I have a race report for you for the San Diego International Triathlon. I did it as a relay with my wife, Janice. Here it is:
Relays are fun. I like to try to find one or two to do a year and form a team with my wife. This year, we targeted the San Diego International Triathlon (SDIT) as our relay race. The race itself is kind of a weird distance, not quite an Olympic, but more than a typical sprint. It is a 1K swim in the harbor, a 30K bike down to the Cabrillo National Monument and, oddly, a 10K run, which seems long relative to the swim and bike. Having done the Boston Marathon and more-recently running almost 41 miles at the 6 hour Lake Merritt run, I gladly let my wife, Janice take the run leg, while I was to take care of the swim and the bike legs.
Check-in the day before was a bit of a surprise. We were not notified that bikes had to be dropped off at check-in and left overnight. Fortunately I still had my bike in the trunk of my car after the drive down from Santa Barbara. Everything else went smoothly though and they didn’t seem to notice or care that the registered swimmer and biker had the same name (nor should they care since it’s not an advantage).
Come race day, there was a lot of waiting around since the relays all went off in one wave at the very end of the international distance starts. This was good though since we didn’t have to rush to get ready and had time to check out the transition area and swim course a bit. Soon enough, it was time to get in the water. This was a rather unique swim start for me since I’d never done a deep-water start before. It’s a good way to start though since you have a built-in warm up swim to the starting line. The other nice thing about this swim was that since it’s in the harbor, you get the buoyancy of the ocean without all the waves and current. Also interesting to note, but of no advantage or disadvantage, is the sponginess of the bottom. It felt very strange, kind of muddy, but didn’t dirty up your feet. When the relay wave finally started, I was feeling pretty good during the swim and even caught of to some of the stragglers from the previous wave. Once turned around, you swim maybe 20 feet away from the edge of the harbor next to the park which provides an excellent opportunity for onlookers to grab some great swim action pictures. Once out of the water, there was Astroturf leading you back to the transition area with a timing mat about a third of the way up. With the noise form the crowd and earplugs in, I didn’t hear them saying “left foot on the mat” so the timing chip would register. I did get the split on my watch though. For the official results, it looks like they took a guess at my T1 time and subtracted that out to figure a swim time. This was way off since I actually had to transition while the other relays just passed the timing chip in practically no time. My official T1 time is 1:20 – there is no way I could lose my wetsuit and get my helmet and shoes on that fast – so my official swim time is 18:24, when I had it at 17:24. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter overall. I actually did transition pretty fast though, 2:09 by my watch, which might be a PR for me.
On the Bike, I felt a little tired first few miles, but then fell into a pretty good rhythm. The course went out a little peninsula and was basically a 6 mile climb with a couple of dips, then you turn around at the Cabrillo National Monument. You go 3 miles back, turn around again and loop back to the monument. Turn around one last time and then you have a nice, mostly downhill jaunt back to transition. The course was pretty scenic, but admittedly, I wasn’t looking around a whole lot. There was a nice tailwind on the uphill, and of course, a headwind on the way back, which only sucked for the two climbs on the way back. It would have been much worse the other way around. The only other thing of significance about the bike course is that it was short. They said 30K, I measured 17.8 miles, so it was short by about 8/10ths of a mile. Heading back into the transition area, I heard the requests for left foot on the mat this time so we got an accurate official bike split. I trotted back to our spot in transition, Janice grabbed the timing chip and was off.
By this time, the sun was out, making it a beautiful day, but a little hot and exposed for running. The course was pretty nice, with about half of it right along the water, but not a lot of shade. It's a point-to-point run with a shuttle to take you back to transition afterwards. You run most of the perimeter of Harbor Island, then out around the east side of the harbor down to Seaport Village. While janice was running, I packed up, threw everything in the car and drove down to the finish to fight for a parking spot. I got there with only a few minutes to spare before I saw Janice coming around the corner back along the waters edge. I cheered her on and she picked up the pace for a strong finish. We ended up 9th out of 15 mixed team relays (and probably 1 of 1 two-person relays) and 17th out of 30 total relay teams.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this race especially for anyone doing their first triathlon (there's also a sprint distance). This is also good for anyone scared of the water since, not only is it in the calm harbor, but you can also get a swim buddy to stay with you the whole swim leg (they do not provide floaties as far as i can tell though).
Pictures can be seen at my website http://www.komon.us if you're interested!