I finished and that was big accomplishment this weekend. The surf was surprisingly big and unending. The bike overall had very steep sections and headwinds on the return trip. The run… I knew my knee and ankle were going to be iffy, so no surprises on the long run / walk. Overall happy to finish. No GI distress so that was nice. Super fun to rack together with the Club and hang out after the race. Post-race was great. Here are details.
GORY DETAILS here.
Pre-Race: I rode down with Lynda and Sue on Thurs, with race day on Saturday. Immediately upon arrival, We went shopping at Ironman Village. I got lots of stuff. It was pretty good village this year. Running shorts. IM 70.3 t-shirt with everyone’s name. I always get that one. HOKA / IM Running jacket. Expo deal on HyperVolt Percussion / hammer. Hoodie. Visor. Water bottle.
Thur Night: Checked into Hotel: Best Western Plus. Costco Run. Picked up supplies and food for post-race party. Dinner at Outback Steakhouse.
Friday: Tiff came down early. We met and rode around transition and run course. The bike course is on Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Closed to public. Only open on race day.
Friday: 12pm. Race Briefing. Heard all about the course. Note the speed trap and cut off times.
Friday: 1pm. PTC registered all together. They assigned consecutive bib numbers to all our group, so we would be racked together. That was super fun. Dave C, Lynda, Marisa, Joe, Elsa, Rick, Dale, Michael B, Julian, Gregg S., Alvin, Sen, Tiffany, Larry, Vicky, Bert. During the check in, the lady saw my name and looked at me and said, “Are you THE Joe Wong?” She recognized me from my Journey Video. She was inspired and a fan. We took a picture.
Friday: 3:30pm. Checked in bike at transition. Looked around all the bike. Total bike porn. We saw James K
Friday: Light dinner from Gelsons. Pack up transition bag. Swim gear, bike gear, run gear. Pre-race clothes, post-race clothes. Back up bags. To move to Lynda’s room.
Sat 4:15am. Wake up. Get dressed. Put on timing chip on ankle first thing. Key note for later. Eat PBJ sandwich, banana, water, electrolyte pills. Pack bags and move them to Lynda’s room. She reserved for an extra night, so we can clean up in the hotel after the race.
Sat 5:15am. Meet Clubmates in lobby. Lynda, Sue (sherpa), Carrie, Dane (husband sherpa), Dave C., Joe, James L, Angie (wife sherpa), Marisa, Bert, Elsa. Walked down along sneaky path in the dark over the puddle, clutching the rusty fence with all our gear on our back.
Sat 6am. Transition Set up. We saw all our friends. Lynda, Mark S, Mark G., Gregg G., Michael B, Mike O., Vicky, Sen, Rick, Alvin, Elsa, Bert, Tiffany, Larry, Dale, Joe. With one transition area, you can lay out all your gear under your bike, just like the good old days. No Ironman Run Bag / Bike Bag / Swim Bag / Pre-Race Clothes Bag / Special Needs Bag. Just lay it all down. I wore my PTC tri shorts, and wetsuit (no top). Goggles, Green Cap. Flip-flops. At 6:30 the transition area closed and we walked out the beach. I felt my ankle and my timing chip was gone! I freaked out. Ran back into transition area to look for it. No dice. Ran to the Swim chute to get a new chip. Whew. I was #11 on the list of losers who lost their chip. I jumped in the water to swish the fogger stuff in my goggles. and scoop up water into my wetsuit for final positioning.
6:45a: Pro-Men. Pro-Women. It’s black and cloudy. I couldn’t see the buoys. Waves were small, but no people compare size too. We self seed ourselves. PTC folks hung out together in the 40-45minutes group. It’s a rolling start, with fast people first, 5 people / every 5 seconds. Very civilized. We were near the back of the whole swim group. We watched as the clouds lighten up a little, the waves were getting bigger and more per set. There were tons of little heads bobbing around. Oh boy, this was going to be a real wavy start. Sand is shallow and goes out pretty far.
7:22. SWIM START. I ran out and walked through at least 3 waves. Water was up to my chest. Big wave. Duck and swim. Bob up and swim out more. Slight current pulling me south / away from the buoy. Buoy is hard to see over the waves. 2 more waves. Swim, duck, swim, duck. I sprinted 100m to a lifeguard with a surfboard. I caught my breath and located the Red Buoy. Other guys hanging on were gasping for dear life and making some life choices. Lifeguard offered a ride back in with DNF. I saw the next wave over us and swam and ducked. I sprinted 100m to next surfboard. Probably 6-7 waves before I got the Red Buoy and turned right. Water was still choppy and swells were hiding the little yellow buoys. I follows some guys, but they were darted left and right. Choppy until we got all the way into the harbor. Then, I could start swimming. Buoys. buoys, buoys. Dock. Get up and trot to the Transition area. Long hard swim. Exhausted after all the survival skills. Later I will curse my Garmin for not getting the GPS data on the swim leg.
8:28a: Transition T1. I ran into transition and was confused. I saw Vicky, Lynda, Rick all dressed in street clothes standing and cheering. I kept getting ready for my bike as I came to understand they had bailed on the Swim and were out of the race. I was sad for them, but moving on. I had tri shorts on already. I rinsed off my feet over a triathlon mat and put on fresh clean thick socks. I put on my PTC cycling jersey and a paper thin jacket to cut wind. The sun wasn’t warm, so i wanted to warm up my wet body. Headband, helmet, sunglasses. Sunscreen. All my gear was on and I took off. Turn on Garmin. Quick potty stop on 2nd row of Port-O-Potties. GI and tummy were doing good so far.
12:24p: Bike. Bike starts off on the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Roads are sometimes okay, and sometimes not. Keep your eye on the road and hang on tight, especially in aero.
Mile 1-21. Flat and slow rollers along the beach. North bound. TT bike was cruising.
Mile 29: Insane climb. 12% for about 1/2 mile. Fortunately, I have granny gears. I ground it out, and passed bunch of racers who were walking their bikes up the hill.
Mile 33-37: Steep climb. 4 miles of 6-8%
Mile 39: Steep climb. 1 mile of 8-10%
Mile 43-51. Slight descent, but headwinds and long grind back into town.
12:35p: Transition T2. Dropped off bike. Sunscreen. Put on PTC run shirt. Water bottle, wipe.
Run/ walk. Recovering from ankle injury. I knew this would be slow. Mile 0-10, not too painful. 12-14 min/ mil. Mile 11, 12, stabby pain in right ankle, walked it off. Trotted to the finish. The run is a two loop course with lots of out/backs where you see all your friends. I saw Dave, Julian, Michael B, Gregg, Else, Dale, Bert, James. Lynda, Scott, Tyler were cheering. That was cool.
3:49p. Finish. All my friends were headed to the post-race party. Sue and Lynda had already picked up my bike. I walked back to the hotel and cleaned up. We loaded up the car and We rode over to Alvin’s party house, 2 shorts away. Tiff wasn’t feeling great, so she rested in the room for a bit more.
4-7:30p: Post-Race Party. Sue ordered pasta and salad and pizza. We had chips and guac. Cookies. Beer and drinks. Alvin was mixing Patrone and Lime. Fun times. Folks brought their Significant other’s. We traded stories from our races and met each other friends. Good times.
I won’t spoil other people’s stories. They can share for themselves. I very proud of our Club. You guys trained really hard for this day. For the finisher, well done. You guys rock. For those that had rough day, sign up for the next one and shake it off.
Phones are not allowed on course. So, I have no pictures of the actual race. I only have course data. And my Garmin Failed me on the swim data. Very sad about that one.