San Francisco Triathlon Race Report

IMG_8444 I finished up my season last weekend in San Francisco. This is my second year racing the San Francisco Pan-America Cup, and there were almost no similarities between the races.

Last year an oil spill forced the race directors to cancel the swim leg of the triathlon and convert the race into a run-bike-run duathlon. This was extremely disappointing to me at the time because running was my weakest leg of the race. So last year I ended up in a chase pack on the bike, leading into a run where I completely felt like I hit a brick wall and was barely able to stumble across the finish line.

This year, however, we were able to dive into the 56 degree water of San Francisco Bay for the 1500m swim. I lead the first half of the swim, but, after managing to swim so far off course that I would later be a hot topic of conversation among spectators, I decided to sit on the leaders feet for the second lap, and finishing the swim second, comfortably in the first bike pack.

image Once on the bike I looked around and realized that about 5 of the top 7 runners were in the pack with me, and the other two were closing in quickly because a pack of fast runners typically doesn’t see the point in working hard on the bike. I followed suit, knowing that even with a recent knee injury I would be much faster on the run than in previous years.

I had my Garmin Edge 705

collecting data during the race, including power data from my Quarq Cinqo power meter (pictured on a crank above). That data is all up on my Garmin Connect account. The really interesting part of the power readout is to see what happened on the bike when Matt Reed and Matt Chrabot caught our group and started a series of relentless attacks. That was around 25 minutes into the 40km ride, and on the power graph you can see a number of large spikes in power. The speed of the group also changed from fairly steady to anything but smooth. We ended up losing a couple people off the back of the group, which pleased me greatly.

I started off the run with a lead pack of about 5 people, but just a half mile in I started have stomach pain and had to make a pit stop at a bathroom. I’ve never had problems like this during a race, and I’m not exactly sure what I did wrong in preparation, but it definitely took some wind out of my sails. While I was off the course I had about 12 runners pass me in a huge chase pack. Regardless, I was able to run each of the 3 lap, 10km course faster than the previous lap, and my final run time was almost 5 minutes faster than last year, even with a pit-stop. I reclaimed a few of the spots I lost and came in 15th overall. That makes me pretty happy, and it bodes well for the training I have been doing with Victor Plata.

Speaking of whom, Victor ran away from everyone and won the race, followed shortly by Brian Fleischmann Joe Umphenour and Matt Reed.

Next up for races, I’m going to do a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I haven’t figured out where yet, but I can either do the 5k I did last year, or a 10k in Gig Harbor. Both are not that close to home. :( 

I guess that’s it for my rookie year of triathlon. I’m already excited for next season to start! Take a look at my freshly redone schedule and results page where I already have a tentative 2009 schedule in place.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. dude, that was you swimming about 30 degrees left of the entire men’s pro field? You’re the guy who sites ALL of the time? I can spot you in a crowd of 200 because of your sighting – what? People were saying ‘he’s going to miss the buoy and be DQ’d!’. Despite that, 2nd out of the water isn’t too shabby! Did you know there was a pro who didn’t make it more than 2 mins into the swim? Travel to SFO from Columbia, jump in water, get kicked in the face, get free 20 sec ride on SEA DOO. Fly home.

    Great race – you were so much stronger everywhere than last year. I’m a believer in 2012!

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