Sunday, August 6, 2023

Tri Santa Cruz (Olympic) - 2023

August 6th, 2023 – Santa Cruz, CA
Swim 1.5K –0.3m T1- Bike 22.4 m – Run 5.7 m

2:30:52 (33:09 – 4:37 – 1:08:37 – 1:55 – 42:33)


4th, 55-59M; 66th out of 236M


Oly: Dave Campbell, Dave Leroy, Robin

Sprint: Anna & Ariel

We’re here in Santa Cruz, on the beach, and it’s such a warm feeling to have the whole family racing a triathlon together.  A warm feeling is especially appreciated considering the cold ocean water we’re about to run into.  It does concern me.  Robin and I get cold easily.  Triathlon isn’t easy.  But the Lord is so much greater than any temporary discomfort.  And I know that I treasure the closeness I develop with Jesus when I’m about to do something scary.

We all pray that we will look to God during our races, give Him our best, and be happy no matter what happens.

My wave will go first.  Then Robin’s.  Then Anna and Ariel will start in the Sprint group.  It’s not foggy, just overcast.  Waves aren’t too big.  Spectators on the pier.  Yesterday we swam a little bit and it was pretty cold.  Now it’s 1.5 km.  Go!


Start goes great, I feel good.  But around the first buoy I start feelin slow.  I don’t feel like I’m gliding through the water.  More like a struggle.  My goggles are fogging up.  It’s hard to see the farthest buoy.  Finally get around it and notice I’m getting very cold.  I dread the thought of the 2nd loop we have to do, but I know the Lord will get me through and eventually I’ll get out of this frigid water for good.  My job: to do my best and appreciate the ability God has given me.  With that I run onto the beach, smile, and dive back in for lap 2.  Lap 2 seems to take forever.  I hope Robin isn’t too cold.  I’d rather be more cold if it means she isn’t.  Finally around the last buoy and push as hard as I can for shore.  It’s hard to site but at least I’m heading towards land.  Ah, thank you Lord, I’m running on sand now.  Anna and Ariel cheer.  I love my family, they are such great supporters.  33:09.  That’s slower for me understandable with the extra challenge of the ocean.


It’s a long run to transition.  I leave me wetsuit on to get warm, but of course that makes it hard to get off later.  I get my jacket on and head out of transition.


230806_tri_santa_cruz_oly_troy_bikeIt’s pretty special racing here.  Robin and I did the Sentinel Triathlon here together in 2001 when we just started dating.  Before that I did many triathlons here on this course.  Although the course today has been changed to 6 out-n-backs because of road work.  As I come back on the first loop I see Robin!  It’s so great to see she also made it out of the ocean and is looking good.  We both have jackets on and we’re both smiling.  I feel like I’m biking well.  But periodically some of the young fast guys go flying by like I’m standing still.  It’s impressive how fast you can go on a bike.  My job: to be my best for the Lord, and that means it’s gotta hurt a little bit.

After a couple laps, I see Ariel and then Anna!  Ariel braved the water without a wetsuit.  She’s a great swimmer and without having to remove a wetsuit, she has an advantage over her sister.  Both of them are smiling.  Normally “6 out-n-backs” is not enticing for a triathlete, but I’m loving it because I get to see my whole family!  Every lap I get to see them twice.  It’s terrific.  I’m trying to catch Robin to lap her but I can’t.  All my girls are riding well.  Anna and Ariel finish their 3 laps while I have one more to go.  I’m pushing hard, drinking, and getting ready for the run.  Starting my last lap I see Anna on the run.  She finishes the 5k run before I finish the bike.  1:08:37.  That’s not bad.


Thank you, Lord, for keeping me and our girls safe on the bike.  I pray Robin continues to have a good ride.  Transition goes fine.  Now for the 10k!


Heading out I see Ariel finishing her run!  Good job, Ariel!  I also see our friend Dave Leroy finishing his first lap.  Ok, I have to keep him from catching me.  The run along West Cliff Drive is so beautiful.  I’ve done this run dozens of times but it’s been many years since the last.  You can see surfers trying out the waves.  Seagulls hanging in the breeze.  A lighthouse and monuments.  And the cliffs and land formations speak to the great artist that is the Lord.  God made a great place that we live in and how much more effort did He put into us.  We are beautifully made.

230806_tri_santa_cruz_oly_troy_runI’m trying to get my pace below 7 but even 7:30 is hard.  I eat my gels.  I focus on the Lord.  Some people encourage me in Christ because they notice the Fellowship of Christian Athlete jersey.  FCA has been a great team to be a part of.  It really does unite us with many others in our sport.  Every race we probably meet 4 new Christians because of it.  I have to sprint at the end of my first lap to hold off Dave who is finishing.  It makes for a fun challenge and I’m glad for it.  I see Robin on my 2nd lap and it’s always a huge motivator to see her.  I know she’s wondering how I’m doing just like I’m wondering how she’s doing.  In a quick passing with smiles and encouragement all our questions are answered.

I push the last mile with everything I’ve got.  Done!  42:33.  7:30 pace.  Thank you, Lord, for again getting me through a cold swim, through the dangers of biking, and through the fatigue of running.  All things are possible for those that are in Christ.  Just having our family together, joyfully, enjoying racing, Ariel’s birthday, and the beautiful mountains and redwoods is a huge blessing.

I wait a while and get to see Robin finish after me.  The girls come back after checking us our of our hotel.  We’re all reunited and thankful.IMG_20230806_130023709_HDR

Tri Santa Cruz–Olympic Distance-Robin-2023

August 6th, 2023 – Santa Cruz, CA
Swim 1.5K –0.3m T1- Bike 22.4 m – Run 5.7 m

2:40:48 (34:14 – 1:10:09 – 48:59)


2nd, 45-49W


Oly: Dave Campbell, Dave Leroy, Troy

Sprint: Anna & Ariel

IMG_20230806_072419701_HDRIt’s such a blessing being in Santa Cruz racing with the whole family!  We haven’t all raced a tri at the same time before. The girls will be doing the sprint and Troy and I will be doing the Olympic. The swim course loop is the same though we do 2 laps and the girls do one. The bike course loop is the same. This is my first and only triathlon for 2023. It’s been a tough year with various challenges and training has been hard to fit in much training. I’m just grateful to be at the start line injury free!   

We are celebrating Ariel’s 15th birthday this trip. We took a fun train ride up the mountains yesterday and after the race today we’ll go to the pier and beach.

I am terrified of being cold in the ocean but hopeful I’ll survive. I’m wearing my friend Karen’s special swim vest with hood under my wetsuit. The swim start is delayed because of fog so the girls, Troy and I have time to hang out. It’s fun looking at the fun signs people made one with Dory on it…”just keep swimming and biking and running!”.


Soon we get the all clear from the lifeguards and it’s time to go! Troy’s wave starts out ahead of me. I see him bravely run into the water. Then it’s my turn!  I haven’t touched the water at all which is a risky move not knowing what to expect and knowing the temp is around 60 degrees. I run into the water, jump in and start swimming. I’m pleasantly surprised how the the vest hoodie is keeping out the cold!  Thank you Jesus!  With every stroke I’m so thankful for my friend Karen loaning me the vest.

The first 500 I hit 8:36 which is 1:43 pace. Thank you Lord for the extra buoyancy! Back home in Folsom Lake I’m like 2 minutes slower per 500.  As I sight for shore, I see the sprint distance swimmers take off. Go Anna, go Ariel!  Ariel is not even wearing a wetsuit today but just a speedsuit!  She’s tough! 

Soon, I’m running out of the water along the beach and jumping back into the ocean for one more loop. The second 500 I’m a little slower at 8:48, 1:46 pace. I feel more tired now but still enjoying the comfort of the vest. Troy is surely out and running to his bike. I hope he survived the cold!  We are both wimps when it comes to cold.  The shore is getting closer and closer!  My pace slowed down my 3rd 500 to almost 2:00 pace but so glad I’ve been comfortable for this swim!

I exit the water and pull my wetsuit down to my waist.


It’s a long run to my bike but a good opportunity to get warm.  I struggle to get off my wetsuit at my transition sport but I know being warm is worth the extra work and time!  I get on my dry jersey, beanie and jacket. I feel comfortable heading out.


230806_tri_santa_cruz_oly_robin_bikeThis course reminds me so much of the Tri California Treasure Island Tri Troy and I did many years back. It’s a flat neighborhood ride that is mainly a straight out and back. There are some technical turns in some spots as well. This is my first of 6 times on this “loop”.  There are a lot of people out here! It’s controlled chaos!

Soon I see Ariel, then Anna and then Troy. We are going to be seeing a lot of each other!  This is great! Who needs spectators when you have family racing with you.  It’s so cool to see their smiles!

The first 5 miles take me a bit to warm up and get my bearings on the course. I average about 17.6mph. 

The next 15 miles, I’m able to average just over 19mph.  Even though the course is monotonous, it is fun watching for my family. The girls are doing 3 less loops so eventually they disappear and I look for them on the run when I pass the run course. I continue to see Troy and cheer him on.

I see Anna going out for her run. She is smiling and looks strong. 

I start my final loop I see Anna finishing up already! Go Anna! That means Ariel will be done soon too!

I no longer see Troy. Now I’m all alone out here.  It’s less crowded by lonely!  I got to get this done so I can see them on the run!

I finally finish my final loop and I’m coming into transition.  I see Troy on the run. Our friend Dave Leroy is just behind him…I think he’s going out on his second loop compared to Troy’s first loop.


I hear Anna and Ariel cheering for me as I get off the bike. I’m able to transition a bit faster this time thankfully.


My legs struggle the first mile to adjust…more so than usual since this is my only triathlon of the year!  I eek out a 9:39 first mile…ugh! This is going to be a long one!

230806_tri_santa_cruz_oly_robin_runI start to get my legs back. I see Troy coming back smiling. I give him a high five.

Mile 2 is 8:31. Better! Thank you Lord I can be doing this…and with my family!

I squeeze in a quick bathroom break. That’s better. I see Troy coming back out for his final loop!

Mile 3 is 8:50. Someone has their boombox going outside their bus/house. Some good old 80s classics.

I turn around and head out for my last loop. I start to pay more attention to the women racing around me.  Maybe I can pass some.  Two women who must be friends pass me. I can’t quite match their pace but I try to pick it up so they don’t get too far ahead.

Here comes Troy.  He looks good!

Mile 4 is 8:28. I’m on my way back now. Yay!

I continue to keep my eyes on those 2 gals and it seems like I’m gaining a bit. In the meantime I do pass a few other girls.

Mile 5 is 8:23. I’m getting faster and I’m not dying. Thank you Lord!

The race is almost done!  I’m not going to catch those girls but I’ve definitely closed the gap.

IMG_20230806_115517046I hear a train whistle. I know that whistle! That’s the same train I took yesterday! I can see the train is slowly approaching crossing spot to the finish line. I’ve got to get there quick!  I pick it up double time and take advantage of the downhill to the tracks.  I can make it! I push hard and get across with a few feet to spare. Thankfully it’s not a fast moving train! I’m the last one through. I feel bad for the others behind me!  I do find out later that the other runners kept running on the dirt on the other side of the track and crossed behind the train. I push hard down the bike path to the finish.  The sun has burst through the clouds and it’s just a gorgeous day in Santa Cruz! Thank you Lord for a great race!  I cross the line and look up to God. Troy is there smiling. Best way to finish!

Tri Santa Cruz–Sprint-Anna-2023

August 6th, 2023 – Santa Cruz, CA
Swim 850meters –0.3m T1- Bike 11.2 m – Run 3.05  m

1:12:39 (16:48 – 1:20 – 33:58 – 1:16 – 19:32)


2nd, 16-19F; 5th out of 97 Overall W


Oly: Dave Campbell, Dave Leroy, Robin

Sprint: Ariel

Today I get to race the Santa Cruz Tri! This will be my first race swimming in the open ocean. I don’t always like swimming in the ocean and I don’t like the cold, but with God’s help I’ll get through it. I’m just doing the sprint distance while my parents are doing the Olympic distance. They will have to swim 2 laps in the ocean a lot longer than I will be swimming. I only have to swim one lap. They also don’t like the cold so it will be a battle for them too. Once I finish the swim I will be good to go till the run. Recently I have been having shin problems and they're slowly healing. They still bother me when I run and I’m praying they won’t bother me during the race.

The race is delayed by 10 min because of fog and it gives me more time to look at the dark and unfriendly water. Mom and Dad go first and we get to see them swim their first lap. Before starting their second lap they have to run up onto the beach and then jump back in. I’m happy to see that they are not frozen and still doing well. Then it is time for Ariel and I to start the swim. I am excited to be racing with Ariel, I haven’t raced against her for a long time. The announcer counts us off, I say a quick prayer, and we go.

I jump in and start swimming as fast as I can to stay warm. I also keep an eye on Ariel to make sure she’s doing ok. She’s hot-blooded and is wearing a speed suit instead of a wetsuit. As I swim, my face and toes go numb while my tongue wishes for non-salty water. As I get to the first buoy, I go around it with Ariel behind me. I have been constantly looking back to make sure she’s good. I hope she can see me looking back and knows where I am too. I start to pull away and I hope she can jump on my feet for a draft. I then start to focus on the next buoy and know that God will take care of Ariel. I try to get into a good rhythm and force some cold water into my wetsuit to help add motion to my arm strokes. I get around the second buoy and head towards the shore. I’m thankful that God has helped me almost finish the swim. When I get really close to the shore I start to put more water into my wetsuit to help me take it off faster. As I run out of the water I see Ariel up ahead, she must have passed me when I was getting close to the shore. I then try to get my wetsuit off, but the zipper isn’t working. I run over to a volunteer and ask them to unzip it for me. I then get it off and start running to the transition. I thank God for getting me safely through the swim, now I just need to get warm on the bike. The run to transition is longer than normal, but I use it to get warm fast. As I run into transition I start to jump over a curb in the parking lot, to take the quickest way to my bike, but I then get yelled at by a volunteer to go around. I apologize and run around, the long way to my bike. I get to my bike, disregard my jacket, and quickly get on my bike. Lord willing I will get warm on the bike.

230806_tri_santa_cruz_sprint_anna_bikeNow I just have to catch up to Ariel. I am surprised at how far ahead she is already, it must’ve taken me longer than I thought to get my wetsuit off. The bike course is three loops with an out and back. I’m excited to be able to see all my family racing all at the same time! I get to the turnaround and can finally see Ariel ahead of me. She is a fast biker. After I turn around I slowly catch up to her. I tell her good job and that God is with her. As I bike up in front of her I look back one more time to yell some encouraging words. When I look back in front of me, I’m riding straight into a reflective delineator post that is in the road. I ride right into it and I’m expecting to crash. However, the post is plastic and I stay still upright on my bike. I’m so shocked that I didn’t crash that I run into the next reflective delineator post. I then come to my senses and swerve back onto the road. I yell back to Ariel that I’m ok and keep riding.

I eventually see Mom and Dad and cheer them on. There are a lot of bikers on the road because both the Olympic and Sprint racers are on the same course. I do my best to move to the right every time I pass someone and stay out of people’s drafts. I’m thankful that God is keeping everyone safe from running into each other. I end up going back and forth with some guy who is about the same speed as me. I pass him a lot and he passes me a lot, we help push each other.

I eventually finish the 3 loops and bike down a different road to transition. I don’t realize how close I am to transition and quickly try to get my feet out of my bike shoes. I’m a little rushed and accidentally go over the bike dismount line. I apologize and get off immediately. I want to represent my jersey and not break the rules, plus this is the second time someone has yelled at me. I think I got a little confused because the dismount line was different from the get on your bike to start line. As I run into a transition I try to make it my fastest transition. As I’m getting on my shoes Dave Campbell yells at me to go faster. I appreciate his encouragement, but I’m still shaking a little from the bike and I feel that this rushing is making me slower and I’m making more mistakes. I finally get my shoes on, after what seems to take forever, and start running.

I run up the path and begin to run along the coast. As I’m running on the run course, I see Mom going for another loop of the bike. We cheer each other on. I appreciate being able to run next to such a beautiful coast that I once a year get to see. I’m trying to push the beginning of the run and pass as many people as I can. I try to pretend that the first-place runner is just around the corner. I do see the top runner heading back to the finish already! I got to meet her before the race started. She is a triathlete from UC Davis!

As I continue to run, I’m thankful that my shins are not bothering me and I’m praying that my fast start to my run doesn’t make them worse. I pass a girl at the turnaround and head back, almost done! I run through the salty air back to the finish. I see Ariel and encourage her to give her best effort for God. It is so cool to watch her race. As I finish the last bit of the coastal path I see some surfboard class in the water. I would love to do that someday.

As I run back into town, I can start to feel my shins a little bit. I monitor them and so far they are not getting worse. I see Dad heading out on the run course and encourage him. I then hit the path to the finish and push hard to the end. I finish pointing to God, thanking him for a spectacular race! I haven’t done a sprint for a while and it felt so quick and fun!

It was great to be able to run at Santa Cruz, a place I haven’t been to since I was a toddler! I’m also so thankful that God kept my shins strong and protected my whole family in the swim. It was also a blessing to be able to see my family so much during the race, it made it a great family race!

230806_tri_santa_cruz_sprint_anna_runPraise The Lord For He Is Good, His Love Endures ForeverIMG_20230806_112142118

Tri Santa Cruz-Sprint-Ariel-2023

August 6th, 2023 – Santa Cruz, CA
Swim 850meters –0.3m T1- Bike 11.2 m – Run 3.05  m

1:17:35 (15:58 – 1:30 – 36:37 – :48 – 22:39)


3rd, 1-15F; 10th out of 97 Overall W


Oly: Dave Campbell, Dave Leroy, Robin

Sprint: Anna

It’s a cold Sunday morning as I watch the waves crashing against the Santa Cruz boardwalk beach. Racers cover the beach. A group is already in the water. Butterflies speed through my stomach. I’m not going to wear a wetsuit this time. I tested the water yesterday and felt like I could handle it. Some other racers are also wearing a speed suit. The race director comes over and gives us instructions. Then, he steps to the side. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! He says. I ran towards the water. I know the water will initially feel cold, but I’ll get used to it.

230806_tri_santa_cruz_sprint_ariel_swimMy foot touches the water, sending shivers up me. I’m almost knee-deep. I keep running until I’m deep enough into the water. I dive into the water and start swimming. It’s chaotic and crazy. Everyone is swimming for their lives. I see Anna swimming close to me. I smile at her. I soon lose sight of her. It’s still crazy and hard to navigate without getting water in my mouth. I start swimming alongside a girl. Oh, it’s Anna again. I keep up with her. It’s nice swimming with someone I know. We pass the first buoy. Anna slowly moves ahead of me until I can’t see her. I keep swimming hard trying to use my arms a lot, so my legs can be prepared for the bike and run.

I see the 2nd buoy up ahead. I have to constantly look up, to swim straight. Everyone slows down at the buoy as the majority of the people try to take the turn tight. As I round the buoy, I see the swim finish in the distance. It’s difficult to see if I’m going straight, so I keep looking up. It’s still very chaotic, but at least it’s a little better. The beach is closer. I focus more on my arms and being efficient with every stroke. I approach the beach. I see Anna taking off her wetsuit. I swim past her until my hand touches the ground. I get up and start running out of the water.

The ground is super sandy, so I take short, fast steps over it. I try to lap my Garmin, but I accidentally hit the wrong button. I try to fix it, but end up lapping it twice. I pull off my cap and goggles and run onto a concrete ramp. I easily take off my speed suit as I run. It’s about a half mile to transition. I cross a street and a railroad and start running on the path to transition. The numbness in my feet is wearing off and they start to hurt. The concrete path is rough against my feet. I can’t wait to put some shoes on. I see a transition ahead. I’ve got to go fast in transition because I want to see how long I can stay ahead of Anna. I’m about to go over a curb to get to my bike when a lady yells at me to go around the curb. I pause a moment to process her words, then turn, and go around. I get to my bike and quickly yank on my socks. I grab my shoes and put them on.

230806_tri_santa_cruz_sprint_ariel_bikeI quickly pull my bike off the rack, sprint to the bike mount, and get on. I pedal up a head out of transition onto the three-mile loop, which I’m doing three times. I wonder how long I can stay ahead of Anna. Lots of people are already on the bike course. I look for Daddy because he also started early. After a little biking, I see Daddy in the distance. I wave and shout at him as he passes. He does the same for me. I’m having trouble with my gears. My hardest and 3rd hardest aren’t working. I try to bike with only the 2nd hardest gear. I see Mom. We both wave at each other. I see the turnaround up ahead. They tell me to slow down. I slow down, but I guess not enough because even though I went around the turn smoothly, a volunteer said, “Wow, slow down”. As I come around it I see Anna very close behind. I wave at her and pick up the pace. I’ve got to stay ahead of her as long as I can. I’m close to town now.

Anna catches up to me. We talk a bit until she pulls ahead. Up ahead, I see Anna heading right for a poll. I was about to freak out until I realized the poll bent as Anna ran over it. I’m glad she is okay. She runs into another one but keeps on biking. I see Dad up ahead again. He’s heading out now and I’m coming back towards the town. I wave at him again and he shouts encouragement. I see mom and give her a wave. I turn into the town. There are a lot of people crowded at the fencing.

I keep left as I head out onto my second loop. I head back out to the long road to do the loop again. I keep seeing Dad and Mom throughout my bike ride. After biking for a while, I see Anna go around the turnaround. She bikes at me. I wave at her and she waves back. I see Dad and Mom again. I bike into town and turn out for my last loop. Yes, only one more loop. I reserve a little energy on this loop to save up for the run. I see the turnaround up ahead. I turn around. Just about 1.5 miles left. I keep on biking. I finally make it back into the town. It’s super loud. I go down a steep hill and try to stretch out my legs on the pedal. I dismount and run my bike into transition. I put my bike onto the rack and grab my bib.

I take one sip of water and run to the exit. My legs are jello. I run up a hill where bikes are coming down. I wonder if I’ll see Dad. I don’t know what loop he’s on, but I think he is close to the finish. I run through the cheering section in town and onto a sidewalk by the ocean. I see Dad's bike around the corner. We yell at each other. The path is super pretty since it’s right along the ocean. I run through a shady spot and back into the sun. I see Anna heading back. I can’t be too far away from the turnaround unless Anna picked up the pace. I pass a guy who recognizes my jersey. Up ahead, I see a miniature lighthouse structure. I run past it. I see the turn around. Not that much left, I tell myself. I keep pushing.

230806_tri_santa_cruz_sprint_ariel_runI turn around and head back for the lighthouse. I pass the lighthouse and keep running strong. There are lots of people on the run now. I run through the shade and back into the town. Bikers are still biking in. I see the familiar hill that I’ve biked and ran. I let gravity drag me down. I run over the train tracks and back onto the path from the swim. I know I’m close, so I pick up the pace. As I round the bend, I see the finish. I sprint and throw my arms to God as I step over the line. IMG_20230806_112142118