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Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon - TriathlonOther

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San Francisco, California
United States
55F / 13C
Total Time = 3h 25m 6s
Overall Rank = 1127/1492
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 197/249
Pre-race routine:

Got into town very early Saturday Morning (3:00 AM). Slept until 10:30 and then went down to check in and go to the pre-race meeting. After that I took a short swim over at aquatic park since this was my first time in salt water. It was a bit strange at first but was fine for the most part. After my swim we spent the day and evening being tourists.

About 9:00 PM I was packing my bags and realized I must have left my goggles at the beach that afternoon. Found a Sports Authority close by that was only open until 9:30. I got there as they were locking the doors but after pleading my case they let me in and I got goggles.

Race day, up at 4:00 AM for an 8:00 AM start. Ate breakfast of a bagel, 1 packet of instant oatmeal, 2 cups of coffee and worked on a 20 ounce Gatorade right up until start.

Road my bike with my gear bag the 6 blocks from the hotel to transition area. Set up my space and dropped off my swim bag at the truck and got on the shuttle bus to pier 3 around 5:45.

Once at pier 3 we picked up timing chips and got on the boat. Just claimed a section of floor and sat down and chatted with other racers. Around 7:15 the boat left for The Rock.
Event warmup:

Just some light stretching and some calisthenics on the boat to get the blood pumping before the start.
  • 36m 13s
  • 2640 yards
  • 01m 22s / 100 yards

On the way out to Alcatraz they mentioned to take a look at the nav buoy to our right and notice how much it was leaning... this was due to the EXTREMELY strong outgoing tide this morning.

The horn sounded and the pros got going first. Immediately after, the age groupers got going. Three jump stations, 2 athletes at a time, every three seconds. Took about 6 minutes to get everyone in the water.

All of the pre race instructions told us to swim straight south towards Aquatic Park when we first got in, followed by Fort Benson, then the TV tower (all directly south) before finally setting a course straight toward the exit (sighting to The Exploratorium) the last 500 yards or so. Watching the first people into the water it sure looked like they were ignoring that and swimming straight for the Exploratorium. Once I was in the water I realized they were trying to swim toward Aquatic Park but the current was so strong it was pushing them toward the exit.

There were some swells but for the most part it was a perfect swim. Using the sighting marks we were instructed to use the current pushed me right to the exit.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 09m 48s

T1 is unique here. At the swim exit there is a mini transition area in it to take off wetsuit and put on shoes for the 1/2 mile run up to the bike transition.

I got cramps in my calves pretty bad on the little run and had to walk a bit to stretch them out.
  • 1h 08m 6s
  • 18 miles
  • 15.86 mile/hr

This bike course is a pretty tough 18 miles. No real long hills but relentless and a couple of short, nasty steep ones.

I went out hard and stayed hard. Rode close to threshold the entire time and passed a ton of people. I drank about half a bottle of GE that I had brought and sipped just a small amount of water.

There were a couple of downhills we were able to really let the bike run. Top speed today was 42 MPH.
Transition 2
  • 02m 16s

If I was as good at running, swimming and biking as I am at T2 I would be really fast.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 28m 45s
  • 8 miles
  • 11m 05s  min/mile

I knew the run was going to be tough. With my knee issues over the last 8 months I just have not got quality volume and almost no running at threshold. Couple that with an extremely tough course with lots of stairs, hills, deep sand, and the infamous sand ladder I knew it was going to be a suffer-fest.

Running along the beach with the heavy surf was pretty cool. Right after that cool experience came the Sand Ladder. 400 sand and wood beam stairs straight up the side of a sand cliff. Almost everyone walks this section. I can't imagine running it. Between the steepness and the deep sand it was pretty tough. Once at the top there was only a little relief as it was generally uphill for another 1/2 mile or so.

The last 2 miles was basically downhill or flat and I was feeling pretty decent towards the end and able to finish pretty strong.
What would you do differently?:

Be healthy and have a better run training period.
Post race
Warm down:

Ate some food and walked around a bit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Run training.

Event comments:

Overall I would say this is the toughest triathlon I have ever done. The terrain in general is pretty unforgiving. It was an amazing experience. Making that swim was awesome. It was kind of surreal to look at the Island on Saturday knowing I was swimming it on Sunday.

I would definitely like to return to Alcatraz again in the future.

Last updated: 2010-01-10 12:00 AM
00:36:13 | 2640 yards | 01m 22s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/249
Overall: 1197/1492
Performance: Average
Suit: Sleeveless
Course: "straight line" from boat to shore....
Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 54F / 12C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Time: 09:48
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
01:08:06 | 18 miles | 15.86 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/249
Overall: 871/1492
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Out and back toward the coast.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:16
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:28:45 | 08 miles | 11m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/249
Overall: 1345/1492
Performance: Below average
Course: Out and back through Golden Gate Park, along the beach and up the cursed sand ladder before heading back.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-05-05 10:37 AM

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Subject: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

2010-05-05 9:50 PM
in reply to: #2838427

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Ames, IA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congrats on a solid race!
2010-05-07 3:29 AM
in reply to: #2838427

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Coeur D'alene, ID
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Great job Dan!  Sounds like a really difficult race.  It's on my "to do" list also so nice to read your report.  Hope your knee is healed up and ready for the countdown to IMCDA!

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