My first race in the Northern hemisphere in 2013 was last weekend in my favorite place to race; San Francisco. Because of the America's Cup sailing race, The Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon was moved from its normal date in June, to the first weekend in March. This change of date, meant that the conditions for this notoriously tough race could be much worse than normal. Fortunately, there weren't any storms this weekend; but, the water temperature in the San Francisco Bay was a frigid 51 degrees!!! Even with the cold water I was very excited to be able to return to the Bay Area to race. I have such a great support network in the bay between my family, friends, and Olympic Club teammates.
I think Alcatraz is a race that every triathlete should try at some point in their career. I know it can be difficult to get into, but it is such a unique and exciting experience. This was my 4th time doing this race and I was just as excited as I was the first time that I competed. There is just nothing like jumping off a boat into the bay and swimming towards shore. Between the swim, beautiful views, and other challenges on the bike and run course; this race has it all.
Since returning from South Africa I have been hitting the training pretty hard and the week of this race was no exception. With that being said, I was really happy with my 9th place finish. I had one of my best swims for this race (for swimming being my strength I have never had a good swim here), was solid on the bike, and ran 90 seconds faster than I ever have on this course. This was the first time that I used a road bike for this race. I thought that I would give it a try because of the steep climbs and relatively few flat sections. However, it was a bit windy on the course this year and I ended up loosing a lot of time through Golden Gate park to the group that I was biking with. This left me going into T2 in 10th place. I quickly caught up to 9th and ran with Matt Lieto for about half the run. Having him with me was great. Matt is an awesome guy and we were both helping each other out a bit on the run. Running on the sand is my least favorite part of this race but I think I managed to keep it together during this section for once. As usual for this race it wasn't mistake free. I have these great flats from Reno Running company and I didn't use them until race day. That mistake wasn't very pleasant for my calves! I also won't be riding a road bike on this course again. But hopefully I'll be doing this race for years to come and I can learn from my mistakes.
Overall I had a great experience racing and being back in California. I got to see so many friends at the race and had a great time with my brother and friends post race in my favorite city in the world. And I even got to go surfing in Santa Cruz the day after before flying back to the snow in Colorado. My preparation for Oceanside 70.3 is going great and this race was a good indication for where my fitness is right now. Looking forward to the next few weeks before getting to return to California! (and surf with my brother again)