Escape From Alcatraz – Race Report
As with any road trip with Sara and I, there must be at least a little confusion somewhere. As we pull up to the hotel that I thought we were staying at, I went to the front desk of the Sheraton (which was right next door to the Radisson). Whoops! Off we went across the street and finally made it into our room. Packet pick up went fine enough and we waited in line to shake hand with Andy Potts, Matty Reed, Scott Tinley and a few other professional triathletes.
The next morning’s alarm came way too early at 3:15 AM. Since spectators weren’t allowed on the boat, Sara was going to sleep in until 6:45 ish and then head down to the race.
So off I went spinning on my bike down some side road in San Francisco. Then I hear other bikes and before I know it there are 40+ bikes all spinning down to transition. I pull in and lucky enough I had an end spot for transition…my favorite!! Biked rack and I’m on the bus next to a dude from Columbia. Off the bus and onto the boat at 5:45 AM to wait for the 6:30 AM departure.
Off goes the ropes holding the boat to the dock and we start heading towards Alcatraz Island. As the nerves begin to development, I continue to jump around to keep my body warm after sitting for nearly 2 hours. The door opened and the sound of the prison alarm ringing in the calm morning air as 2,000 athletes get ready to jump into the 59 degree San Francisco bay.
Swim – 1.5 miles – 35:38: Surprised myself with this time. I was hoping for a 45 minute swim and was pretty stoked when I looked at my watch. According to my strava (link) map, my swim was essentially a straight line from Alcatraz Island to the beach of the yacht club. But the entire time I was sighting directly south off of the Fontana Apartment Towers, then the dome of the museum and then off of Fort Henry. The current was so strong it kept pushing me west!
T1 – 5:19: I opted to run without a pair of shoes thanks to all of the runs to Depot Park in Santa Cruz. I passed a good amount of people on the run as I kept a pretty good pace going.
Bike – 18 miles – 57:33: I don’t think it was a bad choice to use my TT bike as I’m comfortable with it, but next year I will definitely use my Venge Pro Race (aka, The Breeze). A lot of climbing and I never really got into aero all too often without, at minimum, my right hand on the bars for the brakes. Passed a lot of riders in the first half and then hung with a solid group of riders the 2nd half. Goal was to beat an hour and I did just that!!!!!
T2 – 1:49: I knew that by this point I would beat my goal of 3 hours so I didn’t exactly rush through my T2. I knew that I had some pain coming up in the run and I was already under on my nutrition so I just smiled and ran out of transition.
Run – 7.5 miles – 1:01:19: I couldn’t get comfortable the first mile and a half on flat ground. Probably around a 7:45-8:00 pace. The hills after that just took it out of me and then when the stairs came I just walked up them briskly and kept the shoes of the runner in front of me in my eye sight at all times. As we cusped the top of the hill I felt decent enough to bomb the hill with control so gain some time back and then onto the beach. I saw Yuta from UCSC and reached the turnaround on the far end of Baker Beach.
Sand Ladder – 2:50: The worst part of the Sand Ladder, in my opinion, is running in the dry sand for a quarter mile up to it. So by the time you reach the ladder your heart rate is spiked, you’re sick of running in sand and now you’re just climbing. Most of the steps were covered so you had to kick your feet in to get a good hold (kind of like climbing on fresh snow). I didn’t really use the handrail to pull me up as it was too far off of the steps. I knew there was a continuous hill after the ladder and I had enough energy left over to keep up the pace and then hit it pretty hard downhill to the flats leading up to Marina Green. My goal was under 1 hour and I believe that poor nutrition on the bike helped lead to this overage.
Some people call this a “bucket list” race and I’m glad that I was able to check this off of my list. I’m definitely going to sign up for this again next year with hopes of breaking the top 10 in my Age Group.
Thank you, Escape From Alcatraz, for kicking my butt in an overall time of 2:41:36! I am know an official escapee!!!!
#BioSkin for Recovery!