Saturday, August 25, 2012

Winters Road Race (Robin)

August 25, 2012 – Winters, CA
2 laps = 48 miles
7th out of 18

Troy and I dropped the kids off at my friend Karen’s house bright and early this morning…thanks Karen! We are off to Winters, just outside of Davis, for a road race. I feel pretty good going into the race with some half Ironman training compared to last year when I was only doing Sprint triathlons.  Still, road racing is different from tri's.  Especially its danger factors!

Troy and I pull in earlier than expected. After picking up our bib numbers, we run into Victory Velo Teammate, Kevin Miller.  He and a bunch of teammates are racing the 1-3 Masters categories. Those guys have come a long way in a few years and they sure are becoming a force to be reckoned with! It’s so nice to warm-up with Troy! It’s kind of like a date…for 20 minutes…I’ll take any time I can get with him(=  He reminds me to focus on pulling the pedal all the way around up the hills to get more power.

Back at the car we run into Randy, Fred, Lance Loveday and Todd Allington. It’s fun to chat a bit until go time. Troy notices my bar plug is missing. Bummer, I forgot about that! The last two rides I’ve meant to take care of that. I ask the race folks and Kevin but they don’t have any. On a whim, I ask a cyclist friend, Nabil, known as the "Bicycle Lawyer". He has one and notes that he found it yesterday and kept it around for some reason. Thanks God and thanks Nabil!

Troy takes off with the CAT 5 guys. It’s a huge group! I take a video of him on the way out. There’s some guys in that group from Utah. Wow, I guess there’s something special about this race. “Go Troy!” It’s another ½ hour before I go. I run into Megan from the Copperopolis race. It’s nice to see a familiar face.

Our group, Womens 4, is the last group to roll out and we actually start with the Junior Boys. Once out of town, the race starts and we must ride separately from the boys. Right away, the girls take it out strong. A single pace line forms and I’m out there to the left exposed. I try to move closer to get the draft. Soon a UC Davis girl goes ahead of me and I get on her wheel. She makes desperate attempts to break into the pace line but these girls refuse to let her in. Some of the girls tell her to back off in fear that she’s going to cause a crash. She drops back and I’m still alone outside of the pace line until another girl in a blue jersey gets in front and attempts to break into the line the same way. Eventually she drops back and the UCD girl comes back. This time she finally breaks into the pace line, along with the girl in blue. I’m left out there again but now we make a turn and the road rolls. The pace line is broken. The pace line picks it up again but the group becomes erratic - slowing down for no reason and then taking off. I opt to drop back in the pack for a time.

Once I can see the big hill starting, I move up to the front. Within a few moments after, I hear a crash right behind me. Some girl near me tells us to keep going. I want to stop but there was a support vehicle back there so there’s not much I can do. Megan catches up and tells us that two girls rubbed wheels. She escaped by riding on the dirt.

I stay with this small group of girls up the climb. I see teammate Jay Garrard at the “feed zone” supporting the riders and say hi. I forget how long this climb is but I’m thinking it’s pretty much over…wrong! It keeps going! The road narrows significantly and gets steep! I stay with this group well all the way up. At the top, I realize I have not prepared myself for this steep downhill. The group takes off while I make my way down too cautiously. At the bottom, I am alone! I think I can catch the group. I catch up to a straggler. I attempt to get her to work with me to catch them. For a time, it seems to be working but she doesn’t seem to have the interest to keep up the effort. I decide to time trial it alone and try to catch them.

They move further and further ahead and it’s hard not to let up. I look back and there is no one. Lord, I will keep trying and will not lose hope…and most importantly I will keep a good attitude. I think back to the triathlon last week and am reminded that I can push hard on my own…especially with the Lord on my side. 120825_winters_rr_robinI make my way back to the start of the second loop and some guys pass and let me know that there is a group of women coming from the back. I’m relieved especially since I’ve lost sight of these girls. I continue to keep up a good effort until they are near and then I back off a bit. It’s a small group of girls and they ask me how many are ahead. “I think 6 or 8. They are several minutes ahead.”

We do a rotating pace line in hopes of making ground on those girls. It works well until we start the climb again. Back at the feed zone I ask Jay how far ahead the girls are. He says “not far”. Alright, maybe I can catch them. I take off and don’t look back. I need all the distance I can get on this current group of girls so that I won’t get left behind at the descent. This year I have the endurance to push this hill so I take advantage. I keep scanning the road ahead hoping I will catch a glimpse of the lead pack. By the time I reach the super steep part, I don’t see them but I continue to press to the top.

At the top, I prepare myself to push the descent. This time I actually do a better job and get some good speed. At the bottom, I look back and see that I’m alone. It’s like 6 more miles to the finish so I decide I’m going to time trial it again. I see a girl ahead and wonder if she’s in my group. A group of guys pass me and I am hoping that I might feel their draft for a moment so I can catch the girl. It doesn’t really help. I can see her latch on them for a moment and go around! Okay, she must be a CAT 3.

I continue to push hard anyway and keep smiling. The miles click off and I know I’m getting close. I turn a corner and see another girl and recognize her from our group. Awesome! Should I try to work with her or keep up the effort? Lord, what should I do? I feel Him letting me know it’s okay to forge ahead alone. I pass her and tell her good job. I put my head down and push hard. It’s getting tiring but soon I see the “1K to Go” sign. Yes! I dig down deeper and push hard to the finish. I point up to God and thank Him for getting me through this ride safely and in a good position. My average was 19.6 with help compared to 19.9 last week on my own. This cycling is tough and seems tougher than tris! I’m in awe of all those that can do this so well and so often!

Winters Road Race (Troy)

August 25, 2012 – Winters, CA
2 laps = 48 miles
26th out of 39

Victory Velo Teammates:

Aron Yevuta (3rd); Dan Garcia (5th);
Curtis Smith (18th)

A Great Race Ahead
I'm glad the kids are being watched so Robin and I can do this race together.  It's only our 3rd, and last, bike racing event of the season.  I felt so comfortable on the bike, thanks to God, at the Vineman Triathlon that afterwards I was already thinking about a strategy for doing well at Winters.  Dreaming about being the first one up the 2nd climb, pulling ahead on the descent and then catching a break-away to finish with, or even time-trialing all the way to the end using my new aero position.  But then, even though I thankfully recovered well from the Ironman, I continued skipping rides until, "Wow, it's this weekend!?"  Still, I felt good on a ride yesterday (a flat ride) so we'll give it all I've got.

I line up with the Cat 5 Elite (a funny category, meaning the "best" (Elite) of the "worst" (Cat 5 beginners)).  A full 50 rider field.  I meet my 3 other Victory Velo teammates, Aron Yevuta, Dan Garcia, and Curtis Smith.  Robin & I pray and she sees us off (her race is 30 min later).

Smooth Start
Rolling out of Winters, onto the rural, flat roads, it's enjoyable and I feel comfortable.  Last year I was a little anxious, answering every surge at the front of the group.  But breakaways never lasted and only the hill was able to whittle the group down to 1/2 the size.  So this time I'll just sit-in and focus my energy on the hill and the last 9 miles.

Mile 8. Aron and another guy, go off the front.  The nice thing about having a teammate in a break is that the remaining 3 of us are to "block" and not work to catch them.  So when the peloton tries to catch them, we just relax and disrupt the pack.  However, Curtis does surge and ends up in no-man's land between the pack and Aron.  He comes back and then works well with Dan at the front to block.

Preparing for the Climb
Mile 10. Into the hills.  Every thing is working out great for me.  But then I drop my bottle of Heed.. right in the middle of the pack!  "Bottle! Look out."  Thank you, Lord, that no one was hurt!   I'm working my way to the front nicely.  But then I pass up the neutral water bottles even though I only have 1.  I didn't want to take it from someone else who may need it.  I'm struggling more than expected on the little climbs.  But I get behind a great lead that pulls us all the way to the big climb.  The perfect position I wanted going into it.

Over the Top, Just as Planned
120825_winters_rr_troyMile 15. The climb gets steep at the switchback and multiple guys pass me, including Curtis, but, huffing and puffing, I continue standing, with a goal to get over the top first… this way I'll have the technical descent to myself.  Curtis tells me, "ok, take it easy now", but I continue on and pushing over the top, get to the other side first.  I take the first hairpin great and have a good gap.  The next two corners take me a little by surprise but overall I get about 30 secs on the pack by the bottom!  On the flat I see Aron far ahead and make a big effort to try catching him.  But without the pack, I just can't build up much speed.  I'm really winded.  Aron is pulling away and now the pack is approaching.  Finally I get swallowed up and go back to sitting-in and recovering well for the 2nd loop.


2nd Loop
Mile 30. It's going well.  I have high hopes for doing the same thing on the hill this time.  But I am starting to feel some fatigue in my neck and shoulders while we're just spinning.  That's a sign of wearing down.  But the group also shows signs of fatigue on the little rollers.  I can do it.  It's going to hurt but it will feel great over the top.

Surprise Discovery
Mile 37. Getting steeper.  Approaching the feed zone again.  Pace is a little faster this time.  I'm closer to the back of the pack, planning to move up in the "stair-step" sections ahead.  I'm pushing hard.  I maneuver over and grab a bottle.  A quick sip and put it away.  The pack is 20m ahead of me now!  I'll catch back up.  I go to accelerate… but I can't!  My legs are already at their limit.  It's a shocking moment of awareness.  Although I gave hard efforts before this point, even some that hurt, I always could go a little faster if needed.  But not now.

I'm at the limit.  I can only huff & puff at the same pace and hope the pack slows down.  But they're not.  I don't give up hope, but now they're pulling away on small descents.  I face reality… I've been dropped.  Instead of being the moment I dreamed of - gradually moving past the riders up the hill, cresting ahead of the pack, flying down the backside and bridging up to a breakaway - I'm in a whole different race now.  A race against the others getting dropped.  A race to see who can handle the suffering the best, who can continue pushing all the way to the end, resisting the temptation to give up hope.

Race of the Stragglers
Mile 39.  I catch a Berkeley Triathlete guy that got dropped.  I follow a bit to the big hill and then push past.  I get to the top in front of the other stragglers and start my screaming descent, my only hope of catching some part of the pack.  But in the 3rd corner a rider is down and being cared for by paramedics.  I'm sorry to see that and pray he's all right.  I slow through that corner but then pick up.  At the bottom I see 2 riders way ahead.  I've got to catch them.  "Go, go, go!  Find something!  You gotta go!" I push with my best aero effort for about a mile and finally do catch them!  Oh...they're 2 women!  They're a different group, I'm not allowed to draft them, I have to continue on.  I was so ready to get a rest but instead press on.  A couple more miles and still no one ahead.

Follow the Rules
Mile 43.  A women's pack passes me and behind them are 3 stragglers from my group!  The Berkeley Tri guy is one of them.  Great!!  But now they're drafting the women, just sitting in.  I tell them to separate but they don't seem to care.  I know we can pass the ladies if we work together.  "Come on, let's go, let's move ahead".  I lead the effort and pull through.  I'm surprised the women are yelling at me to stay out of their way when I'm trying to do just that.  But then looking behind my guys have deserted me, content to just "suck wheels".  I can't stay ahead on my own so have to drop back and let all of them go ahead. That's the rules.  They may get disqualified and drafting women is sure not a way you want to get DQ'd.

The Finish -  A Great Workout and God's Gift of Safety
120825_winters_rr_troy_finishI continue pushing and eventually hook up with another guy.  We go into the finish and I give my best 200m sprint but still can't seem to accelerate.  I'm 26th.  Which is almost 1/2 the field so a nice consolation for not giving up.  My legs are really taxed and wobbly.  It's nice that even though a race doesn't go as planned, there's still a lot to get out of it… perseverance practice, a great workout, and vital experience.. next time I'll know not to give such a big effort on the first climb… got to save it for the 2nd.  What I'm most thankful for is the safety that the Lord has given both Robin & I.  We've been protected well this season.  Some of our Victory Velo friends in the higher categories have had crashes.  They are recoverable and we know Christ has a plan even for crashes in our life, but we're also thankful for the times that crashes aren't a part of the higher plan.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Folsom Olympic Distance Triathlon (Troy)

August 19, 2012 – Lake Natoma, Folsom, CA
1kmSwim -40km Bike – 10km Run

2:09:02 (23:41-00:45-1:02:48-1:03-40:45)


5th, M40-44


Dale Jackson in AquaBike; Dave Campbell

Robin raced yesterday in the long course and I was amazed how well she did.  A 5:10, which is a good time even for the men.  She went into it undertrained so we than the Lord for giving her a great performance.

After she worked so hard, I feel obligated to get a fast time, too.  I'm also not fully prepared. Since Vineman I've spent more time catching up at work, than training and resting.  But Vineman went great and going from Ironman distance to Olympic distance is a mental boost.. relatively it's a short race!

I'm imagining swimming fast, fastest yet, without fatigue, and then pushing hard on the bike from the beginning, without having to "save energy for later", and finally dashing out on the run without regard for how I feel because it's only 6.2 miles.  That would probably put me near the top.  Ok, I'm excited to start.

We have a pre-race prayer down by the water. About 6 of us.  I swim a little in the surprisingly frigid water of Lake Natomas.  I glad I have my Aquaman Tri-Blitz from  Patty Stokes there got a warmer, better fitting suit.  It's a little thicker so I'm be perfectly comfortable, and it comes off much faster, too.  We watch the disabled athletes start their swim after getting helped into the water.  So impressive.  And now we're ready.  Everyone comments on the sun directly in our eyes.  It's like swimming to Heaven!

The Swim
Go!  I start well.  Sighting is working well actually by just swimming a little right of the sun.  Momentarily I get a couple drafts but most of the 1st leg is by myself.  Swimming in the open is always nice and calm.. no need to chase or avoid swimmers.  I'm swimming strong, but hope not to die coming back.  We come together but I get a clean turn around the 2 buoys.

Now the long back stretch.  I sprint over to a guy swimming a little faster.  Drafting is normally both helpful and uncomfortable.  The periodic sighting on the swimming ahead and subsequent zig-zagging to get back behind him is annoying.  This time (thanks, God!) it's perfect!  There's no splash & bubbles because he doesn't kick much and it's clear enough to see his feet underwater.  I never have to sight!  I just keep my head down, relax and follow his feet wherever they go.  This point in the swim I'm usually struggling to go fast but it's so nice now I'm really enjoying swimming along without having to sight.

With 100m to go I have to leave my great leader and try sprinting by.  There's 3 of us side by side.  It's exciting.  With all the energy I saved, I'm actually able to pull ahead to the shore.  I high-five Anna & Ariel next to Robin and continue unzipping & removing goggles and cap.  By the time I'm ready to take my suit off, I'm already in transition.  But it still comes off easy.  Love it.  And I'm quickly running out with the bike.

23:41 (6th in age group). (TBF tri was 23:30)

The Bike
I'm motivated and excited. I'm always thinking about the 25mph goal which I've never gotten.  But reality is showing me already that 22, 23 is about all I can get on the flats.  I'm going to do my best from beginning to end… now go, go, go!  I push it up the hills and accelerate the descents.  I'm excited to try the great position I felt in Vineman.  I'm not feeling it yet.

I'm passing a few and a couple guys pass me.  But I feel like I'm going really fast.  I forgot how much climbing this course has.  I'm amazed that Robin did it twice yesterday and averaged 20mph!  I'm only just over 20mph now.  The farther I go, the more I start feeling the great aero position I experienced at Vineman.  The main difference is that now I'm trying to go 2mph faster.  It's hard to relax and power at the same time.

The leaders are coming back.  I'm counting.  They're all "Every Man Jack" athletes.  That team has got a lot of talent!  I'm 23rd to the turn.  I'm excited to catch a few on the way back.  It's mostly downhill.  It feels great to be going so fast on straight roads.  There's another side-road out-and-back.  Now it's back down to Folsom.  I'm trying to get up to 23mph, which I did at the TBF race.  It's going up..22, 22.1.  I get to the final flat section and know this is the last chance to move the pace up.  22.4, 22.5.  Up over the pedestrian bridge, behind the park and 22.6 is my pace.  Pretty good.  Now I quickly pull my feet out and get ready to dismount.  A great dismount into a full run.. all the way through transition.  I hear Robin and the girls cheering.  It's a great transition, for the athlete and the spectators.  Lot's of cheering.  Makes you go fast.

1:04:36 (with transitions; TBF tri was 1:04:40). Bike split: 1:02:48 (23.6mph, 7th in age group, previous '08 time: 1:03:21)

The Run
I sprint out.  The swim and bike have been exactly the hard effort I wanted to do.  Now, to make it complete, I need to run fast from beginning to end.  It's only 6.2 miles!  But the legs are a little stiff.  I think about the Coronado Independence run and the good form I had there.  I think about TBF and how fast that was.

  1. 6:30   I see a guy ahead in yellow and focus on catching him. 
  2. 6:22.  At 2 miles I do catch him and now am counting the runners coming back.  Wow, those Every Man Jack athletes are still dominating.  They're all spread out.  I had hoped a few would bunch up just ahead of me.
  3. 6:37.  At the turn I'm happy with my pace, about 6:36, and I think I could break 40min!  I'm in 21st place but the next runner is quite a ways ahead. 
  4. 6:36. I'm drinking at every aid station and take 2 Hammer gels.  I'm keeping the pace but it's getting hard.  The weather is perfect today.  Not hot and no wind.
  5. 6:38.   1 mile to go and I think of the final mile at a track workout.  I'm just about spent, which is a good sign, but I have to push all the way.
  6. 6:25.  It feels like a great race, everything just as planned.  And there's Anna and Ariel!  Robin has them staggered so Ariel is already going down the finish chute.  Holding hands the 3 of us cross the finish line.  Wow, that was great!120819_folsom_olympic_troy_finish

40:45 (6:34 pace, 5th fastest in age group)(TBF tri was 40:15).
Total: 2:09:02, 5th place (TBF tri was 2:08:24, 1st place)

The girls get waters for me, go with me to shake hands with the guy in yellow that I passed on the run, and help me walk and jog around to cool down.  Whew!  Thanks God for a great race.  Even with the perfect effort, I didn't place and I didn't break 40min in the run (I realized later that the pace needed was 6:26, not 6:36).  But it's great because I felt the Lord wanted me to put out the high effort, while being a good sport, and the goal was met.  A victorious day!  Thanks, God.




Age Group





DALE JACKSON AquaBike 1:31:00 MEN 1st 25:02 1:04:00 NA



2:09:02 M44-49 5TH 23:41 1:02:48 40:45
DAVE CAMPBELL OLY 2:13:11 M55-59 1ST 24:41 1:06:29 40:14

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Folsom Triathlon Long Course – Robin

August 18, 2012 – Lake Natoma, Folsom, CA
1.2mSwim - 56m Bike – 13.1m Run
5:10:41 (34:27-00:58-2:48:32-?-1:46:44)

1st, W35-39
Dale Jackson
Today will be interesting for sure!  This is an “A” race for me.  But I haven’t had the chance to train consistently with the girls home this summer and recent activities (Troy’s Ironman, the girl’s birthday, the start of school, etc.).  I don’t regret a moment of the fun we’ve had. This race is in the Lord’s hands and I’m excited to see what He’s going to do!
We get out the door late and I’m trying not to stress out.  I ask the Lord for His help to be at peace and content with any outcome today.  Troy drops me off a few miles before on the American River bike path and I bike right to Lake Natomas.  I don’t have a headlamp but there’s just enough light to see.  At the transition area I find a spot next to a very nice guy who is doing his 2nd long course triathlon. I run over and wait in line at registration.  I see Anna guarding our FCA tent and gear and wave her over.  I give her a big hug and she runs back to her post.
Once I have my gear I head back to my spot and realize that the nice guy is a challenged athlete.  He’s missing his right leg below the knee.  I never even noticed.  I have so much respect for him and all other challenged athletes.  I’m hoping that he’s going to have a great day out there!
Time is running short as I wrap up getting my spot set and body marked.  I run to the bathroom quickly in my torn shoes.  As I head back, I take a picture of my shoes and post it on Facebook: “Yeah, wearing these babies for the Folsom LC…it’s been such a busy summer…but God is in control”. 
I find Troy and new friends, Mike and Donna, at the pre-race prayer.  I squeeze one leg into my wetsuit before we start.  We pray for the racers, protection, and opportunities to be the Lord’s hands and feet out there today.  We thank Jesus for our health and bodies that are able to do something so long…especially Mike who competed in the Full Vineman with Troy 3 weeks ago.  We also pray that Mike stay on course after biking 12 extra miles last year!
I give the family love and hugs and then jump in the water for a warm-up.  Burr, it’s cold!  This is so weird because just yesterday I swam upstream at Rattlesnake Bar (which flows into this lake) in just a swimsuit and was very comfortable!  I’m so glad that I have my new wetsuit from!  Thanks Patty!
I line up with my group and get ready to go!  I hope to find a draft and have a good swim time.  Go!  I get out quick and watch the girls that forge ahead.  I see two girls speed away and a third girl to the right of me and slightly ahead.  I decide not to draft because she’s too far out there and I’m not sure if she’s worth drafting yet.  I am thankful I can swim really straight and I hope it works to my advantage.  I catch the 3rd girl at the 1st swim buoy and stay near her till the next buoy a short distance away. 
After the turn she goes far right again so I opt to swim straight instead.  I can see she’s pulling ahead but I remain hopeful.  As I look up at the last buoy ahead, it’s almost as if it’s getting further away.  Eventually I’m there and the girl is already around it and on her finish kick.  I dig down and push hard to the end.  As I approach the shore, I see the girl running up to T1.  I get out, kick off my wetsuit and run to my bike.  I’m out of transition my fastest ever this season…yeah, thanks God! 
I’m off!  I cross over the Hwy 50 bike bridge and head towards Prairie City.  I pass one girl and wonder if she is the one I was chasing.  This is a two loop course with a series of out and backs…3 to be exact. 
On the first out and back I see just a few guys and then I see a girl and she’s way up there!  She must have had a super fast swim!  I don’t think I’ll catch her but I’ll keep my eyes out for her.  I pass another girl going out.  This must mean I’m in 2nd!  Wow Lord!  I wonder if this is a place I can hold!
As I head out to the next out and back I don’t see any new women.  On the way back I see Dale Jackson,  he’s looking great!  I know he’ll be passing soon!  My pace started around 18.5mph and is getting faster…yeah!  Soon there’s a significant hill and I slow down but am still able to pass some guys without pressing too hard.  I’m thankful for all the hard riding I’ve done with the Victory Velo riders!  It’s up and down to the turn-around and the moment of truth…who is hunting me down?
Coming back I see two women, one in white and one in red.  They both look strong!  I set a goal to stay ahead through Mile 28 (halfway).  I see a few more women that look strong as I turn on the last out and back…oh boy!  I’m feeling good myself and can see my average approaching the mid-19’s.  I’m really surprised at how well it’s going and can only thank the Lord.  Dale goes by and I cheer for him.
I make the turn and start watching.  Yep, girl in white and girl in red…and closing the gap!  And not too far behind.. some more ladies.  I turn on the main road and head back to finish the first loop.  I keep watching the miles click off and hope I can make it to 28!
Mile 27.  The turn around is coming.  I might make it…no, I get passed by the girl in white like I’m standing still.  It was a good effort. I look down at my average speed of 19.5, I cannot be upset…I’m going faster than expected!  The turn around looks a bit dicey with the sprint riders going right and us doing a u-turn to the left.  I just about make it around when another cyclist takes it sharp, passes me on the inside and makes me wobble a bit.  He apologizes, I accept and he heads out in front of me.
I am able to keep the girl in white in my sights.  As we head out to the Prairie City area, I start to pass her and at the same moment another guy impatiently passes both of us on the other side of the double line.  That’s a big no-no.. an instant DQ in this sport.  I look at her as I’m passing and say “I guess that was worth it?”.  She smiles in agreement. 
I’m certain she will pass me again but I still make a run at staying ahead.  On the first out and back, the girl in white passes again. We both tell each other good job.  As she pulls ahead, the guy who passed me at the end of the first loop goes by and gets right on her wheel.  Hmm, I hope he’ll pass her or drop back because he can only stay on her wheel for 15 sec.  He doesn’t and clearly is now drafting.  I keep watch as we make a series of sharp right hand turns.  I feel bad for all the hard work that he is benefitting from.  I want to catch up and tell him to leave her alone but I will leave it to the race officials.  At the Silicon Valley Tri I yelled at a cyclist for doing the same thing and that didn’t help the situation.  All I can do is hope an official catches him.
Soon I hear the race official’s motorcycle come along.  I hope they catch him!  They pull up and watch him for several moments.  From my point of view it seems like a clear cut penalty.  The official continues on and the guy continues drafting the girl.  Within a few minutes another race official motorcycle comes along and also observes him. Wow, I think he’s going to have several minutes added to his time.  At the turn around I see the officials talking intently…maybe about that guy? 
On the way back, I see the drafting continue and hope that she can get away.  I also see some new faces chasing me too…and they look fast.  My new goal: finish behind the girl in white. 
On the next out and back, I see the girl in white is able to pull away from that guy…yeah!  My average is close to 19.7.  Wow, Lord, awesome!  I cannot believe it!  I climb up the big hill again and try to scream down the other.  On the way back, I see 2 fast girls have moved ahead of the girl in red that has been chasing me.  One is from the Olympic Club and the other from Forward Motion…I have my work cut out for me! 
One more out and back and then I can head home.  I’m catching the drafter.  He’s been all alone for a long while now.  I know I need to pass convincingly to keep him off my wheel.  I ride by as fast as I can and it looks like it’s worked.  The Olympic Club girl and Forward Motion girls are getting closer but I think I might be able to hold them off until the run.
I keep looking back to check if that guy is trying to draft me.  He is still back there and I realize I’m stressing out too much about him.  I decide to not look back and focus on getting home.  Lord, with you , I don’t need to worry!
My average is 19.8.  Wow, can I bring it up to 20?  I don’t have much left to ride so maybe 19.9 is possible.  Lord, I’m amazed at what you’ve helped me to do! 
I hit 19.9 right before I turn off the road to head back to T2!   I hear the volunteers trying to get someone’s attention.  Maybe it’s a car.  As I turn on the bike path another guy jumps on the trail from my left.  Wow, where did he come from?  I look and realize that he had just come from the freeway offramp!  The volunteers were yelling at him.  I’m so glad he’s okay, that is so dangerous!
As I come in to T2, I can see Francie and Dave Campbell who are volunteering cheering for me.  I make it to my spot and get ready to run. I hear the girls and Troy cheering and I wave. I make another quick transition and hit the road. Dale is right there on the way out.  I hope his AquaBike was a good one!  I drop my hat on the way and have to run back and get it…oops!
I know that today the run will be my weak link.  I cannot complain though, this is a gift!  The course is a double out and back.  I set my pace to be between 7:30 and 8min pace.  I feel pretty stiff going out but am able to manage a 7:40 average…thanks God!  I pass the girl in white and tell her good job.  I realize that I’m the 2nd woman on the course.  Wow!
At the turn around, I can see that the Forward Motion gal is coming up quick.  It’s not long before she passes.  I tell her good job and then try to stay with her.
Mile 4 is 7:36. I’m still with the FM girl and around the corner comes the drafting guy.  He says to us, “that’s the race right there”.  The FM girl says back to him that it’s too early to tell.
Mile 5 is 7:41.  The FM girl asks me if there is a restroom and I tell her I don’t think so but there is plenty of cover out here.  At the next aid station she stops to walk through and I’m alone again.  Well I better not slack off now…especially since I’ve seen the Olympic Club girl and another FM girl, Sharley, running fast behind us!
Mile 6 is 7:29.  Alright!  I know that I’ll be finishing the first loop and I hope to see Troy and the girls.  The course goes right over to the finish and then continues to the next loop.  Troy is there smiling and cheering me on.  “It’s survival on this one” I tell him.  “Maybe you’ll get your second wind”…ha, ha just what I told him at Vineman.  I smile and tell him I’ll see him soon.
Mile 7 is 7:41.  Well maybe I will get a second wind.  I know there are still women behind me so I’d like to be able to pick it up.
Over the next few miles I go from a 7:58 to an 8:17 pace…oh brother!  I get down and think that under 8 min. pace is not going to happen.  I realize that my average pace is still under 8 minutes even though the pace per mile has slowed.  Wow, God thanks again!  You are sneaky!
At the out and back, it looks like I just might hold off the girls.  The FM that dropped off is back on track but doesn’t seem to be running any faster than me.  Sharley is sure looking fast but I think I have enough distance on her.
Mile 12 is 8:20.  Ugh!  Come on legs!  Knowing the finish is less than a mile away I pick it up. 
Mile 13 is 8:02.  Yes!  I see Dale and he tells me I’m the second woman coming in.  That first girl ahead of me on the bike stayed ahead on the run too.  I see Anna ready to run in with me at the finish.  She grabs my hand and literally pulls me across the finish line.  Wow, that was great!  Thank you Lord! 
Name Race Time Age Group Place Swim Bike Run
DALE JACKSON AquaBike 3:08:25 MEN 2ND 33:05 2:33:30 NA
ROBIN SOARES 1/2 IM 5:10:41 W35-39 1st 34:27 2:48:32 1:46:44