Pacific Coast Trithlon 2008

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:
http://www.pacificcoasttriathlon.com/course1c1f.htm

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.

Arrival

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.

Swim

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.

Bike

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.

Run

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.

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