The Carpinteria Triathlon Sprint is the best triathlon on the central coast of California (at least according to me). Despite heavy mist that slowly soaked everything to the core, cold air and an otherwise dreary day, the 2011 Carpinteria Triathlon is in the history books. It is a triathlon I will be talking about for a while to come.
Here are the highlights:
- Arriving at 5:45am and getting stuck in the queue waiting for transition to open was a little insane given an 8:20 start time.
- My transition was at the far end of the transition area, meaning I had a looonngg sprint with the bike to the bike out, but a brief sprint to the run out.
- Despite the cold, wet weather everyone was in good spirits and I quickly setup my transition using my Gyst bag.
- The practice went well with the water not too cold (around 62) and not very clear.
- The GPS went dead. The old, data-geek Aric would have panicked, but the new Aric thought this was a sign from above to just trust the body and let go.
- Horn blew and I found myself in the pack! Oh boy, I was actually keeping up with other athletes for a change.
- Getting to the first buoy felt like swimming up a hill. What?
- Rounding the first buoy, sighting was an issue, so I just followed the pack. You’d be amazed how far off course people swim, so don’t trust the legs in front of you!
- Rounding the last buoy, the swim in took forever as my technique got so bad that I was swimming in circles. I think I swam twice the distance.
- Finding transition was easy, just a few rows to the right.
- It was hard getting the wetsuit off, it kept getting caught on my ankle and binding up. Spent a little too much time fiddling with it.
- The bike gear went on quickly, so off I went on my run to bike out.
- Consistent, slow pace was the strategy running through transition.
- At the mount/dismount line, the first big problem. I dropped my chain. It only took a second to get it back on, but I sliced open my thumb on the crank while doing so. The first two miles was gushing blood.
- Despite the blood and cold air, I settled into a pace behind another cyclist.
- It was uphill for the first half of the course and the quads knew it.
- I’ve mastered the art of opening sealed packages with my teeth and manipulating food one handed while cruising. A Clif Bar was the fuel needed for the run.
- It is amazing how much dirt one collects on their body riding down a dirty, wet road.
- Do they make windshield wipers for sunglasses?
- Getting passed was a regular thing, but I managed to pass a few people.
- Getting back to T1, I felt great and was ready to take on the run.
- I have to run alllll the way down there? Yep.
- After arriving at my spot, it was a matter of racking the bike, switching shoes and grabbing the hat.
- Out onto the run course I went.
- I have no idea what pace I settled into, but it felt slow. Happy the GPS was dead!
- Getting passed on both the right and left at the exact same time is a little psychologically messed up.
- Consistent… be in the moment… the finish line isn’t going anywhere so why worry about it?
- While I wanted to see my heart rate data and pace, I was glad the GPS died, because the body was feeling good. I pushed it a little harder.
- Whoa! Who put the run turn-around at City Hall? I have to run 0.11 mile farther this year? ugh!
- Turning around, it was mostly down hill from here.
- The residents are out in their lawn chairs, cheering us on! How cool is that?
- Turning into the finish chute, I felt done. Still, I picked up the pace for a modest finish.
- I hope my gut isn’t hanging out in my finish line photo… that jersey is like two sizes too small for me.
Overall, it was a really fun, exciting race. It reminded me why I speak so fondly of the Carpinteria Triathlon. With a final result of 1:31:46, I was pleased. (results are posted here) From a numbers perspective, that is roughly five minutes faster than last year’s result, but still about 45 seconds away from a PR.
So, did my strategy work? Once the GPS died and I decided to focus on relaxation and being in the moment, I think it payed off with dividends. Not having the distraction of the data and not having to fiddle with the GPS during T1/T2 freed my mind and let me focus on what mattered. It took me three years to figure this out, but it is a strategy to use going forward.
I am also going to spend a little time developing my tan for the next triathlon. The combination of a pale farmer’s tan with a two sizes too small tri club jersey makes me a candidate for a triathlete make over. In order to save myself the embarrassment of laughing grandkids, I’ll put this one near the top.
Since the Carpinteria Triathlon Sprint was my last scheduled tri of the season, I will start focusing on what my 2012 goals should be. While I hope to better my time at both Santa Barbara and Carpinteria next year, I am also hoping to be a race director and hold a duathlon or two in 2012.
Stay tuned… things are just starting to get exciting.