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!
Ironman Vineman 2016
Leading up to this race my confidence was broken a bit from Vineman ironman70.3, three weeks prior. That race was supposed to be an “A” race and I was hoping to PR. That particular day turned into a training day. Feeling run down, Tired and mentally not wanting to train leading up to the big day. I consulted a few friends and coaches I’ve had in the past, all recommended to just rest and take it easy. I listen and took all advice to heart and it all paid off. Two days prior to race day I started to get excited and pumped up for the challenge of 140.6 miles. I knew this was a good sign for me, I had enough rest between races, to perform.
Race day Morning
I woke around 0400 to eat my nutrition, and on the road at 0430 hrs to drive to the swim location (Johnson beach in Guerneville) but mainly to be beat the traffic into Guerneville. I like to give myself at least a 1.5 hours of extra time prior to the start of the swim. Believe me it goes fast when you dial the bike in, Mother Nature calls you to the porta Potty, and a short swim to warm up. 30 min prior to swim start I take 3 Clif Shot Block with caffeine for a little jump start.
Ironman had all competitors self-seeded by swim time to finish. I seeded with 1:20-1:30 min time group. Athletes were released in small groups at a time into the river, with over 2000 athletes this worked out pretty good, since the Russian river is narrow throughout the swim course. As I slowly pushed through the crowed and into the water I started off slow, and picked up the pace like I normally would swim. I have to mention, the river was very shallow around ¾ of a mile into the swim, some athletes walked to deeper waters, including myself. The water was dirty and hard to see in front of you most of the time. I finally reached the turnaround or halfway point, and the swimming was a lot easier and it felt like I was moving pretty fast down river. I finally reached the swim finish and looked at my watch and i swam 5100 yards @ 1:22 min.700 yards more than I needed to swim!! I’ll take that any day. My fastest swim ever; and a nice PR heading into T1. I knew today was going to be a good day. Swim time 1:22:48
Smooth transition nothing exciting to report, lots of mud accumulated on the bike cleats heading out of T1- 5:40
My goal on the bike was to ride around 18.5 -19 miles an hour or around 6:00 hours without crushing my legs and blowing up on the run. While exciting transition and starting the course the biggest problem I had was finding a comfortable group of people with the same speed on the bike. The first 20 miles I had to pass a ton of people and thus I pushed pretty hard on the bike to do so. Not part of the game plan. After finding a nice pocket where I could settle into a comfortable speed, I really needed focus on eating as much as I could about every 30 min. I had three Bonk Breaker bars on the bike that I needed to eat to stay on track with my nutrition plan. I executed this plan for first 60 miles. I stopped at the bike special needs to restock and I was off again. Around mile 80 on the bike I was too full to eat any more or drink anything. I managed to eat 5 Bonk breaker Bars and one full Gatorade, along with water. The winds also started to pick up on the course too, this made it difficult to push hard on the bike and maintain the speed I wanted. Also, I started to fade a bit, around mile 90. There is one hill called Chalk Hill, it’s a small hill in my book, not to steep, but it can be a pain after 90-95 miles on the bike. I pushed up Chalk Hill and some downhill relief, as I rested the legs for a few miles coasting downhill. The final 12 miles were tough heading back into town as winds were very persistent. I was happy to see T2 to get off the bike that’s for sure. Bike time 6:15:33
T2- 5:36 : Smooth transition from bike, to run. Took a shot of “Hot Shot” for cramp prevention put the shoes and visor on and off I went.
I felt pretty good getting off the bike in transition; I wasn’t thirsty or hungry at all. That’s a big plus for me. Previous races I haven’t felt that way. My biggest concern on the run was my cramping issues that I have around mile 6 or 7 on the run. I wanted to see if “Hot Shot” would cure this problem. I took one on the bike, one shot in T2 and I had one shot ready to go in my back pocket of my jersey. My game plan for the run was to run the first 6 miles nonstop to see how I felt with cramping issues, stop at every aid station and for water and to cool my head. I started the run around 2 o’clock, it happened to be a warm day but not too hot. The run course was a three loop course that you had to climb the same hill three times. Not a huge hill but long enough to take the wind out of your sails. I had to re-adjust my game plan on mile 8 because my legs were getting pretty tired. The new game was to walk the hills and run the rest as much as I could. This plan worked out perfectly. Also, I started to set goals of finishing before dark and possibly under thirteen hours. 2.5 laps into the run I started to pick up the pace to finish before dark. Last mile into the run I could hear everyone cheer and hear that famous “You are an Ironman” that always gives me the chills. I slowed down on the red carpet to give high fives to the kids and enjoy the moment of hearing my name “Brian, You, are, an, Ironman.” I have to say I had a good day of racing, everything came together and I feel I had a solid race. I finished before dark, missed my goal of finishing under 13 hours though.
Run time 5:25
I really enjoyed every moment of this race; sadly I was disappointed to finish so soon, Good problem to have, I guess. This was my 5th Triathlon of the year meeting my race requirements for my team “Folsom Bike Triathlon Team”. I want to thank Folsom Bike, and Karyn Hoffman for allowing me to represent The Folsom bike name and Folsom Bike Triathlon Team. It’s truly an honor to help represent my favorite bike shop, racing up and down the state of California. Hopefully I’m welcomed back next year to represent Folsom Bike Triathlon Team. I already have my race season planned for 2017. I can say Folsom Bike is very well known! I’m sad my racing season is over but, now it’s time fight fires throughout the state of California.
Start–Guerneville , Ca
Wave 15 start gives you plenty of time to get everything in order as well as see your friends get their race going. As usual the typical items of a Johnson Beach swim were present, a nice walk in the perfectly timed half way point as well as the green slime hitch hiking on your googles. The swim was fun and I didn’t break any records, but given it was my second swim since November……I will take it! 34:43
The new pavement and repaired road ways were flat out awesome. Having clean fresh asphalt makes for a much more enjoyable ride and really easy to get into a groove. My goal was to get through the ride without a mechanical and a smile on my face…. Done and done!! The volunteers were awesome as well as the law enforcement, made each of the intersections a breeze and for that THANK YOU!! 2:28:26
Always a warm sunny run. This is a rolling hills style of run that I would say is not flat, but not too hilly and similar to any run in the foothills in the Folsom area. Running with the symptoms of too much water, made this a really long run for me. Again, the smorgesbord of items at the aid stations seemingly encouraged my side ache with all of the choices but none the less loved it. Thank you again for all of the great aid stations and assistance out on the course. The out and back portion of the course is where I was able to get a quick high five to Scott Williams and get on with the rest of the run. All and all a great fun race and glad I am healthy and able to be a part of it!! Also, watched Karyn Hoffman finish and got in a good group photo post race with Scott and Karyn. Great job to everyone!! #FolsomBikeTriathlon #Trek 1:38:57
Finish time: 4;47:08
This is a race that I have done several times, however I had not planned it on my race calendar. Early Saturday morning, Scott and I decided to test out the water at Lake Natoma, the swim venue for this event. Lake Natoma has been especially chilly due to snow run off, so I better try out the water before I pay money to race. It surprised me that the water really was not that bad. Around 60-62 degrees. Face did not freeze so that is a good sign. So we drove up later that day to register for the event. I have some comparison times having raced this course so I had those in the back of my mind. It is another opportunity to practice my training and represent FolsomBikeTriathlon team. This race had always been the Tri Club championship. So it brings an elevated competitive field. There is both collegiate and tri clubs, STC, EMJ, SVTC, Freeplay and many others.
Race morning we arrived early so to secure a good bike rack position. The air temp felt nice, maybe a little crisp. We unloaded our gear and organized the transition area. Plenty of time to get into the wet suit. I felt kind of nervous for some reason. I think it was more thinking about the chilly water. There were several distances at this event besides the Olympic such as the short course, paddleboard and an aquathon. The temps for the day looked to be high 80’s, so in preparation I froze a water bottle thinking I may need it for the run.
Swim: 32:30 1:53/100yds
Co-ed wave start of 40 yrs. and over. It is a deep-water start, so you had no choice but to be treading water until the start. Quickly our wave started and we were off. The awesome part of the swim today was that the rowing lane lines were still in place making it very easy to stay straight. Even though I was being passed I felt good. Made the 1st turn buoy and could sight the second. I continued to push and made the final turn and headed to the shore. No major issues. Was hoping for a respectable time. I went a little long with my yardage according to my Garmin. Transition 2:53
Bike: 1:16:28 19.8mph
Quickly, I headed to my bike rack. I ripped off my wetsuit and I already had my Folsom Bike top on. I got my act together and I knew I needed to quickly get out of transition. I mounted the bike and headed out toward the CSUS center. We had a hill with the over crossing and then began the climb towards Prairie City and then towards Intel. This is a deceiving road as there is some steepness and then there is some flat. I headed towards the Hwy 50 underpass towards Latrobe Rd. It winds and rolls and momentum is building. I did pass several riders and was back and forth with a male rider. Kind of chase and be chased. The ride proceeded on Grantline Rd and the pavement was pretty smooth. I was in my aero’s most of the time. I saw my speed in the 19-24mph range. I felt decent and continued to fuel with GU Chomps, Vespa and Skratch. The course weaved thru a business park before heading toward Sunrise and the entrance to the canal to get us back to the CSUS. The canal portion is flat and fast. A moderate up on the bike trail to get back to the south side of the trail and to the run transition. Transition 1:19
Run: 49:48 7:58min mile
Quickly transitioned, carrying my race belt, cap and water bottle as I crossed the transition mat. Having no idea where I was in the race for the AG podium. No one had calves marked with their age as is usually done in Triathlons. I got moving and felt great. I had my chilled bottle and sipped and I passed runner after runner on the bike trail. I encouraged everyone I passed. It was warm and there were several people walking or shuffling. I was now 2 miles in and under 16 minutes.
Now I was looking for Scott who I figured would be heading towards me on his way back to the finish. Finally we spotted one another and encouraged each other. I glanced at my Garmin, which indicated I was past mile 3 and getting ready to make the turn around. Grateful for my hand held I did not need to rely on the aid stations.
I continued to push hard as I headed to the finish line. I was now feeling a bit spent as my effort increased. Making the turn back into CSUS and I could hear the crowd lined up along the finish shoot. I crossed the line and immediately saw Scott who already finished and making sure I was ok. I needed to some shade and ducked into the paramedic tent. All was good just some post race exhaustion.
At this point I had no idea how I did other than my watch time. Awards started and still not knowing if I was in contention. Finally the time arrived for 50-54.
Final time 2:42:58 and 3rd AG. The main difference maker was my swim, which I continue to work on. Proud to represent Folsom Bike and love Riding like a Girl!
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!
Overall, I’m very happy with my finish in a stacked field. It was a great start to the year and a real confidence builder for the upcoming race season. First time wearing my new Pearl Izumi/Folsom Bike kit.
Here’s how the day played out:
This year there was a single transition set up at the marina, so we racked our bikes on Friday, which allowed us the set up the rest of our gear race morning.
Swim – 41:46
As I made it through the few thousand athletes lined up and I searched for my white cap swim wave. There was a little chaos as athletes stood in line as the pro’s started to exit the water. Once the swim was started it was a pretty easy swim heading out to the turnaround. The waves really picked up at the harbor opening making the turnaround very difficult to sight causing me to stop and spot a couple of buoys. All in all I was slightly slower than I wanted, but glad the swim leg was over. 157 out of 408.
Bike – 2:57
I committed to riding super hard for most of the first 30 miles to see what would happen before hitting the climbs. As I picked people off numerous riders I felt like I was riding faster and stronger than the previous year. My legs still felt good, but my mind started to wander as my idea of a solid bike spilt began to fade away. Some of the riders I had passed soon began to overtake me. As we started headed back the remaining 15 miles I pressed on through the headwinds giving it all I had knowing what waited ahead…136 of 408 overtaking 25
I was worried that the work on the bike would take its toll on my legs, but I gave it a solid go for the first 2 miles, running about 8:17 and 8:25. It became pretty clear that I wasn’t going to have 11 more of those miles in me, so I switched to survival mode and settled into what felt like a sustainable pace. I flirted with the idea of trying to get back to the turn around and catch up with Karyn, but after spotting her as I made was running back on my first lap this was not an option. The last few miles was all about getting to the end without breaking myself and enjoying a run to the finish line! 138 of 408 lost 6 spots in my division
As I said, overall, I’m very happy with this performance. I had absolutely no idea where my fitness was after a pretty lackluster January and February. Thanks for the support Folsom Bike!
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.