Monday, May 01, 2023

Cactus Man Triathlon 2023

I completed a busy month of racing with the Cactus Man Triathlon in Tempe, Olympic distance. My times were almost identical to last year, I was 1:10 slower than in 2022 overall (1:15 faster in the swim, :36 faster in T1, 1:07 slower on the bike, :20 faster in T2, and 2:14 slower on the run), but instead of finishing 3rd of 6, I finished 10th of 15. So while 90% of life is just showing up, it now means who else showed up, now that I'm one of the older guys in my division.

The water was very cloudy, and there was a slight current because the lake is still getting runoff from the dams upstream, but with all the fresh water, the lake actually seemed "fresher" than in past years despite looking like it was thick enough to plow. The bike course was the usual Tempe route, with lots of turns, including 2 tight U-turns, so I used my road bike and not the tri bike. And the run was very hot, and not just my watch, but some friends also thought the course was longer than 6.2 miles. As it was the same route as last year, I'm not sure how that would have happened. (But if it really was 6.5 miles, then that would explain the additional 2 minutes for the run.)

I ran a very "technical" race, in that in finishing 10th in my division, I finished 11 minutes behind the 9th place finisher (no way to catch him), and 20 seconds ahead of the 11th place finisher (that's pretty close). Much better than the reverse.

Before the race started, and as I slogged through the run, I did think how grateful I am that I can still do this stuff with my friends. I'll never be great but it's great fun to still be able to participate. Results here, photos here.

Swim 30:37 (wetsuit)
T1 4:43
Bike 1:26:43
T2 3:18
Run 1:14:30
Overall 3:19:51, division 10/15, gender 184/240, overall 237/327

Monday, April 17, 2023

Arizona Road Racers Spring Cleaning 5K

ARR called it the "Spring Cleaning" race because with your free (with membership, of course I'm a member, I join everything) race entry you got a shirt, which was a leftover from a prior ARR race. So I got a 2014 race shirt along with the chance to run in my old neighborhood, starting and finishing at Arizona Falls and running along the ol' south bank of the Arizona Canal. I visited my old street and saw what the new owners are doing to the houses (short answer: McMansioning big time).

Results 29:12 (division 5/7, gender 37/50, overall 50/81). The 50 overall was nice, in that I was the last person on the first page of results. But I don't know about ARR, with 7 guys in the 65-69 age group; didn't everyone get the memo that no more than 3 are supposed to show up at an event, so everyone gets on the podium? And my time would have made me 5/5 in the 70-74 age group as well.

I did learn that waiting an hour after eating may be fine for swimming, but not so great for running a fast 5K (by my standards).

Monday, April 03, 2023

Oceanside 70.3

Post coming soon but a great day, a tough course, I finished, and I'm happy about it. 7:21:28.

More photos here.

Now for the post. Oceanside 70.3 is a big favorite of Tri Scottsdale, and we had a huge group again this year. Most people did a relay (and to them, congratulations, but relay people suck) but a large number of us still were doing the whole thing. It's a relatively easy drive, a very nice venue, and fun to see lots of people you know. I'd been a spectator once before, but now I've been a competitor and have much better memories.

The weather was good. The swim got moved back to the harbor instead of the beach start, apparently due to excessive currents. The harbor course seemed cramped and it was hard to get a rhythm with all of the other swimmers, plus after the turn, we were sighting into the sun, which made spotting the marker buoys difficult. A fair swim, not great.

About two thirds of the bike ride was on Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, which is a huge tract of much undeveloped California coastal property. It's a beautiful but hilly course, over 2,700' of climbing (some cyclists back with me had to walk their bikes up the steepest hill around mile 28), but where else are you going to see "Caution: Tank Xing" signs? A very good bike ride; I used my road bike and not the tri bike and was glad I did. We had wind on the final 8-10 miles after all the hills but it all worked out.

Finally, the run is two loops around the beach area of Oceanside, with lots of spectators showing as much endurance as the competitors. By the time I got to the run, it was clear this was not going to be a very good day, and any time there was a slight uphill grade, I started walking. Still, I had a lot of Type 2 fun and am proud of finishing.

Swim 42:39
T1 14:36
Bike 3:28:55 (very nice)
T2 8:08
Run 2:47:11 (not great)
Total 7:21:28, division 27/47 (41 finishers), gender 1469, overall 1975/2522. Probably where I should be (have to be?) at age 68 in the 65-69 age group.

Chelsea Sodaro, who was the first American woman in decades to win Kona in October, finished second among the pro women, and donated her winnings to Moms Demand Action. Here's her post-race interview. Good for her, both for acknowledging her mental health issues earlier this year and for making triathlon seem a lot cooler by being right on the issues.