Archive for the ‘Mike's Stuff’ Category

Pacific Coast Trithlon 2008

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

It has been 238 days since I participated in the Pacific Coast Triathlon. It was my second triathlon and I was hoping to improve on what I had started earlier in the year. Here is a brief run down of the event, based on what I remember and the recorded results. I’m trying to get caught up here, sorry. Little Brooke came along 30 days after the event and all was pretty much halted after that! I will be participating in this thing come July, so it is good to refresh my memory in preparation for it.

The 2008 Pacific Coast Triathlon was held on 9/7/2008. The location was Newport Coast, CA, which is between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. The course is a step up in difficulty in comparison to the Newport Beach Tri.

Course Info

A pretty good description of the course is here:

Here are the highlights:
SWIM: 1/2 mile.
Open water, in the El Moro cove.
CYCLE: 12 miles.
Up and down PCH a couple times. A steady stream of rolling hills will make you work.
RUN: 3 miles.
The run follows PCH and works its way down the bluff to the beach. It continues on the beach for a good half mile, and then climbs back up the bluff to the top where it finishes.
Here are my results:

Field Value Group Placement
Time 1:20:33 23/76
Swim (0.5 mi) 16:55 39/76
Transition 1 2:06 18/76
Bike (12 mi) 36:44 12/76
Transition 2 1:22 23/76
Run (3 mi) 23:35 39/76

The bike leg was once again my strength. I felt ok with everything except the run. I wanted to be more around a 7:15 – 7:30 pace, instead of 7:48, more on that later.


Getting to the event isn’t the easiest thing. There is very limited parking, and since PCH gets closed in one direction, if you park in the close lots, you aren’t able to leave until later in the morning. I ended up parking a couple miles up the road, throwing everything in my backpack, and riding over to the transition area. It is kind of funny, because its like 5:30 in the morning, it is dark, and everyone is arriving at the lot and getting their stuff together. You have to ride down a steep path, go through a tunnel that goes under PCH, and then go up the hill on the other side to get you back up to PCH, so you can ride the rolling hills to get to the transition area. It is a little work out in and of itself.


The transition area (where all your stuff is) is up on the bluff. So to get to actual race start, you have to walk down the steep path to the beach, then down the beach a quarter mile or so.

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

View of the Swim looking down from the transition area

View of the Swim

My bike in the transition area

My bike (first bike on the right) in the transition area (bad cell phone photo)

View from the Start

View from the Start

Each group gathered and waited for the buzzer to go off to signal the start. The start was on the sand, about 20-30 yards from the water. My group lined up, and the buzzer sounded. I took about five steps, hit a clump of sand and fell on my face. I curled up and waited to get trampled but no one ran into/over me so I laughed, got back up, and entered the water. The bunch up didn’t seem too bad, but then again, I was towards the rear of the group since I had biffed on entry.

Once we got through the surf, the water wasn’t bad. The tide swayed a little, but overall the motion of the water wasn’t too bad. I noticed some fish swimming directly underneath me. I guess they liked staying in my shadow. That was a little disconcerting. You do have some interesting thoughts as you are swimming along, especially since earlier that summer, a tri-athlete was killed by a shark attack down the coast, near San Diego.

I plowed ahead at a reasonable pace. I passed some folks and some folks passed me. When I got past the last buoy, I turned towards the beach and got to ride some waves in. I was happy to have that out the way, but not so happy to have to climb the bluff back up to the transition area. Jogging up that thing in bare feet with half a wet suit on wasn’t very fun. It definitely drives up the heart rate.

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

View of the Surf

View of the Surf (thats not me)

After The Swim

After The Swim (that is me & I'm not in a big hurry)

Path to Transtition

Path to Transtition

Transition 1 (T1)

Nothing memorable to note here other than my feet were really sandy. I brushed them off all best as I could. It is always fun to put nice dry socks on over wet sandy feet.


I felt pretty good on the bike. It was a hilly course. I passed a lot of folks. Some would pass me going down the hill or on the flats, but I’d go right back by them up the hill. There wasn’t a lot of wind but it didn’t take much to add to the pain of the hills. Drafting is prohibited, and looked to be enforced. The end results listed a number of folks with drafting penalties.

In looking at the data from the GPS that was on my bike, it looks like I was able to sustain my speed and even get a little faster on the second loop. The race timing data put me averaging 19.6 mile per hour, my GPS had me at 20.1. It is always nice to be able to keep around 20 mph when there are rolling hills around.

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Pacific Coast Bike Course

Pacific Coast Bike Course

Data from Bike

Data from Bike

Bike 2

Bike 2

Bike 1

Bike 1

Transition 2 (T2)

Not much to note here either. I dumped the bike and my gear and put on my shoes and number and headed out.


I started to notice a pain on my right foot. It got worse and worse - and it felt like my toes were asleep. The run wasn’t any fun at all. The way out is up and down, then you made a hard left and followed the trail down to the beach. At that point my toes were getting worse but I kept going. Then I hit the beach and was completely miserable.

I was tired, my foot was hurting, and then I had to run through a half mile of loose, wet sand. I was crying uncle. (After the event, I realized that my fall at the beginning of the race was due to stubbing my toes into the sand. Later that afternoon, my toes were swollen and bruised, much like when you jam your fingers playing basketball. That explained why my toes were hurting and felt like they were asleep. What a bonehead move!).

The reward for making it through the sand was another climb. By the time I hit that thing, it felt like I was going backwards. I kept taking the smallest steps known to man, and kept moving. People were there cheering everyone on. I kept wondering how bad I had to be looking. As bad as I felt, I was able to get up the hill without anyone passing me on it. At the top, there was another gentle climb, and then it was pretty flat with even a slight downhill finish.

As I headed to the finish, I didn’t have any kick. I heard the PA announcer mention to the crowd something to the effect of “this is where you can really make yourself hurt, depending on how hard you can push yourself”. No doubt about that. I wasn’t in the mood to be pushing myself any more. Some guy behind me was. I heard his friends and family cheering him on. Then I heard him expel the contents of his stomach. The next words of encouragement were something like “Awe man!”, then “Its OK! You’re almost to the finish”.

I got over the finish line and immediately began to drink and eat everything in sight. Then I had to pack up all my wet sweaty gear, jam it into my backpack and ride my bike back to the car.

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Elevation and Grade Chart

Elevation and Grade Chart

Portion of the run course on the beach.

Portion of the run course on the beach.

Run on the beach.

Run on the beach.

The Finish

The Finish

Final Thoughts

It must have taken me 45 min to get back to the car. With all the road closures, and pedestrian traffic, there was nowhere to go. So many people were trying to figure out how to get across PCH. The police at one light would tell people they have to walk a mile down the road to the next light. When I got to that light on my bike, I heard the police telling people they had to go back to other light. I’m glad I had my bike with me.

Looking back on it, I didn’t do too bad. I had hopes of improving on times from my previous triathlon, but this course was much tougher. I do plan on improving my times this year, as there shouldn’t be any surprises. Hopefully I can chip away a little at each discipline and gain a couple minutes.

IU Fans

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

It is going to be a rough year for the basketball Hoosiers but they are going down the right path. Meanwhile the IU football team shows they can put a victory together with good offense and a great defense.

I just updated the web site software last night, so hopefully this gets out to everyone. I have a new spam filter for the comments, so hopefully everyone’s comments will appear now (I had to mark over 900 comments as spam last night).


Hoosier Fans

Broken play - fake punt - first down!
Broken play - fake punt - first down!
Tickles for everyone when IU scores.
Tickles for everyone when IU scores.
This is what the guys on TV see when they look back at us.
This is what the guys on TV see when they look back at us.
Brooke is waiting in anticipation as the clock ticks down. Could the Hoosiers pull it off?
Brooke is waiting in anticipation as the clock ticks down. Could the Hoosiers pull it off?

Mike’s First Triathlon

Monday, April 28th, 2008
Taking a turn.

I figured I’d post some info regarding my first attempt at a triathlon.

But first, the thanks.

I have to thank my cousin Scott for getting me motivated to do this. His blog is here (he has a nice bike).

I also have to thank my brother in law Chris, because when he brought his Giant road bike down from San Francisco he let me test drive it and that eventually led to me getting a Giant to call my own.

I also have to thank Jim and Joe who have been putting up with me and keep getting me out on the bike almost every Saturday morning.

Finally, I have to thank Angie for watching over Paige so I can get out to ride/run/swim and allowing me to spend some money “investing in myself”.

Some race info.

The Newport Beach triathlon was held on 4/20/08.

The distances were advertised as:

SWIM: 1/2 mile.
Flat water swim in the Back Bay of Newport Beach.

CYCLE: 15 miles.
Scenic course through Back Bay Drive and Eastbluff Drive.

RUN: 3 miles.
Fast and scenic out-and-back course.

I completed it, so I guess that makes me a tri-athlete. I was pretty happy with my finish, but I have room for improvement.

I was 8th out of 64 in my group (30-34 year men) and 83rd out of 354 men. Not too shabby.

The groups were sent off as follows:
6:45AM - Elite M & F, Men 29 and Under, Collegiate Men
6:53AM - Men 30-34, Men 50+
7:01AM - Men 35-39, Men 45-49
7:09AM - Men 40-44, Clydesdale
7:17AM - Women 30+, Collegiate F, Athena
7:25AM - WOMEN 29 & U, RELAYS

The full results are here if you’d like to see how fast some of these guys are. My number was 145 if you want to search for me.

Here are my results:

Field Value Group Placement
Time 1:24:49.1 8/64
Swim (0.5 mi) 16:02.0 13/64
Transition 1 2:24.6 21/64
Bike (15 mi) 43:19.1 5/64
Transition 2 1:11.2 16/64
Run (3 mi) 21:52.4 16/64

The Course
The Course

Keep in mind the scale on this. The hills are by no means mountains, but you’ll have to work to get up them. I recorded the course with my garmin GPS a couple weeks before the event.

Course Profile

I was in the Men 30-34 group with 63 other guys, but 50+ also started with us so I’m not sure what the total ‘herd’ was at the beginning. It was a bit tough to navigate the water in the crowd, but I think my days of cross country running in high school helped because it was basically the same concept - try and relax and survive until it thins out. I can’t swim in a straight line, but other than that I was ok. I rented a wetsuit and it kept me nice and warm. I don’t have any pictures of the swim.

Transition 1
Upon leaving the water, I had to step up a small sand embankment (probably about 3 ft tall), then jog through the parking lot, around the fence, into the transition area, and through the transition area until I came to where my stuff was parked. I was wearing a chip around my ankle, and that is how the my times were kept. Whenever you enter or leave a transition area, you go over a mat that reads the chip and sends a signal to a computer to let it know. After leaving the beach, there was a girl with a hose that hit my feet with a blast of water to get most of the sand off.

I was slooow in transition area 1. I was paranoid that I was going to forget something. I pretty much took my time getting the wetsuit off, drying my feet, getting my socks and shoes on, putting on my helmet and glasses, getting a drink of water and setting off. I jogged my bike out of the transition area and past the line where you allowed to mount your bike. A lot of guys were doing some crazy run and jump on the bike which looked straight out of Little 500, but I took it safe. I just stopped, got on the bike got up to speed.


I look relaxed
Not so aerodynamic.

I felt good on the bike. I was still wet from getting out of the water. I wore these clothes under my wetsuit. They actually dry pretty fast, but they stayed wet from my perspiration.

I kept a pretty steady pace and slowly and steadily gobbled people up. The course was a two lap course with a nice little wall to be climbed one during each lap. I’ve been biking a lot over the last couple of years so I figured I’d do ok on this leg. I was hoping to stay near 22-24 and when I looked down at my bike computer it verified that I was holding speed. I think the hill and U-turns kept my speed down. I think I could have gone harder, but I was saving some up for the run. I liked the little climb and got by a lot of people on it and the steady rise that followed it. On my way down it the second time, I saw a bunch of riders starting to get caught up in a mob on it. I’m glad I didn’t have to contend with that.

I have to admit that I came out around a turn a bit fast and overran the center dividing line. A guy coming at me almost messed his drawers. I calmly told him, “Sorry about that dude” and kept motoring. The course was a bit narrow and tight so I really couldn’t go all out and had to pay attention to my surroundings. I had a cliff bar with me on the ride and I took a couple of bites during the second lap. It wasn’t a lot but enough to keep a little something in my belly.

Transition 2
At the end of the ride, I braked at the dismount line. Some guy behind me didn’t brake soon enough and came skidding over the line. I thought he was going to eat it. I smiled, ran into the transition area, found my spot, put the bike up, took off my helmet, took off my shoes, put on my shoes, put on my running number, grabbed a little drink and headed out.

The part I dreaded was here. My legs didn’t really want to run. I took small steps and tried to keep them moving. I just thought, 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back. No big deal. I was shooting for 7:30 minute miles so I just kept moving those legs. There was about 4 others leaving the transition at the same time as me. I tried not to fall back from them too much. I kept up my pace and I got passed by a couple of guys (and by some freaking little teenagers). When I got to the hill at the end I made pretty good time up it. I passed a couple of guys who were struggling on it. That cross country mentality helped me out. I made it up the hill, turned around and went back down it. I knew I was at the home stretch and the worst was behind me.

There is a bridge that crosses the bay and keeps it isolated from the boat slips and the rest of the bay that leads out to the ocean. On the way out, you run over the bridge and on the way back, you cross it as you near the finish line. I knew when I hit that bridge I was almost done.

Almost done!

I picked up the pace and caught up to the 62 year old guy who passed me about a mile and a half back right as I came up to the finish shoot. It felt good to be done, and all by about 8:15 in the morning. Time for breakfast in downtown HB with Angie and Paige!

The Finish Line
Its Over!

Back In the Saddle

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

I was able to get out of bed today and get out on the new bike. It was cold (for California - 45 degrees) but the rainy season is approaching so I had to get out there while I could. Since Paige was up feeding at 05:00, I just stayed up rather than going back to bed and met up with the guys (Jim and Joe) at the HB pier at 07:30. We got about 29 miles in and hit some hills, but in the cold weather it is best not to push it too hard.

Here is my new ride. It performed quite well today.

MIke's New Bike

Here is a link to an article. “The Onion” cracks me up.


Thursday, December 28th, 2006

This is the first post in my area. I don’t have much to say right now and Brady is sitting in my way making it hard for me to type so I’ll leave it at that.

Stay tuned…

Brady Cat