On Sunday, October 22nd, the UC San Diego club triathlon team opened their 2023-2024 West Coast Collegiate Triathlon Conference season at Ironbruin, hosted by UCLA. The Tritons had 21 athletes compete in the collegiate sprint race (which consisted of a 700-meter swim, a 20k+ bike, and a 5k run), with the Men’s and Women’s squads capturing 1st and 3rd, respectively.
Despite the obstacles that the race threw at us, we did not let it hold us back from phenomenal racing performances. Most of us had to wake up early that Sunday morning in order to drive to LA to race. Upon arrival, our first impression was the immensity of the waves in the ocean. We were concerned days before as we had a big swell roll into SoCal two days before. The waves must have been 4 feet or more in LA that day. Planes soared over our heads from the famous LAX airport, which amplified the perpetual roar and boom of the waves. However, It only electrified the race even more.
As the countdown went off we charged into the waters like the war of a newborn sea turtle as waves picked off each one of us one by one (rumor has it that a couple of us nearly drowned). But we pressed on, diving as deep as we could to evade the rolling power of the whitewash. As we kept swimming, the water bobbed us up and down like a coaster. After reaching the turn-around buoy we headed back in to relive the battle we just passed. Our teammate, Keaton, recalled that he caught the greatest body surfing wave he’s ever had.
Once we overcame the challenge of the ocean, we headed to our bikes. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication on the course and many racers missed a crucial turning point. Most realized this after cycling 1.5 miles in the wrong direction, resulting in an extra 3 miles of biking which had a big impact on times for racers. Perhaps it led us to push harder. Our Teammate, Ella, at our post-race breakfast (in-n-out), looked at her results and realized that she had the same biking time as last year, meaning that she biked an extra 3 miles in the same time (that’s a 10-minute improvement over the same distance!) The run was a simple out-and-back across the beach. We were captivated by the waves. Heading to the last turn, we found our coach and teammates cheering us on which gave us the motivation to finish out the race giving everything that we had to close out the best way to spend a weekend. Our teammate, Dmitry, had a spectacular performance and took second place overall. Overall great performance for the first race of the year. Despite the challenges of the course, we started our season with a good head start and we’re ready for our next race in Santa Barbara.