Sunday, August 6, 2023

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