. It was also great to meet some new Bter's that made the weekend truely special.




Last updated: 2009-02-13 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:08:32 | 2640 yards | 02m 17s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/253
Overall: 0/1694
Performance: Average
Suit: Yep
Course: SF bay, Alcatraz to yacht club.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 59F / 15C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Bad Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
T1
Time: 11:39
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Below average
Biking
01:24:02 | 18 miles | 12.85 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/253
Overall: 0/1694
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Half on bay side of SF and half on Pacific side. Hills, Hills, Hills
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
T2
Time: 03:18
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
01:34:53 | 08 miles | 11m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/253
Overall: 0/1694
Performance: Good
Course: Similar to bike course. Half on bay, half on Pacific.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2009-06-16 9:30 PM

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Expert
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Chandler, AZ
Subject: Escape From Alcatraz


2009-06-16 9:36 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Champion
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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
Way to rock it, Rick!

Am so glad I didn't see those jellyfish on the swim...I would have FREAKED!
2009-06-16 10:03 PM
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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
Awesome Job Rick. I fI would hae seen Jelly fish I think that would have been it for me. Glad it's another item you can cross off your list . what's next? Sky diving?
2009-06-16 10:16 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Extreme Veteran
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Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

Congratulations on a great race Rick! Glad to hear you had fun also, it sounds like it's more an experience than just a race!

2009-06-16 11:06 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Expert
1073
10002525
scottsdale, az
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
wow! Sounded like an amazing race to do. Congrats Rick, and have a ton of fun in a few weeks in SEATTLE!!!
2009-06-16 11:19 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Expert
662
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Tempe
Silver member
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

Congrats on a great race and a great experience! A performance of a lifetime!



2009-06-17 12:26 AM
in reply to: #2223011

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Mesa
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
Nice race Rick! Looks like you had a blast!

Especially impressed that you did not have to get picked up at all on and dropped up the current during the swim.
2009-06-17 3:52 AM
in reply to: #2223011

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Master
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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

Glad you had a great time. What a great race to have done! You are so lucky! Well done

2009-06-17 6:37 AM
in reply to: #2223011

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Master
2139
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piece o heaven
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

Nice Job and great to met you -( the tall guy after the race)

 

Have a great week and enjoy

2009-06-17 10:33 AM
in reply to: #2223344

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Sensei
Sin City
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
Good job Rick!  It was great meeting you and your family...
2009-06-17 11:48 AM
in reply to: #2223011

Pro
3715
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AZ
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

Awesome job Rick! Sounds like a really cool race!! You did great!



2009-06-17 12:04 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Elite
2645
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Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

Nice race, Rick! Way to represent AZ BT!  Thanks for the race report. I really enjoyed reading it.

2009-06-17 12:33 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Expert
748
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Big Bear City, California
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
Great job at the race and great report. Sounds like an amazing time.
2009-06-17 4:00 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Regular
439
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Tempe
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
Way to go Rick!  Glad you took the time to really enjoy yourself out there.
2009-06-17 8:17 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Expert
968
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Wellington, North Island
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz
I have to agree with you - the scenery on the ride and the awesome run course is definitely a great way to live. And I love your description of the last few miles of the run. You played it just right to finish strong.

Awesome job Rick!!
2009-06-18 12:11 AM
in reply to: #2223011

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Master
1399
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Wisteria Lane
Gold member
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

I really don't know if I ever would have jumped off that boat!  That swim sounds a bit scary for me. :>P  Amazing job!  Loved hearing that this was on your bucket list and that you got to do it and had a great race! Awesome!!



2009-06-18 9:09 AM
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Master
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Surprise, Arizona
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

I am so happy for you that you got to do this race and it went well.  It is so cool that you did it, had a great race, and a memorable day.  2009 is truning out to be a banner year in your life - congratulations!!!

2009-06-18 8:30 PM
in reply to: #2223011

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Expert
819
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Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Escape From Alcatraz

Great job at the race Rick!

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