Herbalife24 Triathlon Los Angeles

This past Sunday, I competed in the inaugural Herbalife24 Los Angeles Triathlon.  This event, formally known as the LA Triathlon, last took place back in 2013.  I competed in the LA Triathlon in 2009 and back in 2005, which happened to be my first professional win.  Fourteen years later, I was happy to have a repeat win, although this time I raced with drastically different equipment. The LA Tri back in 2005 was my first non drafting professional race and I remember racing it on a road bike and the race director didn’t allow wetsuits (although the race was in September, so the water was around 70 degrees and would have been without wetsuits anyway due to the temperature).

Arriving into LA, I was surprised not to see the sun…at all.  I remembered racing back in LA in June many years ago and everyone was talking about, “June gloom”.  June gloom definitely made it’s appearance; however, it set up to be perfect racing weather; 60 degrees and overcast.  I think the “gloom” has something to do with the difference in air and sea temperature this time of year and the city is blanketed in a thick marine layer fog and clouds for most of the day.

Race morning began very early, but at least I was attempting to stay on central standard time so the 3:00AM alarm on Sunday morning would not be as brutal.  Race started at 6:03AM, but we had to load our bikes on the buses at 3:30AM from downtown LA and then take a shuttle down to the race start which took place at Venice Beach.  It was just over a 30 minute drive to race start (probably the only time in LA there wasn’t much traffic!).  

The water was 62 degrees and the air temp was just below 60.  I chose to wear my Blueseventy Reaction Thermal wetsuit to stay extra warm in the water. For goggles on the day I used the BlueSeventy Elements in Blue Tint .  The water didn’t feel cold at all in my thermal and I also didn’t get hot at all, I was just at the right temperature.  The swim was a long loop with a beach run-in start.  We probably had to run and dolphin dive for several minutes before we got past the surf and could begin swimming.   Once you were past the surf, the water was calm, but I had a really difficult time sighting.  There were only two buoys spread throughout the 800 meters out to the pier turnaround, and I had to stop several times and tread water to make sure I was going in the correct direction.  Upon exiting the water, I tried to catch a wave coming in and I failed miserably.  I ended up getting tossed around in somersaults with water salt water going up my nose and my back slamming into the sand.  Fortunately, I did not lose my goggles and I was able to remain calm.  Starting and ending with surf makes the swimming element so much tougher and exhausting.  I exited the water very tried, but I was ready to get on my bike and head towards downtown LA.  I ended up exiting the water in first, just ten seconds up on Alicia.

Once I got on my bike, I started off the first ten miles feeling pretty good, but then fatigue hit and I was starting to feel the burn on my cycling legs.  I missed several key bike sessions at the end of last week due to a cold virus that hit me last weekend.  I wasn’t really able to train for several days leading into this race and I think I was feeling it on the bike.  I managed to complete some key run seasons before the illness took over, but I happened to miss several key bike sessions due to storms and illness.  Most of the bike was flat, but the end of the bike had some hills and quite a few bumps on the road.  I had to get out of aero position quite a few times and was wanting to stay safe, most importantly.  Alicia was right behind me the whole ride and we exited the bike together. For the race gear I used  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM AXS 1x12spd e-Tap wireless shifting, SRAM AXS Aero Power Meter 48t Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp 858 NSW Carbon Clincher, 30th Anniversary Super-9 Carbon Clincher Disc, both with Tangent Speed R25 Tires’ , Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 with clear visor in my favorite color. Here is my Quarq power-file presented by Training Peaks

This transition was like an Ironman transition in that someone took you bike and handed you a T2 bag with all your running gear.  When I dumped out my bag, my bike helmet flew across the table to the other end of the changing tent.  I lost about ten seconds in transition having to run back to pick up my helmet.  I focused on not getting frustrated about losing that time and headed out on the run about 10 seconds behind Alicia.  By 800 meters or so, I closed the gap on Alicia and knew that I had to keep running strong because Heather Jackson was not far behind.  The run course had four hills over the two lap course and  just a couple of miles of flat running.  I enjoyed the hills because they really seem to break up the distance of the 10k and make the run mentally go by so much faster.  After the first loop, Heather had gained 10 seconds on me, but I knew I had to keep pressing as I figured she would continue to get stronger throughout the run since she is known for her endurance.  My run gear for the day  Mission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Tralyx Slim in my Favorite color,  Triflare Custom Russian Doll Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, with Altra Escalante Racer’s on my feet. 

I felt the best running of the three disciplines and focused on pushing the hills and trying to keep my turnover going on the downhills.  I was so happy to come away with the win, especially with being sick earlier in the week!  Heather finished around 20 seconds back and Alicia was another 20 or so back, so it was a fun race to be racing head to head with the ladies over the Olympic Distance.

We spent Sunday night in Los Angeles and headed back to Missouri on Monday.  We will be home until Friday and then will depart for my race in San Fransisco for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon next Sunday.  Caroline has a swim meet, dance camp and softball games this week and I know we will enjoy some pool time as I recover and regroup for my race next weekend.

A huge thank you to my Mom and Dad for watching our kids for us while we were away last weekend in Los Angeles and again this upcoming weekend in San Fransisco.  It’s hard to leave the kids, but I know they are having so much fun at home with Grandma and Grandpa!


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