The company Bessy works for was sponsor of the Lifetime Oceanside race last year. Thinking they would repeat and we can race together again, I signed up again for 2014. Unfortunately her company did not renew, and decided to do Miami 70.3 instead. So here I was stuck alone for the weekend, it kind of did take my racing spirit out a bit – but I did pay for it.
I went up to Oceanside by car to volunteer at the tri club tent for the expo. Got to meet many people, and even the eventual winner, Joe Maloy stopped by – he who is an ITU racing pro. Post expo, I hit up zigzag pizza nearby the expo after for my carb up….custom build yourself thin crust pizzas and salads – I had a delicious sun dried pesto blue cheese bacon pizza, and a spinach steak salad on the side. I slept in the car near the start afterwards.
Morning, I walk to swim start munching on espresso beans, no coffee for the first time ever. I fill my bike water bottle with zip fizz, put my wetsuit on, take a cliff shot gel and x2 performance bottle. The pros go off first, and I am actually glad my wave is last as I get to seem them come out and do t1. I was excited to watch Javier Gomez do the race old school in 90s gear – hoping he can beat the guys with fancy $10k bikes. He didnt win, but came close – with only 17 seconds difference in bike time from the winner. That difference matters for pros, but for amatures – fix the engine! (yourself).
I have done nearly zero open water training (other than races themselves) prior to this race… all pool work. This year there was no fog and water was warm so no excuses for slowness. I nailed a best 25:13 olympic swim, I couldnt believe it when I was running out looking at the clock. One other difference is I started seeding myself near the front this year, so I am on my own and not drafting off someone slow. There are all these articles telling you to do open water swims as mandatory training…. but I think there is a selling point bias behind it, namely wetsuits. People use them and other silly devices (wetsuit shorts) for the pool which is more of a crutch than something helping you out.
On to the bike course, which changed slightly from last year, and I had done no course preview either. I get out of t1 slowly as my wetsuit clinged on a bit and you had to stuff it in your bag. More sloppiness continues as I lost time with strapping my shoes on the bike, but still a PR for me with 1:06 – so I do have more in me, in addition to time gains I am riding the bike completely stock this year… no fancy race wheels etc. One thing that did catch my eye on the bike, was an 18 year old from Baja Mexico doing the most obvious drafting I ever seen… beyond that, this kid was cheating the course by cutting cones to make his total bike distance about 8 miles less. He got a DQ, either all the drafting penalties, or the strict RFID timing set up the race had, that you could not cut the course at all.
Onto the run, which the course was changed again to have 4 steep risers, with their drops that hurt you more – aka not a PR course by far. Nothing special for me on the run, just consistent with my other races. What was impressive was Joe Maloys time, possibly knowing Javier’s speed, nailed a 31min 10k… probably good for 29 on a flat course! He also finished the race in an impressive time: 1:45.
As for me its a new PR of 2:16, revenge for my terrible time in the Chicago marathon, and 1st in my age group (far right in pic). My buddy Zack Hamner, who was racing elite, finished good enough with a 1:55 to earn his pro card! A good day for all who were there, including our tri club getting 2nd place in the club/team division. Post race, celebration for me, BBQ beef ribs.. which award do you think I value more?