March Triathlon Series 2013

By March 25, 2013Fitness, Fuel, Race Reports, Triathlon

The Cal Poly Triathlon Team hosts a beautiful race at Lake Lopez every year as part of the March Triathlon Series.  Other college teams show up to camp/race/have fun, and some years to compete for the conference championship.  As an ex-WCCTC racer, this race is near and dear to me.  This was actually the first triathlon that I ever competed in–the sprint course, back in 2008!

My Bruin teammates and I, 2008.

In 2010, MTS Lake Lopez was the site of our WCCTC Championships olympic distance race.  In 2011, I came back for more fun.  I seem to be under its spell, as I came back again this year…

The Race: Cal Poly’s March Triathlon Series, 2013
The Hostess: My dear friend, Christine, hosted me at her lovely home a mere 15 minutes from the race site.  She and I go way back to Long Course World Champs, 2011.  We both raced this weekend, so besides the fact that it was fun to catch up with a good buddy, it was especially nice to be in the company of a fellow triathlete who understands the strange tendencies of the species.  Thanks, Christine, for sharing your deluxe facilities, taping skills, suit juice, sunscreen, and ice cream!
The Pre-race meal (s): 5:30 am, oatmeal with chocolate Fluid recovery, homemade peanut butter, cinnamon, walnuts, and coffee.
The Venue: gorgeous Lake Lopez
The Course: 1500m lake swim, 40k rolling bike, 10k road/dirt run
The Check-in: 6:45am. I’m becoming a big fan of race-day packet pickup, since it’s not always easy to make it the night before.  It was fairly smooth, but we were nearly the first packet picker-uppers, so the volunteers were still figuring things out.  Totally excusable.
The Transition Set Up: 7am. A++ spacious bike racks: 5-to-a-rack gave us more than enough room.  Also, the swim in/bike out/bike in/run out were well marked.  There was hardly any wait to get body marked, as so many volunteers were armed with sharpies, ready to be your personal tattoo artist.
The Bathrooms: 7:30am. A+  Christine and I found empty bathrooms with full-on plumbing just a stone’s throw away from transition.  For my second trip of the morning, I only had to wait in line for about 2 minutes.  There were plenty of places to go.  I have not been so fortunate in the past, and may have had to resort to more “natural” facilities.
The Warm Up: 8:30ish. My warm up consisted of:
a. put shoes on bike and make sure that I can get on my bike, shoes on, before the big uphill at the bike start.
b. practice taking feet out of shoes while on bike and dismounting before the dismount line.
c. pretend to do a run warm-up for about 2 minutes or less.
d. acclimate body to the chilly lake and use emergency personal heating system to warm up wetsuit before the gun.
The Uniform: Pearl Izumi uniform, part two.  Christine convinced me to try out the two-piece, since I had used the one-piece at Iron Bruin.  I expected the top to ride up, but it didn’t!  I tucked it in, just in case, and didn’t have any problems.  Very comfortable and well-fit.  I did have some trouble using the handy little pockets on the top, so will need to practice that ahead of time in the future.
The Swim Start: 9:25am.  Loved the late start.  First wave was at 9am, not typical for triathlons.  But, it was perfect because it allowed time for the sun to come up, and made plummeting into the lake much more feasible.  Only down side is warmer conditions for the bike/run, but wasn’t bad.  Excellent for catching extra Zzz’s.  Our wave (open women under 35), was pretty small…I’d say 10 or so athletes.  It was like the “first class” wave, if there is such a thing.  Very minimal invasion of space.  Calm vibes.
The Swim: 1500m, start at dock, right shoulder 3 buoys, and back to the dock.  The water felt nice to me–I really didn’t struggle much with the temp, but some people did.  It was a little difficult to find the finish/swim exit, so maybe there should have been an extra yellow buoy.  It seemed like a lot of people were getting confused.  The swim exit was a challenge because the ramp is very mossy at the water line, but getting to watch the first wave exit (where many men were slipping and sliding) was a good warning and allowed me to strategize…I swam right to the very edge before attempting to stand, and then made my way to the top of the long boat ramp into transition.
The Bike: somewhere between IronBruin and Wildflower, in distance and in difficulty/hilliness.  The hills are pretty manageable, with one pretty gnarly (but not too long) ascent at the second fingertip.  There is a nice aid station with water bottles pretty soon before the climb, which is welcome.  The roads can be bumpy and dirty (the course goes along some tractor paths), but it just makes things exciting.   I kept the pace under control, knowing that I needed to feel strong for the 10k run afterwards.  I did have one mishap–my chain fell off going down a hill, but it was an easy fix and it only happened once, thank the Lord.
The Run: I love this course.  It usually feels like it goes by pretty fast because it is out and back (so you get to see your friends ahead of you–ahem, Christine–or behind you), and because it is pretty, and because it is semi-hilly/rolling, and because the terrain is mixed between pavement and dirt.  I felt pretty good, probably because I was holding back on the swim/bike a bit.  Despite feeling good, my run is not where it used to be.  Back to work.
The Race Fuel: Before the swim, I at a banana and took a bite out of our mini mint chocolate Clif bar from the race packet, and saved the rest to chew on during the run.  On the bike, I sipped 2×16 oz bottles of water each w/ 100 cal (1 scoop) of Pomegranate Fluid (with caffeine), and took the race water bottle full of water (poured some on my head, and drank the rest, proceeding to stuff the empty bottle down my top…I like souvenirs).  I also had one of Christine’s turbo Clif shots (the espresso flavor, with the equivalent of two espresso shots’ worth of caffeine) right before the big hill.  On the run, I chewed (and spit out) the rest of the mini Clif bar, indulged in a handful of jelly beans, and had 2 cups of water from the aid stations.
The Finish/Post-Race: Water. Costco pizza. Cuties. Giveaways (I collected a mediocre magnetic clip, and an XL Wildflower shirt from 2012). Music. Convenient all-natural ice bath access (lake). Massages (we didn’t want to wait in line, though). A “Mustache March” competition.  Olive Oil prizes. Free access to stand-up paddle board (I went for the first time).  Christine and I did something insane and never-before-attempted-nor-executed: we swapped boards while still standing–yes, yes we did.  People were crying in amazement.
The Results: Christine won the womens’ open category, and I got 3rd (although, I thought I was 2nd, so I may have nabbed the 2nd place medal…sorry lady who was indeed 2nd!).  We had a fun time and decided that we both lack an extra speedy gear.  But, Christine is prepping for her first Ironman in a few months, so this race was chump change in her bucket of sweat 😉  It was also sweet to see a good buddy, Brian O’neil, take 4th in the collegiate conference championship!!
The after-Meal: Back at Christine’s place, we enjoyed the fab weather with some outdoor lunch.  We feasted on Christine’s avocado, turkey, cheeses, bread, gourmet sweet/spicy mustard, hummus, chips, fancy salsas, Izze drinks, and caramel sea salt ice cream. SO good.
The Visuals:

night before the race.  typical triathlete activities.

Fluid chocolate recovery oats with peanut butter.

Fluid Reppin’. Christine’s bike (front).  My bike (rear).



Work it.

Own it.

The best of  friends and support crew!

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