A couple of significant changes for this year's race awaited. First, my sweet wife decided to accompany me this time. What a treat to have here there to enjoy our time together and to have some fun. Her brother and sister in law also decided to come down from L.A. to spend some time with us - we love to see family any time we can and it was such a treat to see them again.
The other treat was that so many other friends were in the race this year. Jason Porter, Joel Betz, Lorie Tucker, Dan Beaver, Mary Knott, Karl Mueller and Bill Hagan all raced. I even saw Darrell Holcomb (who I don't know very well) at the race.
|Love the salty water|
I have to admit, the swim was a lot of fun. I really enjoy swimming in the little cove that they have at the race. An ocean swim is a bit of a treat, except for the salty water! I always forget how horrible the water tastes and subsequent gagging that occurs.
This year, I was in the last and final wave of the race - 23rd wave! There were 2500 participants - as large as an Ironman race. Being in the last wave has more disadvantages than advantages. The good news is it is a little warmer when you hit the bike - thats about it. The bad news is you wait nearly an hour from the first wave…..
Last year, my goggles broke, I got a late start and I had my fastest swim ever at 38 minutes. This year, no goggle malfunction but a pretty good swim - 41:48 is still my second fastest swim at that distance.
|Up the hills of Oceanside|
The bike ride is really a lot of fun and quite challenging. The first 3rd is flat and fast - but you have to get out of the harbor and through some narrow spaces. Being a fairly strong cyclist and starting in the final wave of the swim, this meant that I was passing A LOT of people on the bike. I passed hundreds of people in the first third.
The second third has some monster hills. I wasn't sure how my fitness would hold out but I hit the hills with resolve and a steady cadence. No one passed me going up the hills. Going down was another story as I just am not as comfortable flying down the curves and the hills - I brake a bit - another opportunity to improve I guess. Still, all those guys that passed me going down, I would just pass going up the next hill. Yo yo time… back and forth.
The final third is fairly flat but against the wind. I smashed it. Total bike time was 3:01:51. Extremely good and 5 minutes better than last year.
One thing you know if you are in the last wave of the swim - anybody you pass during the race, you are beating - especially on the run. Every body I passed was someone I was beating, at least on the second lap… I got to see almost all my friends. Dan the man, Joel, and Jason. I knew I would need to make up some time to go under six hours again so I tried to really hoof it.
I saw Lorie Tucker on the final lap and she said, simply "Catch me!" She was a half mile ahead of me and I was running out of gas so I knew that would be hard. Still, it gave me some motivation to move forward. I finished strong knowing it would be close. I was tired but those wonderful fans and the ocean breeze really cuts the heat and makes this a great run. I finished at 2:07:04 which was five minutes slower than last year.
Total Time: 6:01:56. 147 in my age group (top half), 1018 overall (also top half).
|Me and my sweetie after the race|