Goleta Beach Triathlon, July 30th 2017 by Rachel Hommel

The nerves, the jitters, the anticipation of your first triathlon. Prior to the triathlon, I attended several transition clinics, put on by SB Tri Club and the SB Triathlon. These were immensely helpful at visualizing what your transition should look like. Additionally, the Goleta Beach Tri had a very comprehensive route clinic, which helped me map out the course (thanks to Kyle at Killer B!)

“Swim…Bike…Run…all before lunch!” Yes, it was early, foggy, and cold. But by race morning, the nerves were gone and I was ready to enjoy the experience of my first sprint. Hazard’s Cyclesport was also on site, to ensure any last minute bike fixes or tire issues. This shop is great for your introduction into the sport –well knowledgeable, friendly, and stocked with all the essentials.

Setting up my first transition space was easier than expected, thanks to attending the clinics and my awesome SB Tri Club teammates. Marked up (and pumped up), I was ready to head down to the beach for the 500m swim. I wore a Zoot one piece tri suit, which was perfect, but many people had wetsuits. The water was mellow and calm, making the swim easier than my experience at Reef & Run – which is also FANTASTIC prep for any triathlon.

The run from the beach to the transition was a little longer than I anticipated, and shoes were recommended. Hopefully next year, the run will be beachside. Making my way through T-1 transition (remember to buckle your helmet!), I started the 11 mile bike ride. Volunteers assisted along the way with directions and the path was well marked. I get lost easily, so I was worried about this, but the course was very clear and very flat.

Making my way into T-2 transition, I almost ran with my helmet...but at least I remembered the race belt! Newbie mistakes. I went back and started the easy 2.5 mile loop around Goleta Beach. The finish line was near the route, so it was great for spectators and participants alike. It really helped at the end to hear the support from the finish line. Colleagues, friends, teammates, it was really special. Crossing the finish line, medals were given out and victory was mine! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a race, and the emotional impact it has had on me since.

As a Gaucho alumni and new triathlete, this race meant a lot, as I’ve wanted to get into the sport for many years. Jerrett and Kirstin McFarland did an excellent job at supporting athletes new and old, newbies and the seasoned professionals. Thanks to the support and encouragement from all my team members, volunteers, and myself…inspiring courage in all areas of my life. I cannot wait for the next tri!


Rachel Hommel is a local food and drink writer and culinary tour guide. A native of Las Vegas, she has written for Santa Barbara's Edible Magazine, Seasons Magazine and the Independent. Visit her website tastetrektravel.com