Saturday, April 23, 2022

TBF Ice Breaker Triathlon (Troy)

April 23, 2022 – Granite Bay Beach
Swim .5mi – Bike 10mi – Run 4mi

1:15:12  (13:43 – 4:04 – 30:00 – 0:25 - 27:00)


1 of 17 (50-59), 10 of 136 (Overall)


Flor Hodges

It’s a short race this morning but the water is reported to be 55-60 deg.  Because it’s short, I think I can swim harder from the beginning and stay warm.

I park outside the part and bike into Granite Beach.  The sun is bright, temp is 48, winds calm.  It’s a nice warm-up to the race site.  I see our friend and FCA Teammate, Flor Hodges!  She’s an elite triathlete, but after taking a break, this will be her first tri for the season.

I get to my transition surprisingly with an hour before the start.  Even with a difficult week and thinking I was late.  Thank you, Lord.

I make transition ready with jacket, gloves, socks.. I don’t know how cold I’ll be after the swim.

At the swim finish I put a tub of water, shoes, and a jersey.  I put on my wetsuit and booties.  Usually I don’t warm-up in the water when it is really cold but with a shorter swim I can swim faster and stay warm I hope.  The sun is really warm, how cold can the water be?  I dive in and am surprised it’s colder than I thought.  But I do a short fast swim, let some water in to re-position my suit better and then wait on shore.  Soon I’m warm again. Thank you, Lord.

I see Flor ready to start in the 1st wave (I’m in 3rd wave).  We pray together for the race, that we will look to the Lord, be good representatives, good sports, and give Him all the credit for the accomplishment.  I also see, Michael, a Christian I met in transition who noticed my FCA shirt.  He works with TBF and is doing his first triathlon.

As I wait for the start, I actually go in and swim a little more.  I feel really ready, warmed-up and pumped up to give a better swim effort than 2 weeks ago at Napa.

Go!  It’s a shallow run-out.  I’m careful not to crowd anyone ahead.  But then an opening appears and I run forward.  A couple dives and stand-up and now in deep enough water to swim.  I’m with 3 guys, 1 pulls ahead fast which I can’t stay with.  It feels good to be pushing hard, but I have to make sure to get enough air or the effort will catch up with me and trigger that feeling of gasping for air. It’s going well.  A lot of swimmers are catching up to me.  I’m not that fast but got a good start. 

We all converge at the buoy so it’s a little slow getting around, but it quickly sorts out on the next stretch.  I’m trying to pull straight back with my hands and swim “downhill” – some things I just practiced in the pool this week.  The best part is that I’m not getting too cold.  But I am getting tired.  Just have to push 1 more stretch to the finish.  I’m careful to avoid inexperienced swimmers in the first waves.

I stand up, jog towards shore and now to get everything off.  I’m terrible at balancing when I’m out of breath.  I get the booties off and almost fall over.  Other swimmers are running by me now.  I finally get my wetsuit off.  The volunteers are waiting for me to come ashore.  They actually come out and get my tag.  “ok, finally done!” I say, laughing at how slow I was.  But I did kick 1 leg out of my suit which is an improvement.   I stand in my tub of water, put on jersey, put on shoes, throw everything in the tub and start running with it.  It’s about a 1/4 mi to T1 and, to make use of putting shoes on, I use them for all they’re worth and sprint by as many as I can.  (I’m about 9th place now in my wave)

T1.  With all the hard effort, I’m at a great temperature now.  I skip the jacket, gloves & socks and just go!  Wow, this feels like the old days of triathlon when I didn’t worry about extra stuff.

Bike.  Now I just have to bike as fast as possible to stay warm.  I try to have efficient pedaling circles.  Turning into the first camping circle I hear Flor’s voice, “Hi Troy!” as she makes the sharp turn racing to the finish of loop 1.  I’m also trying to push hard to make up for my slow transition at the water.  But, more importantly, I try to be careful of passing less experienced riders, and not crashing with oncoming riders.  The course is beautiful, challenging and quite technical with a lot of sharp turns.  I hope everyone stays safe. 

After the turn, still pushing hard, a girl goes by me.  Wow, super strong, aggressive biking!  Unlike most of the triathlete gals I’ve raced with.  I pick it up and try to stay near her.  At the sharp corner I’m able to maintain more speed and pass her at the exit, but that only lasted 10 secs before she blew by with even more resolve and left me in the dust.  I’m pushing as hard as I can thinking I’m almost done.. and then I see the “Loop 2” sign.  At that moment I hear Robin who biked down to the race to cheer me on.  She says, “Loop 2, Troy” which really helps because I was still processing the fact that it’s 2 loops.


That’s ok, it was a fun loop, just got to push hard one more time.  This time I see Flor again but a little farther into the course which means I’m gaining on her.  She’s a fast biker, too, so that’s encouraging for me.  Although, when she’s training for 70.3 races, I wouldn’t be able to catch her.  The 2nd loop goes really well, and no close calls with other bikes.  Thank you, Lord.  Coming into transition I’m able to get my feet out and make a good dismount.

T2. Helmet off, shoes on, hat and race belt.  A little hesitation on where to go but quickly I’m onto the trails.  Robin is there and tells me, “try to catch, Flor”.  That’s great motivation.  (I’m in first place in my wave now)


Run.  On the trails I’m so happy to be running fast.  The Lord has been so good to me, helping make my foot better which used to be a bad problem.  I do have an injured hip now which bothers me but that’s much better than the bad foot I had.  I remember to push off on my right toe and land with purpose on my left foot.  Only on uneven terrain or sudden turns am I not able to and will feel a bit of sharp pain. 


It is a really fun course!  Through trees, across sand, dips, rises and turns.  I have good energy, just monitoring the hip.  Back through the race finish area I’m about 7:00 pace.  That’s great.  The next mile goes pretty fast, especially the paved section.   Then back on the trails.  Even though I’ve been running & racing here for 15 to 20 yrs, some of the trails still seem new to me.  Granite Bay Beach area is an awesome place for races!

I ignore the fatigue and keep pushing.  No sign of Flor but every second counts when you’re trying to do your best.  Thank you, Lord, for letting me have fun and feel the exhilaration of going fast.  I see a guy ahead, likely too far to pass in only a 1/4 mile left tot he finish, but always have to try, you just never know what might happen.   I give a great effort on the last stretch thanks to God.  I hear Robin cheer and then I sail through the finish looking to God who makes all this possible.  Such a blessing to unexpectantly feel so good racing.  I even felt good during a mile cool-down run which is really unusual.  Robin and I then went for a 25mi bike ride together for the next few hours.  A beautiful day, a blessing from God.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Copperopolis Road Race–Robin -2022

April 16th, 2022 – Milton, CA
2nd, Cat 4
Anna Soares, Shantelle Tupaz, Troy Soares

It’s again been two years since I’ve raced here. COVID shut it down in 2020 and last year the race was in July. Today is looking like rain.  We packed gear for all possibilities. 

We get to the race early since Anna is scheduled for the 8:50am Junior Girls. The pros have started and it’s raining off and on.  I feel sorry for them!  We set up a tent on the backside of the van and tie it down good.  Anna finds out that she is the only rider in her race. The race staff are going to allow her to race with me and her triathlon competitor/friend Shantelle. 

As it gets closer to our start 2 hours later the weather is looking great!  It appears that the rain is going to hold off. Thank you Lord! At the start line I decide to take off leg warmers and my rain coat.  I put the rain coat in my back pocket just in case and encourage Anna to do the same with hers.  Beside Anna, Shantelle and myself, there are only 2 other girls.  Looks like the weather seemed to chase away riders today.

We roll out.  We ride “neutral” or without taking off until the first turn.  We turn onto the bumpy road. Here we go!  I am doing pretty well keeping with the group but I’m not doing a good job staying in the draft. Anna is staying well in the pack.  I can see Shantelle’s dad and van up ahead and I see the “feed zone” or aid station just beyond him.  Right at the van, Shantelle takes off.  Anna and another girl (Evelyn) try to react and pull away from me.  I'm with the other girl. The long climb begins here and I am able to pull away from the girl next to me.  Anna and Evelyn are in the distance and I can see Anna is pulling away. 


I climb alone.  I am eventually able to catch Evelyn and I can see Anna in the distance.  I decide I should try to catch Anna so we can work together.  I almost catch her at the top of the climb.  It’s tough work going up and I am lacking the endurance for hills.  As it flattens out and I continue to try to catch Anna.  Eventually at a confusing part of the course, I see her turn around.  She asks me where we go.  There is an arrow apparently pointing straight but also a bunch of cones to the left.  We go left as a pack of riders goes by and tells us we are going the wrong way.  Oops!  I should have known!  We hop back on the road and see that Evelyn passed us.  Anna and I decide to take turns pulling each other along. 

The backside of the course is a long bumpy stretch but fortunately we have a tail wind pushing us along so isn’t so bad.  Evelyn seems to allude us but we keep trying.  It’s fun working together with Anna!

We finally make it to the last short climb before the scary descent.  I tell Anna not to wait for me once she gets down the hill but to keep pushing.  She starts to pull away and chase down Evelyn who appears to be slowing down.  Soon after Troy and his group passes me.  I tell him good job. 

Just at the top of the climb on a short descent to the big downhill, I try to shift to my big chain ring and I hear a snap.  I am unable to shift.  Oh dear, the shifting cable must have broke. This happened before here.  I can get through the race without it.  I thank God and tell Him I appreciate there is no rain and my family has been safe today.

I make it to the descent.  I forget how bumpy it is.  The bike violently shakes and bounces as I go downhill. I hit a spot where my back tire kicks up.  It scares me that I slow down a lot.  Going slow doesn’t help much.  I try to release the brakes but keep getting scared.  I get to the bottom and I am completely alone.  This next 21 miles is going to be long! 

I want to get rid of my rain jacket and I look for Ariel as I come around to see if I can hand it off.  I pass by the van and see her in the distance.  She’s too far to pass it to.  I wave and smile and she waves and smiles back. 

As I make it to back to the feed zone I see Shantelle’s dad. He asks if I want to hand him my rain jacket!  Yes!  I tell him thank you and hand it over.  It’s a good thing too because about a mile down the road I see Anna’s water bottle on ground.  It’s a nice bottle too so I stop to scoop it up.

The big climb always is so much harder the second time and to be by myself is even harder.  I see some riders ahead off to the side of the road.  I am relieved to find out it’s not Anna crashed on the side of the road.  Just a couple of guys fixing a flat. 

I make it over and find my way this time on the right road.  A few guys catch me including a guy that was helping fix the flat.  I try to keep them in my sight.  I wonder if I’m one of the last riders out here.  The backside again has a nice tailwind and I happily see the miles go by quickly.

I hope to finish under 3 hours. It’s going to be close.  I’m going to have to push the downhill this time.  I get to the downhill and hold on.  I hit that same bump that kicks up my back tire but I resist braking beyond some light squeezes here and there.  I hope there are not any cars on these corners!  The road should be closed.  The bike is shaking so violently.  It seems like the whole thing should just fall apart!  I make it most of the way down and know the worst is over.  I come around a corner and there is a car!  Oh my, thank you Lord that car wasn’t up the road further.  Please protect anyone behind me!

I see Evelyn on the side of the road ahead.  She is fixing something on her bike.  I’m going fast and decide not to stop since it didn’t seem serious. 

I push to the finish and see Troy and Anna waiting.  Thank you Lord for protecting them today!  Thank you for the nice day!  Thank you for making Anna strong!  I love you Lord!


Copperopolis, M50+ 4/5 (Troy)

April 16th, 2022 – Milton, CA
3rd, Master 50+ Cat 4/5 (out of 9)
Anna Soares, Robin Soares, Shantelle Tupaz

It’s Easter weekend.  Jesus died for my sins, to give me life that I don’t deserve.  Therefore, how can I complain about anything?

It’s pouring rain on our drive to the 8:50am start.  We knew days ago it would be raining and it’s never fun to bike in the rain.  I didn’t want the extra risk (it’s already a dangerous enough course) and I didn’t want extra stress for Anna who is trying to also train for track finals.  And I have an injured hip.  But I’m having faith and remembering to look to the Lord for direction.

Robin brought a pop-up tent which really helped as we sat under it watching the pros go by in a downpour.  We sign in and find out Anna is the only one in her category so they move her to race 2 hrs later with Robin.  As we wait, the weather starts easing up.  Thank you, Lord!

Anna and Robin start first at 11:15am and it’s not raining at all.

I start at 11:30am.  In my group are 9 50+ Cat 4/5 riders and about 9 60+ open riders joined together.  I have a base shirt, jersey, long-fingered gloves and heavy booties. 


I’m not in the hill climbing shape I was last time, and with the hip I’m not even sure how hard I can push.  But it doesn’t matter, I’ll just do my best for the Lord, be a good representative for Him and listen to His direction.  Go!


As we roll along the 1st bumpy road, the pace is really slow and I feel like this shouldn’t be too hard, I’ll lead for a while.  Every time someone goes ahead I wonder, “Are they better than me?  Should I watch out for them?”  Bike racing for me can be a roller coaster of thoughts, effort, overconfidence.. I need to give it all over to God.  Up the first climb they all drop back and I think “ok, maybe it’ll be easy”.  1/2 way up, though, there’s still 7 or 8 around me.  I get to the top staying seated and not hurting my hip.  I hurry to rotate with a few at the front into the wind thinking we’re ahead but there are still 8 in our group.

Across the top, it’s nice temperature and not too windy.  I’m working hard and realizing I’ve got a few competitors that may be stronger than me.  After the turn and heading back West I feel really good and lead fast (at least really fast for me) for a while but didn’t rattle the group.  Now another guy pushes hard for a while and I can barely stay on.  Then another guy..  and this time it splits the group.  Just 3 of us.  And now they ease up and start talking about working together the rest of the race before “every man for themselves”.  I’m just glad to be with them and still have a hope of controlling the hill on the 2nd loop.

We drop down the bumpy treacherous descent.  I can hold my own fine on the descents.  Bump the bumps make my bike feel like it’s going to explode apart.  It really is scary and I’m praying and it reminds me how much I rely on the Lord’s help every day.  There are a thousands things that can kill us, this is just another one. 

Through the first loop we start the approach to the big hill again.  The 2 guys with me start talking.. the tall guy says to the stocky guy, “so are you more of a sprinter?”.  stocky guy says, “actually I’m more of a climber”.  Tall guy says, “Oh, I didn’t want to hear that.”  It surprised me as well.  Just then a 4th guy catches up, “I’m back!  But now I’m spent of course”.  I tell him good job.  I also realize that what looked like an easy 3rd place finish is now in question.  I reach for my water and realize I lost my bottle on the bumpy descent!  I’m thirsty, but I’m also lighter I guess. 

We start pushing the hill and I’m starting to struggle.  I don’t feel in control at all.  And then the 2 of them gap me.  Ok, just get composed, get efficient and give your steady best.. you never know.. maybe I’ll still catch them somehow.  Almost to the top, I can’t see the tall guy, but the stocky guy is only 100 yds ahead, and the catch-up guy is behind but I don’t look.  I give it my best to the top and push into the wind but the 2 of them are pulling ahead separately.  Soon I realize it’s just me trying to stay ahead of the 4th guy somewhere back there.  I push across the flats pretty well but now my hip starts hurting.  I find standing helps to I do that through the big turn.  I push a couple times come back West but the hip is hurting so ease up a little… and the catch-up guy catches up again.  He says, “How far are the other 2 guys?”  “Pretty far I think”.  I had hoped to stay ahead of him so I could take the scary downhill easy.  But now I’ll have to go faster.  I definitely have to push the last climb..  I start up it.. seated.. he drops back a little.. at 1/3 of the way I stand.  I stand the rest of the way.. the hip is ok.. I think I’m pulling ahead.. over the top I push and think I have a good gap.

Going down, but front wheel sounds terrible.  It even makes some rotating noise like something broke loose.  Very concerning.  Dear Lord, please keep me safe.  I hit a smooth section and the wheel sounds fine.  Ok, but I’m doing everything possible to reduce the weight on it.  I lean back and absorb bumps with my knees.  1/2 way down, my knees are getting sore.  Everything is vibrating like crazy.  I see Shantelle, a 15 yr old that often races Anna.  She’s way ahead of her group and descending like a pro.  At the bottom I know I have to give it my all.  I don’t know where catch-up guy is but I don’t want him catching up right before the finish.  I gut it out and finish 3rd. 


I’m so thankful the Lord kept me safe and I immediately pray to thank Him and ask Him to do the same for Robin, Anna, and others out there.  I wait and praise God again when He does bring Anna across, and then Robin.  Anna was 1st (only one in her group), Robin 2nd (Shantelle was in her group), and I was 3rd.


I’m also thankful that the Lord made what could have been a wet cold miserable day, a beautiful, fulfilling day for all of us!  Really teaches us to rely on the Lord even more.  Thank you, Lord.


Copperopolis- Anna-2022

April 16th, 2022 – Milton, CA
1st, Junior Wm 15-18
Robin Soares, Shantelle Tupaz, Troy Soares


Today I'm doing the Copperopolis Bike Race. I'm riding in my mom's division because there was no one in my division. As we get ready to ride, the rain stops. Thank you God! The race director then counts us off. We take off. I haven't bike raced for a long time and my goal is to not get dropped on the first lap. I'm also racing with a friend of mine that does triathlons. Her name is Shantelle. We are all in a straight line, figuring out what pace we're going to do. After about a mile, Shantelle takes off! We don't try to stay with her though because we all want to stay at this pace. Also the road is very bumpy and it's really hard to bike fast right now. After Shantelle takes off, I stay with this other girl who is biking.

After about 2 miles, we start the big hill. So far it feels really good. Thank you God for the energy. As I'm biking up, I'm slowly pulling away from the girl. I'm not feeling tired so I keep pushing. I don't see my mom right now, she is farther behind. I know she'll catch up though. I get closer to the top and the hill gets steeper. I'm able to keep pushing and get over the top. Now I just have a long bumpy road.

As I'm biking, I see my mom behind me. I keep biking fast and I know that she will soon catch up. Up ahead the road splits. The arrow points straight, but it looks like a driveway. The race director warned about this section, but I'm really confused. As I'm looking around, my mom catches up. Now we're both confused. We decided to go one way, then a bike group flies by us, going the other way. Oops. We turn around and head the right way. During that time the girl behind us in our race, passed us. We work together drafting to catch up to her. Every once and awhile the road gets smooth and I enjoy it. But then it goes back to being very bumpy.

We have been biking forever but we still haven't caught her. We are getting close to finishing the first lap and heading back down the mountains. As we get closer to the top, a biking pack passes us and my dad is in it! I work to stay with them. I draft with them down the big bumpy hill. I enjoy the challenge of not falling off my bike as I zoom down the hill. I accidentally cut in front of some of the guys in the group. Oops, I don't mean to do that. I plan to tell them sorry at the end of the race, since we're speeding down the hill. I enjoy riding behind my dad though, it's just like what we do in our training rides! I can put my training to practice now! As we are biking, I see my dad's water bottle go flying off his bike. I know we can get it after the race. We get to the bottom of the hill and they take off. It was fun biking with them while it lasted.

I can now see the girl up ahead of me. I work hard to catch her. As I start the 2nd lap, I catch up. We work together for a little bit and then I pull ahead on the uphill again. This time the hill hurts a lot more. As I get close to the top I catch up to a lone biker who has been dropped. He's not going super fast so I try to stay up with him. We get to the flat and I start drafting. It's great to find someone to work together with. I asked him if it's okay if I draft behind. That way I hope he knows that I'm willing to help draft for him too. He says it's fine as long as he stays ahead.

As I'm biking, I'm getting tired from the long ride. It would be nice if I was done by now. I feel God telling me not to give up and keep pushing. I work hard to stay with the biker guy. After a while though I let him go and go back to my own pace. I was happy I got that draft that gave me energy and helped me work hard. As I'm biking along I keep looking back but I don't see either the girl behind me or my mom. I dropped my mom on the downhill because I love riding really fast downhill even though it's scary. Otherwise, she would probably be right up with me. I'm sort of used to the bumpy sections on the road now. It's still hard to bike on them because I'm bouncing all over the place. I can still see the man up ahead and I try not to let the distance between us get any bigger.

As I'm working hard to bike, I know I'm then getting close to finishing the second lap. I can see the mountain range up ahead and bike hard towards it counting down the miles. I get to the bottom of the hill and start the climb towards the downhill. I tell myself not to look back until I reach the top. I feel like I'm going really slow and that someone's going to pass me. But I keep working hard for God and don't look back. I finally get to the top of the hill and look back. There's no one there! Thank you God! I start down the downhill. I love this section but it's definitely bumpy and scary. At one section, I almost fly off my bike. Thank you God for keeping me safe! I hold on tight to my bike that is jiggling like crazy. My bike's kind of old so this might wreck it, but I guess that's okay. I'm enjoying biking down the hill when I look down and realize my chain has jumped off my bike from all the bumps. Oh no! I quickly stop on a flat and get the chain back on. It took me a little bit because I'm not used to standing up, but being in a crouch position over my bike. I'm able to get the chain back on and jump back to finish the race. I continue biking down the hill, when I realize my chain jumped off my bike again! I get ready to stop and as I look down again, the chain is back on! Thank you God! I keep biking down the hill moving my pedals so the chain doesn't fall off again.

At the bottom of the hill, I can see the finish. I work hard pedaling hard around every corner. I get to the last till stretch and work hard. I push to the finish line pointing to God. Thank you God for giving me the energy for this race. I did not think I'll be able to do so well with such little training I have. I appreciate him giving me strength. He also kept me safe on the bike. After the race I congratulate everyone and also learn that you're not allowed to draft in other groups. You can only draft in your biking group. This is a mistake that I learn, but I'm happy that they still have me in my own category so I didn't hurt anyone on the podium. I will definitely be more aware of that for future years. My overall time was 2:42:56.

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


Sunday, April 10, 2022

Alpha Win Olympic Napa-Anna-2022

April 10th, 2022 – Lake Berryessa, CA
Swim 1.5K – Bike 24.8miles – Run 6.2miles

2:48:51 (37:18-3:38-1:22:15-1:39-44:01)


1st W15-19 (out of 2), 8th Female out of 71


SPRINT: Shantelle Tupaz

70.3– FCA: Caryn Galeckas, Robin Soares, Suzanne Hartley; Sam Louie 

I get down to the water and get ready to start. The water is pretty cold and I really hope I'll be able to stay warm during the swim. I jump in and swim around to get used to the water. One minute left. I swim into the line of swimmers and try to get to the far outside. There's a shallow part in the beginning of the start and I don't want to be caught in it. The race director counts down and starts the race. I take off. So far the swim is good because the wind is at my back. I also don't see the bottom of the shallow part. As I'm swimming I try to get into a good rhythm. I rotate what side to breathe on and make sure to guide for the buoy at the same time. The buoy is really far away, but after a while of swimming, I finally get there. I swim around it and head for the next buoy. Now the waves are choppy because I’m going right into the wind. I remember my dad telling me to act like a kayak. You're just swimming straight through those waves as you near the buoy. It takes me longer to get to the next buoy this time. I finally reach the buoy and turn towards the buoy at the beach. I'm almost done with the first lap! They've made it a two lap course. I swim towards shore and the waves are a little less choppy. I try to swim farther upstream because the waves are pushing me more downstream. This time it takes forever to get to the buoy. By the time I get there, I turn around and get ready to head back for the second loop. I see Suzanne and Caryn and wave at them. I also see my parents and wave at them too. They all cheer me on. It's great to have a great cheering squad. After going around the first buoy, it's very difficult to see the next one. I do breaststroke for a little bit in order to make sure I can see the buoy I'm shooting for and then go back to swimming. The water is so much calmer when it's going the same direction as you. I swim easily with the water to the buoy. As I’m swimming I think about my peanut butter bar I have at transition. I can’t wait to eat it and fall asleep on my aerobars. I then get to the buoy and after turning around, I get to the choppiest part. I swim through the waves towards the next buoy and this time the waves are rougher than last time. Some of the water gets into my nose and the other water gets in my mouth. I don't let it bother me for long and continue swimming towards the next buoy. I finally get there and turn towards shore. This time I'll actually be done when I get there. I'm trying to swim fast because it's the last stretch. I get closer and closer and finally make it. I get out of the water and take off my wetsuit. It comes off really easy. Thank you God! I then run over, grab my flip-flops and start running up the ramp. My dad askes me if I'm going to wear my bike jacket. I tell him I am, the wind is pretty cold and I don't want to freeze out there. I get into transition and quickly change to my bike gear after quickly drying off. I also grab my peanut butter bar. I've been waiting all day to eat this. It's one of my favorite snacks. It's packed with so much energy.


I take off on the bike with my peanut butter bar in my back pocket. I'm already starving after the swim so I gobble it down. I leave a little bit for later though. I take off on the bike and get into my aerobars. Oh I love my aerobars! I can practically fall asleep on them. Which works out well because I'm really tired from the swim! I relax on aerobars and start to pass people as I head out for the bike. My dad told me I was in 34th place, and I think I can catch up. I'm much stronger at cycling than at swimming.

I bike across a bridge and start up a hill. As I start biking up the hill, it doesn't feel that bad. I'm glad God has given my legs energy because normally biking up hills really hurt. At the top of the hill, I see a broken telephone pole and zoom by it. I check my watch. 2 miles! I’m going to be out here for a while. I don’t give up. I'm catching a lot of people and enjoying zooming down the downhills.

Finally I hit 6 miles, which is 1/4 of the way done! So far I've been in my aerobars the whole time. I don't get out of them unless I'm going really slow. As I'm biking down the downhills, I'm very grateful for my jacket I have on. It's keeping me warm. I am getting closer to the turn around and I keep my eye out for the top girls ahead of me that are coming back. After a while I start seeing the men coming back. I keep my eyes open. As I get closer to 12 miles, the turnaround, I see the first girl. She looks really fast. I then see a bunch of other girls following her. I estimate that I’m in about 20th place now. As I get close to the turnaround, the bike gets harder. I'm going down a hill, but I have a ton of headwind which makes me feel like I'm going up a hill. Everyone on the other side going back up the hill looks like they're going faster up then I am going down! It's kind of frustrating but I don't let it get to me, I push hard for the Lord and don't give up. I get to the turnaround and start heading back up the hill. It's much easier than going down the hill. It's a very interesting experience.

After I get more into the mountains, the downhills start to feel like downhills again and the uphills start to feel like uphills again. I'm hungry again so I finish off my peanut butter bar. Yum, so delicious! I also drink some of my sports drink. So good! I power forward trying to catch the girls ahead of me, even though they are pretty far ahead. Every once in a while I think I'm catching one of them, but just realize it's another guy. I'm not going to give up though because I still have the run where I can pass some of them. I'm biking hard up the up hills now, and there are more of them making up for all the downhills I had on the way to the turnaround. I also know there's one really steep hill that I zoomed down before, but I don't know when it is. As I’m biking I get back to the spot where I was 1/4 to the turnaround. Now I'm 1/4 till transition! I keep climbing hard.

Up ahead I'm pretty sure I see a girl athlete. I work hard to catch up to her. She's going pretty fast. I finally catch up to her and pass her. I’m starting to be able to see more girl athletes ahead of me. So far none of them look my age but it's still a good challenge to pass them. I slowly catch up to them and pass them on the steep uphill. As I'm going down the other side I see the crooked telephone pole! Only 2 miles still transition! I pedal hard down the hill and try to stretch my calves while I'm at it. They're getting pretty tight. I hope I didn't spend all my energy on the bike and not leave anything for the run.


I zoom across the bridge and head towards transition. As I get closer, I finish up my sports drink, and slide my feet out of my bike shoes. I get into the park and bike towards transition. I then jump off my bike. So far so good. But as I'm running into transition, my bike shoe falls off. I look behind me and see it. It's pretty far back and I know that my dad can pick it up for me possibly. I keep running. I get into transition and quickly change into my run shoes. I'm about to leave and I realize my water bottle fell off too! I guess when I jumped off my bike it wasn't very smooth.


I run out of transition and head out to the run course. My parents tell me that I've passed a lot of people and I'm in 13th place, and that I have three people close to me. I take off on the run determined to catch them. So far God has given me a great race and I want to finish strong for him. I see one girl up ahead and I try to slowly catch up to her. I finally catch up to her and pass her and tell her good job. As I keep running I feel my foot start to fall asleep. It makes running a little uncomfortable, but I push on. I run across a long bridge, then start the uphill climb. I am slowly passing people and telling them good job as I go. I make my way up the hill and watch the lead girl come flying down. I tell her good job and keep running. I then see a man running down and he asks me how many hills are left. I tell him, I don’t know. There are a lot of small hills and I didn’t want to mess it up for him.

I then get to the first aid station and grab some water. I pour most of it on my head. It feels very refreshing. I now start heading down the mountain and pick up speed. As I’m going down, I keep telling people good job and pass a few girls. As I’m running, my shoe feels really tight and it’s hurting my foot. I also have to use the restroom. I plan on running to the turn around and using the porta potty and loosening my shoe. My foot starts hurting more and I don’t know if I should stop now, or keep running. I ask God what he thinks I should do. I feel him telling me to keep going. I push towards the turn around. I finally get there and quickly adjust my shoe. Sadly there is no porta potty, so I keep running. I have to run uphill for a while, but God has given me energy and I power up the hill. I remember seeing a girl ahead of me and I run fast to catch her. I get around the turn and see her up ahead. I catch up to her and tell her good job. As I keep running, I tell the people running the opposite direction, good job, as well. It’s hard to keep saying good job while running hard, but I feel God wants me to keep encouraging all of those around me.

I get back to the aid station in the middle and I grab some water and pour it on myself. I’m almost done. I run hard down the hill towards the long bridge. I get there and power over it. I know I have only a mile left. I don’t want to leave anything behind, so I push really hard. I get to a half mile left and I push really hard towards the finish. I turn into the park and run towards the finish line.


I see family and friends and they cheer me on. I run hard into the finish shoot and my feet start to slip on the gravel. I stay standing up and power through the finish line with God. Thanks to God I had a great race and finished 8th overall for Women and 1st in my age group. The Lord gave me great strength and I’m glad I got to race hard for him.

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


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Alpha Win 70.3 Napa-Troy-2022

April 9th, 2022 – Lake Berryessa, CA
Swim 1.2miles – Bike 56miles – Run 13.1miles

5:52:29 (42:25-8:54-3:07:34-2:01-1:51:33)

compared to 2019:  5:36:30 (31:32 – 7:10 – 3:05:19 – 2:00 – 1:50:27)


1 of 8 (50-54), 12 of 48 (Overall)


70.3– FCA: Caryn Galeckas, Robin Soares, Suzanne Hartley; Sam Louie 

OLY – FCA: Anna Soares

Robin and I put on headlamps and bike to transition (just a 1/2 mi from our campsite).  We haven’t done a real 1/2 Ironman in years due to COVID cancellations. 

Our friend, Courtney Cardenas, is announcing.  He does a great job of it.  Robin & I have adjacent transition areas which is a treat.  It’s daunting doing a 1/2 but it’s special knowing Robin is doing it with me.  Most importantly, the Lord is with me.  Robin and I both know there are many dangers in triathlon racing so we’re thankful the Lord is with us throughout it.

We get cold easily so the big question is how big of a jacket/sweater will we wear after we spend 38 min in 61 deg water.  We lay out some options.  During the swim is when we’ll decide.

We’re so glad to be racing again with our FCA Endurance friends, Suzanne and Caryn.  We gather with them, and Anna and Ariel who are supporting, and pray at the swim start.  We pray for it not to be too cold or too hot, but mostly we pray that we focus on the Lord and are ready for the opportunities He gives us to do His will and hopefully glorify Him.

It’s windy, choppy.  The course has been shortened so now 2 loops.  Full distance athletes will do 4.  I’m already starting to shiver in my wetsuit and neoprene booties and I haven’t even gotten wet yet.  I jog in place.  I kiss Robin and dive in for my start.  She starts 3 min after.  I’m getting colder in the water.  I go to the far side of the start because the line to the 1st buoy looks pretty close to the shallow shoreline.  I wave to all my girls.  I pray that I will feel warmth.


Go!  As I start I suddenly feel warmer!  Thank you, Lord.  My first open water swim in 6 mo.  I don’t feel powerful.  I try for some draft but soon settle for just trying to swim.  Those that swam to the right are now walking in the shallow parts.  After the 1st buoy, we head into the wind and chop.  It’s tough.  Especially when it hits you trying to breathe.  I hope Robin is starting well and not too cold. 

After the 1st loop I’m glad to go down-wind again.  Avoiding the shallow.  Anna and Ariel are cheering along the shore.  It’s so helpful having family support.  Now back into the wind and chop.  I’m getting really cold.  I know I’ll be putting on BOTH by jacket and sweater.  Beforehand I said I’d swim about 37min.. now I check and see 37min and still have 150yds to go.  I also see that the distance is pretty accurate.  I push hard.. but still come out at 40min.  I touch the bottom.  This is where I struggle to get up and function on land.  When I get really cold, and breathing hard, my brain doesn’t work well.  I do my best to run up the long ramp as fast as possible (which isn’t very fast). 



Rocky transition is hard on the feet even in booties.  Takes a long time to get my suit off, jacket and sweater on.. then I see my lovely wife enter transition.  She’s walking.. hugging herself.. shivering.  I so much want to run over and put a towel on her.  It’s hard to see her so uncomfortable because I know how tough she is.  I do help her get her jersey on.  I’m so glad she has a sweater.  I head out, again hobbling over the rocks.



I’m so glad to have a jacket, sweater, leg warmers, gloves and a warm aero helmet.  Over the first steep climb I’m surprised how cold I still am descending.  My fingers are cold.  I look at the other riders without jackets or gloves, or leggings and wonder how do they do it, or if they are in much discomfort.

For 10mi, the mountain ridge blocks the sun so it remains cold.  It’s an out-n-back so I start counting bikes.  The leader is WAY ahead!  Even though my swim was slow and my transition slower, I still wonder if maybe I’m in the top 10.  I keep wondering if the turn-around is soon.. but it doesn’t come until I count to 22 bikers.

On the way back a couple pass me, including a girl I believe is first.  A really good rider.  There’s Robin!  I’m so glad to see her, but she looks a little uncomfortable like she’s still thawing out.  I pray that she’ll still have a good ride.  I see Caryn and then Suzanne.  They look like they’re doing great.

Heading back to the lake I always forget what it’s like.  I dread a long climb, and then I look to the river we’re following and realize it goes TOWARDS the lake therefore it’s actually mainly a descent.  That helps.  Just a big hill to go over right before the lake.  I’m not getting really warm in my sweater.  A super fast descent, and I hear the cheers of my 2 girls! 


Now an out-and-back along the Lake.  I pick the top of the first hill to stop and take every thing off.  Now, just in a jersey, I’m the perfect temp and, with a tailwind, am feeling great!  Thank you, Lord.  For the first time I feel like I’m really racing.

I pass a couple riders and by the turn-around find myself in 20th place.  On the way back I can’t wait to see Robin to make sure she’s doing well.  There she is.. doing well and a smile.  It’s a head wind so not feeling super fast anymore.  But my Vitargo energy drink has been great.  I feel plenty fueled.  I stop quickly at the same hill I stopped before.. and now the final sprint back to transition.



Dismount doesn’t go that well.  But soon I’m into running shoes and hobbling out. 


Courtney makes sure to announce me to give me a boost heading out.  Anna & Ariel cheer me out of the park.


I feel fueled, I’ve got Spring gels, but my concern is my hip which has been holding me back lately. 


Out on the road, I’m shuffling along at 9:30 pace.  This will put me over the 6 hr mark.  But I feel this is the only speed I can go to safely keep my hip from flaring up.  But then I feel a nudge to have faith, to trust God, to just give Him my effort and trust Him to keep my hip and legs together.  God has blessed me so much.  All my injuries seem to have also been blessings in ways.  They’ve definitely helped me appreciate more all He does for me although I still don’t appreciate Him enough.

Before the big bridge I see what looks like a bald eagle flying up from the lake with a large squirming bass in his right claw.  The fish is doing what it can to break free but the bird is not concerned.  The death-grip of that one claw is all he needs as he pumps his wings higher and higher, off to a nest somewhere where baby birds are going to have fish for supper.  I tell some bystanders “did you see that eagle with the big fish?” and they correct me saying, “Yes, but that was an Osprey”.  All I do know is that seems really hard to hold a flopping fish with one hand while trying to fly.

Soon I’m running 8:30 pace!  I pass the super fast biker girl who is speed walking.  She smiles and says, “I can’t run” but I tell her she’s still going to do great.  The aid station at 1.5mi at the top of the hill is great, super serving and quick.  Great volunteers!  I know it’s all downhill to the turn-around.  I count the other runners coming back and am surprised to find myself now in 16th place after passing a few.

Mile 3. 7:27. The volunteer at the turn is also really helpful.  His face and bald head are already pretty sunburned and I mention it in concern and he says he knows, with a smile.  Wow, these volunteers are really dedicated.

4mi.  I feel a burst of energy and motivation and owe it to the Lord.  My hip is hanging in there.  I’m pushing off of my right big toe, and trying to land harder using my quads instead of the hamstrings.  I try to stretch out my left stride rather than the right stride which has the injured hip.  I’m maintaining 8:30 pace and am so happy!  I saw a Davis Bike Club guy ahead of me that might be my age group.  I will push a little and try to catch him.  I see Robin heading out and tell her I think she’s 3rd! (Actually she was 5th because I miss counted). 

Mile 6. 7:45.  The Davis guy is still a 1/2 mi ahead.

Mile 6.5.  Anna and Ariel are playing a trumpet, flute duet and it warms my heart.  I make the turn, get lots of water, in me and on me (it’s 70 deg now) and am motivated for the next loop. 


I think I can catch Davis and maybe keep the 8:30 average.

At the aid station at the top of the hill, they’re still on the ball and get me 2 cups quickly.  I try to open up the stride on the downhill.

A young guy runs by me effortlessly.  He says, “I’m on my first lap, I had a flat.”  I encourage him and tell him to make it his best run ever.  Then he encourages me to keep up with him.  That encouragement helps me catch and pass another runner.  But I eventually have to settle back and the young man cruises ahead.

Mile 9. 8:12. Almost to the turn, I do catch the Davis guy.  Wow, such a blessing to be able to make up so much ground.  At the turn-around, I I finish my gel and take an orange slice and banana section.  Water, gatorade, pray, and now to push the 1.5mi climb to the top.  After that it’s downhill!

I pass a guy running the race with his brother.  I’d seen them side by side but now he was falling back.  He tells me, “tell my brother up ahead he’s doing great.”  “I will”.  I pass on the message and think how cool that would be to do it with your brother.

Thank you, Lord!  I make it to the top.  I put my arms up and just appreciate the blessing God has given me today.  I’m running so much better than I imagined.  I see our friend, Sam Louie!  What a great surprise.  And then there’s Robin.  I tell her I love her and to give God her best effort. She’s a great runner so I know she’ll enjoy her last lap.

Mile 12. 8:42. I see Caryn starting her first lap.  I stop and pray with her.  She’s battled injuries for the last year and really wasn’t ready for this.  She says to please pray for Suzanne, too.  Soon I stop with Suzanne, too, and pray for the pains she’s probably experiencing.  In tears she tells me that it does hurt a lot but the Lord is with her.  I’m always so proud of these girls, very inspiring.  I look at my pace, 8:31 average.  Got to push it.  Suddenly my stride starts to feel normal.  I don’t feel pain. This last mile feels better than all the others.  8:30.  8:29. 


Amazing, I’m getting my goal.  And under 6 hrs.  I point to God as Courtney announces my name at the finish. 


I’m so tired, relieved, and appreciative.  Thank you, Lord, for taking a slow start and turning it into an exciting race.