In the week before Santa Barbara, the team was looking forward to competing in a great sprint triathlon with a beautiful course boasting an ocean swim, a flat bike course, and a trail run. However, as the race got closer and more and more rain fell in San Diego and Santa Barbara, we began to realize that the race would likely face the same problem that our own race, Tritonman, faced a month prior. Sure enough, the day before the race participants were notified that the rainfall had caused elevated levels of bacteria in the ocean due to increased waste water runoff, and the ocean swim was cancelled, turning our swim-bike-run race into a run-bike-run.
Despite the disappointing news, the team was still eager for a fun weekend in Santa Barbara and we took the news in stride, preparing to make the most of the race and use it as an opportunity to focus on our running. We left for the race Saturday morning, packing all twenty teammates and their bikes into cars to carpool to the race. In Santa Barbara, we all got food and picked up our packets before heading to UCSB for a course preview and fun transition practice with our coach. Then, everyone got burritos and brought them back to the houses of our two teammates, Ella and Lucas, who both are from Santa Barbara and whose parents had generously volunteered to host us. After a few hours of team bonding, everyone went to bed early to prepare for the race.
In the morning, we got to the race with plenty of time to warm-up, stretch, and prepare to race without having to rush or worry. Then, at 8 am the gun went off. The first run was a 1.5 mile out and back on a trail between the lagoon and the ocean. I tried to take the run at a very controlled pace and not worry about the people sprinting ahead. Towards the end of the run, I caught a few people. Then, using the skills I practiced the day before, I had a very fast transition and tried to track down and catch a few of my teammates on the bike. After about three miles, I caught and passed fellow Triton Michael and for the remainder of the 12 mile ride we stayed near each other, passing back and forth every mile or two. Finally, we came back to transition and put our shoes back on for a 5k run. By this time my legs were sore and I was very tired. I realized I had not adequately trained for the race and knew the run would be a test of mental and physical stamina. It was a slow three miles, but I made sure to cheer on all the teammates I saw and they also yelled encouragement when we passed each other. I finished strong and although I did not have a fast time, I was happy with my race given my fitness level.
After the race, the team went to a Cajun Kitchen for breakfast to refuel and relax before the ride home. Over all, it was a great weekend and although the race was not a triathlon it still was a good time.
Article by Torin Halsted