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