Monday, September 30, 2013

Superfrog 70.3, 2013

My final race of the year, Superfrog 70.3.  The original half-iron distance race, in its 35th year.   See the fabulous history of this race here.
The race is about 30 minutes from my house at 5:00 AM traffic, so no overnight travel needed.  I pull into the parking lot at 5:30, and relax in the van for a bit.  It will not take long to set up transition, and my wave starts at 7:25.  I figured better to stay off my feet for a few minutes. 

Getting restless, I head over to transition.  I start unpacking my tri-bag.  $*&^t!  That gets a look from a lady setting up her transition.  I realized I left my bottles in the fridge at home.  Which included my 700 calorie bottle of Carbo Pro.  Okay, they do hand-ups on the bike so I can get water and electrolytes.  Checking my bag I see I have two Honey Stinger Waffles, and two packets of Salty Caramel Gu.  Almost enough calories.  I should be okay.  Still annoyed with myself, and I give myself the dumb-ass of the day award. 

The lady that heard me came over and gave me an extra gel too, that got my calories even closer to what I needed.  They would just come in a different form. Thank you, that gel came in handy.

Transition is set up, take care of business, and wait.  About 6:30 I put my wetsuit on.  I wander down to the ocean and look at the waves.  So much better than last year.  We had regular sets of six footers last year.  And while the forecast said one to two, they were about two to four.  I go in to get wet and warm up a bit.  The water feels warm, has to be over 65, which is good for this time of year.   

As I get out the elites/pros/and relays start.  25 minutes to go.  15 minutes to go.  5 minutes to go.  The sun is up, and it is already clear and bright.  The inbound portion of the swim could be tough to site.  I have smoke goggles, but it is bright! 

30 seconds.  GO!  I trot into the water.  When it gets to my shins I start to swim.  Had a few swells to duck, but no issues, and I am past the break.  Now I start catching other swimmers.  Most folks run in faster than me, but I typically swim a bit above the top half of my age group.  Felt like I got to the turn buoy pretty quick.  The first loop was uneventful, I hit the shore; but wait there’s more.  This is a two lap swim.  A 200 yard run down the beach and back in again.  This time the waves seemed a bit bigger.  Got through, but the last one stopped my progress for a second.  Again the swim was pretty tame by triathlon standards, a couple of spots of crowding, a couple of bumps, but for the first time in a while I didn’t get mauled at some point.    It was bright, and sighting was a challenge coming in, but not awful. 

Out of the water, and up the beach in the soft, deep sand, slightly uphill.  Across the timing mat; hit the lap timer on the Garmin.  39:38. Into transition. 

Wetsuit off, cycling shoes on, helmet on, get bike and go.  Out of transition in 2:37. 

The bike course is flat.  If you know San Diego and you want a flat ride, you go to Coronado.  It is the only place to ride with virtually no climbing.  Per Garmin 269 feet of gain over 56 miles.  It doesn’t get any flatter. 

It was breezy, the flags were flapping.  Going north you could feel the resistance.  Going south you could feel some help.  Each of the four laps this feeling increased.  Still without any real climbs speed was pretty consistent.  I tried to control the effort to keeping the lactic acid clear, if I started to feel it, I went one gear easier and upped the cadence.  The crowds along the bike course were about half of what they were last year.  A certain Texan with a few (now expunged) cycling titles raced last year. 

I played tag with a few out there.  I was trying hard to sustain a steady effort, but with the winds, if you got behind a group you would start to go faster as you were protected.  Even tri-legal drafting, staying four bike lengths behind, you get the benefit especially into the wind.  This is a good way to save a bit of energy. 

Final lap ends, into transition and off the bike (2:48:12).  Bike racked, shoes off, helmet off, socks on, running shoes on, hat on, and out of transition. (3:16).   

The run.  Oh the run.  5.5 miles is on the beach.  Roughly 3 out and 2.5 back.  The middle 7.6 is on groomed trail and pavement.  The good news is the tide was out, this meant we could run on the firmer section of the beach; and only had soft sand to and from the water’s edge, and the far turn-around where the force us onto the soft sand for a bit. 

This was a strange run.  I felt pretty good going out.  I was planning on pushing a bit when I got to the pavement section.  The weird part is I feel like I hit a wall about mile 5.  I really struggled especially miles 7-9.  8-9 was my slowest of the day.  When I got back to the beach, I was running better.  As it typical I was getting passed left and right.  When you swim and bike mid-pack and run back of the pack, you get passed.  A lot.  I actually did pass a few on the final stretch coming in.  One last trudge up the soft sand to the road, and about a 300 yard dash to the finish line.  The announcer welcomes me back in.  Not quite, okay, not nearly as cool as having Mike Riley tell me I am an IRONMAN three months ago, but always nice to hear your name blasted out.  Just like that, it was over. (2:40:02 on the run).  Total time 6:13:55.  This was my fourth 70.3  I have improved in time with each one.  6:52 in Austin, 2011.  6:39 last year at Superfrog.  6:25 at Oceanside earlier this year.  Next year at Oceanside the goal is sub-six.  I have the plan.  Let’s see if we can get it done! 

A really cool medal this year, a bit of ice cream, a cookie, a freshly grilled hot dog and a Dr. Pepper.  Feeling better after that, off to transition to pack-up. 

As I was getting my stuff together I heard the announcer welcome Irina in.  We just met a few weeks ago on a swim, it was her first 70.3 so I went over to say congratulations, met her husband, and went back to pack up.  I needed to get to my phone! 

What is so important about my phone?  We have a small group that does swims on Sunday morning.  Most of us were racing today in different events.   

I see some results from others, and am pleased that Sugarmagnolia did Tiki Swim, her first 2.4 mile open water.  Others had not checked in yet, but everyone did finish their events.  Speedy Ted did Tiki as well, and Andrea did the Tahoe Trifecta (3 days, 3 half marathons)!  My legs ache just thinking about that. 

Overall it was a good way to finish the 2013 race season.  I am happy with my results, and proud of my friends for conquering their events. 

Next on the schedule: California 70.3 Oceanside., well next is a trip to Arizona to volunteer for IMAZ.  And we all know what that means! 

Gear Used: 

Swim:  Blue Seventy Fusion Wetsuit, Tyr Rx smoke goggles, race issued swim cap 

Bike: Specialized Transition Comp, 52-36 mid-compact crankset, 11-28 cassette, Williams 58-85 carbon clinchers. 

Run: Hoka One One Bondi B 

Nutrition: Honey Stinger waffles, Gu (not the planned nutrition, see above) 

You can follow me on Twitter @stevecycles200


  1. You amaze me! So well done, but I would not expect anything less from you. Can't believe you forgot your bottles, especially after us talking about how OCD we are when packing! But better the bottles, where you can use course support, than something irreplaceable like bike shoes! Huge congratulations from me, my friend!

    1. My friend sent this link to me! Nice report and a great finish, Steve! I am so so glad I got to do it too!

  2. Also, sorry we didn't discuss but you should have found me before the race and I would have given you more food and drinks. Damn!