Local races are the best! Am I not right? No travel, sleep in your own bed, no early mornings…whoops…this is triathlon, every race is always a hideous early morning. Regardless, it was Carlsbad triathlon time and I was ready to participate. I think this race has been held for almost 30 years and they put on a wonderful race. The community support is fantastic, no short of volunteers and the weather is always perfect (it’s Carlsbad!!!) All that being said, it is a fairly small race, but all the locals all come out to play (including some pretty good pros) and the course never really leaves the pacific coast so what is not to like?
Race morning!!! Early alarm and I am set to hit the venue. Typical pre-race stuff….coffee, some food, you know. I navigate my way to a parking spot and unload the bike and gear. A short roll to the transition is next, followed by getting the gear set up. I was by no means there early, so I did the best I could with racking and set up shop. The race is one of those that you walk the length of the swim from the transition to the swim start so I slipped on the Huub in transition up to the waist and then made my way north along the seawall. I popped a Carb Boom gel (compliments of our Team Zoot Sponsor) and zipped up my Huub wetsuit. The incoming waves were not “minor” so I decided to do some practice entries. Luckily I got out between sets and actually commented to another competitor: “that was not too bad.” Oops…bad move and karma was swinging around to get me!
I was in wave 5, 6 or something like that. Wave 1 got worked by the waves and I felt bad for them. The next few waves fared a little better and they actually were able to make forward progress. It was my turn. I lined up on the frontish (not really the front, but pretty close) and when the horn sounded I trotted out to the water all the while trying to assess if I was going to be beat on, or just cruise through. Luckily, it was the later and I managed to get past the break without being pushed back to shore (Huge Accomplishment!!!)
The rest of the swim was that ho-hum we all experience while swimming in a race. You know…”should I go for those feet?” “Wait, those look better.” “Yikes the buoy is coming up, will I get beat down on?” “Will this ever end?” “Holy crap, was that a shark or some kelp?” “Why is nobody around me?” “Am I that bad of a swimmer?” “Oh, there is somebody…thanks for the foot to the face!” “Last turn, home free!!!” “I survived another one of these!!!”
It was somewhere between the “Home Free” and “I survived another one of these” that I turned to look behind me and noticed a very large wave approaching. I honestly have no idea what you are suppose to do so I just said “Giddy Up” and got pummelled! I finally surfaced complements to my body fat and my beloved Huub wetsuit and realized my goggles were no longer on my face. Not only were they not on my face, they were not on my head, neck, torso or any part of my body…they were gone! So I took a peak behind me and in came wave #2. It was essentially a repeat of the previous wave and once I finally surfaced I told myself to get my ass to shore. I will admit, I think I tried to touch the sandy beach about 500 times before I actually made it, so the swim time was a little pathetic. Good news is that I am in the market for some new goggles!!! My gift to the Pacific I guess! Oh, and I was still alive!
Anyway, it is time to bike, but first, a trodge through the sand to get to transition. Would it be that hard to at least make that run downhill? I mean, come on, uphill in the soft sand after swimming…geez!! Made it past the sand and got onto the proper surface…road! And finally a picture!!!
So I made my way to transition and assessed the number of flaccid wetsuits lying around my spot and thought “damn…you got worked and now you have work to do! Learn to swim Kevin!!!” Given that discussion, I got to the task at hand and jumped on the bike and bolted up the hill out of T1.
I ride this course all the time as it is along PCH, oh and I live here! So I knew what to expect and put the hammer down! I was making up time on everyone! Tucking in and hammering pays off!!! I got to the far turn around, made a cheeky move and passed a few guys I was targeting!!! #sorryboys!
They were not impressed and passed me back and I made the decision to just sit back and watch how they held up. One was strong and the other sat on while I sipped my Skratch Matcha drink. I figured I could take them on the run so I just continued to watch. Don’t get me wrong, we were going, but just not full throttle. With a few miles to go I made my move and passed them both. I am happy to report that I never saw them again! Yay!!!
I drop into T2 and heard the main volunteer cheering me on saying “It is my favorite helmet guy!!!” I agree! The Smith Optics Overtake is a sweet helmet! Super bright, so you stay safe and so comfy!!! It is my goto for races now! I do a quick survey of the bikes and there are two others in racked meaning I am in 3rd. One guy is just heading out and I have no idea about the other guy. So I do the quick T2 and bolt for the run out.
I do the seawall bit, then that nasty climb up to PCH. I tried to keep the HR pretty steady. At the top of the hill I see #2 and quickly dispose of him out the back. So, according to my calculations, there is one more guy somewhere up the road. So I up the pace and go deep into that place we don’t like to go. The body was screaming “NO” but my mind was saying “YES”. Mind over body, so off I went!!!
I kept passing people and had no idea if it was enough. So I never gave up and powered through the finish!
I saw some familiar faces…you know, those guys in your AG that you battle each weekend. So I was kind of down assuming I miscounted in T2 or something like that. I got my finisher medal, my water, a banana and worked my way to my bike. I packed up my gear, searched for my wetsuit and realized I was not super tidy in transition…sorry boys! I dropped my stuff off at the car and then jogged back the race to cheer on my Team Zoot teammates.
As it turns out, the local kids kicked some ass!!! Sean and I won our age-groups! Natalie grabbed 2nd and our fearless leader Diana scored 3rd! It was a huge day for Team Zoot in Carlsbad!!! We will be back for more bling so look out!!!