Rick Ferrell and I hit the road in his Explorer for this adventure at Lake Lopez. We left Friday afternoon, got to San Luis Obispo by 7pm, had a carbo-loaded Mexican meal at trendy Pepe's Cantina, and checked in to the Days Inn to begin the race rituals. Ferrell was in good late season form and hoped to score a 2nd place to secure an entry to the '05 Escape from Alcatraz race. Me, I wanted to do an awesome swim and try to beat Ferrell out of the water for once.
Rick begins the gear x-fer to the 3rd floor hotel room.
A race bandit must always carry a full complement of swim cap colors.
At 5:30am, Ferrell's '70's era Mr.Coffee wasn't up to the job of perk/perk/perk'ing us awake. But awake we did - breakfast is the most important meal of the day! I had half a banana. Ferrell tanked up on cocoa puffs or something.
Next ritual - pump it up, Rick!
Ferrell gets into the zone while getting marked.
Setting up that transition zone is SO important; Focus, Ferrell!
Time to head down to the swim start. But first, a photo. Oh no! - first rule of people-photography: no funny stuff sticking out of people's heads.
The gun goes off, and it's a shark feed, with a mass start with all male age groups starting together from a boat ramp about 25 feet wide. I got a raspberry on my hand, a sharp tearing toenail kick to my achilles, and a heel to the face. But my real problem was following up last week's Sentinel race with not one but two full-on 1-mile open water training swims at race pace on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. I left all my mojo in the water at Cowell's beach - a rookie mistake! I was floundering and gasping for breath trying to keep my planned pace. The result was predictable - Ferrell beat me out of the water by 2:45. Gah!
After a towell off, I cruised the run course on my mtn bike and then returned to wait for Ferrell's bike-run transition. The story of Rick's race was - good swim, great bike, great run... and challenging transitions.
OK, try again... little loop through the big loop and then... pull.
Success!!! Rick gets his shoes on!!
Time to run down the competition.
Ferrell gives me a sign. Yeah, well, likewise, bud!
And a glorious downhill finish, capturing 3rd place in the 45-49 age group. Good work! Yes, Rick is a happy man. And has a cool little finisher's memento too!
The Alcatraz Challenge entry spot didn't work out as well... 3rd place by 2 minutes, and slots to only the 1st and 2nd place. A random draw for more spots... but Mr. Lucky did not score this time. Bummer!
Legend Scott Tinley (left) did the race too, and he, Rick, Julie Moss and I had a nice talk after the race. Along with quite a number of other classy triathletes, such as Santa Cruzan and Athens Olympian Victor Plata and the usual array of beautiful people (right).
Despite over-training and having a sub-standard swim, I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed this quick get-away. Thanks, Rick! Let's do it again...