Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

San Diego was the birthplace of our sport so a fitting location for my first real triathlon in 2012. I was really looking forward to heading back this year as it would be my first opportunity to apply real course knowledge in a race, as well as a good benchmark of improvement. Weather, fitness and other things held equal, same course should theoretically mean similar time. Well the day (and days leading up to the race) didn't exactly go as planned so I didn't get the benchmark I was hoping for. Writing this recap has been a fine balancing act of sounding grateful despite my disappointment.  

race week: as a result of some recent training inconsistencies, coach and I decided to train through race week. tuesday evening saw me on the track for a set of 8 yasso 800's in 2:50 with :30 recovery b/w each, wednesday was a main set of 2*15min @ 300 watts on the trainer. both sessions felt significantly harder than they normally would for the effort. this was a pretty big red flag and persistent tick that followed me through my 40 minute easy run on thursday, hour spin/course recon on friday, and race morning.

race night: i was up a bit later than I'd usually hope for (9pm) due to some horrendous waiting (as in the waiter not the wait time) at Caldo Pomodoro, which serves equally disappointing, greasy Italian food. It's the first time I've had the legitimate concern I might get sick pre-race.

race morning: woke up to this –

pressure held ok so threw a patch over it and decided to carry a spare tubular. had my signature double-packet of quakers apple and cinnamon oatmeal and drove the 15 min to oceanside harbor where I was dropped off curbside.

despite a quick prep and knowing how jammed the swim corral can be, I still managed to nearly miss my wave. mom caught this shot as I dove into the harbor with just seconds to wave start.

swim: had just enough time to line up at the front, hear mike reilly count down from 5, and pow! guess this wasn't a sprint start after all. i was on my own off the front from the beginning and made the mistake of boring through a few waves in front of us before finally opting to swim the course wide. first out of the water for my cap and age group in 25:xx. we had tremendous, glassy conditions and warm water but the course was definitely short!

bike: lots of firsts here - (1) new bike (2) new race wheels (3) di2 (4) tubulars for the first time (5) riding by feel not watts, and (6) "new" half-baked nutrition strategy. there were also quite a few mistakes - (1) i knocked off my cleat during my flying mount (2) my spare tubular ejected halfway through the course, and (3) i didn't feed the machine so well.

i spent the entirety of the first 35 miles playing cat and mouse with two other guys. both were riding by watts and it messed with my head. was I surging or did they have something going on? at ~ mile 35 I lost them (or maybe them losing me would be a more accurate saying), that's when I started thinking it might be a good time to eat and downed a tiger milk bar. between that and perform I spent a lot of time trying to hold back my stomach. it also started to become a race against the clock as I came to grips with how slow I was actually rolling... volunteers must have thought me a madman as I rolled by repeating "push potential push potential push potential." eventually I may have said something along the lines of "i can't push to my m*&%$erf^%$#!@g potential!" I'm a real joy while racing aren't I? ;)

run: i kicked off the run in negative spirits which were only elevated as #2 and #3 in my ag rolled past me. thought about quitting a lot and walked a good deal too. i'm pretty sure coach was itching to give me my first lecture when I rolled by shaking my head... hell, I run steady training days a good 8 minutes faster than I piecemeal-ed this thing!

crossed the line in 4:41 and 3rd in my AG which is faster than last year but between the short swim and my much improved fitness well shy from where i think i should be. funny how a slower time last year was all smiles and i was an absolute grouch coming off of this performance!

reflection: I've had a day to reflect on the race and the weekend, and grumblings aside I really did have a good time. It was great to see old friends like james and jared, meet new ones like tu and stephen, and race with the likes of jim, sonja, rob, joel, alex, kevin and team. as far as learnings go, this was a nice reminder that you're only as good as your attitude (and it's not always about winning!). when shit hits the fan accept the day for what it is and have a good time doing it, because when you're out there doing what you love with people you love, you're the luckiest man alive.

huge thanks to: timex for the time-keeping across all three disciplines, which I can always count on working, blue seventy for the helix wetsuit with the hands down best range of motion of any wetsuit out there, shimano for the di2 and c75 race wheels (both of which rocked my world), challenge for the tubulars - fantastic how those held up!, and quintana roo for my trusty new steed!


  1. I still think you're a superstar! Sorry your race didn't pan out as you hoped. Wish I could have seen you when I was out there. Cheers to a better race the next go around.

  2. Great fan of your blog and your work in the IM circuit. I personally volunteered for this event and I think I saw you on your run. It may not have been your best race, but I'm sure you'll be more than ready for your future ones! I think any experience / lesson learned from an event is never a loss once you overcome those mistakes. Just ramp up the workouts and try not to have greasy Italian the night before ;) That is always a bad idea!