Sunday, April 21, 2019

Copperopolis Road Race–Robin -2019

April 21st, 2019 – Milton, CA
2nd, Cat 4
Anna Soares, Hunter Glass, Troy Soares

It’s been two years since I’ve raced here. Thanking God that the entire family can be here! Usually the girls are with family or friends. Anna is racing the 14 & Under Junior race with her friend Hunter Glass. Ariel gets to hang out with Hunter’s sister Ashley and family. I just got a new road bike this past week. I gave Anna my road bike and was without a road bike for several months. I’ve been riding my triathlon bike so hoping I can adjust to all the changes today!

The time flies by and it seems like we all barely get warmed up. Even so, we stop and pray together with the Glass family. The Lord has to remain most important! We see Troy off. I find out that since there are very few women, they are starting us all together (Women 4, Women 5 & Masters 30+). This means I have some extra time to warm up and get ready. Thanks God!

There are 7 of us lined up. Ready, set, go! We roll out. One of the Masters riders from Thirsty Bear sets a quick pace. I’m in descent shape right now but this reveals that I have some work to do. The master’s gal and another girl from my category (no team, purple jersey) pull away as the climb starts. I make a push to bridge the gap. I work with another master’s from Peninsula Velo to catch the purple gal but the master’s gal is gone! The Peninsula gal tells us that the Thirsty Bear gal is a National Champ and hard to beat. The three of us make it to the top of the climb. The remaining 3 riders are far behind.

The three of us ride together. There is little talk. I am feeling tired and know I need to conserve in hopes I can possibly pull ahead on the climb before the big descent. I am a wimp on descents and especially here because it’s really torn up. I always hope to get ahead and started down the hill first. I let them do a lot of the pulling but make an effort to show I’m not slacking.

The final climb is coming up. As it approaches, I try to pull ahead. Right away, I can tell I don’t have the energy to pull ahead. The girls are right with me. I am forced to stick with them. There is a brief descent towards the top and short climb to the main descent. The purple gal pulls ahead and I pull ahead of the Peninsula master’s gal. I’m in 2nd hitting the descent. I forget how bumpy this is! I am afraid but try to avoid hitting the breaks. The Peninsula gal goes by but I am able to keep her in my sights. About 2/3 down I notice that one of my bike bottles is moving around. I quickly discover that the whole bottle cage is very loose and ready to fall off! I just put these cages on and failed to secure them well. I try to hold it as I finish the descent.

As the course flattens out, I put the water bottle in my pocket and try to tighten the cage bolt by hand as much as possible. The purple gal has pulled ahead quite a bit. I can see the Peninsula gal and work to catch her. The bottle cage is rattling a lot. I’m going to have to find someone with a wrench to tighten this down. It’s not going to last another descent and the noise is distracting.

I pass the finish line and hear the Glass Family and Ariel cheering. I smile and wave. Got to keep a good attitude despite the challenges… for God’s glory!

I decide to find some help at the aid station at the start of the next loop. I’m almost caught up with the Peninsula gal. I see a volunteer and stop and ask if he has a wrench I can use. He’s super helpful and pulls out a whole kit. Unfortunately, it takes a few minutes to find the right wrench. I find myself getting anxious and I’m thinking now that this stop was a bad choice. He gets it tightened down and I thank him. I feel bad for not being patient. Sorry Lord, I can do better!

I’m off and alone. In a way I’m relieved that some pressure is off of me because I’m so far behind now but I know that I’m tempted to not try as hard. As Troy often reminds me, you never know what can happen. That makes me continue to try and hope I can catch up.

I make it to the top of the long climb pretty tired but I’m still trying. I can see a rider way off in the distance. It must be the Peninsula gal. Don’t give up!

The backside of the course is rolling. I continue to look for my competition. Every so often I get a glimpse. It seems like I’m not gaining at all. It’s a fight with my flesh to continue pushing.


It’s bumpy along the backside and it seems to be wearing me down more. It just takes more effort to main a good rhythm.

I make it to the last climb before the descent. I’m still alone and I’m still trying to move. I am tired! I want to get this done and see my family. I’m hoping the day went well for Troy and Anna!

At the top, relief. I just need to get down and finish. I’m a bit more cautious this time. The bottle cage should be good but that’s in the back of my mind.

Finally, at the bottom! I push as hard as I can across the finish line. I’m alone but glad to be done and reunited with my wonderful family! Thank you Lord! I wasn’t sure if I could even get a road bike in time for this race and did. I’m thankful it all worked out!


Copperopolis Road Race–Anna- 2019

April 21st, 2019 – Milton, CA
23 Miles
1st , Junior 9-14
Hunter Glass, Robin Soares, Troy Soares
We are at the starting line and are ready to bike. This is my friend Hunter's first road race. This is my second road race. At the starting line, they tell us to put our bikes in the big chain ring. I don’t know why they had us do that. Soon the race director blows the whistle and we are off. We start to bike and I feel good. We turn onto a road that is super bumpy. I try to look for potholes so that I don't get a flat tire. It feels cool to be biking with a pack. As I am biking along, I find out that the only other girl in the race is a friend of mine, Shantelle. She normally races triathlons with me. We talk a little bit and I find out that she really doesn't like the bumpy road.

We have been going downhill for a while. We go past an aid station but it is so soon that nobody needs anything. It is mainly for the bikers that do two laps or more. Sometimes there is a smooth space but most of the time it is bumpy.

We hit the uphill and it is smoother. My legs are starting to hurt but I keep up the pace. I stay with the bikers as we bike uphill. I try to stay to the side because they warned us not to cross the yellow line. Some parts on the hill are bumpier than others.

After a while, my legs really hurt. I fall off the group, which includes Hunter and Shantelle, when they surge. I am not too far behind though. I keep pushing up the hill but they are getting farther ahead. That's ok though. I smile and know that I will be fine because I have God. After a while, I make it to the top. I see the group in the distance and try to not to let them get farther away. I feel content though and focus on doing my best and smiling for God.

It is windy and I wish that I had someone to draft behind. That is ok though. Sometime later I start to realize that I am gaining on them. I start to pick it up. Even if I can’t catch up it is cool to be gaining. I am getting closer and closer. I am surprised they aren’t pedaling hard and that I can catch up without a draft. I get close to the two cars that are following behind the group and they move over for me. I push hard and catch up to the group. I am so happy. I am glad God let me catch up. I slow down when I get there because they weren’t going as fast as I was just going. I get to finally draft. I stay behind and try not to lead in the front. We go through the countryside on a smooth road. I start to realize that every once and a while someone will surge and everyone then follows. But then it goes back to an easy pace. You just have to stay with the group when they surge and then you get a break.

Two people mostly lead and everyone else drafts. Shantelle is one of them along with a boy I don’t know. I have only been in the front once so far, and that was in the beginning. At mile 18, I start to get excited. We are almost done. We are going uphill and Shantelle and I pull ahead. We weren't trying to, but everyone was going slow. I hear the group surge and I start to pick it up so I don’t get left behind. We are biking uphill and are getting closer and closer. I try to save my energy and get ready to push.

At mile 19 we get to a downhill. Three boys pull ahead and I miss the opportunity to get in their group. I am drafting behind a boy who also couldn’t get in the group. Behind us is Shantelle, Hunter and some others. The boy I was drafting behind signals to me to pass him. I think he wants to draft. I get in front of him and realize I can go faster on this downhill. I take off and he doesn't stay with me. I don’t have anyone to draft of but I am going really fast. This hill is like the beginning and is really bumpy. I try and to hold on too tight so I don’t shake a lot. I also try not to let go because it is really bumpy. I get to the bottom of the hill and catch up to the group of three.

We are getting close to the finish line. I get a little too excited and start to lead. I try to slow down so I can draft. We get to the hill to the top and we go for it. The two old kids go ahead and I know I can’t stay with them. I am racing one kid though. My legs are burning and I try to keep pushing. I get ahead of the kid and keep pushing. I cross the finish line and point to God with one finger. When I get my balance down, I will point with two fingers. I was able to get the first girl. My friend Hunter did well, but he sadly didn’t have his glasses so had so trouble going down the big hill fast.

Praise The Lord For He Is Good, His Love Endures Forever!


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Copperopolis Road Race (Troy) 2019

April 21st, 2019 – Milton, CA
1st, Master 45+ Cat 4
Anna Soares, Hunter Glass, Robin Soares

We've done this race 5 times. It's always on Easter Wknd. This year, Anna (13) is also doing it, along with her friend, Hunter. I hear rumor that the dreaded pot-holes have been somewhat repaired this year and that eases my fear of Anna crashing because of a big bump.

For Robin & I, it's 2 loops of the big climb, bumpy road and steep descent. I haven't trained a lot on hills lately so this could be painful. I haven't slept much lately, so energy could be short-lived. But the biggest concern is safety.

There have been crashes in my last 2 races. I thank the Lord that I wasn't included. I know I'm no more deserving of protection over anyone else, but I'm so glad the Lord offers it to me if I ask. I trust Him and would never want to take these risks without Him!

Ps 56:3-4 "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid…"

Our family and the Glass family gather to pray for the race and for safety for everyone. I really want to help my fellow riders. I seek to do that by 1) being careful not to crowd or cut someone off 2) giving good warnings of obstacles or dangers 3) treating them with respect.



There are 50 riders and 5 categories represented: Cat 3 45+, Cat 3 55+, Cat 4 45+ (my group), Cat 4 55+, and Cat 5.

I guess there are about 8 with me. I gave the back racing wheel to Robin and took the front one for myself because it can be harder to control in the wind.. and more scary on the bumps.

I could run out of energy out there but my plan is to sit in with the pack until the 2nd loop, push the climb and try to summit with a couple others, paceline together and try to pull ahead before the last descent to the finish. If I summit alone, I will have to solo across the top which will hurt a lot.

My last race here, I also was ill-prepared and tired and didn't expect much but my friend, Trixie had prayed that it would be incredible and that made me realize anything is possible with Christ. I found myself going solo across the top after the 2nd climb and surprisingly rode well. I had never been out in front and it was super exciting. I flatted with 7 mi to go and the chase pack passed me but it was a thrill being in that position and gave me experience.

As we start into the base of the first climb, a rider shoots off the front. No one reacted and I started pulling ahead to keep him near. But I think maybe he's in another race on a later lap. Back in the pack I ask another guy and he agrees he's not in our group. Another guy goes by us and eventually bridges to the break-away. Again I figured they're from another race.

Up the hill I keep from getting near the front but pay attention to who is a strong climber. A guy in black and a couple others challenge the hill with ease. Across the top, the guy in black breaks away, but not convincingly, as if trying to see what the pack would do. The pack does nothing. A slight climb is approaching and I decide to bridge up to him to see what happens. I push off the front hard, hit the hill and maintain speed and am happy to catch him fairly easily near the top, but also see that the pack has also caught us at the same time.

From this I gather 1) the guy in black is a climber and wanting to break-away 2) I can stay with him on climbs and 3) the pack will chase with 2 off-the-front.

Before we hit the big descent, I calmly shout out a reminder to check tires.. you don't want a slow leak on a front tire while desdending a steep road of pot-holes. The rumor about the potholes being fixed wasn't true. It's still crazy bumpy and my "plastic" front racing wheel sounds like it's taking a beating.

As we shake and rattle down the scary descent at great speed, I am focused on the Lord. My trust is in Him, not my bike. My bike could explode but the Lord will never fail.

Ps 20:7 "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

I'm praying for me.. for Anna and Robin.. for others around me. Thank you, Lord, for getting me to the bottom.

I come through the finish of lap 1 with the pack and see the Glass family (Chad, Andrea and Ashley) cheering for me with smiles. Such an encouragement.

I start preparing for battle. I eat and drink. Starting into the big climb, I calmly pull to the front and slowly increase effort. I grab water at the feed zone, drink it fast and toss it. I increase the pressure. I'm breathing hard. 3 other guys are around me, now putting the pressure on me. ½ way up the hill, I'm really winded but it's paying off. The others are slowing down and the guy in black is the only one challenging me. A couple times he pulls ahead on really steep parts. I feel anxious but remind myself to keep to my recent pedal stroke strategy.. spinning, not forcing. Thank you, Lord, the pain in my legs eases and I do catch up. Just got to be patient.

We make it to the top! The guy in black and myself have a 10 sec lead. We know what we have to do and settle in to a rotating lead. As I come through he says, "Right now, we're teammates. At the end, we can battle it out."

We work well together, taking turns leading. Keeping speed about 22 mph. He mentions that there are 2 others up the road! Now I remember the start of the race when I thought they were another group. He says we might catch them but they are no where in sight. I figure if they're in our category, we're racing for 3rd, but if they're in a different category, we could be racing for 1st!

½ way across the top, we have a minute lead! The bumps keep trying to wreck pedal efficiency. And the wind is brutal at times. I've come to really appreciate my "new teammate", blocking the wind, allowing me to recover.

Suddenly, as I pull through, the guy in black loses his chain. I immediately reach out give him a push to keep him going while he fixes his chain. The thought to attack him doesn't occur to me because I want his help so much. He gets it back on while coasting and we ramp the speed back up.

A mile before the big descent. There's a 1/2mi climb right before it. I hate to do it but I know I must attack it. I plan the rotating pulls so that he will pull into the hill. Something my friend, Clint Gaver, once taught me (and used on me often). He's pulling. I'm drinking and preparing. At the base of the hill I pull around quick and start pushing a hard pace up. The race is on! I keep spinning, try to ignore the legs complaining. I can feel him behind a few seconds. Over the top I see I have a 5 sec gap. And the chase pack is 2 min behind.

Now to fly down. Again, my focus is on God. This is scary. I try to listen to the Lord for how fast to go. Not crazy, but still with plenty of risk. My hands holding lightly, absorbing the numbing shaking. My eyes trying to see clearly despite vibrating.

Sometimes I look back and he's still 5secs behind.

Thank you, Lord! At the bottom, but now the hard part begins.. 200m to the finish. It's possible I could be in 1st place, so even though everything hurts, I have to persevere just to see what could be.

Surprisingly, for how tired and unprepared I was coming into this race, I'm digging deep and climbing to the finish fast… and I'm done!

The guy in black finishes 5 secs behind and we find out we're 1st and 2nd in the cat 4 45+ because the other 2 guys were different categories.


For the first time in 24 years, God gave me the opportunity to finish 1st in a bike race. I feel like all those years of falling off the back, dying on the 2nd climb, getting flats, or just not being with the right riders during attacks… they were all important experiences. And this time, it just worked out perfectly that I had a 2nd rider to work with at the right time.

The Lord answered my prayers, our family and other riders finished safely.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

HITS Sprint-Anna-2019

April 14th, 2019 – Lake Berryessa, CA
750m Swim – 12.4mi Bike – 5km Run

1:21:54 (15:56 – :57 – 44:02 – :48 – 20:08)


1st (13-15 Females), 6th Female Overall


LC – FCA: Troy Soares

OLY – Dave Campbell

SPRINT – FCA: Caryn Galeckas, Chad Glass, Karen Nickel, Linny Gigoryey, Lori Bergenstock, Suzanne Galeckas; Hunter Glass

OPEN – FCA: Ariel Soares; Ashley Glass

I'm down at the swim ready to do the HITS Sprint Triathlon. My friend Hunter starts first, 3 minutes ahead of me. Now it's my turn. I walk towards the water. It's kind of cold but not bad. I walk about waist deep and wave to Ariel.


They start the countdown and I'm ready. They say go and I plunge in the water. The water actually doesn't freeze my face right at the moment, after a while I start to feel my face freeze up. I do what my dad told me, and force my face in the water. I feel strong as I swim, but my dad strapped the neck strap too tight and it’s uncomfortable. I get to the first buoy and I'm feeling great. All the swim practice I did with my mom and dad this winter paid off. The next buoy is far ahead, but I don't worry about that. I consistently swim straight ahead, following everybody around me. After a while, I reach the buoy. I turn around and head straight back to the dock. I focus on getting to the guide buoy ahead. I don't feel like I'm getting tired at all. I am really enjoying the swim. I am not cold, not hot, but feel perfect. I can't see the dock so I just follow everyone. I try to pick it up a little bit.

After a while, I can see the dock ahead. I keep swimming and get more and more excited as I get closer. I am super close to the dock now. I swim around the dock and towards the ramp. I get to the ramp and try to pull down my zipper. It is stuck. I start to run up the deck pulling at the same time. It finally comes loose and I start taking it off at the top of the deck. I flick off the wetsuit and start running to transition. I get to transition and quickly switch to my biking gear. I grab my helmet and glasses and I am off.


I get to the line where you can jump on your bike. I jump on and start to bike up the hill. My bike shoes are already on my bike so I bike with my feet on top of them. I get to the top of the hill and turn onto the bike course and slip by feet into my shoes. I pedal hard because my mom said Hunter was in front of me. But very soon Hunter passes me. I later find out that I passed him in transition. I stay with him and pass him up. I try to drink some water from my bike and end up partly off the road in the gravel part! I bike back onto the road and stay focused. Hunter passes me but I really don't mind, I'm going to get him back in the run. I try not to fall too far behind though.

The bike isn't that difficult although it's a little tiring. We go mostly uphill, which is great because on the way back it will probably be mostly downhill. After a little bit, Karen Nickel bikes by me. We both say hi. After a lot of uphill and downhill, I start to see people biking back. That means I’m almost to the turnaround. After a while, I come to a hill and climb it. At the top, I see the turn around in the distance. I get closer and see Hunter and Karen Nickel turning around. I get to the turnaround and turn. It is a little flat then it’s downhill. I enjoy the downhill and go fast. There are some uphills, but not as many this direction. I enjoy it and then I see Suzanne going towards the turnaround and wave. After a little bit, I see Caryn G also and wave. I keep biking through the hills enjoying it and also fueling at the same time.

I get to about two miles left and know it’s almost all downhill. At about a mile left I know I’m close. I bike a little bit and see the downhill to transition. I slip my feet out of my bike shoes and coast down. I get to the dismount and jump off.  I run into transition and put my running shoes and hat on.



I run out of transition and Ariel and dad tell me I am 40 seconds behind Hunter. I know I can catch him. I see him running up the hill in front of me. I run past his sister Ashley and his mom Andrea. They cheer me on and tell me to catch Hunter. I get to the top of the hill and feel good although I don’t feel like I am in my running mode. That is probably because I just got off the bike. I am gaining distance and am close to Hunter now. I pass him and tell him good job.

I keep running on a windy road and pass a girl in pink who could be in my age group. She tries to stay with me but falls behind. I hit the bridge and get into my running mode. I feel completely comfortable. I run across the bridge and hit an uphill. It is not painful, and it almost feels like I’m running on a flat road. After running uphill for a bit I see the aid station and turnaround up ahead. I get to the turnaround and grab some water. I drink some and pour the rest on my head.

The next 1-1/2 miles is all downhill and flat. I start running downhill and feel great. I run down and see Hunter. We are both tired and give each other a thumbs up. I coast all the way down to the bridge and start to run across. I pass a grown-up friend of my parents, Noel Kosiek. She tells me to try to catch a girl up ahead. I ask where and she says she is around the corner. I pick it up even though she is probably too far ahead. I get to the turn and have the winding road back to the finish. I am feeling strong and tired. I soon see the turn into the park. I don't see any girl though. I turn and run down the downhill. I pass Ashley and Andrea and they cheer me on. I can now see the finish line and run fast in. The gravel is a little slippery though when I am running. I finish and point to God. He helped me finish strong.

Praise The Lord For He Is Good His Love Endures Forever.


HITS Open Tri-Ariel-2019

April 14th, 2017 – Lake Berryessa, CA
100 yd Swim – 3mi Bike – 1mi Run
22:25 PR! (Previous 25:54)
1st (11-12 Girls)


LC – FCA: Troy Soares

OLY – Dave Campbell

SPRINT – FCA: Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Chad Glass, Karen Nickel, Linny Gigoryey, Lori Bergenstock, Suzanne Galeckas; Hunter Glass

OPEN – Ashley Glass



5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!! I start swimming. Kids and adults are pushing their way past. I’m getting stuck as everybody crowds around. I push through and get to the open but then I get pushed back in. Now I’m stuck again. I push through again as I swim around the buoy. I feel free now. No one is trying to push me back so they can get in front. I swim faster and faster. Now I’m close to the shore. I feel the ground. I run out of the water to transition. It’s not very nice running on pavement with lose gravel.


I get to transition. My socks are hard to get on. Finally, I get them on. I put on my shorts and helmet. I put on my Garmen and I’m off.


I get on my bike hoping to pass people.


It is a little scary because its not very flat and there’s a lot of gravel (which I don’t like). I ride on my bike. I see the 1st person which is a girl. I ride faster and faster then I see the turn around. I look at my watch and see that it was almost 1 mile. I bike back and see Ashley. She is not far behind. I keep biking. I go around a turn and back to the gravel and non-flat road. I look at my Garmin and see that it’s not that close to 2 miles. The paper said it was going to be three miles long. I bike into transition and take off my helmet.


I run and start my Garmin.


I run down the chute.


I see a boy ahead of me. I want to pass him. I see Ellie, Ben, and Anna. They say “pass that boy ahead of you!” I run faster. I’m feeling thirsty. I didn’t drink water since the start of my race and I am so thirsty. I keep running. I see someone trying to pass me so I look for someone to pass. That way I would stay in the same place. I see someone else and do the same thing. I see a man behind me so I do the same thing but I try to keep the man behind me so that I can move up a place. I see the turn around hoping he is in a different race but he isn’t. I turn around and finally let him pass. I come back the opposite way I came and see Ashley. She smiles and waves. I wave and smile back at her. I keep trying to pass that boy ahead of me but its really hard. I see the bridge and I know that I’m close. I turn and go down a hill and start sprinting down the finish line.


I finish.


HITS Oly Tri-Robin-2019

April 14th, 2019 – Lake Berryessa, CA
Swim 1.5K – Bike 40K – Run 10K

2:43:15 (26:47 – 3:06 – 1:19:45 – 2:41 – 50:54)


2nd 45-49W (out of 3)


LC – FCA: Troy Soares

OLY – Dave Campbell

SPRINT – FCA: Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Chad Glass, Karen Nickel, Linny Gigoryey, Lori Bergenstock, Suzanne Galeckas; Hunter Glass

OPEN – FCA: Ariel Soares; Ashley Glass

I get up later than usual for a morning triathlon.  The race directors changed the start time of the race from 7:45am to 9:45am due to predicted low air temps.  It’s nice to sleep to 7am!  We camped here as usual.  Even though I’m not in my own bed, I appreciate the extra sleep.  It’s been a challenging week with not getting in enough rest, having no swims at the pool and just struggling with my purpose.  I’m quesioning whether or not racing is God’s will for me.  I feel ready to support and cheer on my family in their racing endeavors but not sure if I should race myself. 

Anna is racing the Sprint at 9am.  She’s racing her good friend and fellow 7th grader, Hunter.  They both want to beat each other and even have a $1 bet.  Hunter’s dad, Chad, is also racing for the first time in many years.  In addition, our FCA teammates and HITS campmates,  Caryn Galeckas, Karen Nickel, Lori Bergenstock and Suzanne Hartley, are racing.  We all meet up at the swim start and pray.  We are joined by some other believers we met yesterday, Greg and his daughter LInny. 

The water temp is about 57 degrees.  I swam in it yesterday and even with booties on my feet, it was a shock.  I did get used to it mostly but I am a bit nervous for Anna swimming in such conditions.  I am glad I’ll be able to see her get out of the water before my race. 

After seeing Anna and the rest of our group out of the water, it’s my turn.  I put on an extra cap that has a bit more protection for my ears.  We’ll see if it works.  We are swimming the sprint course twice.  I am not feeling very excited or motivated to race.  Hoping the adrenaline will kick in.


Just before the women start, I look around and see just a few people also wearing booties.  Ready, set, go!  I jump in, force my face in the water and go.  By the first buoy, I’m quite comfortable.  I actually am enjoying myself and am doing well.  I get into a great rhythm and feel like I’m glidding.  I notice a swimmer ahead of me with green sleeves on their wetsuit.  It’s hard to miss and makes for a great target.  When I turn at the last buoy, I cannot see any buoys or landmarks but I do see the sleeves.  I follow the sleeve until I finally see a buoy. 

The first loop goes by quick and as I head out for a second time, I notice a girl on my side.  Our pace is identical.  We swim side by side for most of the way out to the last buoy.  I have to dodge some swimmers and sprint through some packs.  Fortunately I don’t run into anyone or get knocked around.  I can still see the green sleeves.  I’ve gotten a bit closer to them, but don’t think I’ll catch them.   At the last buoy I make the turn and make a big push.  Again, I cannot see anything and rely on my friend ahead.  Soon I see the dock and head straight for it.  I get out of the water and get my wetsuit off.  It’s not very smooth or fast but good enough for my first tri of the season. 

I run to my bike.  The air temp is not as cold as expected so I decide to go with a lighter jacket than planned.  I takes me a minute to put it on and a few more minutes to get the rest of me ready. 



I run out of transition with my bike shoes on, because I haven’t practiced with my shoes on the bike.  It’s bumpy going out for the first mile.  Finally, it’s nice and smooth. 

I’m not feeling totally motivated but I know I need to push.  I committed to this race months ago so I need to stay focused.  This course is full of rolling hills.  I notice a girl ahead passing a guy on the right.  It’s very dangerous to do that and can easily cause an accident.  As I pass her I nicely mention it just in case she didn’t realize it’s an important rule.  She tells me he was in the way and had to.  In my head I want to offer another option, slow down, but I opt not to.  Hopefully she’ll think twice.  Further down the road I see another guy go over the double yellow line to pass some riders.  Another case of simply applying brakes instead would work beautifully.  I get the sense of urgency and it’s really hard to make rational decisions when racing hard, but we all need to try to practice safety especially when the roads are not closed to cars.

A girl goes flying by.  I feel a bit of competitiveness rise up in me and I try to keep her in my sights.  Within a mile, she’s gone but I’m still trying to push hard. 

I realize that I haven’t been thinking about Jesus at all and I reconnect with Him.  I am sorry for getting so self focused…that is something I don’t like about racing and struggle with.  Lord please help me to stay connected with You!

By the time I get to the turn around, I’m ready to be done.  I know I need to dig deep and keep pressing on. I am able to pass a few girls on the way back but I’m also passed by another fast gal. 

I’ve warmed up nicely and have to unzip my jacket. 

I really try to use Troy’s technique of pushing the downhills to get good momentum coming up the uphills. It works well and I don’t feel like I’m straining to get up.

Finally the last uphill!  I enjoy the downhill on the other side and the trip across the bridge.  It’s a beautiful day!  Thanking God for the warm sun.

It’s tricky getting back to transition.  The road is full of gravel, bumps and potholes.  There are runners going out, spectators and racers heading home.  Thankfully I make it back without any incidents. 




I make a quick transition but decide to hit the porta-potty.  I know it will add time but it is necessary.  I go the wrong way once I exit the porta-potty and have to back track a bit.  Finally I’m out!  I hit my Garmin a second time and it says “Triathlon Complete”.  Oops!  I try to reset it quickly as I also try to smile at family and friends.  Down the road a bit I get it started over.  Ok, only 6 miles to go!  I’ve got a goal of 8 min pace but hope to go faster. 

The first mile is the flatest and most scenic.  We run over another bridge that crosses an inlet of Lake Berryessa.  Beautiful!  Now the real work begins and I’m climbing to the first mile and first aid station

Mile 1 is 8:11.  I am so glad to get some water because I’m thirsty!  I grab two mini cups and make sure I drink all of it.  I catch up to a guy and he picks up the pace to stay with me.  He says “you’re running a good pace, I’ll stick with you”.  He has what sounds like a French accent and I find out he is from France but lives in Berkeley.  We have a nice chat and then he tells me it’s too hard to talk and run.  I tell him no problem.  I pull away a bit as the climb continues. 

I pass some other guys and they joke with me that I’m going too fast and to wait for them.

At Mile 2 I’m averaging 8:15.  After almost 2 miles of continuous climbing, it’s not bad.  Thank you Lord!  I’m actually enjoying a nice downhill!  I’ve been counting women and so far there have been 7.  I’ll be at the turn around soon and will know exactly where I am. 

At Mile 3 my overall average is 8:00, yeah!  Thank you Lord!  What a difference some downhill running makes!  At the bottom I can see the turnaround just briefly up another hill at an aid station.  I get there and enjoy some more water…again making sure I drink all of it!  I haven’t seen anymore women so that makes me 8th. 

I’ve got to climb a mile up and then I have a lot of downhill and flat!  I see those funny guys again and tell them I saved some water for them at the aid station.

At Mile 4 I’m still climbing and my average is now 8:03.  I’m hopeful I can bring it down to 8 min pace.

I see Anna at the top of the hill waiting for me.  She cheers me on and tells me I look strong.  What a sweet girl!  She just finished her race and doesn’t seem tired.  I ask her if she beat Hunter and she says yes.  She takes off down the hill.

At Mile 5, I’m enjoying the downhill and my average is now 8:04.  I can see Anna waiting for me by the bridge.  My average is slowing dropping now towards 8 min!

Once I get to Anna she gives me one last bit of encouragement and tells me she’ll see me at the finish.  I’m motivated to push it.  I’m so close!

At Mile 6 I’m entering the park and average is 8 min!  Thank you Lord!  I see Troy cheering.  All the way to the finish I’m pushing.  There’s Caryn, Suzanne and Dave Campbell.  Go, go!  All the way and I’m done!


After the race I’m still not sure what direction the Lord wants me to go.  I feel relieved to be done.  Ariel is racing in 30 min so it’s a nice distraction for the moment.  God has a plan and He’ll let me know.


After the race, spent some of the next day in prayer and in the Word.  I felt the Lord confirming my call to continue to race and showed me the negativity I was battling was really from the enemy.  I thought it just ment I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose.  It was good timing because later that day Troy’s dad had a minor stroke.  Though it was frightening to see his face drooping, I was able to lean on Jesus and stay calm.  Thanking God for His assurance! 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

HITS Napa Half Distance Triathlon (Troy)

April 13th, 2019 – Lake Berryessa, CA
Swim 1.2miles – Bike 56miles – Run 13.1miles

5:36:30 (31:32 – 7:10 – 3:05:19 – 2:00 – 1:50:27)


4th 50-54M (out of 8)


OLY – FCA: Robin Soares; Dave Campbell

SPRINT – FCA: Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Chad Glass, Karen Nickel, Linny Gigoryey, Lori Bergenstock, Suzanne Galeckas; Hunter Glass

OPEN – FCA: Ariel Soares

Similar to other big races this season, I’m very concerned going into it..  It’s a possible 6hr race and I haven’t gotten much sleep this week due to tax preparation isseus.  Thankfully taxes are done, but I’m really tired.  A blessing however is that I have Anna with me for Friday night camping.  It was just going to be me as Robin and the girls weren’t going to come until tomorrow in order to take care of my Dad at home.  But Anna volunteered to help, and what a help she was!  She set up the tent, cooked food and supported me before my race.

The most important thing I can do to help my day is spend time with God and read the Bible.  Thank you, Lord, for comforting me and removing anxiety!

Transition is ready.  I meet up with triathlete friends, Becki and Andrew, that we met at Wildflower last year.  She’s also racing.  We pray and head to the start.

The water is 57 deg.  I have a rashguard, extra warm swim cap, and booties.  I swim about 20 yds only and line up with 2 min to go.


Go! The water hurts the face but I know it will subside after a while.  Everything is going well to the first buoy.  I remember the peace of the Lord as I look down below the water where there is no thrashing arms and loud noise.  If I could hold my breathe the entire way, it would be a very peaceful indeed.

I get a draft part of the way.  Around the buoy I loose him for a while but periodically get on someone’s feet. 

1/2 way and the face is fine, the ears a little sore, but the core is getting colder and colder.  I do not think I could do another lap (like the Full Distance has to do) at this rate.  My swim doesn’t feel that strong, but I continue to try to be efficient.  Around the final buoy and I’m looking forward to finishing at the docks.  I’m cold and tired.  I don’t care much about the time because it’s really dependent on how the bike goes.. 

The last time I was here, I rode 56 miles in my wetsuit because it was so cold.  Even with that I had to stop at a store to warm up my freezing feet.  Today is much better but still cautious.  If I’m comfortable, I’m faster.


I finished the swim (31:32) and Anna runs alongside video’ing and encouraging me.  Strip off my suit, dry off, and put a dry jersey, sweater, and windbreaker on.  wool socks and long finger gloves.  No leg warmers. T1 is SLOW (7:10) but will be worth it.


The first climb is tough, but I feel perfect temperature-wize.  Thanks, Lord.  On the long descent, however, my fingers start freezing.  I have to pull my wool sweater over my gloves.  Should’ve had windproof gloves.  There’s a young lady in front of me that looks almost the size of Anna and is staying ahead of me.  I manage to pass her and notice she has no warm clothes!  No gloves, arm warmers, long socks, beanie.. just a tri suit.  How does she do it?

At 10mi, the leader is going back already!  He’s 30min ahead of me!  The gal passes me back multiple times.  I’m surprised how hard is is to keep up with her.  I’m counting the riders until the first turn-around.  I hope I might be 10th.  There a couple more women ahead.. and they started the swim 3 min behind me.  At the turn I find I’m 29th!  Oh, well, I just got to work my way up little by little. 

I move to 28th quickly but then back to 29th, 28th, 29th, 30th, …  28th seems to be the best I can do.

Before the climb back up to Berryessa Lake, I take off my windbreaker.  Perfect, the sweater allows air through to breathe but still keeps a good temp. 

26mi.  Onto the Berryessa lakeside road which I enjoy because the hills are never too long and you can coast up part of them. 

30mi.  The leader is coming back!  He’s 1 hr ahead now.  Amazing.  I’m still battling to keep 28th.  More riders pass me as I pass others so 28th seems to be the position for me.

40mi.  At the turn I take off the sweater while the aid station volunteer fills my aero bottle.  I eat some blocks and feel much better now.  My speed picks up and I hope I can make up some time coming back.  My Garmin stopped early in the bike so I don’t know my average speed.  I’m hoping to break 3 hrs and think it’s possible.  Riders coming towards me seem to be staring at me… it may be the bulge of my sweater under my jersey.  I’m just happy to be comfortable.

Finally, the last climb and then a long descent to the finish area.  I’m hope I’m under 3hrs! 



Finishing the bike (3:05:19). I see Anna waiting for me.  She says, “Good to see you’ve gained some weight out there.”  Transition isn’t too smooth as I forget to take stuff out of pockets but now I’m running… stiff-legged… but that will clear up.



Anna is a huge support and I’m sure thankful.  13 miles feels like a long way, but at least I have a goal, to move higher than 28th place!

I start to loosen up a little.  It’s a beautiful day and turning out to be very warm.  Over the bridge looking down to vast water.  Pretty.  Almost want to jump off the bridge into it. 

1. 8:31. Up the hill I’m hoping to pass the guy ahead of me.. but he’s stays steady.  I get water at the 1.5mi aid station.  I need to stay under 9min pace to be under 2hrs which I told Anna.  Rolling hills.  I see runners coming back.. I think the leader, however, has probably already finished!

2. 8:46. Good pace.  All downhill hill, now.  Looking for where the turn-around is..

3. 7:28. Cool, sub-8.  A little climb to the turn-around, get my bracelet and now looking forward to getting back. There’s quite a few runners right behind me.  Can’t let up, and must focus on the Lord.  I need to the Lord to keep my legs working because cramps, tightness, or foot strain can do me in at any moment.  Focusing on God keeps me smiling, too, and encouraging others.  There’s a lot of good athletes out here.

4. 8:27. It’s a long climb now and I figure at 6mi I’ll be at the top so I ask God to help me to 6 and I’ll celebrate knowing it’s downhill to lap #2. 

5. 8:35. My foot hurts less climbing so actually ok with the hills.  I learned that the “top” has a mild roller which doesn’t intimidate me as much.  I’m excited to get to mile 6 which I think is the top.. but just before it, I see the bridge.. cool, I already did the climb!  Thanks, Lord, for making it seem easier than I anticipated.


6. 7:50. Nearing the park I see Robin, Ariel and Anna!  It’s such a boost to see my family!  I was tired but pumped up now.  I feel motivated for this next loop.  But I’m getting hot now and really need water.

7. 8:16. Glad to get to the aid station and pour water on my head.  I’m taking shots of Hammer Gel, too and plenty of water. Strange to go from toweling off after the swim, afraid of being wet and cold, to now wishing I was covered with cold water.  It’s about 75 degrees.

8. 9:19.  Over 9min pace is a little concerning but that was the big hill.  Gotta keep pushing.

9. 8:16.  Finally the turn-around!  Just a sprint back to the finish!  My foot hurts a little so I look forward to the long cliimb which feels better on it.  I pray that God will “transport” me farther ahead again so that I’ll suddenly realize I’m almost done. 

10. 8:48. I feel Him telling me to focus on Christ, not how to run faster.  That was helpful at the Napa Marathon as well.  It works, but sometimes I want to “take charge” again, but I keep going back to just looking upon Christ and trust He’ll take care of the rest.  I make it up the hill!

11. 9:19.  Now over the top, over the mild rollers, and then all downhill!  I take a Honey Stinger at the final aid station, water, and sponges… Ok.. bring it home!  Thanks, Lord

12. 8;16.  Robin is waiting to cheer for me at the end of the bridge.  She’s such a great encourager/supporter. And then I see Anna and Ariel.

13. 7:35.  Ariel and Anna are running alongside (after seeing me at the park entrance) and cheering. Thank you, Lord, for getting me through this.  Into the finish.  Ah! So great to be done. 5:36:30. 4th a/g, 25th overall – I’m pleasantly surprised to see I did move up from 28th place somewhere in the run!

Everything hurts, but it could’ve been so much worse.  A terrific day.. I’m so very thankful to get through a 1/2 Ironman distance today!


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Mighty Dog 10K–Troy & Oscar - 2019


4/7/19 – Granite Beach






1st Male Overall, 1st Large Dog Category


5K: June Montuori; 10K: Anna Soares

Race morning and I'm running with Oscar for a 10K. My concern as always is that Oscar will get too excited, run ahead, get in the way of other runners and lose all that we trained him about running with us and not getting away from us. We start off withs lots of dogs but not as big a field as last time. Go!  We take off about four rows back is Oscar is a little too far ahead but I think he'll calm down.  There's a guy with a really small dog that's running very fast but as soon as he sees Oscar coming up behind, he freaks out, stops and pulls his owner back.

We are approaching the trails and are side by side with a German Shepherd. We push a little bit harder and get on the trail first.  Now we feel the pressure because we have a German Shepherd running right behind.  Anna is running right with me and it's really nice to have her. Running on the trails at Granite Beach is always fun. You really feel like you're running through the forest. We duck back and forth on the single track all the while having the German Shepherd on our heels. It makes me think this must be what it's like to be a criminal running away from police officer and the K-9.

We come out onto a paved road and Anna is right with us which is great.  We turn back on to the single-track and the German Shepherd is really panting hard.  I've been running fast trying to stay ahead of them but now I'm realizing I don't think he's going to keep this up I look at Oscar and he looks calm. Asher and I make it to the levy a r us straightaway which allows me to push a little faster But I keep in mind this is second last to go so I need to conserve. The German Shepherd is still on our heels and we are approaching an aid station. I grab water but Oscar doesn't take any offered.

We go through the single-track to the northern part of the trail.  We are running well and having fun jumping over little creeks and puddles. Oscar never misses a beat.  He just glides around or over obstacles. We're running up to the next aid station and I tell Oscar to drink water.  He starts running ahead towards it. He goes right into the kiddie pool of water and gets a few good gulps.  I grab some too. As I look back, I don't notice the German Shepherd panting behind us anymore. Later Anna told me that he just laid down in the kiddie pool of water to cool off.

Now we're running along sand in the open area. The last time we raced this course we went across a lower valley but now the lake level is so high it's flooded. We run straight back to the starting line and start the second loop. Robin and Ariel are there cheering for us and I tell Oscar to drink water but this time he just goes and stands in the pool and it's not interested in drinking.  He just wants to get back to running.

Starting second loop I try to get motivated to run the same speed or negative split so it's going to be tough. Oscar actually is slowing down a little and running alongside or behind instead of in front.  However when we get to the turn to come back towards the park he seems revitalize and he's back pushing the pace. Now we're passing many 5Kers and their dogs.  It goes well as we pass on the left and Oscar minds his own business and doesn't try to eat any of them. It's getting difficult pushing the pace I know there's only a mile left to go I want to do our best. Oscar is full of energy. He drinks water again at the same aid station and now it's a straight shot back to the finish. We've led the race since the half mile marker. I'm glad to finish.  I thank the Lord that it wasn't as stressful as I would thought it would be. I appreciate being able to run. Thank you God.


Mighty Dog 10K–Anna -2019


4/7/19 – Granite Beach






1st Female, 1st in no dog category


5K: June Montuori; 10K: Troy Soares

Before the race, I warm up a ½ mile. I'm feeling ready. We stop at the restrooms and then finish our warm up. We get to the start line and Oscar is very excited/anxious. My dad is running with Oscar and I am running with no dog. The race director says go and we take off I had set my Garmin for a 7:50-minute pace. My Garmin says I'm behind so I try to keep the pace and go a little bit faster. I start to feel a cramp and try a breathing technique my dad taught me. It doesn't seem to go away but I keep doing the technique. My dad is going to do a faster pace than me, yet I amrunning with him and my Garmin says I’m going too slow. I keep running with him through the trails. After a while we hit a road straight away. My dad and I run together. We got back on the trails. I feel good but I don't think I can hold this pace all the way.  We run on the trails until we come to a levy. I look at another setting on my watch and it says I'm doing a 7 minute pace. I guess my other setting was off because it was saying I was going to slow. I was worried that I wasted my energy going too fast. I slow down and feel comfortable. I could almost go extra slow and still get a 7:50 maybe. There is an aid station up ahead and I get water. It is difficult to drink water since I'm breathing hard. I drink about 1/4 of the cup and then throw the cup to the ground.

I have less than a mile and a half left until the halfway mark. Dad and Oscar and another man behind him pull ahead. I don't mind, plus I'm trying to save my energy. I run along the trails dodging puddles. After a while, I hit an abandoned road. At the end of the road, I see an aid station. I also see the man behind dad standing there. His dog is lying in the dog pool. He starts running again before I catch up but that's fine. I grab some water at the aid station and get back onto the trails. I see the man up ahead and his dog has to go to the restroom. I pass him and don't see him for a while. I'm now running along a sandy stretch. I run through the trees and then come to another short sandy stretch.  I keep running and am starting the second lap.

I run past the aid station and grab a water. I take a sip and find out it actually isn't water, its electrolyte water. I take another sip and throw to the ground. It gave me a little bit more energy. I keep running and hit the trails.  My shoe comes untied, I don't want to run a whole 3 miles with untied so I stop and tie it quickly. I remember the first lap so everything is familiar. I hit the straight stretch. I remember running with dad here the last before. I see dad on the trail by the road. He says to keep going and to trust in God. I'm getting close to the end of the lap and another cramp, kind of a stomach cramp, comes on. It hurts really bad and the breathing technique isn't working. I have to stop and walk.  I feel really overwhelmed and get emotional. I remember what my dad said and focus on God. I walk and try to get the cramp to go away. The guy with the dog I passes me at the aid station. He tells me to keep going. The crap is a little bit better and I start running. I run a little bit and it comes back and I have to walk. I stand there and pray. I feel like God is putting me back in place, and helping me focus on Him. I start to run again feeling better. I feel the cramp again, but this time I don't stop or get emotional. I just focus on God.  I remember a gel I have to help me if I don't have much energy. I don't want to use it though. I want to finish the race with God instead of using the help of a gel. I run on the trails and get to the levee. The cramp comes back again and I walk for a few seconds and take big breaths. I then start running again. I run across levee and get to the aid station on the other side. I get some water and drink it and then pour the rest on my head. My mom says I should take the gel. But I tell her I don't want to because I want to finish with God's help. I hit the trails and hear mom telling me to catch the guy in front of me.

I start to pick it up aiming for that goal. I see him at the head and keep running and gaining distance. I can still feel my bad cramp, but it isn't bothering me that bad. Right before the abandoned road, I pass him. The aid station is up ahead, but really crowded. I don't get any water and pass it. I get onto the trail and keep running. Instead of the man's dog behind me going in the dog pool, he keeps running. I run on the trails and then hit the sandy straight away. My legs are hurting but I know I will be done soon. I look to God and know I can finish it with him. I run across the sandy straight away and look behind me to see if the man is gaining distance. He is not gaining any distance, so I might be able to beat him. I feel the cramp, but I take deep breathes and keep running. I run between the trees and then hit a small sandy section which leads to the finish line. Dad and Ariel are cheering for me. I keep running and hit the finish line straight away and Mom is cheering for me. I run in and point to God. Without God, this would have been a hard and stressful race, but with God I had peace.

Praise The Lord For He Is Good His Love Endures Forever!