|Swim Start. Luckily, they moved the fence out of the way.|
They set the buoys and all of us watching from the beach knew the course was going to be a bit short. We ran into the water and started swimming. I did not have the greatest first loop and felt a bit blah. I was just behind the first woman when we ran up on the beach. Honestly, I was surprised about that. It was one of those moments where I was sure I was way behind everyone.
|Dancing around the buoy on the beach. I almost bit it slipping on kelp.|
Getting out, running on the beach, and then diving back in always makes my arms burn quite a bit. This feeling usually goes away relatively quickly so I kept telling myself it was going to stop shortly and continued swimming hard.
|My dad has captioned this picture "scary shoulders."|
I exited the swim just behind the women's leader and caught up with her as we got to transition after running 1/3 of mile from the beach. When I take off my wetsuit I often get the left leg stuck around my ankle but I had made sure to put the timing chip under the wetsuit and it made removal much easier! Clasping my helmet strap proved to be a little more difficult and took me five tries but I got it done. I hopped on the bike and moved into first place determined to put time into those behind me. The course was a four loop course. It was flat and straight except for a few slightly technical turns as we rode along the coast on West Cliff Drive.
|4 loops on the bike meant some work on cornering. I still could use some improvement.|
I stopped quickly, went back around the median and continued riding. I lost my lead for :10 while trying to get clipped in but then I got rolling again and moved back into the lead. I quickly forgot about this little mishap and was happy I realized my mistake and only lost a small amount of time. Plus, now I knew the course for the final three loops.
The course was pretty clear the second loop and then started to get more crowded the final two times around. I rode hard but was also conscious of what was going on around me. I did want to screw anyone else up or do something stupid and be unable to finish the race.
|It is always nice to stand on the top step.|
I made it to the run with a lead and ran out to the turnaround at a hard, but controlled, effort. I still had a lead so I continued with my pace and crossed the line in first place. I had a fun morning racing in Santa Cruz! It was truly an enjoyable way to get in a solid effort and earn a paycheck. Next up is Pacific Grove. A little (well, maybe a lot of) kelp and draft legal action--should be fun and challenging.