One of the races that every single triathlete should do is Escape from Alcatraz. I was always busy in the June/July time period with ITU races and finally this season I was able to fit it into my schedule and after racing it once, I want to go back. Alcatraz is such a different race than any other triathlon, from the challenge of swimming from Alcatraz, to the crazy hilly and technical bike course and finishing with another crazy technical and hilly run course. Honestly, this is what triathlon should be.
Alicia and I traveled to San Francisco on Friday and drove the bike course that night. I had mentally prepared for it and had looked at the profile and the course on Google Maps, but seeing it in person made me realize what everybody says; it is technical, hilly and the pavement is in horrible condition.
On race morning setting up transition was nice and easy especially since we had a full hour of time to kill once we got onto the boat before we started the race. I quite enjoyed the atmosphere of the race and transition and especially the boat ride.
As we prepared to jump over the rail I knew the swim was going to be fun and rough. I got out well and settled into the front group, sitting in 5th place and just sighting off the people I was drafting off. I exited the water still in 5th and tried to put on my shoes I had left but my feet were a bit too cold, so I ditched that idea and started the 1km run to transition without shoes on.
When I got onto the bike I had lost 20-30 seconds to the front few guys and I ended up being on my own for the first few kms of the bike. I felt good on the ride, but I was quite cautious and lost a lot of time on the downhills to the leaders.
As we got on the run, I knew that the 7.something mile run was going to be where I could catch back up to people and I knew that I would be able to move up from 11th place. I caught one person before the first stairs , caught a 2nd person and at the top of the hill and then once on the downhill I saw 4th, 5th and 6th place and knew I might be able to reel some of them in. I pushed hard, had the 2nd fastest split up the sand ladder (which was much easier than people had told me and I should have pushed it harder) and finally caught Kevin Collington for 5th place with about 600 meters to go.
Overall the race was amazing, I loved every minute of it and cannot wait to get a chance to ride a bit harder on the bike course next year.