This picture certainly sums up my attitude @ Wildflower Triathlon! #pumped After we arrived at our humble abode, only 15 min from the camp site @ lake Nacimiento...I couldn't believe the view, the fresh air and the cool breeze. It was like I was re-born. It wasn't hard to get into the moment because last weekends race, St. Anthony's Triathlon, didn't go so hot. To be specific, I finished the bike at my girlfriends condo rather than T2. Luckily, we live at mile 23 of the bike course and I could walk down to see this finish.
I'd like to take a quick second to have a chit-chat about that DNF. At one point, only months ago, I thought "I will never allow my self to quit". Ohhh, how blind I was! Since this year is my first year on the "elite" start list, I drastically underestimated the laundry list of mental stressors that tag along. In short, since this was a home-town race, I got caught up in all the daily activities, sale of my home, home-stay of 2 athletes and social meetings. Typically, I'm way more mellow...off my feet, in a cave hiding. I've never vocally said I didn't want to race until that morning. After that statement, I should have known not to start...but I love this sport and I wanted to have a good local race, so I chose to give it my best...which was over in about 2 minutes of the swim when my $400 Garmin ejected from my arm, lol. ACTUALLY, I didn't care about that..but once I got on the bike, I hit the slow motion button. It was time to pull the plug. I've gotten tons of great energy and learned more than I ever have. LISTEN to your body and it's OKAY to have a less than stellar day. That race certainly made me hungrier for Wildflower. Almost how bad we all want a Cinnabon but know they lead to instant gratification or fat-ification
WILDFLOWER TRIATHLON A.K.A Hardest Race EVER!
As you can see from the pictures above, I was thirsty, I was with my team and great friends (Jay from XTERRA Wetsuit's) and that finisher medal proves I actually finished! Boom! (27th Male Pro..definitely not last) I managed to actually pull off a solid swim, hanging onto some feet for a long time, setting a new 1.2 mile swim PR! However, all that cool swim stuff was quickly forgotten on the 15% boat ramp run which THEN followed by a 2 mile run to my bike LOCATED at the top of yet....another boat ramp! At the end of the day, the tune was continually accented by more hills. For a living in Florida I think I definitely did my best to prepare for such a feat! Check out the run and bike profiles....pretty Gnarly!
Anyway, I wont bore you with the specific data points but I'll tell you what you need to know. This race is challenging but the trip is worth its weight in gold! Camping, great views, relaxation, smore's, topless aid stations....etc ALSO, your shoes will be destroyed!
Without the support of the US Military Endurance Sports team, I wouldn't be here. Without the amazing people who surround me, the pain cave would be mighty lonely. I certainly wouldn't be here had I not chosen to join the U.S Air Force and I'd probably be dead had I not found something as awesome as Triathlon. I have 6 races in CA this year but this one will be near and dear to my heart. The race organization treated athletes with the utmost respect and I've never seen volunteers so knowledgable and involved! It's easy to see why this is a "bucket list" event. Please let me know if you want to go next year...I'll cook for you and wash your bike for a free place to stay. Finally, a big thank you to Scott Larson and Tri-Lounge for taking such amazing pictures that will definitely make my sponsors happy:)
A final Congratulations to my accomplice in Doughnut Adventures...Nicholas Sterghos! He took 4th overall on the Olympic course. He's the ITU specialist of the bunch...he'll run down a cheetah one day, I'll bet $100 on that!
Before I regurgitate all of the goodness within me for your reading pleasure, I'd like to get my race report out of the way. Yes indeed, the Armed Forces Triathlon took place this past Saturday at Point Mugu Naval Base in Ventura County California. This race makes me feel special because #1 The Air Force chose ME, along with 15 other athletes to represent! #2 I was surrounded by some of the most accomplished people/athletes I've ever met #3 I roomed with a great friend Brad Williams (killer deep tissue massages by the way) #4 Training in California with 1 hour, CAT 1 climbs and 40+ mph descents can't be matched.
In the days leading up to the race, the team all re-unites, attends a few group sessions and delicious meals. We crack jokes, talk about the season thus far and generally kick back. I think I got more sleep in the 2 days before the race than I had in 5 months. Thursday is full of fun stuff like team gear issue (Thanks to our coach), team pictures, dinner at a sweet Mansion with all the competitors and plenty of sexual innuendoes. Apparently, everyone thinks my AF job is a personal car washer for Generals, where I pay special attention to "waxing on" and "waxing off". Friday is a "nothing" day....where we try as hard as we can do to as little as possible. Somehow we manage to do a mini triathlon though. A 60 minute spin, 20 minute run and 15 minute swim starts off the morning. It's all part of the routine for the big day....
THE SWIM: Water Temperature around 62 degrees (Perfect Temperature), calm, clear water. Since last year, this is my favorite place to swim. The lower temperature really allows you to go full throttle without over-heating. It's way better than 86 degree salty whale pee back in Florida. However, dealing with numb toes until the run is to be expected with such low temps. I swam a minute or so down from the lead pack, still have some work to do. Everyone seemed to have a little extra time this year on the 2 loop, ITU style swim. Came out at 23:44, which I'm pleased with. Well within striking distance. Lead swim was 21:18 with the pack around 22 minutes. Blazing fast for the day.
THE BIKE: After a nice scenic beach run to spike the heart rate, transition was in sight. Pulled a great T1 time but didn't really come in with a big enough group to start anything up right away. Pulled a solo effort for the first 2 laps. Lot's of snot and cold toes on that first 20k but I managed to bridge up to a few guys...but they weren't worthy and had to be dropped. A 10-13 man group pulled up (with the guys I dropped), everyone working hard. There were a few attacks by the stud cyclists but a "time-trial" off the front wasn't going to happen. Sadly one of our own Air Force members went down, taking out a possible top scorer out....gladly he's doing well and only ended up with road rash that will most certainly stick to his clothing everyday until it finally heals. (Been there)
THE RUN: Since we ended up catching the lead pack near the end of the 40K, it was an all out foot race. For me, this is when I sorta ended up...falling apart. Started out feeling awesome, even passed a few fellas. Then my body remembered it hadn't really ran this hard for 10k in quite awhile. Being injury free for a few weeks kinda erases the reality, the fitness isn't where I want it to be. I ended up not being able to break up a pack of 4 Navy guys. As I attempted to wish myself into top 10, I was fading. Luckily I didn't blow up and fought until the end....but when is a triathlete ever "really" happy with their results??
The rest of my team performed very well. An absolute honor to be around such talent! Congrats to the champion, Nicholas Sterghos! I'm fortunate enough to be able to train with him in Clermont from time to time. (not to brag or anything)
Speaking of results: CLICK HERE
Goal for next year.....Top 5.....OR I'll retire
Why do I want to live here? Read Below...
Okay...now we get to the good part. The Race is the icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. I LOVE training out there and definitely look forward to the post race party at Chuys. Florida is pretty flippin great, but I've never loved any place more than PCH around Malibu, CA. Sure it's a little chilly at night and in the am, but it's also perfect weather for training. The haze burns off around lunch time BUT if you climb high enough (about 3k ft), you'll be rewarded with an amazing view. This place is magical. I'd consider getting into some illegal sources of income so I could afford to live there (kidding). All in all, the pictures really tell the story. It wasn't until after the race I embarked on the epic definition of a "climb". Literally, a real climb....Take that Florida! I've also never descended around hair pin turns going 30+...BOOYA. However tough a race may be, I always learn and walk away fulfilled. The new certainly took me to the next level, I ate some delicious meals and once again...attended my favorite race of the season!