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Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon - TriathlonOther

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San Francisco, California
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 4h 20m 32s
Overall Rank = 1425/1584
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 17/23
Pre-race routine:

Swim: Masters swim drills, pool, one hour 2-3x week. One hour non-stop continuous laps 1x week. Three SF Bay acclimating open water 45 minute swims in Aquatic Park.
Bike: 2-3 hour hilly road rides. 1x week spin/treadmill brick 1-2 hours each, high intensity.
Run: 1x week 1 hour - 90 minute hilly trail run, easy to moderate pace.
Event warmup:

Yoga and warm up stretches for 30 minutes on the boat.
  • 58h 24m
  • 2640 yards
  • 2h 12m 44s / 100 yards

Never do another winter swim in the SF Bay! Too damn cold and dangerous. This tri is usually held in the summer, June, when the swim portion is usually 55 degrees with high 60s to 70s air temps. Today's water was 50 degrees, air temp 52 with 11 mph winds that made it feel like 40s, as well as create strong incoming waves that slapped you down into the outgoing strong currents, which was pulling me out to the GG Bridge. Kayak told me I was off course and a boat plucked me out. Over 150 swimmers were plucked out that morning, 3x the norm. Sadly, a 46 year old man from Texas died at the swim start, suffering a heart attack. I did not know this, but some of the other swimmers who witnessed it at the start decided not to jump in. I'm guessing he didn't have the opportunity to acclimate to the freezing water and the shock was too much.
What would you do differently?:

I would've started serious and proper swim training 6 months prior. 3 months ago I was a recreational swimmer who would get winded after only 2 laps. I only participated in two months of Master Swim prior to the event, after a month of trying to muscle my way through in order to become a stronger swimmer. I didn't realize you can't improve in this manner, only imprint inefficient stroking. Pool swimming does in no way prepare you for rough swells and strong currents of a Bay. The cold can be shocking and cramping, panick attack inducing. In the few minutes I waited for the rescue boat, hanging onto the kayak, my body temperature plummeted and intense leg cramping commenced. If ever a next time, keep energetically kicking or treading to keep your body heat up.
Transition 1
  • 17m 12s

I knew I would be bone cold chilled after the swim, so I had planned on stripping off my wet bottoms under a heat sheet wrapped around my waste and had 2 chamois to dry off as much as possible, then immediately get into wool socks, fleece head band, long pants and shirt, using a newspaper plaster bag to slide my hands and feet in easier: the extreme cold freezes my hands into useless claws. I couldn't event unzip my wetsuit, but the volunteers are allowed to help you do this. Most people hobbled the .5 mile run to the bike area in frozen bare feet, but I opted to have shoes. I ran full out to build up body heat. At the bike, I put on a windbreaker, full fingered gloves, calf compression socks and biking shorts over my long pants.
What would you do differently?:

I'd like to try to shave a few minutes off this transition, but I think the extra minutes to put on so many pieces for protection from the elements and recover from the chilling swim was worth it.
  • 1h 30m 10s
  • 18 miles
  • 11.98 mile/hr

I wasn't wearing the most aerodynamic biking outfit, but I wanted to stay warm in the chilly headwinds and downhills. I couldn't feel my frozen feet the whole time, even though I had put duct tape over the ventilation mesh of my bike shoes.
What would you do differently?:

Over estimated water consumption and had to run get off bike and run into bushes - no aid stations along the bike portion of the course. I probably could have pushed it harder on the flat portions of Marina Green & Crissy Field, GG Park, but wanted to make sure I had something left for the run after still feeling so chilled after the swim.
Transition 2
  • 05m 16s

Since it was still overcast and cold, I didn't want to run in wet clothes, so used up time peeling off outer layers and putting on a dry short sleeve top.
  • 1h 29m 32s
  • 8 miles
  • 11m 11s  min/mile

A lot of the back of the pack was tired by now, so they were walking most of the single track trails that you had to squeeze along rails to get around them. My former marathon training allowed me to pass many, but I was too conservative to really kick in the last 2 flat miles. Had to visit the bushes during the run, so overestimated my fluids again.
What would you do differently?:

Should have packed my arm warmers as running into cold headwinds for first couple or downhill to blustery Baker's Beach miles wasn't pleasant. The sun finally came out in the last couple of miles. I had a flask of 4 ounces of gel. Didn't need that much, was thinking like a marathoner, finally chucked it a side. The Cytomax on the run course was every 1 mile and energy Chomps every few miles that was plenty.
Post race
Warm down:

Just walking around after the finish line to get medal, return chip, eat recovery food, pick up sweat bags, gear, bike and walk to car.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This was my first triathlon. Kind of crazy to do this infamously tough course as a first, so I surprised myself that I had presence of mind to not freak out during that rather scary swim. The cold and rough swim really impedes and effects the body throughout the race.

Event comments:

The swim was too cold and choppy and the lingering effects impede your body throughout the race. This was the first time someone died at this event, normally held in the summer and not the winter, 46 year old male, suffering a heart attack upon hitting the shockingly cold, rough water.

Last updated: 2013-03-04 12:00 AM
58:24:00 | 2640 yards | 2h 12m 44s / 100yards
Age Group: 16/23
Overall: 1379/1584
Performance: Below average
Suit: Synergy Adrenaline
Course: Jump 4' from the deck of a ferry in front of Alcatraz into the open water. Swim in an "L" shape starting in a South direction to get across the outgoing currents and then head West to ride the currents alongside the shore to the exit at the St. Frances Yacht Club, a small sandy area with stairs.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 50F / 10C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Time: 17:12
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:30:10 | 18 miles | 11.98 mile/hr
Age Group: 19/23
Overall: 1534/1584
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind
Course: Hilly and technical course up and down San Francisco's famous hills. Several steep, stand up on the pedal climbs ascending the Cliff House and Clement St. near Veteran's Hospital. Long, continuous uphills to Legion of Honor and heading back on Lincoln along Baker's Beach. 90 degree turns after descending steep, pot holed streets that immediately have you climbing again around Legion of Honor and Cliff House. Sandy roads along and back Great Highway. Occasional oblivious tourists crossing the streets of taking photos of the GG Bridge in the bike lanes.
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Too much
Time: 05:16
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:29:32 | 08 miles | 11m 11s  min/mile
Age Group: 18/23
Overall: 1353/1584
Performance: Average
Course: Hilly out and back, had to run around constant tourists and the public on the course. Flat 2 miles then steep climb up wooden stairs, gravel, tunnel to GG Bridge. Can't run through the fort ruins, narrow stairs, get stuck behind others. Single track dirt trail along the bluffs, downhill on the pavement through construction zone. Aim for hard pack sand while up and down Baker's Beach and then the dreaded Sand Ladder, up again to GG Bridge, then to finish.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-03-04 10:56 PM


Subject: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

2013-03-04 11:42 PM
in reply to: #4646612

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congratulations! :D
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