Sunday, August 4, 2013

TBF Tri for Real–Troy

8/4/13, Rancho Seco Park, Herald, Ca.
Swim 1.5k – Bike 40k – Run 10k

2:09:00 (23:17 – 1:25 – 1:01:49 – 1:03 – 41:26)


1st / 10


Dave Campbell, Rich Kane

2:09:00 (0:23:17 - 1:25 - 1:01:49 - 1:03 - 41:26) 

It’s great waking up a 1/4 mi from the race start.  But the loud teens running around at 2am was not such a benefit.  We all emerge from our tents in the Rancho Seco camp site with the ever-present nuclear cooling towers looming in the distance.  And Robin’s parents, Jan and Jerry, are here, too.

Anna & I get ready and show up early to transition.  We get spots pretty close to each other and then go for a run together back to the tent for breakfast.  Now for a bike warm-up.. although it’s getting close to start time and Anna’s a little concerned.  But we get down to the water in good time and all anxiously wait to watch Anna do her kid’s triathlon.

After proudly watching Anna get through both transitions, I hustle to my own swim start, knowing I’ll miss her running but that she’ll do great anyway.  I don’t get much of a swim warm-up in after I realize I’m in the 2nd wave.  I see Rich and a few others I know.  They’re all in yellow while I stand out in a wrong-colored red swim cap. Oh well.  Our field is small.

Go!  I haven’t swam much lately but the last one went well so I go for it and jump on a fast swimmers draft soon into it.  I hang on.. and then find another… all the way to the buoy.. and then can hang no longer.  It suddenly gets very hard and I have to settle for going at my own pace.  Directly into the sun but thankfully I still make out a shade of orange whenever I sight which keeps me on track.  Although alone, I’m focusing on form, and happily feel like I’m swimming pretty well.  I lost the pack so might be slow, but my feet are close together and I’m gliding along so I can’t be too slow.

I’m so glad to make the final turn out of the sun.  Almost there, gotta push as hard as I can.  These arms won’t be used anymore after this so use them up!  1/2 way there and another swimming is coming up on me.  I give it all I’ve got and finally touch the bottom.  It’s a long “wade” to the shore.  I try to high-step as much as possible.  Once out, my great 2nd-hand wetsuit from Patty at comes right off and I’m running up the chute. This Aquaman wetsuit has been the best I’ve had throughout my years racing.  Ariel and Anna are cheering. Anna says I’m the first one in my group (but that’s because I’m the only red cap!)  23:17 – good time.

130804_tbf_triforreal_troy_bikeA quick transition (1:25) and I’m off on the bike.  Ok, this is where it counts.  My run has been slower lately so I need to make up for it here. The roads are re-paved and smooth. There’s a tailwind going out.. gotta make the most of it. I think my previous average here was 23 so I work to maintain 24 going out.  I work hard to keep gaining on other bikes in the distance.  I’m boosted by the high speeds I see, but then I look to the swaying reeds along the road to be reminded of the tail wind helping.  A tail wind not only pushes you along, but makes it quiet and peaceful.  Wind in your face is always distracting.  I love the sound of purring wheels and gears shifting.

I encourage riders as I go by. Now I see them coming back and start counting.  I make the turn-around in 10th place.  I’ve been preparing mentally for the headwind the whole way so now when I head back I’m ready to not let it bother me.  Just have to keep pushing like it’s not there and maintain 22mph.  It’s working. Thanks, Lord!  I make quick work catching the next guy.  And soon reel in another.  I cheer for Dave and other friends going out.  I remember seeing Robin going out last year when she was doing it with me.  But this year it didn’t fit into the Ironman plan.

I’m happily surprised that I’m keeping a good speed on the small hills and then getting into a good rhythm on the flats.  The cooling towers come into view. I pass 1 more guy, and encourage him, before the turn. It’s just a short gradual climb into the park. Speed is at 23.2..  gotta keep it above 23!  Over the speed bumps I keep the pace and come sailing into transition.  Wow, that was a good ride!  1:01:49 – 23.1mph

I hear Anna, Ariel, Jan & Jerry and Robin cheering.  It’s so uplifting and helpful to have your family excited to watch you race.  It picks me up and sends me dashing out onto the run course. (1:03 T2)

On the run.  Although I’ve been slower at the track lately, I’m often surprised how fast I can go at a race.  I feel much better right now than even on the track.  But I might not have the endurance to last.  Just gotta push early and see what happens.  The first 2 miles are on rolling fire road.  The temperature has been perfect today, but I could still use some cooling.  I splash water in my face, eat a Hammer Gel, and drink a cup.

I’m over 2 min behind the guy in front when I hit the street.  He might be the 1st guy in my age group so I focus on steadily moving up.  The next mile on the road is an out-n-back.  At the turn-around I’m surprised to see 3 guys behind me!  Within a minute.  Ok, forget about the guy ahead, the race is behind me!  I try to pick it up.

130804_tbf_triforreal_troy_runThe next 2 miles are on the trail.  A racer is 15 secs behind me.  I’ll use the tricky, narrow path to my advantage, constantly looking ahead and smoothly keeping my speed through each corner.  I think it’s working, I don’t see him as close.  I take water at each aid station.  I can feel my energy levels depleting and the legs tightening.  Just a little longer.. just gotta get back on the fire road.

On the fire road!  I look back.  No sign of him.  But I’m still racing against Dave Campbell.  He’s 10yrs older but we still compete against each other’s times.  I need a fast run to beat him and I think I can do it today.  1 mile to go.  I take Gatorade.  I’m tired.  I focus on keeping the pace while smiling and encouraging the others heading out, many of them cheering for me.

130804_tbf (39)bAhh! Into the park area.  The final stretch on the grass.  It feels so good to almost be done.  There’s Ariel.  She’s all smiles and ready to run.  Daddy and Daughter run down the finish line.  Whew!  We stop and pray, thanking the Lord for a great race and being able to run together! 41:26  (Dave beat me by 1:10!)

It was exciting to win my age group.  But humbling to see that the next 50-54 age group was more competitive.  Gotta keep training.. it’s not going to get easier.




Age Group





Maria Hodges (FCA Teammate)
2:05:28 Coed Relay 1st
(4th OA)
23:45 (Maria) 1:00:35 41:08


2:09:00 M45-49 1st 23:17 1:04:17 41:26


2:10:28 M55-59 1st 23:22 1:08:09 40:16
RICH KANE 2:15:54 M40-44 2nd 23:51 1:08:29 43:34