California Kids Triathlon – 2015

Sport Time Rank Age Group
Swim+T14:58?/89 9/11

Race Prep

Tripp’s first triathlon, he was two days into riding a bike. His second year, he was just a few weeks out of floaties and swam the race without them. This year, Tripp had three real attempts at riding without training wheels, but decided to race on a two wheeler. As he said, “four wheels makes you heavy, I’m going to go faster because I’m on two wheels!” So with one trip two weeks ago to the park, where he successfully went a few hundred yards on his own, to last week with D on a slightly longer stretch, and last night with me for a last attempt, and a successful circumnavigation of the park, Tripp was ready to ride his first long stretch on his own.

Tripp started the race thinking he’d be the fastest swimmer; I had unfortunately mentioned that the dolphin kick is the fastest swim stroke to D, and he loves swimming underwater. The leadup time to the race, from breakfast to arriving at Arroyo Park, we talked about how the only person he was really racing was himself, and that as long as he did better than last year, he was doing great. He was geared up with his tri-suit (an Aquasphere “core warmer” wetsuit), his new-old bike (Damon’s previous bike), and his fastest running shoes. All that was left was four hours of waiting till the 11:34am swim start, the 54th wave of the day.

After a great breakfast at Noah’s, and a bit of a scare on arrival times (don’t ask), we made our way out to Arroyo Park to pick up our bibs, shirts, and get set up for the race. This being our fourth time doing it, setup went pretty smoothly, and we got to spend the rest of the time wandering around, watching some swim starts, and relaxing for the hour before our race start.

The Swim

Tripp was pretty eager to start this year, and we were lined up first for our wave. With just about thirty seconds between the pool entrance starting “gun”, we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. Just in the water, and off we go! As expected, Tripp spent more than half of the time under the water, and the rest swimming along the top and getting a breath.

He can swim about 40 feet without a breath, since he can swim one length of our pool at home, so he did what was most comfortable, and just kept going strong without need a rest on the ropes, like last year.

Unfortunately for Tripp, he was still the last one out of the water. It was a disappointment for him, but as I told him before the race, as long as he does better than he had done the previous year, then he’s doing great! His results were a minute and a half faster than last year, including T1, so there’s no question that he improved, big time.

Training Wheellessness

I’m very proud of Tripp for making it out on the race without training wheels. About a year ago, I tried to get him to start without training wheels, and he was just not going to do it. One fall, and no real start, and he was done. This year, he still wasn’t too sold on going without the wheels, but I had him go out to our neighborhood park and try, and after a few false starts, he was able to get about twenty feet on his own before a crash, and finished off the attempt with one, slightly downhill, hundred foot run.

About a week before the race, knowing that we’d have to make the go/no-go decision, D took him again to our park, and was able to get him to go a bit further. It wasn’t a long trial, and it didn’t do much to help make the training wheel decision, but neither was it a bad experience. So two days before the race, and I take Tripp on one last park run.

This time, he rode around and around the park, and crashed only a couple of times. Whatever it is that is the difference between going and falling (confidence?) happened, and it was at that point that Tripp was no longer deciding whether to use training wheels, there was no way he would.

So at race time, he took off pretty good, and I was jogging alongside him again. However, when we got to the first turn, about fifty feet into the race, Tripp ended up in the dirt. I realized at that point that my attention was going to have to be a lot more focused than before, because there was a good chance of bad things happening. The next straightaway went without a hitch, and Tripp was aware enough to slow down at the turn, and while he ended up in the bench, it wasn’t an awful spot to be in. And then came the first downhill. Scary, fast, and fortunately I was there enough to grab the handlebars and keep him safe. Unfortunately, that’s when confidence kicked in for me, and I began letting him do his thing a bit more. I didn’t mind if he fell, falling is part of learning, I just hoped he wouldn’t hurt himself so bad that we couldn’t finish. The next fall was almost like that. About half way through the bike route, Tripp fell, scraped up his hands pretty bad, and hurt enough that for a few seconds, the whole thing was over in his mind.

Fortunately, Tripp is a pretty resilient kid, and he was able to get up with some encouragement, get going, and get over the issue and move on. I think there may have been one more fall on the second half of the ride, and one more section (narrow passage through cement pillars) that I helped him through, but overall the back half of the ride went smoothly.

The Finish

All that’s left is the most important, how we finished. A quarter mile run, for Tripp, is nothing. And this year, he completed it 41 seconds faster than last.

All in all, Tripp cut six minutes off of his time from last year till this. If I could cut 30% off any of my race times, I’d be ecstatic. Tripp was very happy with how he did, enough so that he’s ready to do another one again. So while doing these isn’t motivational enough to get him running much at home, or thinking of anything like “training,” he is having enough fun that he wants to continue doing these, and in fact would like to do more than one a year. The real question is whether or not next year, he’ll want to do the individual divisions, or still stick with parent/child.

California Kids Triathlon – 2014

Run3:1769/123 42/68

The Race

The last time we went to the California Kids Triathlon, put on by Change of Pace, it was a whole family affair. Four kids racing, two in a parent-child division, starting early in the morning and finishing in the late afternoon. This time, the only kid wanting to compete was the youngest, Tripp. His last tri was when he was three, this time at five years old, it was bound to be a very different race. He was just a few weeks out of “floaties” in the pool, hadn’t spent much time on his bike, yet was much more

confident than a child with about thirty minutes on training wheels as he was on his first race.

I got to be the chosen partner for this race, putting this as my first triathlon since the IM 70.3 Oceanside. 25 meters in the pool, a one mile bike ride, and a quarter mile run means a less than thirty minute race, less time than it takes us to drive to Davis to get there.

Tripp was definitely in a great mood for the whole race, much different than when we came out two years ago. He had a lot of confidence coming out of the pool without floaties. And on that trip, each time he rode by a playground or a bench, he’d be asking to sit. I had to help him up every hill, and encourage him the entire thirty-plus minutes of the bike ride. This time, out of the pool, he was rushing off to get ready for the bike. On the bike ride, he flatly refused help at any point, and though he was getting passed every few minutes, he was intent on continuing on in race fashion. And as he got to the run, he was off as fast as he could go.

I had a lot of fun joining Tripp on this, his third triathlon. Even though I’ve stayed out of the sport for the last year, I’d love to have any of my kids continuing to participate in tris or in running with me. The attitude of most athletes in the sport is fantastic, the continual feeling of team, without the pressure of the “win the game” attitude is healthy, and it is something that I enjoy doing myself. While my kids have seen me fail, they’ve also seen me succeed in a big event, and it’s something that I want to have them see in their dad. I hope Tripp continues to race into the years to come, and that I can be there with him while I still can.

California Kids Triathlon

If you’ve read my blog post on PEKT, you could almost skip this blog, because this race was near identical. Similar results from the kids, similar (or the same) course, and a good time had by… most. Once again, the race was great, the organization was fantastic, and as a family, it was a great experience. Going out to a race sure beats plopping ourselves in front of the TV, or iPad, and I hope we get to do it many, many more times.

If you don’t train, can you expect to get better?

Most of the kids have been gone since a few days after the last triathlon, and came back just two days before this one, so did they have a chance to train, and improve?
Not really. So expectations coming into this triathlon were about the same as last time: just go out, have fun, and finish the race. And for most of us, that’s exactly what happened.

Race morning arrives, and hits JT and Jordan the hardest, by far. They’ve been used to staying up well past midnight in Utah, and now it’s 5am and they have to be up and ready to go. Add in some post travel issues for JT, and he’s definitely not in the best shape to race.

No breakfast (though I had made a late night run for bananas, bagels, and oranges… he just chose not to eat), an aching stomach… I don’t envy him a bit. He says he’s fine, but I know what exercising on an entirely fuel-deprived body is like… not fun.

For the rest of the kids, the race was a much more positive experience. Jordan has since expressed that, not only does she like triathlons, but that is her sport of choice for the upcoming year.

Damon and Tripp both had a great time, and both improved their times and their comfort with doing the triathlon. It also helped immensely having the Bardinis there with lunch on hand, in order to keep the flow of the day much more fluid.

So what’s next for the world of family triathlons? Who knows. If we can get the kids out to practice, I’d love to do more, but I don’t want to go from race to race without anything in between. JT and Jordan still haven’t gotten a chance to decompress from Oklahoma and Utah (they went straight to band camp after the race), and the other two are a bit young for any real training regiments, so time will tell what the next race will be like.

But I do know one thing, this won’t be our last triathlon.

Oh, and one more thing, the results:


Positive Energy Kids Triathlon

Introduction to Tris for the whole fam

Though I ended up with a bib (the best I’ve ever gotten) and medal (also the best), I can’t say that this was really my race. Given the name, the Positive Energy Kids Triathlon, it was obviously a race geared towards kids. However, with Parent/Child divisions, Diane and I participated with Damon and Tripp, while Jordan and JT went out on their own.

So let me start by saying, this race lives up to its name. It’s about having a good time, teaching kids about racing, and making everything fun for all the athletes. There are a lot of upsides to the race, the only downside being the wave start times (JT – 8am, Jordan – 8:55am, Tripp and Damon – 11:30am), a large split and a long day.

JT’s Race

I think JT came in with the highest hopes, the most enthusiasm, and left with the most disappointment. More on that in a moment, but let’s start with pre-race preparation. JT has been forced to bike on Mark’s old mountain bike for the past year, so coming up to the race, it was time to get him a newer bike. Our goal was to find a nice road hybrid, but with how small he is, that wasn’t a financially feasible option, so we went for second best: a really light, small framed mountain bike by Trek. The bike is great, and he rode it for tens of miles leading up to the race, preparing himself to kick butt on the bike segment.

I think for both of the older two, the biggest anxiety came from the swim, so JT also spent a lot of time at Grandma’s swimming laps, getting himself sure that he could complete the whole swim competitively. And a mile run? Cake. So coming in, he was ready to be a competitor, and enjoy himself.

So it’s race day, and swim time, and he’s ready to go! JT did a couple warm-up laps, and then a couple times across the pool as they figured out where the start was from. Alas, with a hundred yards already complete, when it came time to swim, JT started

out too strong, got fifty yards in, and had already depleted his swim ability. He’d completed the whole distance (150 yards), just not during the race. This is where the “Positive Energy” comes in in PEKT. He wasn’t DQ’d, he was just asked to come out with the final swimmer, and went to compete in the rest of the race.

The rest of the race went great, and JT was pretty positive coming out. But over the next few weeks, its obvious that the DNF in the swim has hit him emotionally, and he seems less excited about doing another race. Guess we just need to make sure he competes again and gets over it!

Jordan’s Race

Of all of the kids, Jordan is the most experienced racer. Though this was her first tri, she’s done enough runs to have race day nerves abated. She was cool, calm, patient, and ready to start long before the race began.

Jordan had several friends competing, and they took top spots in the race. For Jordan, finishing fast has never been the goal, just having fun, and doing great… and that she did. Just under six minutes on the swim (75 yards, plus T1), twelve and a half on the bike (2 miles), and a seven minutes on the run (half mile, plus T2). She came in 14th out of the 19 competitors in her age group, and came out with plenty of energy to keep having fun, and the desire to keep racing more and more!

Tripp and Damon

Diane and I accompanied Tripp and Damon on their races. 25 yards in the pool (once across), a mile on the bike, and a quarter mile on the run. I was, and am, proud of our little guys for doing this race! Tripp, at two years old, was the youngest racer on the field. And Damon biked so fast, Mom couldn’t keep up with him running. Damon had a smile on the whole race, and Tripp hasn’t stopped talked about his “Tri-apple-on” since.

I can’t talk too much about Damon and Diane’s race, other than Damon’s competitive go-go-go spirit through the whole thing, and the smile I see on every picture we have of the race. That, and the fact that he just barely was out of training wheels, but raced hard on the bike… hard enough to blow past Diane’s running capability. But being the one accompanying Tripp, there are plenty of adventures on the race that bring me smiles.

Like JT, Tripp came in without a bike that could get him racing. The race directors are pretty lenient on everything, but tricycles are not an option. So two days before the race, Tripp got a new bike with training wheels. A day before the race, he was practicing non-stop at the park. And by race day, he was wheeling along, mostly on his own.

Tripp and Damon both rocked the swim, with no help needed, and a drive to reach the other side. Damon was out fast on the bike, and Tripp was pretty ready to go by the time we reached the Bike Start. He did pretty good on his own, but about half way through the bike ride (29 minutes is a long time for a 2 year old), every bench was calling his name, and every playground was the place he wanted to be. But finding

the arrows on the ground made for a path he could follow to the end, and other than his inability to make it on the uphills alone, he did great.

Both boys finished up fantastically, and though Tripp and I were the last ones across the finish line (they actually started tearing it down before someone told them we were still out on the course), we actually had two other families with longer times than ours! (41 for us, 47 and 49 for the slowest finishers). And Damon’s 23 minutes was fantastic!

I can’t recommend enough this race for families. We’ll be out again in early August to race it again for the California Kids Triathlon (same course, same group). This time, we’ll do even better!

My first DNF – Ironman Arizona Recap

Sport TimePace
Bike7:58:5814 mph
Run12.6mi completed15:23 min/mi


In short, for those of you who don’t want to read my novella, I’m disappointed that I DNF’d, my mind is going through a hundred what-ifs, but I’m thankful for the opportunity for doing this, I enjoyed the race itself, and I wish I had trained more and felt better.


A race so large, long, and complex forces a very different level of organization. Having worked for, and been part of, racing coordination with TBF for a couple of years, I can understand the level of requirements that this takes. Unlike any race I’ve done, the preparation for this race took days. Friday, checkin, badge pickup, and a mandatory race meeting took place. The information was valuable, but not really required. The following day was the real paradigm change: dropping off my bike and gear a day before the race. So much of what I usually do is determined race-morning, that it felt very odd to be handing over so much of my race paraphernalia so early. That said, it made race morning a pretty relaxed, and simple experience.

The next days were filled with family, friends, and enjoying the local Arizona area. Having been there several times for school, Tempe wasn’t a big shock, and so most of the time was just spent in race-day anticipation, eating, and socializing. Two days of pre-attendance just led to way too much free time to kill, and seemed very excessive. It also meant there was plenty of time for problems, like Carrie getting hit by a car in downtown Tempe and being unable to race. Ouch!

Race Start

So race day arrives. Twenty minutes traveling down the freeway in the wee hours of morning got me into transition with more than plenty of time to prepare. Staying warm, chatting with Josh,
checking my bike, pre-fueling, getting nervous about the swim, trying to prepare for the freezing cold water. I felt confident in what I had to do: I wasn’t here to race, I was here to finish, and so I wasn’t really doing much but getting ready for a very long day.

The swim start was massive. 2500 people at the start line, treading in the gross and cold water, waiting for fifteen minutes until the gun fired. I’ve done two mile swims, and while I knew I was undertrained for swimming, I wasn’t worried about this part of the race. As Dory would say, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming.”

What struck me as unique and different to this swim was the mass of bodies. Every triathlete has been kicked, hit, elbowed, and more; usually, this subsides a few minutes in to the race. With this large of a group all starting together, this practically never ended. I decided to stick close to the lake edge, instead of in the main channel, and to try and avoid much of the cluster. As I started to get bored with the long swim, I spent my time watching the spectators, and counting the cement balls along the side of the lake, passing my time. The water was gross, really gross, and I wish athletes didn’t have to spend so much time in it. I can’t even imagine trying to do such a long swim in salt water, it was bad enough in “fresh” water.

All in all, my swim time was about ten minutes slower than I had expected, but it was fine. I relaxed through the swim, didn’t work hard, didn’t push myself, and was able to swim on course very well. Getting out of the water, I felt fine, no wobbliness, no weakness, and was happy to get into the next stage of the race. If only the wetsuit assistants hadn’t “helped” and gotten my zipper stuck in my leg, I would have been up and out of transition in no time.

The Century

At this point, I need to go back and mention the organization of the race. Coming out of the water, athletes have help pulling off their wetsuits. We run to an area where our pre-packed T1 bags are stationed, off into changing tents where athletes have help with whatever they wish, run out of transition to a line of volunteers applying sunblock, then race out to the bike racks where a volunteer is already holding your bike out, waiting for you to get on. It’s amazing the amount of extra support offered in a race that takes an entire day. I can’t fathom the level of coordination and the numbers of volunteers required to pull this off, but I can understand to some degree why this is by far the most expensive race I’ve ever competed.

The bike was my most worried segment. Thanks to Foxy, I knew that I could complete by going slowly, and so I was less worried about my capability, and more just about the sheer time and energy it would take to finish. Arizona’s course is pretty easy: three there-and-back loops, with a slight uphill all the way out, and a slight downhill all the way back. I found myself going much slower than I expected for the first sixth, but realized on my way back that I had been in slight a headwind, and zoomed back at 20+mph with that wind pushing me along. At this point, I felt fine, though doing the uphill two more times felt a bit daunting.

That’s when everything started going downhill for me. Fortunately, the headwind had turned to a tailwind, and I was feeling better about my speed on the next uphill, but my stomach was not settled one bit. I made my first pitstop at the bottom of the hill, and continued to hydrate and eat as I knew fueling to be critical during the entire bike portion. By the second pitstop, my stomach was still not doing well. I felt like I needed to throw up, and had to stop again to use the facilities. From that point on, I hit every single outhouse on the route, wasn’t keeping down food, and wasn’t keeping down liquids. My pace slowed down, my race went from fine to miserable, but I kept going. I knew that part of finishing an Ironman was just the will to go.

So I finished the bike, enjoying watching for my family along the side, enjoying timing my differential with Josh (which shocked me, he was much faster than me on the first lap, and then seemed to be gaining nothing on my on the next two). I waved to KC, I chatted with a few people in passing, I got frustrated at the number of groupings of bikes (how do they feel okay with cheating like that!), and just kept going, knowing that the run (my best sport), was coming up.

I came in slowly off the bike, nearing the edge of what was allowed, but knowing that I had seven hours to finish a run that would take me much less than that. I still felt awful, but I thought I could finish this, if only I could get in food.

The Yog (soft “J”)

I felt strong for the first couple miles on the run. My bike was slow enough that there was no handicap to my readiness to sludge through these next hours on the pavement, my legs were fine, worked out for sure, but fine. My pace was sub-10s, slow for me, but considering I’d just biked 112 miles, fine. I knew that every moment I jogged, I was catching up with Josh, and I was jogging much more than I was walking.

And then came the resurgence of the fueling issues. The chicken broth was a life-saver, I don’t think I could have made it as far as I did without it, but I think I relied on it too heavily. I hadn’t kept down food, liquid wasn’t keeping down either, and by the end of the first 8-mile lap, I wasn’t feeling good. Looking forward to seeing my family made those first eight miles great, but coming around on the next loops, my body wasn’t allowing me to continue. I started getting light-headed, I had to sit down to keep from passing out, I still was hitting every porto-John, and was still struggling to feel like my body could make it through the next hours.

By mile twelve, being right at transition again, I gave up. The mental battle was weakened by proximity to my exit, my body was telling me I wasn’t safe to go on, and my reserves of strength finally gave out. I couldn’t bring myself to run by transition and make it past transition, into the next half of the second lap. I was finished.

The Frustration

My family was amazingly supportive, and proud of what I had accomplished, but I wasn’t. A plethora of what-ifs still haunt me. If I had trained more, could I have done it? If I hadn’t used gatorade and uncrustables (both newish to me), would I have retained better food? If I hadn’t gotten very sick the Thursday prior, would I have been able to fuel? If I had kept going, would I have gotten past the mental block of being by transition? If the course wasn’t laps, would I have had the desire to run the thirteen miles back versus catching a sag vehicle?

I don’t know that I’ll be back on an Ironman course any time soon to prove to myself that I can do this or not, but I do know that I can’t do this without training much better next time. Maybe after Tripp is 3, not a newborn, I’ll plan on going out again and racing an IM. Until then, I’ll stick to the shorter distances that I find more fun, and the runs which I enjoy more, and leave the big races to the real Ironmen.

Tri for Fun #1

Div Place Place Time Bike Pace Run Pace
30/42 159/556 01:36:20 14.5mph 7:47

The Results

Quite the disparity between my division place and my overall, this race attracts a nearly equal proportion of female racers to males, a healthy distribution of ages, and generally, a lot of first time racers getting a taste of triathlons. So seeing myself, only on my third triathlon, but generally well versed with the sport, come in three tenths of the way down the spread isn’t surprising. However, I am slightly surprised by how far down my age group that result represents.

The Race

All in all, the race went pretty painlessly. I was out of the water in a reasonable time, feeling fine regardless of my lack of training in the water, and was ready to hit transition. Transition went very smoothly, thanks to a lot more exposure to triathlons, and I saw Josh off on the TBF racks while I readied my bike.

Josh and I took off together on the bikes for a quick hello, but he shortly pulled ahead, and I stayed at my own pace. The whole bike trip, I was feeling good… before the race, I had noticed that my brakes were rubbing slightly, and after the bike tent guys helped me fix it, I realized that my horrible performance on my last two rides was in part due to this! So, feeling like riding was effortless, I focused on one thing: “relax, or you’ll kill your run!” And so I did, keeping up with only myself, getting passed, passing a few women, and generally accepting that my bike isn’t going to do well, so just keep going.

That said, when I got through T2, and onto the run, I was doing mid-7s. I was probably a little too relaxed on the bike, because I was doing sub 8s on the run! With about a half mile to go, I passed Josh, made my way towards the finish line, and sprinted in. I felt fresh, everything had gone well, and I was ready for the race the next day (that I didn’t end up doing :-/ )

X-Terra Nevada

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Place: 228/239, 4:45:28
Swim + T1: 0:27:29, Bike + T2: 3:50:35, Run: 0:27:24
Course: 750m swim, 31k MTB, 5k run


I was not ready for this, it was too cold, and overall not an enjoyable experience. Had I been more than a novice MTB’r, and had the weather been like that of Sunday, I probably would have enjoyed the race. However, between the weather and my poor performance, I’m disappointed in the race for myself. I’m not sure whether I will do this race again next year, but if I do, it’ll only be if I train considerably more than I did this year.


Morning of the race… nice tights, Mark

I got roused from bed at 10pm the night before by Amanda for good reason… it had started to snow (see the pic above). What a great way to start a race. :-/ Fortunately, one of my co-workers had forewarned me of the possibility, and I had stopped at REI on my way to race day and picked up $200 of cold weather gear. If not for this, there would be no way I would have even finished.

The morning of the race was freezing, as expected. Reading race reports and hearing from friends, it was still sub-30 degrees when I got out to the venue (6:30am). The night low was 20 degrees, and the day high was 52. Ugh. Getting ready, my feet and hands were already going numb, which isn’t a good sign. Just look at the ice collecting on my bike seat while waiting.


Leave anything alone and it begins to ice up. Nice weather for a race, eh?

The venue, Incline Village NV, was great. It’s close to some perfect MTB trails, the beach access was good, and while the distance from beach to transition was long, for a MTB venue, it’s a great spot. Go figure, since it was picked as a championship venue. Our cabin was only two blocks from the start, so it was perfect for walking to and from the venue as needed.

The Swim

Nice mass start, all 300 competitors at once

When the water in Lake Tahoe is warmer than the air, and you’d rather stand in the water than on the beach, something’s a bit wrong. It was actually painful standing barefoot on the wet sand, and I was amazed that the warmup swim was more enjoyable than standing around waiting.

The great part about the swim is the water clarity. When diving Tahoe, I’ve seen vis >200ft, the maximum distance possible in water. For swimming, this meant sighting was a breeze; I could see the swimmers 10 feet in front of me. It also meant that an no point in the swim could you not see the lake bottom. A bit eerie at 50 feet, but I really enjoyed that part of the swim!

As far as swim results, the lack of T1 separation, the extra time in T1 to ready myself for cold, and the run up the hill in shoes that didn’t work mean I really don’t know how I did in my swim relative to my expectations. It felt fine, not a great performance, but altitude breathing was a factor, and I think my time was adequate. I’d expect 15 minutes for myself, and add in the run and T1, and I probably did 18 minutes.

The Bike Hike

Ain’t that the truth

Here’s where it gets sketchy. For those that don’t know me, understand that this was my fourth mountain bike ride… ever. Lesson 1) road biking does not equate to mountain biking. My legs were far from ready for the constant and persistent climbing from the lake to above the tree line. I rode most of the first climb, but the next three major climbs were more hiking than biking, and one surprise hike after some downhills cramped my quads so badly that I had to stop to stretch them for five minutes. Lesson 2) if you can no longer shift because your fingers are so cold, and you worry about losing finger tips to frostbite, it’s too cold to ride. I bought the most cold-weather gloves Pearl Izumi makes, leg warmers, arm warmers, ear warmers, toe covers, and borrowed a friend’s wind breaker (thanks Harry!). Most of that gear was enough to survive and stay reasonably comfortable, except for my hands, which made me miserable and feeling unsafe. There was snow across almost every inch of the course, except for the final ride down the flume trail, and the area above the tree line.

Now imagine this same view, covered with snow

I did find that I had less problems with my cleats and pedals than most other walkers. I could knock enough stuff off of my cleats in one smack against my pedals to clip in every time. That’s one nice thing in favor of the Candy’s (that and I use them on my road bike, so I didn’t have to learn to clip in/out).

The course was beautiful, the views, amazing (as long as you didn’t get distracted and fall off the cliff). In the picture to the left, you can see the trail we rode across on the far left. The picture was taken the following day, so imagine this same trail covered in snow, and this was the first portion of the ride. Beautiful, scenic, and a bit scary.

In short: I was not ready for this bike, and it shows. I did average on everything else, but was 7th to last in the bike for the recorded finishers. All I can say is that I DID finish, on the course that’s for the pros, in weather that was extreme.

The Run

Warming up, and trying to get feeling back to our toes

Not much to say about this. Running is my favorite sport, the course was nice, though quite a tease as they took you near the finish, then off for another half mile before you actually finished, so I really enjoyed this leg. My pacing was not great for me, but okay (just under 9’s), and I enjoyed finally warming up my numb and cold body. I actually threw on my glove liners and ran with them to try and gain feeling back into my fingers as I ran.

It was a fun run, a great short course, and part of me wishes I had done the 10k trail run and just that.

Brrr! Letting the ink dry in 28 degree weather.

And yes, I did sport STC colors 🙂

The Nitty Gritty

Excuse my geekdom here, but I need some relative results, absolute numbers are not enough…

My Time0:27:293:50:350:27:244:45:28
St Dev0:05:200:28:020:04:420:34:24
Stat %60.4%97.7%46.8%95.37%

Folsom International Triathlon

Swim T1 Bike T2 Run Overall (mph) (min/mi)
0:31:57 0:02:37 1:20:48 0:01:05 0:49:17 2:45:45 18.46 7:55.9


My first triathlon, so of course I was one of the first people to show up. I had the second parking spot, and was ready to go. Nerves definitely play a part, but there was no question in my mind that I could finish, just whether I could finish with a time that would satisfy my own goals.. but then again, for most of us, isn’t that always the case? Working for TBF, I’ve seen enough tris that this part of the race didn’t make me nervous, and I was happy to have scores of other STC racers with me that day to chat with and warm up my body with. Support is always one of the most crucial parts of racing.

The Swim

I’d swam Lake Natoma before, so the changes in temperature as you swim didn’t shock me. The water goes from pleasantly chilly to cold often. What shocked me is how long this swim felt. I’ve definitely gone this far, in fact, do so on almost every swim I do, but with a slightly leaking set of goggles, very low visibility, and being passed again and again, the swim seemed to drag on.

My performance actually was almost dead-on with Amanda and Josh, all of us came within a couple minutes of each other, which based on our “normal” paces, meant Amanda kicked both Josh’s and my butts… go Amanda!

The Bike

The FIT route climbed up Iron Point, right by work, across the freeway on Prairie City, then up the hill on White Rock. The ride wasn’t particularly difficult, but I felt quite downhearted at my performance. I was going, and going, and yet my pace was poor (for me), and I kept looking at my odometer, disappointed that I was getting further and further from the ability to make my 2:40 goal, just due to the bike.

When we got to the real climb, I could feel my lack of training kicking in. I run a lot. Swimming, I’d gotten into pretty regularly. Yet in my eight months of having a road bike, I’d only put in 200 miles. I knew I could do 24.8 miles, no problem… but I wasn’t prepared to burn out so quickly moving at a race pace. Only one person to blame for that… me.

All that being said, when I turned around from the hill, and started watching my speed, I noticed that I wasn’t slowing down much. My pace after coming down the big hill was staying 20+. The poor performance that had disheartened me so much was due to one of those “silent” uphills, and my spirits started lifting. I may not be able to make my 2:40 goal, but based on the pacing I was doing now, I could definitely beat my 3:00 “bare minimum.” Had I more cycling under my belt, I would have known all of this. Ah well, live and learn, that’s why we keep doing these!

The Run


My best sport.. and here’s the biggest disappointment for me in my performance, my legs were cramped the entire time, not because of my running, but because of my lack of bike prep. Ah, the crux of multi-sport, we can’t rely on our strengths in one sport to overcome weaknesses in the others, but must continue to work on all the sports together! So whereas an 8min/mi shouldn’t be difficult, I was thinking I was running 10s (and actually was running sub-8s). I’m actually surprised at the 8s, based on the amount of cramping and how I felt I was progressing, but this was my best sport. So where I was looking at a 2:40 for a goal, I got what everyone has reassured me is a respectable first tri time, at 2:45.

The Mimosas

The whole support crew

A serious athlete would probably follow up their performance with a nice recovery drink, some protein, and a chance to reflect and relax. But forget that, a big reason I do this is for the camaraderie and friendship! So off to Sweetwater for bottomless mimosas with the friends and support crew. Cheers! And thanks for coming out to my first tri.

Oh, and a huge shout out to Josh for finishing his first tri, with a bike time matching mine from a guy who had his bike just one month! And to Amanda, who’s time is right behind mine… which means in my opinion, she kicked my arse! And a final one to Gabe, who’s broken rib kept him from partaking. I expect you to be out here with us all next time! And you too, Harry, get back in that pool.