Last year, I wrote a race report on my experience at the Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon. After the 2014 SBLC race weekend, I’ve decided to post a revised edition…
5 things that have stayed the same over the 4 years that I have participated in/cheered at this event:
- The venue: Located on the beach in Santa Barbara, there is a gorgeous pre- and post-race view, challenging ocean swim, ample parking lot-transition area, nearby hills to challenge even seasoned cyclists, perfect waterfront run path, tons of weekend warriors out decorating the course and sometimes offering cheers.
- The wonderful sense of camaraderie: This race in particular seems to draw the most friendly racers. Maybe it’s because of the coastal, casual, aura? I wonder if it is because of the unusual distance (1mi swim/34mi bike/10mi run)? Perhaps the fact that it is unique in its distance attracts athletes interested in the challenge rather than the outcome/finish time, since the times cannot very well be compared to results at other races. Regardless, it makes me happy.
- The last 2 miles: Without fail (definitely still true in 2014), the last two miles of the run course, coming in to the finish, go on forever! I haven’t officially clocked it yet, but I am pretty sure that the last “two miles” are actually at least 5 miles in distance…
- The support crew: My wonderful parents could not physically make it to the race this year, but I know they were there in spirit. My beautiful sister-in-law, miss Bonny, accompanied me. She is quite the cheerleader, support crew, photographer, and videographer, I must say!! I was so thankful to have her there with me 🙂
- The parking: There is really no parking lot to park in since the transition area takes up a large part of the parking availability. Parking is available on the street immediately next to the transition area, and in surrounding side streets. It’s definitely not impossible to find free parking all day, but be sure to arrive early if you want to snag a close spot. Otherwise, jogging and/or biking to the start should not be a problem! Just plan ahead.
5 things that were new for me this year:
- Packet pickup pee-pee incident: Surprisingly, this was the first year in which a young tot actually crawled under my table (at an eatery near the packet pickup area) and relieved herself inches from my unsuspecting feet.
- Pre-race meal: Bonny and I enjoyed baked potatoes with lots of fresh toppings (avocado, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, greek yogurt, butter, and beans) and some figs (from our tree) stuffed with goats cheese and wrapped up in bacon blankets. WOW. We also had chocolate-peanut butter-cup and coconut gelato with coconut flakes and dark chocolate chips. HOLY COW.
- Swim: This was my best swim on this course to date, despite the larger-than-usual swell and the rocky beach swim entry/exit. While my swim training has not been very impressive this season, I do think that I have made some major improvements in my technique which have allowed me to be more efficient in the water. These technical improvements initiated from Barb’s clinics during Monroe Triathlon weekend in June.
- Run/Finish– While I am still not quite at my best in the run (best split in 2009), I am getting closer every year. The run felt smooth most of the way (with the exception of those blasted final 2 miles). A day or so before the race, I set a goal to finish under 3 hours, 30 minutes, something that I had not been able to do since 2009 (when I went 3:23). I felt it was doable. I was happy to see the clock read 3:29:48 as I neared the finish, and I crossed in 3:29:52! Not my best, but getting better!
- Transition area change: In previous years the “Elite” wave was positioned conveniently at the end of the transition area. This meant that to enter/exit transition and get to/from your transition spot was extremely easy, quick, and smooth, with minimal (barefoot) running in and out between the swim, bike, and run disciplines. However, this year, the “Elites” were sneakily moved to the very front of the transition area, requiring us to run the furthest of all participants to/from our area and the entrance/exit of transition. Due to this change, my second transition (bike to run) was about a minute slower than last year. My first transition (swim to bike) was comparable from 2013 to 2014, indicating that my first transition efficiency has probably improved quite a bit! (see 5 BrittFit Tips below)
5 BrittFit Tips for a faster T-1:
- Cut a few inches off the ankles of your wetsuit for quicker removal in transition (if you’re tall, you may not have much excess at the bottom, but shorties like me tend to have unnecessary length at the ankles)
- Squirt some cheap hair conditioner in your wetsuit’s limbs while putting your suit on (slides right off in T1!)
- Practice starting with your shoes already on the bike (and practicing the flying bike mount). It’s super smooth and cool-looking 😉
- Rehearse your transition (physically and mentally) ahead of time, even if only on the morning of the race.
- Keep it simple. All you need is a helmet, sunglasses, your race number (if it’s not already pinned to you), and your bike (with water bottle and shoes on it, perhaps). Just remove your swim gear, put your bike gear on, and GO! No frills.
5 things/people to be grateful for:
- Coach Gareth and Trio for the fabulous support and coaching
- Sean Logan, for the Fluid (bike fuel), Pearl tri suit, Pearl shoes, hat, and socks.
- My support crew- Bonny, and all of my fellow racers and great friends who cheered me on during the race (Matt & Judy, Greg, Christine, Mike, Molly, and Moose!!)
- Health and safety- The roads on the bike course were a bit wet from the misty air, and there are some shaky spots with the downhills and sharp turns. Unfortunately, there were (and often are) some crashes/falls out there. Prayers for quick recovery to those who were injured.
- Post-race refuel- homemade tacos with chips, salsa, and smoothies…and Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream…and a glass of wine!
Next up: 5k at the Ventura Marathon and Beach Party!!