Sunday, May 15, 2016

Auburn International Triathlon (Troy)


May 15, 2016 – Auburn, CA


Swim 1.5km – Bike 40km – Run 6.2km


2:34:54 (25:21 – 2:19 – 1:21:00 – 1:10 – 45:04)


1st (4th Overall)


FCA TEAMMATES: Robin Soares (Half), Dave Fraser (Mini), Mike Bradley (Mini), Flor Hodges (Int’l), Mike Pirnat (Int’l), Trixie Bradley (AquaBike), Troy Outman (AquaBike)

More: Dave Campbell (Int’l), Elise Winter (int’l), Farah Avasarala (int’l), Jim Silk (Int’l), Richard Kane (Half), Keith Hansen (Half), Andrea Ivan (Half)

Love having a great local triathlon tradition. Don’t like being undertrained.  But that’s not a big deal, just do the best I can for the Lord.. that is the goal.

Really cool having Mike, Trixie & Dave to ride to the start with!  It’s light out at 5:45 when we start down the hill.  Great to see so much water at Rattlesnake Bar swim start! Of Course the first people I see are Francie Campbell, her daughter and grand-daughter, and Sarah Outman, all volunteering.  I complete body marking, transition set-up, warm-up run with my favorite triathlete, Robin, and a pre-race prayer with FCA Endurance TeamMates, Robin, Dave Fraser, Mike & Trixie Bradley, Flor Hodges, Mike Pirnat, and Troy Outman. WP_20160515_06_35_37_Pro_thumb1

Robin is doing the World’s Toughest Half. Her start is 5min before mine so we get to swim out to the start together which is cool.  Water temp perfect. Swim course director (Boost Swim?) is on a paddle board and very good at explaining the course.  Robin takes off and I pray she has a good race on such a difficult course.

I’m floating near some friends, Dave Campbell and Jim Silk who also make the race competitive, even being 10 yrs older than I!  They are impressive athletes.

Go!  I hope to be with the pack for a while like at HITS.  But instead I’m quickly getting left behind.  Everything seems to be working right, but I just must be going slower.  I’ll just do the best I can and keep hoping I’ll move up.  To the first buoy is beautiful.  Easy to sight, cool clean water, and a slight downstream current.  But around the turn it’s directly into the sun.  Can’t see the buoy so try to follow others.  Eventually I have to stop for a moment to get a bearing.  Don’t like loosing time.  Soon I’m feeling confident again that I know where I’m going.  Some 1/2 Ironman athletes are passing me.  I wonder if I’ll meet up with Robin, the timing is about right. [Later I find out she was about 100 yds behind me].

After the 2nd turn, it’s a clear shot to the finish boat ramp.  I push hard.  Thinking about the steep bike ride ahead.. but first gotta finisht the swim well.  As the bottom of the boat ramp comes into view below the water, I prepare for a smooth exit. Up, goggles off, sleeve off, pull Garmin off, other sleeve off, then run to transition.

Coming into T1 I go right by my rack and stare at the unfamiliar bikes.  Troy Outman is nearby at the same time and yells to me where my bike is.  Thanks, Troy!  Ok, warm day, no socks or jacket, just helmet, glasses, pack my bag and go!

I recently changed my seat position.  It’s working better for these steep hills.  I feel like I’m going pretty fast.  I focus on being efficient and fast without over working.  I see Rob Hodges on Newcastle Rd.  Then Greg Winter on Shirland Tract.  Huffing and puffing up the switch-backs I’m glad to see Dave Campbell.  He’s a faster swimmer and runner than me so I have to get ahead on the bike.  Along Auburn-Folsom Rd, the only flat part of the whole course, I’m thrilled to see my girls with our good friends, the Nickels (Jeremy, Karen, Ellie & Ben).  They cheer loudly and my speed picks up.  Through the finish area and then into the twisty neighborhood roads that we know so well.Troy_bike (by greg W)

One thing is very evident, there are a LOT of volunteers patrolling every turn and cheering enthusiastically.  Police at all the intersections.  I try to thank them all.  They make me feel special by looking out for me so well.  Up past the sweet smells of Ikeda’s and then onto the Hwy 80 frontage roads.

At the first aid station on Bowman Rd I always look forward to see my friend from High School, Doug Olson, he’s always on the ball, cheerly loudly.  He also has a wonderful family.  This time he tells me that he thinks my wife is ahead of me!  Wow, can that be?  I start going even harder.  I sure want to see her before she continues on toward Colfax and I turn-around on the shorter course.

I see guys coming back and start counting.  I’m 7th at the turn.  No sign of Robin. Hopefully behind me.  Coming back I catch one guy.  Then I’m so glad to see Robin, Troy Outman, and Trixie Bradley about 2min apart.  I pass another guy (Philip Clark).  But he comes back time and again.  I go by fast on a downhill and then as soon as it pitches back up, he’s right there.  Is he drafting me?  Coming into town I go by real fast onto Borland Dr. and then look back to check.  Nope, he’s not drafing.  He’s just really strong on the flats and goes by as soon as we start climbing.

Through the twisting neighborhoods.  Great volunteers calling out the corners.  I can’t catch him and roll into T2 in 6th.  4th place (Jesse S.) is 1-1/2 min ahead. Good dismount.  Painful barefoot running in the Overlook Park lot.  Shoes, hat and gels and I’m off running on stiff legs.

Looks like I passed Philip in transition as I’m now in 5th. It’s a beautiful run behind the Overlook Park (very green) and down across the Dam Overlook to the turn-around.  I see the 4 leaders coming back.  Philip is only 10 secs behind me.  I push all the way back up the road. And even more up to the Maidu Aid Station where our church will be helping later.  I’m pushing hard, all the way to the top onto the canal trail.  But then my hamstring starts to pull.  I ease off a little and keep rolling.  Everything else has been great.  The right achilles hasn’t given me any trouble.  And the hamstring only came on after really pushing.

I’m very conscience of the roots and rocks and am telling others, too.  I’ve fallen about 3 or 4 times out here.  Once in this race last year.  Coming through the finish area is great.  The crowd and the announcer are enthusiastic.  I get more water and head back into the beautiful trails.  I’m tired but know it’s a shorter loop this time.  Piece of cake.

Looking up to the FCA Endurance tent at the Maidu Aid Station, I’m thankful for the day the Lord has given me.  I’ve been able to push, I’m not injured, and He makes something hard actually fun.  This is the last time up this hill.  I still have to push because I never know what might be around the next corner.  Maybe the 1st place guy in my age.

Gasping, I descend onto the Canal Trail for the final mile.  Up ahead are 2 guys and 1 looks like he’s in my race.  Do I have enough course left to catch him?  And if I come up on him, will he surge ahead?  Be calm, steady as she goes.  I know they’re tired just like me and I start thinking of their safety.  Feeling a little push from the Lord, I yell to them, “Watch out for the rocks and roots!” 

Surprisingly, when they hear me, they start to concede and move over some to give me room.  “No, you’re ok” I say.  But the more I try to help them, the more they make it easier for me.  I pass and thank them.  Still surprised that it didn’t turn into a painful sprint for a 1/2 mile!  However, the pace is still high and it really hurts getting up that final steep wall before the street. But then I turn into the park and the finish is close.  I have a good sprint and finish very happy!  I’m 4th overall. Turns out to be 1st in my age.

I congratulate some of the guys behind me and then get to witness Dave Campbell (59) out-sprint a young guy, Jeremy Pond (17).  That’s quite an age difference and made for some great photos.

After praying and thanking the Lord, I head to the FCA Endurance aid station on Maidu Dr. On the way there I see a girl in the International race running the wrong way.  I get her back on track.  And then I see a young couple running together finishing the Sprint for their 1st tri.  We met them yesterday and got them a couple helmets as they didn’t own any. I’m so glad to see them making it.  Ariel_spongegirl_aidstationThe rest of the day was really enjoyable with Anna and Ariel and our church helping at the aid station, especially helping Robin as she ran through on her way to 5th overall for the women!

Thanks, God, for a great day!

Auburn Tri Long Course–Robin-2016


May 15, 2016 – Auburn, CA


Swim 1.2M – Bike 56M – Run 13.1


5:59:10 (32:25 – 2:19? - 3:25:11 – 1:47 - 1:57:30)


2nd/7 (5th Overall)


Mini: FCA TEAMMATES Dave Fraser, Mike Bradley

International: Dave Campbell, Elise Winter, Farah Avasarala;FCA TEAMMATES – Flor Hodges, Mike Pirnat, Troy Soares

Toughest Half: Richard Kane, Jesse Moore,

Toughest Half AquaBike: Trixie Bradley, Troy Outman

We are up bright and early and soon biking down to T1.  Teammates Dave Fraser, Mike & Trixie Bradley are with us.  It’s so awesome to roll out of my own bed and bike down to a race start!

This year I make sure the first thing I do is get body marked.  Last year I totally forgot!!  Troy and I do a warm-up run.  We gather all of our FCA teammates for WP_20160515_06_35_37_Proprayer time.  It’s so awesome to share this common bond of racing for Christ!

Down to the swim start we go and are just thanking the Lord for WATER!  Last year we had to hike out way past the boat dock.  Now we can get in right next to it!



I pray with Troy and then swim out to the start.  It’s great to get in a nice warmup on the way!  I meet up with Trixie.  After moving to the left of the group and getting some instructions, we are off!  It’s a crowded start but soon I’m taking off with 2 other girls.  There probably is another gal out there somewhere in front but all I see are these girls.  We swim along the shoreline as told and head out to the first buoy.  I’m amazed that I’m still with these gals and that they are swimming straight…a rare occurance!  With the men’s wave still far ahead, I can basically put my head down and go!  I’m feeling great and strong!

imageAt the second turn buoy, I’m still swimming well and right with those girls.  As I make the turn and the sun is in my eyes, I loose sight of the girls.  To complicate things, there are a lot of guys here and Int. swimmers coming up as well [later I realize Troy was now ahead of me].  I finally find the girls but they are off to my far right.  The next turn buoy is an orange pyramind.  I look up and see a triangle and go for it.  I then look for those girls and they are heading further right.  Maybe I have something wrong. I lift my head high out of the water and look right.  Oh yeah, there’s another pyramid to the right…oops!  I head right and chase them down.

Robin_swim exit 2016By the last turn buoy, I’m all caught up!  Now it’s just a push to the finish!  I’m still feeling great and strong.  A quick glance at the watch tells me I’m close to swimming under 32 minutes!  I close the gap on the 2nd girl and chase the first girl to the boat ramp.  I hit my watch and I’m just a tad over 32.  Yeah!

I partially pull off my wetsuit and run up to my bike passing the 1st girl.  As I run in, I see Troy Outman heading out.  I get to my bike and throw on my jacket.  It’s not cold but also not comfortable.  After HITS, I’d rather be warm!  As I exit, Francie Campbell is there cheering me on.  She tells me that Troy is ahead of me and to go get him.

This course is not the called the “World’s Toughest” for no reason.  The first 7 miles are virtually uphill!  My shoes are on the bike and I’m actually able to slide my feet in.  The last few times I was wearing socks and I couldn’t feel my way into my shoes.  Note to self, bare feet are better!

160515_auburntri_lc_robin_bikeA few miles up the road I see Troy O.  He’s having trouble with his chain dropping already. I pray for the problem to resolve.  A girl from the Oakland Tri Team passes me and I am able to pass her back.  I pass another girl with a Braveheart Tri Club Jersery with a sword on the back.  That’s a cool jersey!

I make it to Shirland Track and hit the steep hill.  Always a toughie but I make it. Once at the top, I enjoy the down.  The goal is to push the flats and downhills today so I’m looking forward to these parts of the course.  I see Troy O ahead of me and suddenly a squirrel comes out of nowhere and heads right for him and another guy passing.  At the last second the squirrel turns around and heads back.  Oh, thank you Jesus!  That was close!

A girl in pink goes by FAST!  She’s clearly a bike specialist.  I know I cannot match her on the bike but maybe on the run?

Mile 6.  The first set of climbing is done!  I turn on Auburn Folsom Road and look for the girls.  They might be waiting with Karen and her kiddos. The girls got to sleep over there last night.  Sure enough, there they are! I start waving so they know I’m coming. Anna’s holding a sign that says “I can do all things through Christ”.  I wave and smile.  What a great boost!

I pass T2 and sort of wish I could stop here like the Mini folks!  I see Elise Winter’s husband, Greg, and their kids.  “Hello Team Winter!”

Mile 10. Crossing over Foresthill Road.  So impressed already by the volunteers, CHP and Auburn PD.  Things are running so smoothly.  I feel safe and encouraged! 

I already see the top International guy coming back!  Wow, might see Troy soon!  As I climb up past Lake Arthur I see him!  He’s flying and smiling!  He’s got to be top 4 or 5!  Nice!  And, just a bit after him comes Dave Campbell.  He looks strong and is definitely top 10!

Mile 15.  I see our friend Sam at the International turn around.  He’s so ethusiastic, love it!  I wish I could turn here!  Just keep climbing!

Mile 20.  Geisendorfer Road!  This is one of shortest but steepest climbs on this course!  I am so relieved to get that over with.  Now for my favorite part of the course, Canyon Way!  This is where I can get in my aerobars and try to hammer. 

As the road turns into a climb, I see my old college running teammate, Jesse Moore, coming back already on his bike!  He’s about 10 miles ahead of me by this point!  Blows my mind!  I still need to climb up to Colfax and bike in and out of the Bear River Campground!

Mile 25.  Down to the Bear River Campground I go!  I’m a bit too cautious but do get some good momentum at the bottom that is until I see a dog off leash.  It seems ready to chase me and takes a few trots towards me.  I tell him no as I slow around the turn and he backs off.  Dear Lord, please protect others from this dog.  May there be no accidents!  I try to get my speed up before I start the climb out. 

I climb well out of the campground.  There is a lot more downhill ahead now but still plenty of ups!

Mile 40.  Boy, Canyon Way is tougher on the way back than I remember!  That Oakland girl from the beginning of the race passes me.  I’m unable to match her pace but I’m not giving up hope!

One last major obstacle ahead, the out and back on Lake Arthur.  The turn for this part of the course is WELL marked and well supported…which is good for those who might not know this part of the course well. A guy goes by smiling and says, “you must be the leader since you’re wearing the yellow jersey”.  It takes me a moment to get it and then I laugh and say thanks.

Part way up the road, another girl passes me. At the same time, that girl in pink flies down the road.  Wow, she’s still looking strong!  And she’s followed by another girl in black.  Never saw her.  She must’ve had an amazing swim.

Further up the road I surge and pass the girl back.  I make the turn and hammer down.  I see another girl, blond, coming up the hill fast!  At the same time, the other girl passes me back!  I dig deep and try to keep her close.  Shortly after the blond gal passes.  Don’t get discouraged!  Keep fighting!  This bike is almost done!

Mile 50.  So close now!  Those 2 girls are out of sight but I’m still focusing on pushing the downs and flats hard.  I’m happy with my last miles and start switching focus to the run.

I dismount while keeping my shoes attached to my pedals successfully.  I’ve got some work ahead of me.  I likely have 4 women to chase down unless some of them are Aquabikers.  I hear Stephanie Artis cheering.  My legs feel like jello!  I don’t feel I pushed the bike too hard yet my legs say different.

Again, proving to be the “World’s Toughest”, the course goes right onto the Western States Trail.  I was thinking no problem but with my wobbly legs, this is going to be hard to navigate!  After a half mile, I hear footsteps behind me.  I look back to see if I need to pull over and before I know it, I trip and fall.  I go down on my right side.  The guy behind me asks if I’m alright as he goes by and I say yes.  I quickly assess the damage…torn up knee and a sore hip…likely a cut there as well.  I keep going and try to stay focused on my footing.

Mile 1 is 8:34.  I was hoping to average 8:15 for the first 5 miles but I don’t see myself being able to do that.  I’m getting negative.  Lord, please help me stay joyful.

Mile 2 is 8:55.  Ugh!  My fear of falling on this sometimes rocky trail is not helping.  I wonder where the girls are.  I know once I near the Murphy’s Gate turn, I’ll get to see.  I’m really looking forward to the FCA Endurance aid station there.  Seeing familiar faces will be a boost. 

The course is wider here, mostly smooth and level.  Should be able to pick up the pace but it’s hard.  The girl in pink is coming back and she looks strong!  Wow, I was wrong!  She’s a runner too!  Not far behind her is the girl in black also looking good.

Mile 3 is 8:36.  I see the Oakland girl heading back and nobody else!  Okay, two of those gals that passed me were AquaBikers. 


Almost to the aid station.  V__179BI see a poster “Don’t think of them as hills but as mounds of opportunity”.  Ha, good one!  “Go Robin!” It’s our Auburn FCA Endurance leader, Kris Kennedy, cheeing for me using a cone as a bullhorn.  There is lots of cheering, lots of cow bells and lots of smiles.  I’m wonderfully overwhelmed by my teammates and track buddies.  It’s a great boost!


Heading back I see a girl coming behind me and she looks strong.  I remember her, the Braveheart girl.  Got to try to hold her off!

Mile 4 is 8:21.  Wow, running great.  I hope this boost lasts!

Mile 5 is 8:53.  Off the wide main trail and back on a narrow, rocky trail.  Many climbs ahead and I hope it’s an opportunity to catch the Oakland girl!

The Dam Road!  That’s it’s name for real!  Okay, here we go, time to climb!  I pass the guy from the bike that commented on my yellow jersey.  He’s still smiling and he encourages me as I go by.  I tell him good job too. 

I see the Oakland girl ahead!  Wow, maybe I can catch her!

Mile 6 is 10:01.  Ugh!  Once at the top it’s down to the green gate.  I see the Oakland girl in the distance.

Mile 7 is 10:03.  Yeah, an aid station!  I take my gel.  I’m almost to the gate and the Oakland gal is coming back.  She’s looking better but I still have a chance.  She tells me good job and smiles.  I do the same.  So nice of her! 

As I turn at the gate and head back there is the Braveheart girl coming fast.  She looks pretty young.  Hopefully she’s not in my age group…still, need to fight to stay ahead no matter what!

Mile 8 is 8:35.  Nice to see a sub-9min split!

Time to go up again…but this time to Troy’s aid station.  I’m hurting good now! 

I see Ellie Nickel and the girls up ahead.  I can tell they are having fun!  Got to smile even though this is tough.  I give Ellie a high five.  Ariel runs alongside me all the way up to the booth…I’m impressed but too tired to tell her. 


Troy comes alongside me too and I tell him I feel terrible.  “You’ve got a girl right in front of you.  Go after her.”  I want to say no way out of frustration but I say “okay”…because deep down I know he’s right that there always is a chance. Anna hands me a cup of Coke and my buddy Karen hands me water.  I see lots of familiar faces from church.  I tell them thanks.

Right as I turn the corner and head up to the canal, the Braveheart girl passes…and she has a 40 on her calf.  Oh dear, she’s in my age group.  I have Troy in my head and I try to pick up the pace but I feel maxed out.  Just keep trying!

Mile 9 is 9:52. Come on legs!!  I’m alone now with no one in sight.  I see a track friend, Ann, as I head back towards T2.  She cheers enthusiastically for me…much appreciated!

Robin_run_mi10_2_2016Mile 10 is 9:35.  Past T2 and the finishline I go.  Just one more short loop and I’m done.  I’ll get to see Troy and the gang one more time.  I hear folks cheering for me. 

Mile 11 is 9:08.  Not bad!  I’ll take it!  I just want to finish this thing!  One last climb to the aid station and it’s pretty flat after that!

Ariel_spongegirl_aidstationI make it back to the Aid station. I try to give most of the crew high fives and smile.  Troy and the girls are smiling too.  He and I know that it’s been a tough run.

Mile 12 is 9:45.  Ugh!  Almost done!  I pass Ann again and she encourages me to keep fighting.  I make it back to T2 and know the finish is near!  I see the finish and try to “push” through.  I cross the line looking up to the Lord and thanking Him for getting me through. Yes, indeed the “World’s Toughest” is done!

Note: during the race, our friend, Dave Holloway, was flying above and took this picture:


Sunday, May 8, 2016

TBF Happy Kids Duathlon #5 (Anna)

Date/Location: 5/8/16, Granite Bay
Distance: 1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time: 28:20 ( 7:49 – 12:19 – 8:12)
Place: 1st Age / 2nd overall
Teammates: Ariel

WP_20160508_07_59_35_ProWP_20160508_08_07_53_ProWP_20160508_08_13_53_ProGo! Off we go! I'm running fast and there is a girl next to me. She’s setting a good pace. We keep going and I stay ahead of her. I don't want her to pass me. We get onto the dirt path and I keep running up and down the hills.image I stay in front of the girl and keep the pace. I'm second overall so far. I see the leader, a boy, in front of me and the lead cyclist in front of him. We cross a road and keep running.

WP_20160508_08_20_59_ProSoon, I see the finish line for the end of the run. I get to transition. I get my helmet on quick and jump on my bike. Now I'm first because I passed the first place boy in transition. He is putting on his bike shoes so it slows him down. Pretty soon though he passes me on the bike. I keep biking and come to the bridge and bike across.

Once across, I bike on a weaving road. The course makes a big loop. I go downhill, uphill, downhill and then turn. Now I'm heading back. I see little kids on their bikes heading towards me. One of them has a bike with fat tires. Then I see pink and I know that it's Ariel. She looks sad for some reason.  I say, “Good job”.  I’m sad for her because it’s her first duathlon and she’s sad.  I ask Jesus to give Ariel some of my strength to keep going.

I'm on the bridge now and I see the first place boy ahead of me.  Soon I am off the bridge and I’m coming down the hill to transition. WP_20160508_08_33_29_ProI put my bike back, take off my helmet and start the run. A boy passes me going out of transition. I didn't think I have the strength to pass him back. Then I see the fast girl from race #2 and #3 cheering me on. WP_20160508_08_34_30_ProI feel motivated and pass him. I keep running and I'm back on the same dirt trail I was on before. Then I go uphill and downhill for a while. I go across the road and I'm on another trail. While I'm running I see the finish line. I run strong and finish. I get first in my age group and second overall! Thank you Mom, Dad, and that friend for cheering me on!



TBF Happy Kids Duathlon #5 (Ariel)

Date/Location: 5/8/16, Granite Bay
Distance: 1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time: 39:44 (9:37 – 17:32 – 12:35)
Place: 4th age / 19th overall
Teammates: Anna

WP_20160508_07_59_35_ProWP_20160508_002The race director says "10, 9, 8…” and then “go!". We all take off. The kids are starting out way too fast and I'm trying to go my medium pace. I get a cramp. Must be from the bite of banana mommy gave me. We go through the trees and bushes and then Daddy pops up out of nowhere! And he says"go, Ariel, go!".

I run down a hill and up a hill. I can see the street I'm going to bike on. I ran a little bit more and Daddy pops out again cheering for me!

WP_20160508_008WP_20160508_007Then I run through more trees and bushes. I see a parking lot. Then Daddy pops out again cheering. Then I run up a hill and down a hill and through more trees and bushes.

I feel great and my cramp is almost gone. I run through two big rocks and Daddy is there cheering. I can see the finish area! As I'm finishing my run, I'm trying to sprint to pass a big boy. I can't catch him. Then I come into transition and get my helmet on. I take a big drink of water and run out with my bike.


I get on my bike and I see one of the boys I've been trying to catch. We bike up a big hill and his dad comes to cheer for him. And then I think to myself "I wish I hadn't let him go so far ahead!".

imageAs I'm biking, a bug flies into my mouth! Yuck! Then another bug flies into my eye. I can't see as well and I fall over and crash. Then I cry a tiny bit and get back on my bike. I hope I haven't gotten too far behind that boy! I see one of the volunteers cheering.

I go up a hill and down a hill and then I see Anna! I go up another hill and down. I turn into a dirt pasture surrounded by weeds. Then I see the turn around and I go back the same way I came in.WP_20160508_012

I make it back to transition. I am still upset from my crash. I head out on my run. I ran through trees and bushes and see Daddy cheering. I run up a hill and down a hill once again. After more trees and bushes, I see Daddy again!

I go a little bit more and see the two rocks. The finish is close. There's Daddy again. I run down the dirt path with Daddy cheering me on from the parking lot and running with me.  Anna has finished and is ahead cheering.  When I see the finish line, I sprint in. So glad I did this on Mother's Day!WP_20160508_014WP_20160508_017WP_20160508_08_53_16_ProWP_20160508_020image