Sunday, June 26, 2016

California International Triathlon–Troy


June 26, 2016 – Shadow Cliffs Park, Pleasanton, CA


Swim 1.5km – Bike 40km – Run 10km


2:17:36 (26:56 – 1:31 – 1:05:28 – 1:09 – - 42:32)


7th (31st Overall)


Robin Soares (FCA, Sprint), Anna Soares (FCA, Sprint), Clyde Floyd (FCA, Sprint), Dan Smedley

We wake up about 3am to drive down to Pleasanton.  The last time I did this race, I was recovering from broken ribs.  It was a great experience even though I had to go slower.  However, my bike was actually very good.  Today, I’m healthy, but I’ve been working long hours and not able to train much.  Like last time, I’ll do the best I can.

We arrive and get transition spots together.  It’s a full house!  An hour early is not going to be enough.  Anna is doing her first Sprint Triathlon!  We’re so excited, and concerned, for her.  Robin is doing the Sprint also but will hang back with Anna to keep her safe.  We head to the beach for the FCA Pre-Race prayer which Nick Tuttle announces.

There’s 8 of us praying.  It’s so great to meet other Christians before the race.  And too realize there are others concerns besides my own.  The race is starting and the plan was for Anna & Robin to go last.  But Anna’s wave is first.  Not wanting to cause confusion, I send them off now trailing the first group.  Anna has a smile and starts calmly.  Hoping it goes well.

I have the clear goggles again.  Didn’t pack the dark ones.  I did learn from the last race and apply slick spray to my wetsuit.  I start about 4 rows back.  Go!  It feels hard but I do my best to stay smooth and efficient.  Sighting is really hard with these goggles.  I don’t even try to draft, all my focus is just trying to swim.  Around the buoy, now I can see better.  The water is very warm which is what Anna wanted with her spring suit.  But I have to let cool water into my suit sometimes to keep from overheating. 

160626_catris_Troy_swim1This swim feels so long.  It’s a good course, though.  Finally around the 2nd buoy I can hammer home.. but my hammer doesn’t seem any faster.  There is a girl alongside me that I’m trying to pull in front off.  She really pushes me.  The bottom starts coming into view and I prepare for the exit.  160626_catris_Troy_swim2Up, run, goggles, cap, wetsuit off… oops, Garmin is in the way. Back on, Garmin off, wetsuit off.  It comes off great with the spray slick!  26:56, about 3 minutes off but to be expected.

Grab my bike and go!  But I see I don’t have any shoes in the pedals.  I run back to transition, get my shoes from my bag and head back out.  Rookie mistake.  Heading out I see the Chavez family, here supporting today.  160626_catris_troy_bikeOnto the course I’m excited.  There is a long gradual climb which went so well last time I’m looking forward to it.  I wonder where Anna & Robin are.  When I see a smaller rider way ahead I wonder if it’s them.  My form feels better on the bike.  Focusing on pressure on the seat and lifting my knees forward.  I feel like I’m flying.  It’s fun.

We go on some new streets, but we eventually get to the road up the canyon.  Cool!  I keep the same position and it feels great for the gradual climb.  I’m passing a lot of people.  I wonder if I’ll go faster than last time.  Around the turn at the top and now descending, my favorite.  However I’m not really feeling the groove on pushing the descent.

Onto the big boulevard, we have a whole lane to ourselves.  It’s a cool course, both urban and rural.  Good roads.  Onto the sprint course now, which I used to do a lot when I was starting in ‘92.  Great memories.  On a climb along the back of the park, there are 5 challenged athletes struggling to get up it.  Some are grunting and all are working like crazy.  Awesome.  So impressed.  A guy in my age group passes me.  Maybe he’s 1st?  I pick it up, catch him on a corner and push all the way to the park.  He pulls ahead again.  Tall.  Could be a good runner.

Swooping into the park, I have a good dismount into running.  But my shoe unclips.  Someone says they’ll get it so I keep running to my transition.  All the way to the end.. when it starts to look unfamiliar… someone yells, “You’re over here!”   It’s Anna!  She’s already done and taking her bike out of transition.  “Dad, what are you doing? You’re over here, come through here.”  This is such a great moment.  I was hoping she would get through the race ok and seeing her done is a great joy. Thank you, Lord, for making it great.  And then to have her help me in my race, when I’m supposed to be helping her, is funny!  1:05:28, a little faster than the last time.

I head out on the run and see Carrie Chavez and think of how I’m trying to run like her husband, Steve.  He’s so fast and always smiling.  Quick steps, powerful, and having fun.  That’s what I’m trying.  I have doubts like, “How long can I keep this up with minimal sleep and training?”  But I know I have to give God my best and adjust when needed, always staying positive.  I get some calf pain, but I don’t let it concern me.  Just see if it goes away.  The tall guy that passed me is no where to be seen so I must be ahead.  But a younger guy passes me and I make a goal to stay with him.

160626_catris_troy_runOnto the flat bike path my calf feels better.  I try to just “fall foward”, getting more speed with same effort.  We run right through a pump-track with bike waiting for us to cross before they careen into the jumps.  Onto the trails along the levy and creek I think about how much Anna probably like this after running trails in Auburn.  I drink as much water as I can at every aid station. It’s nice and cold.  On the descents I try to open up.  Down across the river I pass the young guy and then shorten my steps for the climb.  Back n forth, I finally pass him for good the next time we drop down across the creek.  Along the levy I see our FCA tent in the distance and think I hear Robin & Anna cheering so I wave.  I’m pushing well but it’s hard to think of doing this loop again. 

I come through the finish area to start lap #2.  The announcer cheers me through.  I see Carrie Chavez again and say, “Do I look like Steve yet?”  She says, “Yes, you do!”  That’s motivation.  Ok, I can do this lap again.  On the 2nd lap I do everything the same.  160626_catris_troy_finishFalling forward.  Pump track.  Push the descents.  The tiredness really sinks in with 1/2 mi to go.  But the finish line is there and it’s great to be done!  42:32, about a minute slower than Folsom Tri but better than expected. Thank you, Lord, for a super fun, exciting race.  Even though I came into it unprepared and slower, you make it so much fun, protecting me as I push myself beyond the comfort zone.