Having done this event several times I keep trying to raise the bar in time performance and AG placement.
The race logistics are a bit challenging since this is a point-to-point event with 19 miles between swim start and T2- T3. This year was the new bike check in the day before. So that involved 1st checking into Windsor HS and then driving down to the start in Guerneville’s getting parked and the walk to the river. It kind of makes sense as the race logistics and single lane entry and exits from this area backs traffic up. We both got racked and then put our toes in the water, which felt nicely cool considering warm temps. 3 weeks ago they dammed up the swim start so the hot temps had not heated up the water temps yet. It was likely wetsuit legal but no confirming till AM. We checked out the pro racks and saw our friend Jim Lubinski and Robin Pomeroy spots. So back to the hotel and the fueled up with some amazing wood fired pizza at a local joint.
Race morning comes quick and another drive to Guerneville in the dark and a long walk to transition from parking. We wanted to connect with our fellow teammates Robert Peterson and Brian Skehan pre race. We were all pretty spread out in swim waves with birthday boy Scott Williams super early and Brian and Robert in the middle and I was more than an hour after Scott. So plenty of time to have stray thoughts and watch the Pro’s exit from Swim and hop on bikes. This is the latest start and also facing the heat of the day could really change my day. Thank Marnie Skehan for cheering us on and taking pictures!
The F50-54 AG was now getting close to the waters edge and with 3 min in-between waves we swam in to the line up and off we went. This is a fairly “easy swim” but swimming is never that easy for me. I felt like I was moving until I felt the next group starting to pass me…stay focused. Counting buoys and I knew I was close to turn around. The sun was rising and I felt it in my sleeveless suit. I could hear the cheers at the shore and tried to beeline straight there. Exited the water and glanced at time clock…41:34 came as a surprise as I felt faster. 3:24 Transition
Quickly transitioned and hopped on the bike. I know the course pretty well but riding it 1x a year there is always something you don’t remember. My goal is to try to be less than 3 hours. The temp was already warm as I rode and started to pass people in the first few miles. I was conscious of the calves looking for F50-54’s. That’s the hunter in me. I tried for a good portion of the race to stay aero. Watching my speed and cadence. Came to the notorious chalk hill which is now nice paved and is a bump considering we ride Costco Hill and just because. 10 miles to go and I was projecting to be under the 3 hr. time.
Bike 2:54:43 3:12 Transition
Now to get in and out of transition and off to the half marathon. I like this run as it does have hills and dirt path thru a vineyard. It is exposed but there are patches of shade. All I need to keep under 2hrs to make my sub 6hr finish.
Saw several friends running as this is a loop course and it helps to keep each other motivated. This is a very competitive race so you were seeing some very fast athletes late in the race as they had the later starts.
I doused with water and continued to hydrate, trying to smile. I did see Brian Skehan as he was trying to work out his hamstring. I encouraged him and continued forward.
Made my second loop start and tried to maintain my pace. Doing the math it looked like a 5:45 finish. I focused and ran and headed back to the finish. Making that turn into the final turn into the high school and into the finish shoot. Hearing my name over the PA and pushed across the line. Exhausted and spent, the volunteers kept me upright and then I saw both Scott and Robert. Relieved. Got me out of the hot sun and doused with water. The guys seemed happy. 3 of 4 of us were finished. And Brian was not too far behind.
Run time 2:00:05 Final time 5:42:58 8/89 AG and 587/1996 OA
Happy for another opportunity to race and complete this great event. It was great to be here participating as a group representing Folsom Bike Triathlon Team. The four of house combined scored enough points to be 2nd in Division V for Tri Teams! Way to rock it!
Thank you Folsom Bike and the fabulous service staff that again had my bike dialed in!
In the past I’ve done very well with this crowded swim course. It’s an out and back in the Russian river In Guerneville. The water, to me, is very warm and almost too warm to be wearing a wet suit. I was seeded in the 17th wave that started around 8am. That’s an hour and 15 min after the pros. After the gun went off, I settled into a comfortable pace that I was used too, made the turn back to the T1 and I could feel the current push me down river a bit. No problems with the swim, sighting was good or I thought it was. I swam 300 more than I needed too. This happens way too often for me. Everything went as expected and planned. Swim time 42:00 min
Everything went as planned, but very crowded with a sold out race. Time 4:36
This bike course can be very fast if the wind is non-existent, otherwise it can be a real pain in the…..This year, around mile 15 the winds started to pick up. I rode with a head wind for 20 miles, which took some gas out of the tank. I pushed too hard to fight the wind, big mistake, on my part. Also, I spent too much time worrying about my bike speed, and I lost focus with my nutrition plan. This ultimately destroyed my run plan. This sport can be very humbling at times. Mile 40, I had a tail wind that was a huge relief; again I pushed too hard to make up time. Miles 45-55 the winds switched back and forth draining the tank. I just wanted to get off the bike at that time. Bike time 2:49
As planned nothing really to report here Time 4:57
Previous races my hamstrings start cramping around mile 6 or 7. This year was no exception. Like clockwork, boom it happens. I had to re-adjust the game plan to accommodate this ongoing problem. This leads to slowing down and walking at times. Around mile 8 the hunger became a problem. My energy levels were low and mentally I had to push myself forward. I only had five miles left, but it was the longest five miles ever. I clearly was paying the price for not taking in calories in on the bike and pushing the bike speed. I finished the race Very defeated and frustrated. This race was planned an “A” race and I was hoping to PR. That did not happen at all. This race became a glorified training day for Vineman140.6. Run time 2:27
Today was rough day of racing for me. I had high hopes for a PR today, but on a positive note, a lot was learned and needed to be addressed before my full ironman in a few weeks. I want to thank Folsom bike, and Folsom bike triathlon team for their continued support
I had not planned this race on my schedule, however the tri for real series is a good tune up for tri season. There is nothing like signing up at the last minute and rushing to get everything ready. We arrived a little bit behind schedule to the famous Rancho Seco County Park. There are a few predictable parts of this race; the water will be warm, and the run will be hot and dusty. But this day there was an unusual cloud cover, kind of like June gloom. So that may bode well for all three events.
We had six Folsom Tri Team racers. This is awesome and provides a built in confidence builder. This included Brian Skehan, Joe Garrison, Cheryl Sanford, Craig Marchione & Scott Williams. The unfortunate part was that our requested bike rack was no- where to be found.
Swim: 35:02 3rd/5 AG. 97th place OA
The swim start was in 4 main waves. There is a lot of room to find your space and not have anyone really crawl over you.
Swim: Got in the water and it was really nice. Had about 3 minutes before Bill did his low-keyed count down and we were off. The swim is a .92mile. There are about 5 buoys and a couple can easily get lost in the sun. So as we started the clouds started to disperse. I found I got into a rhythm and was following a couple gals. It helps me keep my head down and site less often. I felt good as I made the first turn buoy. The next couple buoys became a little more challenging to see, as the sun was now getting bright. Made the final turn and it seems like forever to do probably 600 yds. I stayed the course and actually felt I was going to have a decent time. It was ok but I still need improvement.
Since this race is not chipped time the transition is added into your bike time. Ripped off my suit, got my Folsom Bike Jersey, bike shoes and helmet on and ran with my bike to the transition line.
Bike: 1:19:08 with transition: 1st/5th AG 55th OA
This is a 24.9 mile ride. The road is open so you do need to be really careful. They have done some paving so about half the course is fairly smooth. All I had in my mind is that I have some catching up to do and I better get moving. I felt the first few miles seemed pretty slow. I then saw my prey and got focused. Catch and drop repeat. Got aero and got moving. Got to the turnaround and I had already passed a lot of people. The winds starting picking up and I felt like I was slowing down. All I was looking for was the 3 towers and the left turn back into the park. Ate some Gu Chomps and 1 gel. Made sure I was hydrated. The ride into the park seems like forever. I knew if I wanted to podium I needed to stay focused. I got back to the dismount line and Scott was there cheering me on. He did the Aquabike and was already finished. I could hear him say hurry up.
Run: 48:46 with transition: 1st/5th AG 39th OA. 121 Racers.
I moved quickly out of transition onto the course. I felt good. I felt light on my feet. I started to make the passes and as I did I told the other runners good job. I could see some women ahead of me and I continued to push. What I like about this run is the terrain, fire road and single track trail and a little paved road. Some rollers too.
Saw Joe, and Brian as they were already heading back. They looked good and our Folsom Bike Kits stood out! I made the turn around and had a few guys with me. I know they did not want to be chicked but they liked my pace. I saw Craig on the fire road just as I got to the single track. With about a mile to the finish I saw Cheryl and cheered each other on. Looking at my watch I was hoping to stay in the 2:38-2:39 range. Fell a little short as I headed into that last stretch back to the finish line. 2:42:56.
This was good enough for the AG WIN and 6th Female OA. I am proud to represent FolsomBikeTriathlon on the podium. I am proud of our team members racing and representing our FolsomBikeTriathlon team well!
Swim: TBF Racing releases swimmers by Age group in a variety waves. As my swim wave entered the water, the water temp was little on the cold side, but bearable. The water was bit choppy race morning at Folsom Lake. We were off and I quickly settled into my swim, getting comfortable and remaining calm after a hard fought battle of positioning. My swim was smooth, and sighting was good. Second half of the swim was a little tricky coming back because of the choppy water conditions. My swim time was 33:09.
T1 Swim to Run: After a long run from the swim exit to the bike racks, I collected my thoughts, took a deep breath and readied myself for the bike. T1 transition time was 2:42.
Bike: I felt really good jumping on the bike. I know this course from previous years so I knew where to hammer down and where to ease up. This year was a bit tricky with rain showers that started as I jumped on the bike. As a result I proceeded very cautiously, in efforts to avoid injury or a bike wreck. As a result, I managed to finish the bike course without incident and that was success to me, for some precarious conditions.
Bike Time was 1:17.38.
T2 Bike to Run: About as expected leaving T2 in 1:20
Run: I felt really strong coming off the bike and more confidant than I did from Oceanside 70.3. I have trained on this course a few times and I know the run course very well. The run course is not easy, with several hills, and several technical sections. Once I got my heart rate down, I became comfortable with my pace that I could maintain throughout. Lucky for me that this year was cool and overcast with intermittent showers throughout the run. In prior years it has been pretty hot! My run was pretty easy up until mile 4.5 when I hit “ Cardiac hill”, a short and steep hill that really gets your heart thumping. I ran half way up and then I had to walk to the top, knowing that once I crested that hill I had a mile 1.5 miles to go, mainly flat and easy.
Run time 53:20
I enjoy this race because it’s close to home and the course is fun and challenging. This year the weather slowed me down on the bike, but helped me out on the run. I’m thrilled I PR’d this year taking 13 minutes off my time and a podium. I was 4th place in my age group. I was excited to be able represent Folsom bike Triathlon team on the podium. Overall time 2:47.
Swim– Ironman releases swimmers by Age group and it was really nice to be placed in an earlier wave this year, right after the Pro’s.
Mentally I didn’t have to worry about being last. As my swim wave entered the water, the water temp was perfect and my nerves began to calm a bit. Swam to the starting line, roughly 200 yards out from the boat ramp, waited about 2 minutes for the official horn-alert to start…. I settled into my swim, got comfortable and remained calm after a hard fought battle of positioning. At times I felt like a salmon swimming up River. First half of the swim was smooth, water was calm and sighting was perfect. Second half of the swim was a little tricky coming back to the harbor. My sighting was off a bit from the bright sun and glare off the ocean. Once I saw the rocks that protected the harbor I sighted off those and they guided me right into the swim Shute into T1. Not my best swim but I’ll take it. Swim Time 46:05
T1 Swim to Run
Long run into bike racks, collected my thoughts, took a deep breath and made sure I got a bite to eat before jumping on the bike.
T1 transition time 5:56
Bike– I felt really good jumping on the bike. I know this course from previous years so I understand where to hammer down and where to ease off. I had a little glitch while riding, my nutrition bag on the bike, worked itself loose and dangled upside down for a few miles until I was able to gather as much as possible before it fell off. I settled back into a comfortable speed and hammered down until the hills started around mile 30. I felt comfortable on the hills and cruised into mile 40-45 where you head west for the ocean and, like the previous years, became a wind tunnel. No wind tunnel this year…. Thank you Mother Nature. My bike was on target and went as expected and I felt pretty good about it going into T2.
Bike Time 2:50
T2 Bike to Run
Another long transition that took forever it seemed like as expected, no problems.
T2 transition time 3:52
Run – I was a little anxious on how I might perform going into this run. My primary training focus was swim/bike with less time spent on my run leading up to this Oceanside event. I felt pretty good, got comfortable, up until mile 4 that’s when things started to unravel for me. I suffered a bit after mile 5, legs were tired, became hungry and my mental toughness was weak. I stopped at every aid station to eat as much as my stomach could handle. Around mile 9 my hamstrings became tight and felt like they wanted to cramp. I struggled to maintain focus and finish strong. I dug deep and finished the race. As always, it was a joy to see my beautiful wife at the end of the Finish Line waiting for me; that will never get old.
Run Time 2:16
Conclusion– Oceanside Ironman is one of my favorite races. I enjoyed riding through Camp Pendleton and the community support is always very inspiring. My Swim was consistent, my Bike felt good, but I felt my Run could have been a better effort, and not my best work. My Training focus in the next several weeks will focus a lot of time on my Bike/Run to prepare for my next Tri events in July. This event allowed me to show some consistency in key areas, while also showing me places to continually develop and train for. I am really excited to be racing for Folsom Bike!
Overall time 6:05.29
First race of the 2016 season is in the books! We decided late to jump in to Oceanside 70.3. Having done this race the last couple years and enjoyed it, we found a way to get in post registration close. We then had to hope that the fabulous Pearl Izumi Folsom Bike Triathlon Kits would arrive in time to race this race in style. The great news was the kits arrived more than a week early and we were super excited to represent the best bike store in Northern California, Folsom Bike! In total we had three Folsom Bike Tri Team racers including myself, Scott Williams, Brian Skehan.
Getting the proper training in for this race is challenging due to the winter and no open water swimming. So just tracking the lane lines in the pool would have to do. Focused on runs and some mid distance cycling with some hills.
The race is on a Saturday morning, which is unusual for Ironman. We arrived on Thursday mid afternoon and immediately checked in and got our packets and scoped out the outdoor expo. It was sunny but pretty breezy. On Friday we had an opportunity to get the bike dialed doing a short ride along the run course. We also got in a run and took in the breath taking views of the ocean along THE STRAND. Got the transition bags together and ready for the morning. The only thing yet to do was to rack the bike at the marina which also was our T1 and T2. Being close to the marina, we rode over, racked our bikes, scoped out the buoys and walked back to the hotel. This would be the same walk we would be taking at about 5:30am on Saturday.
4am Saturday morning came quick, fueled, and walked over to the start with friends from the Sacramento area.
Swim: My swim start was not till 7:28am and one of the last wave starts. Reports said the water temp was 62 and the air around 48. Around 3,255 athletes registered in one of the most competitive races in IM70.3. The Pro field is the who’s who of IM.
All the to-dos were done and now it was time to get into my Wave 50-54. What’s cool about racing is that you make new friends and you see old friends. The gun went off at 6:40 for the Pro’s and every 3-minute after another group entered the water. This is a race with no warm up or practice swim. Just get into the ocean swim 50 meters to the buoy and go. That is what I did and the race was on. Felt relaxed and I always know I go from my weakest discipline to my best. I got into a rhythm and tried to not get hammered with elbows or fists. The water did get rough as the current was pushing you back. There was a lot of contact at the buoys. I only hoped that the sun would not blind me as I swam back to the finish, as that is one of the challenges with this race. Got to the ramp and wobbled out of the water to the long transition to the bike. 47:51 (2:01/100yds)
(Rank 50 AG /443 Gender/ 1783OA) My Garmin indicated that I got bonus yards, which is never good in the swim. 100 more than I paid for.
Bike: I quickly transitioned with a little fumbling. Got on my Folsom Bike Pearl Izumi Bike Jersey. Took off my toe warmers before I headed out of T1. It was going to be a warmer day than planned. The bike takes you immediately up a hill, which can be tricky. The majority of the bike is on Camp Pendleton, which makes this event very cool. Most of the volunteers are from the base. This gives you a great opportunity to thank those who are serving. The course is about 2,500 ft. of climbing with a couple steep long climbs. There is also an area that requires you to stay at 25mph or below or face being DQ’d. The result show many were! It is a descent in which there had been a fatality several years ago. I felt pretty good on the bike and around 12 miles in, Scott Williams caught me on the bike. It was great to see him in his sleek Folsom Bike jersey. We chatted quickly and went back and forth. Being I am slow on the swim I need every minute to close the gaps. Scott sprinted off and I would not see him again until transition. I paced well and worked to keep my cadence up. I did catch one of my “friends” in my AG around mile 25. I was surprised and it fueled my fire! Healthy competitive spirit and this is a race right? My goal was to stay under 3 hours.
Goal met 2:59:58-18.67MPH. (22AG/208Gender/1160OA)
Run: When I arrived to T2, I saw Scott in transition getting ready for the run. Quickly chatted and he told me to get moving. I did and sensed I need to catch a few runners. I felt good after catching the “friend” and then putting on the after burners. This is a two-loop course and it is very spectator friendly. The sun was beating down and there was a breeze. I got in a zone and I saw I was passing people left and right. I ran happy. Is there any other way? Between miles 5-6 I saw Scott on the other side around 5 minutes behind me. I cheered him on while I continued to run. My pace was around 8:20 thru 6 miles. There are a couple of short steep climbs but the majority of the course is flat. I continued to push and slowed slightly after mile 9. I smelled the barn and readied myself for the finish. My fueling was good so I knew I would cross the line happy. I entered the finish shoot and could hear my name. 1:52:05 was my run split keeping me in top 10 for the run in AG.
5:51:10 was my finish. While I always want a podium, this placed me 16th in AG despite a PR on this course by 1:10 (2015) and 3:00 over (2014). AG (16/121) (859/3255 OA). The AG in OC70.3 keeps getting tougher.
Super proud to be representing Folsom Bike Triathlon and look forward to my next event.