Hy-Vee World Cup Set for Des Moines this Weekend

USA Triathlon

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 13, 2007) – The richest event ever on the elite triathlon circuit is on tap for this Sunday (June 17) in Des Moines, Iowa, as the ITU World Cup makes its only stop in the U.S. in 2007.

The Hy-Vee World Cup features a total purse of more than $700,000 in cash and prizes. The first-place winners in the men’s and women’s divisions will each take home paychecks of $200,000, filtering down to $3,000 for the 15th place man and woman. The winners will also get brand new Hummers.

National NBC television coverage will bring great exposure to the event and the sport. NBC will offer six live look-ins from the U.S. Open throughout the afternoon and will also produce and air an hour long broadcast show of the event, scheduled for Sunday, July 15 at 1 p.m. CST.

ITU will offer live video coverage of both the men’s and women’s races. Live coverage including live video, audio commentary and timing will begin at 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time, 12:15 p.m. Mountain, 1:15 p.m. Central, and 2:15 p.m. Eastern. Go to the event page for more information.

The start lists read like a who’s who of international triathlon with multiple Olympic, world and continental champions spattered with more then a few Olympians and world cup winners, all racing for valuable Olympic qualification points. This event will have a start list comparable to any ever assembled and the competition is sure to be fierce.

The Americans will have eight men and eight women competing:

Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Matt Reed (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Brian Fleischmann (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Doug Friman (Tucson, Ariz.)
Joe Umphenour (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Jarrod Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass.)
Mark Fretta (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.)
Julie Swail (Irvine, Calif.)
Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Sara McLarty (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Jasmine Oeinck (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Margaret Shapiro (Annandale, Va.)
Sarah Groff (Boulder, Colo.)
Joanna Zeiger (Boulder, Colo.)

Having the event on U.S. soil means that much more to the American athletes, many of whom have been involved in pre-event promotions in Des Moines over the past few months.

“This is the first time I am going to be racing a World Cup in the U.S., and I am excited to have such a huge event on our home soil,” said 2006 USAT Elite National Champion Sarah Haskins. “My hometown (St. Louis) is close to Iowa, so I am going to have lots of family traveling up to cheer me on, and my husband’s family is from Minnesota and they are coming too. It is going to be a special event to be able to share the sport that I love with my family. Usually we are racing across the ocean and my family is trying to watch a tiny screen online. I think they are going to be blown away how well-done world cup events are, and I expect Iowa will be over the top.”

For the men, Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is having a phenomenal year, with three wins and a second-place finish in his first four races. He sees the race having more meaning than just who wins.

“Obviously, it’s a big race in terms of the payday. The money attracts a lot of the top-tier athletes, so you are going to have a great race,” said Potts, the 2007 USAT Elite National Champion. “But it has great implications for the sport since it’s here in America. Coverage is going to be at a level that will help sell the sport. Triathlon has so much to offer kids and adults looking for a healthy lifestyle. This will help showcase the sport and develop it long term.”

Haskins agrees. “I feel having a world cup in the United States will increase exposure for our sport of triathlon. Many people in the U.S. instantly think Ironman when they hear about triathlon and have no idea what ITU style racing is about. I feel this will get many people excited not just about draft-legal style racing, but triathlon racing in general. With the Olympics nearing, I think this will also get people excited about the triathlon event during the games.”

Both athletes are pleased with the efforts from sponsor Hy-Vee and the city of Des Moines.

“I think the event is going to be really well done,” said Haskins. “I know the event organizers have really worked hard to make sure this event is well-organized and top of the line.”

What do they expect from their own performances?

“I feel I am progressing well into my season,” said Haskins, who had her first world cup podium finish last weekend in Vancouver. “My goal at this race is to perform consistently and strong in all three disciplines. We are approaching the heart of racing season, but the biggest race of the year will be in Beijing in September, which is the first Olympic qualifier.”

Potts doesn’t offer any predictions on his performance. “The sport is so hard and demands a lot mentally and physically. Obviously I want to do great, but I can’t predict where I will finish,” said Potts, who has arrived in Des Moines early to run a four-day junior camp. “This is my third-straight weekend of racing, and they haven’t been easy races. It’s very challenging. I will race to the best of my ability.”

For more information:
Event page
Start lists .

Should you be eating organic?

By Charlene Waldner

June 7, 2007 — “You are what you eat” says it all, especially for those with active lifestyles and athletes in training. Our food choices greatly affect our health, body composition, performance and recovery. Having a healthy, well balanced diet is critical to an athlete’s performance. The same question is always asked: “Is eating organic food better for you than non-organic food?”

Nowadays you can purchase just about anything organic – from soup to nuts, shampoo to dental floss. Most natural supermarkets carry an array of organic groceries that now can be found in most local and big chain supermarkets. Stores like Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Trader Joe’s are a couple of organic super stores in the US that have just about every kind of organic food you could possibly need.

When discussing the option of buying organic vs. non-organic produce, Sue Boegman, registered dietician and nutritional consultant with Pacific Sport in Victoria, B.C., advised that it was better to buy locally grown if possible or from farmers’ markets. When choosing meats, you should limit canned tuna because of high mercury content, especially for women who are considering starting a family. A better choice would be to purchase smaller quantities of meats labeled  “grass fed” or” range free” meats. Remember to always read the labels before you buy.

In today’s world of  “too many choices” should one question the difference of purchasing an organic apple vs. a non–organic apple? When it comes to fruit or vegetables, most people find that organic products taste better – apples and carrots are sweeter in taste than non-organic variations. This is attributed to better soil quality resulting from better farming techniques.

Most non-organic produce is grown in a cocktail of poisonous chemicals. When discussing produce, the term “organic” means grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and processed without food additives. For animals it means reared without the use of hormones or unnecessary antibiotics.

The cost difference in choosing organic over non-organic is insignificant, on some items, and is worth the extra cost. In fact, sometimes by price checking different stores, organic could be less expensive at times. I would tend to focus on purchasing organic fruits, vegetables and meats than on cereals, nut butters or rice cakes, for example.

Another important reason to shop organic is to protect the environment. Organic farming releases fewer pesticides into the soil and atmosphere and helps to sustain a stronger ecosystem. The pluses outweigh the negatives by protecting our wild life, insects and plants.

Purchasing locally grown foods from our local farmers’ markets is a win-win situation. It not only supports the community, but also helps the farmer earn a living off the farmland and continue to harvest produce.

You should choose the organic versions of grapes, strawberries, apples, cherries and raspberries as these fruits have thin skins, which will result in a higher concentration of pesticides.

Pesticides will enter fruits and vegetables through the skin, and so thin-skinned non-organic fruits should be avoided.

Vegetables to watch are potatoes, peppers, spinach and celery. Fruits with a thick skin such as bananas, mangoes and pineapple have very low risk pesticide count as do avocados, green peas, broccoli and cauliflower.

To reduce risk of ingesting pesticides, always carefully wash your fruits and vegetables. Adding a few drops of Grape Seed extract to your washing water will act as an antibacterial agent and will also aid in killing any parasites or bugs that maybe found.

Shopping organic is a lifestyle choice that can improve health, well being, help protect the environment and improve the taste of your food.


LifeSport Coach Charlene Waldner is an NCCP certified triathlon coach and champion athlete who has spent several years in the health and wellness industry working as a fitness instructor, personal trainer and coach..

Andy Potts, Leanda Cave Claim Their First Wins at Alcatraz

Timothy Carlson
Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson
 Prison break!
Alcatraz history or a challenge to modern triathletes?
SAN FRANCISCO , California – Three days after two wayward whales swam past Alcatraz on their way back to the open ocean from a freshwater excursion up the Sacramento delta, two of triathlon’s established stars added luster to their existing fame with first wins at the classic Accenture Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

American Andy Potts, who led the 2004 Olympics out of the swim and finished third in last year’s ITU World Cup season series, held off 2004 ITU World Champion Bevan Docherty and former ITU World number one Greg Bennett with a strong all around performance to finish first in a quick time of 1:59:34. 

“Alcatraz is very hard,” said Potts. “I feel it’s a strong man’s course where you have to find your own rhythm in every discipline. It’s really difficult to do and I felt I did it today.” 

After a suffering a shocking heat stroke and back-of-the-pack finish at the ITU World Cup in Mooloolaba, Australia, Potts has stormed to wins in three straight big American races – Ironman California 70.3 in Oceanside, the USA Triathlon elite nationals in Honolulu and now Alcatraz. Potts’ second-best swim (24:31) fourth-best bike (47:20) and second-best run (43:08) left him 43 seconds ahead of runner-up Docherty, who pipped third place Bennett by four seconds at the line.

Great Britain ‘s Leanda Cave, the 2002 ITU World Champion and winner of the inaugural Tri One O One long course event in Bradenton Florida last month, led virtually wire to wire, holding off Australia’s resurgent Pip Taylor by 48 seconds and third place Alexis Waddell of nearby Monterey, California by 1 minute 42 seconds. Cave’s 2:18:47 performance for the unique 1.5 mile swim, 18-mile bike and 8-mile run on the rugged, hilly scenic tour of San Francisco landmarks was aided by cool, cloudy weather. 

“This was the roughest, toughest thing I’ve ever done,” said an exuberant Cave. “The bike is the most technical I’ve seen, and the run makes us go through virtually everything out there.” Clutching her trophy, Cave explained how much this race meant to her: “This is one race where anyone who’s anyone in our sport has won. This race makes a lot of people famous. Winning here is a really big thing for me, my sponsors and for attracting new sponsors.”   

Defending champions Matt Reed of Boulder, Colorado and Becky Lavelle of Los Gatos, California suffered through off-form days. Both of the U.S. stars felt their usual leg power and speed were lacking. Reed fell from second off the bike to fourth, 2 minutes 33 seconds behind Potts and Lavelle fell from first of the bike to 5th by the finish, 3 minutes 24 seconds behind Cave.

On a day in which roughly 70 pros and 2,000 age group triathletes from 36 countries and nearly all 50 states competed, physically challenged star Sarah Reinertsen competed on a physically challenged relay team and ABC’s recent star of The Bachelor, Andy Baldwin, finished in a strong time of 2:29, one age group competitor was seriously injured in a crash while descending one of the white knuckle-fast downhills on the bike. 
The Men  
Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson
Andy Potts Escapes the water 
Andy Potts was uncharacteristically second out of the water.

Swim star Jan Sibbersen overcame a slight navigational error in generally favorable currents to nip Potts to the Marina Green finish by seven seconds in 24:24, with Reed and ITU World Cupper Brian Fleischmann another 30 seconds. Another minute back was a second pack of contenders including Bevan Docherty and Greg Bennett tied at 25:29, Matt Chrabot at 25:30, Greg Remaly and under-23 star Matt Seymour in 25:35,   and France’s Nicholas Becker in 25:37. Dangerous cyclist David Thompson of St. Paul Minnesota, coming off a dominating win at the Bradenton Tri One O One long course race, was 1 minute 50 seconds back in 26:21.

“I felt there was a bit of a current taking us out from the shore, but it made for a bit more of a straight shot than the usual parabola,” said Potts. Race organizers also moved up the start time by an hour to 7 AM to take advantage of better tide and currents. Potts added there was another factor making for swift swims. “The leader’s boat was better this year” said Potts. “It usually goes right-left, right-left, right-left because it can’t go as slow as we’re going. But his year it was a bigger boat and it didn’t get moved as much by the waves.” 
Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson
Bennett on the bike at Alcatraz 
Calf cramps on the run would restrict Bennett’s charge to the front.
World Cup veteran Potts ran swiftly the half mile to his bike at the transition and got out first. Reed, coming off a dominating win a St. Anthony’s Triathlon in April, was 30 seconds back and confident of defending his Escape title until he came to some of the first of many hills on the bike. “I was close enough I figured I’d catch Andy quickly and move right past him, but I was pretty shocked. I had really bad legs on the bike. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the cold water. Or I had a lot of training miles in my legs.” 

Though the first half of the roller-coaster bike that swoops past the Golden Gate bridge, Baker Beach, the Legion of Honor museum, Robin Williams’ beachside neighborhood,   the Cliff House restaurant and into Golden Gate Park, Reed stayed 100 yards back of Potts, who looked strong and in control. When strongest chasers Greg Bennett, Bevan Docherty and Greg Remaly were caught by David Thompson, the action heated up. “When David Thompson came by it was a great help and we caught Matt Reed three-quarters of the way through,” said Docherty. “You see the (huge) gear David is pushing, it’s suicide. Because he is sacrificing his run for that.”

Indeed, Thompson came of the bike third but dropped to sixth during a painful run.

Potts took off from T2 in a quick, steady confident run that didn’t attempt to take out the field in one big surge. 

“I felt fine on the flats and I ran out with Docherty and Bennett for the first two miles along Crissy field,” said Reed. “They were both running well and we kept Andy in sight. But as soon as we got to the first hills, my legs were dead and I fell back.”

Bennett felt fine on the bike, but soon discovered his run legs that flew to a race-best 30:58 10km in St. Anthony’s were operating with a hitch in his giddy up. “Today, my calf was quite tight, which leads back to plantar fasciitis which plagued me last year,” said Bennett. “I had to run on my heels a bit more and I could not afford to dig deep. Otherwise I was sure I’d do more damage.”
Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson
Docherty on his road bike at Alcatraz 
Like most of the pros Bevan Docherty chose to ride a road bike with clip on aero bars on the technical Alcatraz course.
Docherty was closer to his best early season form, and seemed to be the best candidate to make a run at Potts as they came to the run turnaround at Baker Beach.   “I was 20 seconds back of Andy at the turnaround, and dropped it to 15 seconds by the top of the sand ladder,” said Docherty. “But it’s a funny thing about this race. Even a run specialist can struggle with the out of sight, out of mind scenario and by the time I got to the top of the hill, Andy was gone. By the time he got to the long downhill, he is a big boy and he just let gravity go with him.”

For his part, Potts refused to let Docherty’s proven Olympic silver medal foot speed make him paranoid. “My legs were on and I never look back,” said Potts. “I’m never interested in things behind me. I’m only interested in things ahead of me.”

“It sucks to lose to an American,” quipped Docherty, who now makes his home six months of the year in Boulder, Colorado. “But I’m not in the form to win it yet. I’m aiming at the first New Zealand Olympic qualifier in Beijing his September.”

Potts stretched his margin to 43 seconds by the finish.   While Bennett got close to Docherty down the stretch, he never put it in top gear. “My run split may have been quicker on the day (43:00 to Docherty’s 43:13) but Bevan is one of the quickest runners in the sport and he really got me on the bike. The fact is, there was no way I was going to get on my toes and sprint today. I have some big `races coming up and you can’t push the panic button and risk your whole season.” 

Reed said he was happy with a “fourth place finish on a bad day,” and rolled sideways across the finish line in honor of Jon Blais, the inspiring age group triathlete who fought amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) until he died in late May. “I did the Blazeman Roll in Jon’s honor, said Reed, who donates much of his time, money and charitable works to carry on Blais’s fight against ALS.

The Women  
Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson.
Lavelle biking 
Defending champion Lavelle couldn’t find her legs on the day.

Leanda Cave emerged from the 57-degree waters of San Francisco Bay in 26:45, just 17 seconds behind super swimmer Linda Gallo and 38 seconds up on Pip Taylor, 49 seconds on 2006 Ironman Hawaii 4th place finisher Gina Kehr, 56 seconds ahead of defending Escape champ Becky Lavelle, 1 minute 33 seconds on 5-time Ironman New Zealand inner Joanna Lawn and 1 minute 53 seconds on Alexis Waddell. 

“I don’t know what happened, but I swam alone for the first time ever here,” said Lavelle. “And I think I got caught a little wide near the end of the swim and had to cut over.” 

Almost precisely like fellow defending champ Matt Reed, Lavelle headed out on the bike and soon found out it was not her day. “I heard I was a minute down after the swim, and I feel I caught up to Leanda pretty soon. But then she stayed with me. I couldn’t drop her. I knew she was a strong cyclist, but I was hoping I could put a little more time on her. But she came by me the last mile and I thought ‘Oh gosh, she’s right there.’ I managed to get to T2 first, but Leanda and Pip Taylor were close.” 

Cave, however, found the bike much to her liking thanks to a recent home town advantage. “My boyfriend and coach Torsten Abel moved to Marin recently and I ride over and do this course all the time and I know it well,” said Cave. “It was very good for me today. Pip and Becky put time on me on the flats, I gained a little back on the climbs, and I made up a lot of time on the downhills.”
Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson.
 Pip Taylor running down to Baker Beach
Pip Taylor tested her legs after a bout with exhaustion.
Pip Taylor, by contrast, played it safe on Alcatraz’s screaming downhills. “I’ve just come back from nine months off training to recover from severe exhaustion,” said Taylor, who is 27 and has won an ITU World Cup at Salford, England and was ranked number one in the ITU World Cup series for a few months in 2004. “This was my fist big race back and I didn’t want to fall. I figured I’d be better safe than sorry.”

Cave took off on the run, with Lavelle holding her in sight the first two miles until the Englishwoman took off. Taylor caught Lavelle one-third into the 8-mile run, but could only narrow the margin to 250 meters at the turnaround at Baker Beach. Lavelle, whose legs lacked her customary snap, got caught by Monterey’s Alexis Waddell on the top of the sand ladder and Ironman New Zealand 5-time champ Joanna Lawn caught Lavelle with 2 and ½ miles to go.

A the finish, Cave hit the line in 2:18:47, Taylor second in 2:19:35, Waddell , whose third place finish here was her best ever, in 2:20:29, Lawn was fourth in 2:21:25, and Lavelle fifth in 2:22:11. 

“I just didn’t have it,” said Lavelle, who finished fifth. “I know all the women are great athletes, but you don’t like 5th when you won last year.” Searching for answers to her disappointing failure to defend at St. Anthony’s and Escape, Lavelle said “No excuses. I felt OK yesterday. But I had the flu Monday and so I didn’t do workouts all week. I was just hoping I’d be super-tapered and ready to go.”

Lawn enjoyed her first Escape. “It was super fun,” said the Kiwi. “But it’s not really made for an Ironman. They say it’s a strong person’s course, but I believe it is not a strong person’s course. It’s an attacker’s course. It’s made for you if you are an attacker and can lactate out as much as you can. It’s completely against Ironman strategy.” 
Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson.
Cave wins Alcatraz 2007 
Cave picks up and impressive win.
Waddell was over the moon with her strong third place finish, capped by a women’s race-best 51:34 run, five second faster than Cave’s. “This was my best finish here and I feel great,” said Waddell, decked out in her signature bright red-purple hair.

“To me it means a lot to do so well in one of the most unique races in the world,” said Taylor. “To have all that time off and coming back, it’s a big confidence `booster.”.

“I’ve had along career, but it looks like there’s a lot more left,” said a smiling Cave. 

Accenture Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
San Francisco , California
June 3, 2007
S 1.5 mi/ B 18 mi/ R 8 mi


Elite men

1. Andy Potts (Colorado Springs CO) 1:59:34
2. Bevan Docherty (Nzl) 2:00:17
3. Greg Bennett (Aus) 2:00:21
4. Matt Reed (Boulder CO) 2:02:04
5. Greg Remaly (Incline Village NV) 2:02:31
6. David Thompson (St. Paul, MN) 2:03:49
7. Matt Seymour (Colorado Springs CO) 2:05:19
8. Brian Fleischmann (Colorado Springs CO) 205:39
9. Matt Chrabot (Virginia Beach VA) 2:05:41
10. Nicholas Becker (Fra) 2:07:12

24. Kevin Everett (Boise, ID) 2:14:35

Elite women

1. Leanda Cave (Gbr) 2:18:47
2. Pip Taylor (Aus) 2:19:35
3. Alexis Waddell (Monterey CA) 2:20:29
4. Joanna Lawn (Nzl) 2:21:25
5. Becky Lavelle (Los Gatos CA) 2:22:11
6. Erin Ford (The Dalles OR) 2:22:18
7. Kelly Couch (San Mateo CA) 2:24:42
8. Linda Gallo (Mountain View CA) 2:25:54
9. Gina Kehr (Woodland CA) 2:27:05
10. Lara Brown (San Francisco CA) 2:27:3.

accenture Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon

the infamous prison of Alcatraz race morning 2007; an easy Escape in the F2R wetsuitEscape from Alcatraz 2007

Alcatraz Video parts 1 thru 4

San Francisco, CA.  The greatest triathlon on the planet in my opinion is the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.  The inspiring beauty of the course makes for moments of awe.  The challenging course with thousands of spectators gives one a sense of remarkable accomplishment.  The competitors are the best athletes from all over the globe.  The city of San Francisco in June is a lovely reprieve from the summer heat and an fantastic place to spend time.  The long history and lore of this triathlon creates an endless demand of racers wanting to test their skills against some formidable elements.  In other words, a weekend in San Francisco for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon is a promise to fulfill one’s spirit with adventure and character while enjoying the city.  

Although Hortense and I have had this on the schedule for awhile, we waited until Tuesday before the race to look for plane tickets.  They were too much so we decided to drive.  I use the term ‘we’ loosely as my lovely wife drove us the whole way, while I relaxed and napped in the back with my feet up.  She is a considerate and loving woman, my wife!  After a wonderful time in and around San Francisco, race morning came quickly and early at 4am.   

At a quarter to 6 we were on the buses in route to the ferry that would take us to the infamous prison.  It is exciting loading up a boat, with thousands of people, that takes you to the middle of San Francisco Bay only to have everyone abandon ship and swim back themselves.  We climbed over the railing and had several minutes to take in the scene before plunging into the sharky waters.  On our right was Alcatraz Island where many gulls were soaring in the calm early morning breezes.  You could see the main prison structure but most noticeable, next to the shore where we were anchored, was some torn down fences and remnants of utility buildings long past their use.  To our left was the amazing back drop of San Francisco.  Fog covered much of the city as the high rises pierced into the sky.  The view was astounding and one fit for a seaside brunch at the finest restaurant.  Out in front of us were boats and kayakers forming a kind of passage through the sea, while the Golden Gate Bridge loomed on the horizon.  A helicopter arrived to document the event and hovered nearby.  It was easy to lose yourself in the awe and spectacle of the moment.  Then, suddenly, on the far right of the boat, someone dove in.

An easy escape in the F2R wetsuitTime to go!  The first dive created a domino effect as everyone realized that some had already started the race.  I was off in a flash and feeling like a fish zipping through the surf.  I was in front with the leaders for the first 300 meters.  The sea was choppy and swirly, elements I usually thrive in.  But I was having a difficult time finding my stroke and getting in a rhythm.  I tried to tweak things while racing but I felt like a clumsy 8 year old learning how to swim.  It seemed I was too cerebral and thinking way too much.  Come race time, you want to be in that free flowing zone of second nature.  It should come natural.  I came out of the water well off the leaders pace, where I am usually seconds behind, I was minutes behind.

climbing fast on SCOTT plasmaIn hindsight, a combination of variables converged that slowed my usual staple, the swim.  Too much training on my own, not enough IM work (my freestyle is much better when all 4 of my strokes are strong), 25 yard pool swimming and calm lakes, (no 50 meter lc or rough water swimming), and focusing on my bike and run while allowing my swimming to slide, a little more than anticipated.  The remedy is simple.  Early morning practice!  I’ll have a 50m pool to swim in, with other fast swimmers and I’ll force myself to do more IM work.  Then, I can also swim in the Boise River to get used to swimming in strong currents.  I’m excited to get back into top form! 

In the past, my race would have been all but lost without a strong swim.  But I still had a great race.  I felt awesome on the bike, my biggest drawback there was being a chicken on some of the descents, not knowing where the next corner would be, and I was tentative at times.  I did more breaking than I needed to.  I had almost endless energy until the last hill or two where the demanding course began to take a toll, but still came into T2 feeling good.

The streets and running paths were lined with thousands of people shouting words of encouragement, helping any and all racers push themselves to new limits.  It was fun for me to feed of this excitement and charge ahead.  I had a stumble that provoked some ewes and ouches from some volunteers just after coming out of the dark tunnel.  It was a miss-step that could have hurt but fortunately I landed well and said, “I’m OK” as I got up and trotted on.  

Scott Plasma helps with tricky descents at Alcatraz triathlonThe next major obstacle was Baker Beach and running in deep sand that soaked up copious amounts of energy.  Then, after the leg drain of running on the beach, it was time to climb up the sand ladder.  This year I stayed on the side and relied heavily on the railing.  I think this strategy wasted energy and slowed me down as the flimsy railing provides little if any assistance.  So next year, I’m going to high step it with fist pumping action. 

Reaching the top of the sand ladder is rewarding for the simple fact that you have conquered the last remaining hill on the course, it’s all down hill from there.  I felt good the last couple miles and pushed a solid pace while nearing the finish.  The last half mile was painful but again, having all the spectators is very motivating to finish strong.  It was a rewarding day and one I’ll enjoy reminiscing for years to come.  Taking 15 minutes off of last years time is always a good sign that you are moving in the right direction.     

climbing the sand ladderrunning with Golden Gate Bridge and TV helicopter in the backgroundfinishing Alcatraz Tri    

Results for Escape from Alcatraz

Article from Inside Tri magazine.