Sunday, July 31, 2011

California International Triathlon (Troy)

July 31, 2011 – Treasure Island, CA
Swim 1.5km – Bike 40km – Run 10km
2:19:08 (26:23 - 01:10 - 1:09:11 - 1:02 - 41:22)
CJ Halsey, Carrie & Steve Chavez, David Slothower, Jody Galvin
This is an inaugural event at a well-known triathlon site, the Shadow Cliffs Park in Pleasanton.  In the 90's I did many Tri-4-Fun sprint triathlons at this park and always enjoyed the clean lake, the rural roads and the trail running.  Now I get to do it in an Olympic Distance version and I can't wait!  Robin & the girls & I go down the day before, register, check in at the hotel and play in the pool.  Robin cooks a great dinner in our hotel room.
Race day, I ride to the park in the dark for my warm-up.  It's Sunday, the Lord's day, and I'll be missing the great sermon from Eric Van Patten at our church.  It's also the kidney transplant anniversary & I've been racing well ever since.
I've been working on my seat position and still making adjustments.  At the last race on Treasure Island, my position wasn't right and all I did was look forward to the run.  This time I go back more to my traditional position with the raised front and I think it's going to work.  The 7mi warm-up is good.  It's a warm morning.  The temperature is perfect.
My goal is to make the bike more enjoyable by 1) being comfortable on the seat and 2) not coming out of the swim dizzy with exhaustion.  So I plan to be more relaxed in the swim.  Even if I have to give up a couple minutes, I'll surely make up 3 min with a better bike.  My other goal, as always, is to be a servant for Christ.. ready to share His love in some way.
I bump into Nick, the announcer; our good friends, Dave & Francie Campbell, volunteering; Team Chavez (Carrie & Steve) and their daughter, Madison, who is volunteering body-marking and finisher medals; and Jody and Lindsey, friends we met at the Auburn Triathlon Iron Prayer.  Race director, Ryan Coelho, is busy at work.  I got to pray with him yesterday and am hoping the Lord blesses him with a smooth, safe event.  He's really trying hard to do a good job while balancing the trials of life the same way we all struggle to.
Robin & the girls arrive and we all meet at the FCA Endurance pre-race prayer on the beach.  About 10 of us gather to pray for each other and the race.  Now it's into the water.  It's nice, about 74 I think.  I do a gentle warm-up and position myself at the line in the 2nd wave.
110731_ca_int_tri_troy_swimGo!  The course is an easy triangle to navigate and the water is great.  There's some bumping for a while, then I get a good draft, but after the 1st buoy I'm mostly on my own.  I using longer strokes, calmer breathing, and less kicking.  Ah, it is much more enjoyable than cold Pirate's Cove.  I feel like I'm going easier but not really any farther back.  Maybe it's just because of my sensitivity to water temperature, but I am just loving this venue right now!  I make the final turn and it's a long straight shot to the swim exit.  My arms are getting sore but I'm not gasping.. much more controlled and relaxed.  I step up and, to my excitement, kick my wetsuit off with 1 kick each!  Onto the beach I high-five Anna & Ariel and am smiling as I run to transition.  Great swim!  For the first time this year, I skip both the jacket and socks.  It makes for a much faster transition.  I'm off on the bike!
I climb out of the park, get into my shoes and get to work.  I'm determined to go much faster.  20mph at Treasure Island was not right.  I should be at 22 or greater so I'm going to work on that today.  A mile in and a guy already flies by me.  I pick it up and pace him for a while.  I'm looking forward to this course as it traverses Hwy 84 to Calaveras Rd / Hwy 680 which is a great route.  Looking down it's strange to see my bare arms.. no jacket.. and perfectly comfortable.
We fly down a corkscrew ramp to the Blvd. below.  Then a left down a dead-end road behind the Livermore Airport which is kind of cool.  We loop through a business area and navigate a couple U-turns.  The streets are nice and empty.  Just flying along with no cars to worry about.  At the turn-arounds I see Steve Chavez behind me.  Wow, a 4min head-start and he's already catching me.  Then a 2nd guy flies by me.  I pick it up again.
Back onto the blvd at mile 8, I check my time.  I don't have my Garmin speedometer but that's ok.. today is about "less is more".  I calculate roughly that I've already made up a couple minutes on my Treasure Island performance.  Great.  Now it's onto 84 and the significant climb.  I'm looking forward to it.  I work hard and pass a few people.  I'm determined not to let anyone else pass me.  I'm surprised that the winding road Robin and I once toured is now a new freeway!  At least it has a nice shoulder.
Whew!  Over the top and flying down to the town of Sunol.  I see a guy far ahead and watch the time to see how much I'm gaining on him.  Little by little I finally pass him right before the turn onto Foothill Rd heading towards Pleasanton.  This brings back great memories when I used to ride from Milpitas to Walnut Creek to visit my Grandmother.  It's a great road.  And another guy goes flying by!  I try to keep up.  That's ok, just have to push for one more hill and then we're done.
110731_ca_int_tri_troy_bikeThe time is looking good.  Up the Bernal Rd hill.  It's tough but I'm excited about my performance and pretty sure I've accomplished what I set out to do.  Flying down through the neighborhood we turn onto Stanley and see the water slide park of Shadow Cliffs.  I push all the way to the entrance and then quickly pull my feet out and stretch my calves momentarily.  I was sure to drink all my Heed.  Francie Campbell is calling the "Dismount!" and it goes smoothly.  I transition well, again going without socks.
The run feels harder than at Treasure Island.  The bike effort is noticeable.  But my biggest concern is focusing on God, not discomfort, pace or position.  With His help I have the best chance of running like the wind.  Ah, the familiar rocky paths.  But many more people.. that's because the Sprint Distance race has also hit the trails at the same time.
A guy goes by me and I pick it up a bit.  I know it seems impossible now but I can catch him later if I keep up hope.  The cool thing is that my rt calf which has been acting up in previous races is great now!  And my left Achilles which was sore last week is also great!  We hit a long stretch along a back road where the Sprint athletes are also riding by on the bike.  I can see the guy with orange shoes ahead.  I'm encouraging the other runners I pass and some of the bikes going the other way.  Then I happily see my friend, Dave Slothour, ahead.  He's doing the sprint.  I tell him I'm glad to see him as I go by and he jokes how humiliating it is to have me going twice as far and twice as fast.
Up ahead I finally see the Sprint turn-around and then 1/2mi after that is the Olympic Distance turn-around.  This is where I pass the guy in orange shoes which is kind of a surprise but confirmation that anything is possible.  Then I see Dave Slothour ahead again and go by him with the same happy routine which really gets him complaining, "..if that wasn't humiliating enough, you're passing me 2 times?"
Getting back to the main levy, I hear breathing and fast feet behind me.  I stay calm, focusing on my own breathing, not letter his cause mine to speed up.  I fuel up at the aid station and he passes me for a moment, but I surge ahead knowing if I can hurt for a 200 yds. I can relax a little later.  However, the surge is also made difficult from the blister rubbing on my shoe.  I forgot Vaseline on that seam.  It's bothered me most of the run but those things always feel worse than they really are.  At the final turn-around, I see Steve behind me.  I encourage him and am glad his Achilles problem has gotten better.  I'm also glad I've managed to stay ahead of him.  But to beat him, I need to finish 4min ahead.. that's going to be close..
Coming down the shaded finish area, people are lining the path.  Anna pops out of the crowd, grabs my hand and matches my pace.  And then there's little Ariel holding up her hand.  She grabs it but forgot to start running.  The crowd, adoring the scene, goes from "Ahh" to "Ohh!" when Ariel goes into a nose dive as my momentum yanks her off her feet.  Fortunately I hold on, stopping in time so she didn't hit the ground.  She recomposes and the crowd cheers as we take off again for the finish.  Ah, it was a great a race.  I loved the course.  And I love having all 3 smiling girls to welcome me to the finish.
Steve was gaining on me and closed to within 1 minute which means he beat me by 3!  I'm glad he's having a good comeback.  Later, I was surprised to hear I was 2nd in my age group.  I rushed to the stage but Anna was swimming.  She was sad she couldn't go up with me.  She's always telling me to go fast to get an award.  Hopefully she knows she's part of my biggest award.
The FCA Endurance booth had good traffic.  The Kid's Zone was popular and met some great athletes at the table.  Most importantly, we were able to share what we're most excited about, that Jesus has made racing so rewarding.  He is the reason Why We Race.  And we want others to be able to feel the fulfillment He gives regardless of the placing in the race.  Because life is tough.  It's like a hilly course where you sometimes can't bear to push over one more climb.  There were 2 men with marriage issues that I was able to pray with.  I know the result of that will be more strength from the Lord to deal with the climb ahead.  If nothing else happened today, that alone was worth the trip here.  Thank you, Lord, for being the reason.
Go CJ, Steve & Carrie!
Name Race Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
CJ Halsey Oly M20-24 2 27:36 01:04:39 36:17 02:10:24
Steve Chavez Oly M50-54 2 24:19 01:10:51 38:47 02:16:45
Troy Soares Oly M40-44 2 26:23 01:09:11 41:22 02:19:08
Carrie Chavez Oly W40-44 1 31:04 01:12:25 43:49 02:30:17
Jody Galvin Oly W30-34 16 31:36 02:00:23 01:17:53 04:00:53
David Slothower Spt M50-54 3 08:33 36:31 45:34 01:33:18