September 2nd, 2010

Gearing up for the race on an overcast day.

From West Coast to East Coast, my triathlon adventures continue.

Known for its colossal bridge of golden color, for its almost inescapable prison, and for the coldest summer  that Mark Twain ever endured, San Francisco became the location of my fifth ITU Pan American Cup race of the season.

Getting ready for the race on an overcast day.

The Race took place on Treasure Island as part of the 12th annual San Francisco Triathlon. It was my first time in the bay area, so I was really excited, not to mention it was my last bid for a triathlon U23 World Championship team spot.   Unfortunately I did not qualify for the team, but I did get a chance to learn more about myself and what it takes to compete against some of the best athletes in the Americas.

Treasure Island, an artificial island created back in the mid 30s for the US Navy, barely still in use now, provided ideal conditions for a race format like ITU.  The cold waters from the Pacific dictated a wetsuit swim, not always my favorite, but better than getting hypothermia. Although I did swim without my wetsuit the day before the race and it was not that cold.  Yes, maybe I may have been less of a man when I got out of the water, but going in and swimming it felt fine to me.  The swim did not go as planned, so I was farther back than I intended when I got on the bike.  Fortunately, I did learn my lesson at my last race in Canada, so I ended up breaking away from the small bike pack that I was with and catching up to the next.  However, it was going into transition when I did.  A little windy, but also exhausted from biking solo for about four laps, I did not have the running legs to catch enough people to matter and I finished in 31st with a time of 2:04:00.  Ben Collins of the USA won the race in a time of 1:56:19, followed closely by Steven Sexton 19 seconds back.

Although I was a little disappointed, I did not let it ruin the rest of my trip.  I had the pleasure of hanging out with one of the female competitors, Chantell Widney, who actually finished second in her race.  She also finished second in Coteau-du-Lac, but I did not have the pleasure of meeting  her until this race.  We also swam in the bay at Fisherman’s Wharf the following morning, which really helped me recover from the race and I needed to since I was racing all the way across the country in New York at the Nautica New York City Triathlon the next weekend.

Transition area.

The trip to New York was originally scheduled for me to pick up my new Serrota road bike in Saratoga Springs, NY, but instead those plans where moved to a later date and I still had a ticket to New York.  Luckily, a race that I had always wanted to participate in while at West Point happened to fall on that same weekend.   It was my first non-drafting race since the Capitol of Texas Triathlon in May and the second and probably the last of the year.  Although the weekend did not provide all the ideal situations and conditions to perform the best at any race, I had a great time spending time with friends and catching up with old ones.

A special thanks to Toga Bikes who lent me a great set of Zipp Wheels that helped me flow up and down the Henry Hudson Parkway and fight against the Hudson Valley breeze.  Another big thanks to Brad Cole who lent me his apartment, only a few blocks from the start of the race.

Of Course, thanks to all my sponsors — Total Immersion Swimming, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Serotta, and Sable Water Optics.