Malibu International Distance Triathlon: Redemption

Very late with this little recap, but life and work get in the way of race reports sometimes. 🙂

Since I left Vegas on a disappointing note, I didn’t know what to expect six days later at Malibu, other than half the distance and much cooler temperatures. I was in the 6th of many waves, which started 5 minutes apart, and there was a pretty substantial surf break to get through. Luckily, it was a wetsuit swim, my favorite kind, and the water was a cool 65F. I almost got crushed by an incoming wave on the way out to the first buoy, but I dove under it just in time and kept moving forward. Sighting was pretty tricky due to the swells, and the swim became an obstacle course once I started catching slower swimmers from the prior waves.

I made it back safely to shore for the swim exit, alternatively looking for a wave to ride in and making sure I didn’t get smashed by one I had failed to catch, and saw a 24:xx on my watch, which is a good time for me for 1500m (a minute or two faster than normal). (My TrainingPeaks file here.)

Got out of T1 pretty quickly and mounted my bike to begin the 1.5M exit from the Zuma Beach parking lot. This involves a series of speed bumps, which you don’t want to go over at full speed but can avoid by staying to the far right.

Unfortunately, the far right was crowded with slower cyclists, and I didn’t see the first one until too late, so I hit it hard, which launched both my fluid bottles off of my bike. Not an auspicious beginning to the ride, and what’s more I couldn’t risk going out for 25 miles without any fluids whatsoever, so I turned around and went back to retrieve them. Easier said than done when cyclists are coming in droves. I lost about 2 minutes in this process, but headed out with renewed focus and a little bit of anger.

I was moving very well, and in fact I almost couldn’t believe my speed and power numbers. The good thing about shorter races is that you can take a few risks in terms of going hard; even if you blow up, you can still finish. Go too hard in an Ironman or half (like I did in Vegas), and you will pay the price. So I let it ride, and I was passing scores of riders as though I had been shot out of a cannon.

I made it to the turnaround and had to wait behind a slow rider in the 500m-long “no passing” zone (the Pacific Coast Highway was narrow at that point, so for safety the organizers had a short stretch where you weren’t supposed to pass other riders; “short” unless you happen to be behind someone really slow), but once free to fly I put the pedal to the metal again.

On the return trip through the Zuma Beach parking lot, I managed to avoid the speed bumps, and hit the dismount line with a split of 1:05 for the 25 miles, which is a PR for me in an Olympic-distance ride, despite the time lost with the speed bump incident. Moreover, I felt great and ready to run. (My TrainingPeaks file here.)

My only thoughts for the run were to hold a consistent pace and to reel in all the 50+ guys I could see. With all of the earlier waves, though, there were a lot of guys on the course, and it’s not always easy to spot the geezers. I was  running consistent 6:35 pace, and I did manage to pick off a few, making sure I passed with authority when I made the pass. In the end, I crossed the line just a few ticks over 2:15, with about a 40:30 10K split. (TrainingPeaks file here.)

Ahh, redemption is sweet!

That was good enough for 5th in the M50-54 age group, which got me on the podium. Awesome! It sure made up for Vegas in a big way!


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