Big Kahuna Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Santa Cruz, California
United States
Firstwave Events
Total Time = 6h 14m 50s
Overall Rank = 586/815
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I got up and got coffee and a bagel. I did my normal morning stuff--minus the shower. I gathered my TRI stuff and met the team down in the lobby. We headed out to the transition area and set-up. There I noticed that I did not have my goggles. I raced back to the hotel to pick them up. At that point in time, I realized that I left my goggle at the beach the day before :-( I mooched a pair from Dave.

From here we went to the beach for the pre-race talk.
Event warmup:

After the pre-race talk I watched the first wave start and then went to do a warm-up swim. During that swim, the new goggle leaked water. I ran back to where we swam yesterday with the slimmest hope of finding my goggle. I was luck today and did find those goggles! I can't believe that they were still there the next day! I joined my team and waited for the start.
  • 38m 45s
  • 2112 meters
  • 01m 50s / 100 meters

Adam, Tony, Mike D and I started toward the back left of the pack. The horn went off and away we went. I felt really comfortable during the start. In fact I was amazingly calm. I did not get hit for at least 500 meters--which was a huge surprise for me! I did catch up to some other swimmers and was able to draft a fair amount.

On the way out to the first buoy my sighting was pretty on the money. It was great to swim parallel to the pier--making the sighting much easier. Once I got past the pier it was a little more difficult to locate the buoy. The most difficult part of the swim was also the shortest--heading parallel to the beach. The second buoy was difficult to see and I did have to stop a couple of times to locate it. Also, I did head about 25 yard off course. Bah!

Once I passed that buoy I headed back to the beach. I was able to sight to the hotel and the rest of the swim was uneventful. At the last building on the pier I started to increase my kicking--to get blood flowing again. I rode the small to moderate waves back to shore and was able to strip down the wet suit pretty fast. I was surprised at the size of the crowd and I did see some coaches and team mates families on the course.
What would you do differently?:

I wouldn't leave my fricken goggle at the beach overnight. My sighting had improved significantly from Alctraz. I did not push the swim too much and in hindsight could have squeezed some more time here.
Transition 1
  • 06m 35s

The transition involved running across the beach and across the street and train tracks. Then, we headed about 1/5 of a mile to the parking lot that was acting as the transition area.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I learned from Alcatraz to run barefoot with the wetsuit pulled down to the waist. I could have possibly saved about 15 seconds getting ready for the bike--but it was pretty successful.
  • 3h 05m 33s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.11 mile/hr

As I headed out of transition, I made it up the small hill by the hotel and headed out of town strong. I keep to my nutrition plan for the first 30 minutes. My plan was to drink minimally for the first 20 minutes to avoid GI distress. After that I did a good job of drinking every 7 minutes and to start eating parts of my cliff bars and eating salt tabs. I was really strong for the first 20 miles or so and really pushed it hard. I swapped out my water bottle for water and mixed cytomax with the water on the bike—taxing my balancing ability! The course has a series of rolling hills and I pushed both down the hill and up the hills. During this time, I did a great job of staying in the aero bars for at least 70% of the non large hill climbing time. This was my first race since getting aero bars. About here I started to see some of my teammates heading back.

About this time, my quad started to cramp-up. This should have been my first clue that I was pushing it too much. I did not listen to my body. Frankly on the first half of the bike I had expected more head wind—similar to what we saw on our training ride of the course.

At the turn-around point, I swung my bike too wide—and had to slow down to stay on the road. Not good.

As I started back I noticed that I had a slight head wind—which made me think “crap!” I had expected to fight the headwinds out and ride the tailwinds back. At this point I realized that I had pushed it too hard too early. On the training ride, the ride back was much easier and I shaved probably 20 minutes off my return. I knew that the rest of the ride would be tough.

I grinded up and down the hills and was still making decent forward progress. My butt was really sore and I knew that I was going to have to have the bike surgically removed before my run!

At mile 30 I was pretty tired. I biked and biked and biked and then looked at my speedometer and saw 30.8M. I biked and biked and biked and then looked at my speedometer and saw 31.3M. Not good! The next five miles were pretty tough for me.

At the last bike water stop, I threw away my two water bottle (one was half full) and then was told by the race volunteer that they had no replacement bottles. Thank goodness I had my aero bar bottle ½ full.

Not too long from there I saw another cyclist looking distraught. I called out if she was ok and she answered “no, I can’t get my tire back on the wheel.” I stopped to help her get the tire back on the wheel for a couple of minutes.

I got back on the bike and passed back some of the people who passed me during my break. I continued on the “never ending course.”

At mile 47 or so, I saw my wife (Danette) and son number 3 (Landon) cheering for me one of the hills. My son lifted his shirt and flashed me (I did the same during his TRI the day earlier). It meant a ton to me to see them on the side of the road—there were not a lot of people cheering. I was really hurting and the timing was everything.

I continued into Davenport and over the railroad tracks that were crooked. The rest of the ride was flat and pretty uneventful.

Overall, I had pretty good MPH--just a hair over 18.
What would you do differently?:

1. My nutrition sucked. My game plan was to eat two cliff bars on the bike. After I got home I noticed that I only ate about 1 1/3.
2. I got aero bars installed on my bike about 5 weeks ago. In hindsight I should have these installed earlier in the training year.
3. With the traffic on highway one it was difficult to hear my Garmin alarm go off every 7 minutes. I need to figure out if I need another alarm on the road.
4. I probably could have done more hill rides on my training. I tapered off my Diablo rides too early. Between this and the aero bar installation I feel like my biking was not as strong as it was a month ago.
5. I pushed it too hard (but more on this later).
Transition 2
  • 04m

Nice transition. The Big K people have the bike time and the T2 time together. I am assuming that the T2 was 4 minutes.
What would you do differently?:

Set the bike up closer to the Bike in/run out section.

Also, I failed to grab my running hat.
  • 2h 19m 57s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 41s  min/mile

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."
- Frank Shorter

As I came out of the transition area, I saw Coach Mike standing at the bottom of the hill. He greeted and ran up the hill with me. I headed out on the course. The run is my strongest event and I have a tendency to run my first mile too fast (I did 1:50 half marathon in February and in training three weeks ago I did 1:57). My game plan was to run a 9 to 10 minute mile. I did just that. I found a public bathroom and made good use of it! I continued along the course feeling tight. My back was pretty tight due to the time in the aero bars in the bike. During the first water stop I took three cups of water and dumped two of them my head. It was hot out there!

My speed was slower than I was used to. I was constantly running between 9:15 to 9:30 minutes per mile. This was about a minute slower than I was hoping for. I was ok with this, because I thought that I could pick-up the speed on the second part of the course.

I passed the lady that I helped on the run and we talked for a couple of seconds, before I continued moving ahead.

Just as the trail split, I saw Mike D and he yelled “5:57—we’re going to do it.” This was the time of one of our beloved teammates (Lulu) from last year who smoked us. I continued past the water stop and out towards the Tiki turn-around. I saw Tony heading back and he yelled “How are you doing Geoff?” I responded with a grunt/moan. Then, I yelled at him “How are you doing Tony?” He responded with the same grunt/moan! As I continued through the trail, my speed continued to drop. Finally, I saw the Tiki and circled that puppy before heading back.

About mile 6.8 it hit me. I did something I have not done in probably two years of training. I had to walk. I walked for about minute and half. I was not prepared to walk. I knew that the run was my strongest part of the event and that I would be able to make up time on this event. Boy, TRIs are tough on the ego.

I started back running and about 30 seconds later I came across another team mate who was not feeling well. He was bending over trying to make himself get sick. I wished him luck and continued onward. I ran for about another minute and then had to walk again. I picked it up again after the water station. I hit the one hill on the course (not that bad compared to what I have trained on) and walked up that hill. I continued to run. I was just about to walk again when I saw Tony walking ahead of me. I got up to him and stopped and walked with him for a for probably 2-3 minutes. This was a tough day.

I continued running. My legs cramped up around mile nine. I had to stop and stretch out for a little bit. I resumed walking – moving slowly forward. This wasn’t fun. I continued to walk and run. One person who I kept switching back and forth with was a blind TNT athlete. She was tough and impressive.

One of the water stops had run out of cups! Bah

Between mile 9 and 10 I started to pick-up the running. I saw the amusement park and I knew that I was pretty close to home. I continue to run around the flat and then down the hill by the hotel. I saw some teammates yell for me as I headed toward the beach. I ran through the soft sand and saw Eric and his newborn (and other that I can’t remember right now). I continued down the beach and under the pier. It sucked ducking under the pier.

I was on the home stretch! I picked-up my pace a little and before I knew it was I heading through the gauntlet of friends and spectators. I gave my teammates high fives and my wife a kiss. My son Landon was cheering via a mega phone as I finished.

I ran 20 minutes slower than I expected and 30 minutes slower than my fastest half mary. My first half Iron Man was in the bag!

What would you do differently?:

My run was limited by nutrition and by me expending too much energy on the bike.
Post race
Warm down:

I got water and my Tiki medal. I headed back to talk to my family and wait for other teammates to make it back.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

First, I should have not pushed it too much on the bike. Coach Paul put it best--which was that saving 5 minutes on the bike can cost you 20 minutes on the run. That was exactly what happened to me today.

Second, my nutrition was not dialed in. I need to figure out what I can do to consume more calories on the bike. It may be time to get a nutritionist.

Third, I spent too much time in the sun the day before cheering my family on. I got sunburn (in spite of pouring tons of suntan lotion on). I needed to consume more H2O during the day.

I knew that 6:15 was a fair time for my first Half Iron Man. However, I was really hoping to get 6:00. I have much to learn and improve on. With that being said, I DID IT!

Event comments:

The volunteers were great. The problem was that one water station ran out of bottle and two others ran out of cups.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-07-20 12:00 AM
00:38:45 | 2112 meters | 01m 50s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 594/815
Performance: Good
Course: The race involves a beach start followed by swimming around the Santa Cruz pier and then out about 1/8 of a mile more to the first buoy. Next, you head parallel to the beach. Rounding the second buoy you head back around the other side of the pier back to the beach.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 61F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:35
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
03:05:33 | 56 miles | 18.11 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/815
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: This course is an out and back. Out of transition you head up the hill by the hotel and held out through some residential areas—connecting to Highway 1, north from Santa Cruz to Pigeon Point. Great views, some big rollers, and some rough patched of pavement. Thankfully very little wind. The road condition were a little tough at times. There are two railroad tracks that you have go over. The second railroad track is tough as you need to hit the tracks at a 30 degree angle to avoid crashing. In fact on the way back there was one cyclist with a cut on his head.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 04:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Below average
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:19:57 | 13.1 miles | 10m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 566/815
Performance: Bad
Course: Once you leave transition, you head up past the hotel and out along the Pacific coast. The course is spectacular with small grade hills for the first four miles or so. Then, you head up a side street, followed by another road parallel to the highway. This leads you a trail. The trail snakes along for a while, until you run along a cliff. At the halfway point you run around a 8 foot Tiki statue. At this point you head back along the trail and back to the hotel. At that point you run down to the beach, head up under the pier—which requires you to duck (tough at this point in the race) and then head toward the roller coaster. The last 200 meter is through soft sand before finishing.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3