This is the first race of two this summer I've yet to report and in preparation for next Sunday's Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race, I thought I'd share these with you... first up; a race I did on July 9th
San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island
I’ve done this race now 4 years running now… (pun intended) and now look forward to it each year. It was especially fun the past two years when NBC came with Biggest Looser Contestants. However, I’m not sure what makes this race all that enjoyable since the course is not that enjoyable. And I have to admit, the only reason for this race report is for those who may want to do this race in the future, is to have a bit of a heads up for knowing what to expect. Here’s what you can expect.
Pre Race… for the locals around the Bay Area. Show up race day. There is an Olympic Triathlon and 5K/10K options on Saturday with the sprint race on Sunday. This is fairly typical of TRI California races. One of the great things about racing any TRI Cal race is its organization from a great organization. Registration is a breeze once you get on the island. You’ll be directed to a distant parking lot outside the race course and walk your stuff into transition. Once you’ve gotten your race bag, you’ll head into transition to put everything together. Numbers/chip/cap all added to the typical transition set up. This race is fairly small. Even considering that this year Treasure Island was the USAT Southwest regional championships.
One nice thing always offered here is a generous supply of Power Bar stuff. From Bottles, bars, gels and chews you can grab a handful and be encouraged to do so. One not so nice thing is the wave starts into the protected marina are 15 minutes apart and you could be waiting a while to get in the water and start your day.
SWIM: The swim for Treasure Island is in a flat, non-current part of the bay called Clipper Cove. It’s a two-loop swim and the water is typically mid to upper 50’s. Wet suit definitely recommended but certainly not required.
Since the field is fairly small you can expect a fairly contact free swim. This year there was actually a strong wind coming from the south and seemed to mess with some of the swimmers, me included. But by and large it’s a basic swim and not to be feared.
Transition: Coming out of the water your feet will be really cold which will help you not feel the little bits of gravel and pebbles along the run to your bike. After donning helmet, race belt, glasses and of course don’t forget your shoes you are running your bike out of transition to a mostly flat, technical course that has 21, 90 degree turns, 8 45 degree turns and one 180 degree turn around that you do 6, that’s right, SIX times! You won’t be setting any bike split PR’s here.
BIKE: As mentioned the course has a lot of turns what I haven’t yet mentioned is the conditions of the road surface… Well, it’s not so good. I recommend keeping those expensive race wheels at home and racing on your “work-horse” trainers as I do.
BTW… that’s the last race my Felt B2 will ever race now sitting in my garage with a completely broken top tube… but that is another story.
As mentioned you will go much slower here and you’ll find all levels of riders from very fast and competitive to slow and enjoying their first triathlon… which, ironically, Treasure Island is a good place to attempt your first triathlon. The hardest part is being able how to count! That’s because you’re on your own to know where you are on the bike course. “Is it four laps or five?” It may sound simple but trust me… it’s not. Just ask the countless people who have been DQ’d for not getting it right.
RUN: Again, a run this simple and easy should be a no brainer but remember to count. You have a fast, flat 10K run that is easy to mark and time split as you run out one mile and run back one mile then turn around and do it again and then again… that’s six, one mile sections! As my wife says, “Easy, peazy, lemon squeezy!”
Post race is fun and lighthearted and it’s easy getting off the island for some fun in the city. You might as well… You’re there and you’ve had a great opportunity to look at the picturesque San Francisco during your race… So, go check it out!
MY RACE 2011: In 2010 I took 1st in the 50-54 age group. This year was my chance to repeat at a race… I felt pretty good until I saw Jason Campbell three bikes to my left in transition… Okay… second it will be! (So you know Jason not only has been winning our AG in races this year but also winning the entire amateur division in some races! VERY impressive and shows the depth of athleticism here in the Bay Area).
My swim was a bit slow and found myself coming out of the water with friend and FCA teammate Troy Soares. I was out of T1 first and began to look for him at the first turn around… there he was at the bottom of the short incline at the guard shack… Next lap will tell me where his bike is this year… Next lap, I missed him? Next lap oh, he was back by another 30 seconds or so and that’s the way it went until the run… T2 I’m in and out in a flash and will now wait to see where Troy will mark me on the run. Troy is a more natural runner than I and I know he’ll gain a little ground but how much? Coming back on the first lap I see Troy at the half way point… that means I’m a mile up and I’d have to start walking or he would have to set a world record pace to catch me but still pride and not knowing where my competition was I just keep going steady without killing myself. As each lap went by Troy was gaining only a little and a former roommate of Troy’s (T. Dale Jackson) made a comment to us as I passed him along the way as we passed Troy going the other way… At the finish I waited for Troy and with that ever present smile he congratulated me an we both relished in the very friendly competition we kept unspoken… Until I read his race report!
Overall, it was a good day. I took 2nd… Yes, Jason got first but the time spent on Treasure Island is always relaxed and just a good day to enjoy triathlon as a sport and triathletes as friends!
Swim: 25:00 T1: 02:04 Bike:1:09:01 T2: 00:57 Run:44:10