Monday, August 11, 2008

Santa Cruz Sprint Race Report

Sunday morning I was up at 4:45 and had a piece of toast with peanut butter and jelly along with a small glass of chocolate milk. I had put everything together the night before so I just grabbed my bags and bike and was out the door at 5:05. I arrived in Santa Cruz at 6:20 and was checked in and setting up my transition by 6:35; I was able to set up on the outside end of a rack right in the middle of the run in, bike out, run back out exits. After eating a Power Bar and hitting up the port-o-john I put on my wetsuit and make the quarter mile walk down to the beach – yeah, that’s right, quarter mile walk. When I was crossing the last street before the beach I looked to my left and saw Jen coming across the street with a coffee which I am holding in this picture:

I headed down to the water and zipped up, put my goggles and cap on, and jumped in the water for a quick warm up swim – holy crap was that water cold. My forehead went numb after a couple minutes so I got out of the water for the pre-race meeting. After five minutes of trying to hear what was being said the meeting was over and I was walking back down to the beach to get back in the water; suddenly I heard a countdown and then people were shouting go, go, go. I ran into the water with five or six other guys and started swimming. As I rounded the first buoy I got stuck in a bit of a jam because there was someone that must have gone out too fast and was now clinging to the buoy for dear life. I navigated my way around him and a couple other guys and swam on. A few moments later I looked up to sight and noticed that I was on the outside of the pack 6-10 feet away from the nearest swimmer. This was the only time in the swim I thought about sharks and within four strokes I was back in the pack with a safety in numbers mentality. After rounding the second buoy I tried to pick up the pace a bit and pushed for shore – I believe I was in sixth place in my AG after the swim – total swim time 12:05, including the .25 mile run up to transition, so my swim was most likely around 9:30.

This isn't me in the following picture but it gives an idea of what we had to run on from the beach to transition - my feet are still a bit sore today:
T1 was pretty smooth - I pulled on my socks, shoes, helmet, and sunglasses then grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line - T1 1:28.

The bike ride was pretty much flat for the first three miles of the loop then curvy with a very slight incline for the second three miles – we did this twice. I was passed by three guys on tri bikes and passed three guys myself. After the first couple miles the moisture from the fog started building up on my sunglasses making it difficult to see very well. I tried riding with them pulled down on my nose but then my contacts started drying out. Finally I pushed them back over my eyes and settled for running my finger over the lenses every few minutes to clear away the moisture buildup which actually worked pretty well. On the flat part of the ride I was averaging around 22/23 mph but on the curvy/incline section I was averaging around 18//19 mph for an overall average of 20.5 for the 12 mile ride. Total bike time 33:38. Here I am coming to the dismount line – it came up very quickly and we were flying downhill on a wet slippery road so I was only able to get one foot out of my shoe – I just clicked out of the left pedal and ran into transition with one shoe on:

I ran my bike into T2, pulled off my one shoe, took off my helmet, threw on my shoes, grabbed my hat and race belt and hit the road – total T2, 0:47.

The beginning of the run was a small uphill then it was basically a flat out and back. I kept a strong pace and passed two guys within the first mile. A few minutes later I was passed by one person but he was 50 so I didn’t stress on AG competition. A little bit later I saw the leaders coming back from the turn around and of course they all looked like they were 25-29. I hit the turn around and picked up the pace a little bit but didn’t want to push too hard and die out at the end. Once I reached the downhill before the finish I took a glance over my shoulder and saw one guy coming up on me. I pushed hard but he passed me near the end and I couldn’t catch back up. So this is the point in our story where we run into a bit of a snag – since I crossed the finish line basically right after the guy who passed me the timing equipment didn’t pick me up and I didn’t get a run time. Luckily I talked to the guy who passed me right after the race and Jen had a picture of us together so I have his race number and name. I talked to the race director and she is going to check the system manually to find me at the checkpoint before the finish, or something like that, and update the results. UPDATE - race director contacted me and let me know that she found me and my overall time was 1:09:05 which put me 3rd in my AG and 21st overall. Turns out the guy who was third in my group was actually in another AG so that moved me into third and she will be sending my award! I was under the impression that my total time was 1:09:41 but even if that was the case I would still be third in my AG so it's a time issue, not a place issue which is a bit of a relief for me.

Total time: 1:09:05 - 3rd in AG, 21st Overall, 19th Overall Male

Overall Male Results


Marathon Maritza said...

Awesome job!!!!!!!

Way to kick butt! I'm in most awe of your 47 second T2 time, lol!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Zach! I could just feel the freezing water & the flutter for sharks! Great bike & run too.
Dragonfly on the Water...

Boomer said...

I like both Zach's but take it easy on dissing that country music. Great job in Santa Cruz!! Proud of both of you.

jen said...

Nice report. You were flying on the run, great swim and bike too. Congrats on the AG Award! Too bad they didn't have it figured out on race day, but still very cool. You are super awesome. :)

Tristram Wood said...

Nice job, Zach #1- you rocked! The Maine race is really cool- Nice clean lake swim, the ride is hilly but not too bad, but the run is gnarly! It is the school's xc ski trails, also used by their cross country team- all off road. It is xterra-like, hard as hell with the hills and obstacles. Great fun, though, and a great challenge. Next race is Timberman on Sat morning! My last race of the year- hopefully peaking at the right time. I am thinking of doing the Philly half marry this fall- I have a buddy who wants to do it. I had planned on doing the full mary before the surgery. I probably could start logging miles and slog through it. Still might. Keep rocking!

Paul said...

Nice work! Looks like the Big Kahuna race. I'm not looking forward to that cold water OMG.

Ewen said...

Some blonde told me to check out your race. Nice one!

Looks a bit foggy out there - just like Beijing ;)