Entries Tagged as 'Tri-California Ambassadors'

Gem on the Central Coast: Scott Tinley's Adventures

Scott Tinley's Triathlon , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: Dave Sinclair

Dave Sinclair

When I was in High School I started venturing with my friends to obscure and secluded surfing spots up and down the coast from our home break in Seal Beach. Ultimately it led to the Central Coast where we found quality uncrowded waves. This past weekend when I went to Scott Tinleys Adventures Tri at Lake Lopez in San Luis Obispo County it reminded me of those discovery days. 



Scott Tinley's Adventures

Scott Tinley's Triathlon , Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: Denis Walos

Going into Tinley's I have to admit I was a little worried... My swim training since my 10k was minimal. Minimal being one swim last Monday where I had no energy. Please do yourself a favor and don't bother training while you are sick. It's not worth it. I was more afraid of what I would lose although I have to admit I probably lost a lot more training through sickness than resting.

Anyway, we left for Lake Lopez on Friday afternoon so we could pick up our race packets and settle into our hotel. Tinley's is a lot like Wildflower though, most people down there stay in the park and camp. Being from NY I've never been into camping so I decided not to start the weekend of the long course I already felt I wasn't 100% prepared for. So Beachwalker Inn in Pismo Beach it was. :)

Arriving at Lake Lopez was interesting and quiet...some people were participating in their hill climbs already and packet pickup was pretty quiet although Scott Tinley was there and said hello to the people around. We ran into a few friends and headed back to Pismo for our pre-race dinner at a place called Lido. HIGHLY recommended. The food was incredible.

We woke up around 5:45am to get things ready even though the race didn't start until 8am. Bikes and bags loaded we pulled into the park around 7:0am after a ( not recommended) breakfast muffin with egg, cheese and ham.

It was COLD outside. I don't know the temp but people were shivering and there was obvious steam rising from the surface of the lake. Everything was pretty low-key...I met some girls around me that never did a tri before so they were really nervous. (at least they were signed up for the sprint and not the long course like I was).

Entering the water to warm up was the beat part of the morning, the lake was so warm...it must have warmed up to about 70. We were all confused though as the swim course had changed from being counterclockwise to clockwise. It was a 3 loop course for us which was supposed to be 1.5 miles. Gun went off at 8am for men and 8:10 for women and relays. Me being the swimmer was excited and took the lead in the group. The water was extremely choppy and it took a really long time to make the first loop. I was worried about my time even with most of them group minutes behind me. There was massive current that hit you one the 2nd half of the loop. There were a few boats but I think there was some natural current in the lake as well. Anyway I was expecting about a 38 minute swim but was shocked when I exited the water at 52 minutes and almost a 2 mile GPS swim on my watch.

Quick 1:30 transition and I was out on the bike. The climb out was reminiscent of Lynch hill at Wildflower but shorter. My legs were burning... I had new SRAM race wheels on my bike (40 in front and 80 in back) and I definitely noticed the difference in the flats and downhills. But the ride had a lot of climbing. More than I expected. The course was pretty empty and for awhile even questioned if I wagon the right road despite e good signage and volunteers. It's a little hard to push yourself when here's no one around you. I found it hard to eat but forced myself and enjoyed the scenery. At the turnaround I started seeing more people and realized I was one of the top 15 out there including the males. I decided not to keep track of my average pace but just to go on perceived exertion instead. I wanted to make sure and save something for the run (which I never do). It looked like I wasn't about to do that again for this race either. ;).

I made it into transition without any other females passing me but was pretty exhausted. It was getting hot and was at least 85 or 90 by the time I put my shoes on and started running. But I had something left in my legs but needed a bathroom. (I tend to over hydrate in long races and need to stop which doesn't help out my overall time.). Bathroom stop at mile 1 and saw an age 30 pass me as I went in. Oh well. I kept telling myself...training day...training day.... From there we crested to am downhill and my friend Mike rode up next to me on his bike. He finished the international awhile earlier. He talked about the swim and his race. Made me feel a bit better at how hard I was starting to struggle. He left for his campground and I continued on. Stopped at an aid station, took a gel, water, Gatorade and hoped for the best. My legs kept moving and started to settle into a groove. The course seemed empty but it was nice to have people at their campgrounds cheering me on. After the first turnaround on the trail I saw my boyfriend Ken who had been right behind me for most of the race. I was expecting for him to catch me on the run for sure because he's so fast. Coming back into the lake area there is were really steep hills and a bunch of people walking them. That gave me permission to walk them too. :) I was surprised that most of those people were still doing the international. I still would have another loop to get in my 9 miles....

Ken caught me at mile 5 heading into the second loop and he decided to run with me (although he can run at least 2 mins per mile faster than me). It was exactly what I needed cause I was about to give up and walk. We hit some aid stations, got hosed off and took in more fluids and just kept running to the end. We came in together with my final time 5 hours 19 minutes. A great training race and a great time. I was 2nd in my age group.

There weren't many people around when we finished but I kind of liked that about the race. It was smaller grassroots. Multiple races going on at the same time. It was the perfect training race because wasn't son hyped up and people didn't seem to be as competitive as other events. I'll definitely be back next year. I'm just hoping for a few more bathrooms and maybe be a little more prepared for those hills on the bike and run. Good job Tri-cal, you put together a great race. A few suggestions from other racers... Fix the swim, put at least one if not more bathroom stops on the bike (there were none and volunteers were telling people to go in the bushes) and maybe have some ice for the runners. Otherwise stellar.

What I learned: although a swimmer I cannot swim my fastest time without training, don't expect to average 20 mph when you climb over 3000 feet on the bike in 49 miles, LEAVE SOME FOR TNE RUN!

For more information on Denis' triathlon journey, please visit her blog!

How To Train While Pregnant

Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: Bethany Sobraske

Bethany Sobraske

Being women triathletes, we are presented with some different challenges than our male counterparts. One of these “challenges” is pregnancy! We are lucky enough to give life and watch it grow (literally) while carrying on with the rest of our day to day existence. When my husband and I found out this June that we were going to have our second child, we were so excited! After the initial happiness sunk in, I started to think about the changes I would face. One of these changes would be the body I have worked SO HARD to train and maintain! I would go from being in the best shape of my life to…not. After the 3rd month passed by and I stopped feeling the pitch and sway of a rowboat on the high seas every time I turned my head, I have nailed down a steady routine for training. This time, I’m training for a baby, which is a lot harder than a race!

Since being a healthy environment and caretaker for my new growing life is the MOST important thing, I do not push myself to the point of pain or even extreme discomfort. I have consulted extensively with my doctor regarding his recommendations for training while pregnant, and I suggest ANYONE who is pregnant should do the same!

Bethany Sobraske transition

I have found that running more than 4 miles at a time causes me pelvic pain, so I only run 3-4 miles at a time. I try to run 3x a week. I still take weight lifting classes at the gym 2x per week and have reduced my lower body and back weights, keeping upper body weights the same. Since my doctor recommended I not exercise for more than 45 minutes at a time (at any intensity I want), I keep everything within that time frame. My favorite exercise is swimming!I do not feel heavy and sluggish, but buoyant and fast! What could be better? I swim about a mile 2x per week. It is not recommended to ride a bicycle after 3 months due to the risk of falling, so I take cycling classes instead (same intensity as before) and wear my heart rate monitor religiously to notice any drastic drops or peaks and adjust accordingly. I also take a yoga/pilates hybrid class once a week that I have noticed increases my flexibility while utilizing body-weight maneuvers that are friendly to pregnant ladies.

I am looking forward to having a healthy, happy baby and know that I am doing what I can to provide a safe, strong body for my baby to grow in. Sometimes I am awake all night with hormone related insomnia …so I SKIP my morning workout! It is more important to be well rested sometimes.

We girls are pretty darn amazing and I encourage ALL of you to stay motivated in whatever way works for you! Whether you arepregnant or not , keep it all in perspective and your eyes on the ultimate or immediate goal. My immediate goal is to be strong and have this baby. My ultimate goal is to be strong and see MY babies have babies!Good luck, YOU CAN DO IT!

So you are going to do the Kelp Crawl?

Pacific Grove , Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: Clyde Floyd

You’ve accepted the challenge and signed up for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove so now what about dealing with the famed Kelp Crawl? Oh, and did they mention COLD water.

The cove at Lover’s Point is the home of a good deal of kelp, and we get to swim through it and maybe even over it. The first time you swim here it can be a little intimidating. Envision a scene from your favorite B Sci-Fi flick, the seaweed grabbing at your ankles and pulling you down …well that’s Hollywood and not reality. The kelp will be in patches of different thicknesses, and there will be ‘channels’ of open water.  A first thought is what does it feel like? To me it has a little of a plastic feel to my hands, but when a leaf slides across your face, it has a rough sandpapery feel to it, but no worries it won’t scrape up your skin or draw blood.



Doc Waddel describes an effect of the kelp, as being similar to the ‘Chinese finger trap’ toy. If you happen to get a piece of kelp around your arm, and you try to just jerk your arm free, it might tighten on you, so its best to relax and use a steady pull, and again that nice smooth swim stroke. I would not recommend grabbing the kelp and using it to pull your way through. The kelp is attached at the bottom to rocks, and when you grab a handful and pull, it can just pull the rock away from the bottom, or completely tear away—either way not real effective for forward propulsion through the water.  As each wave of racers goes through, the kelp on the surface will get torn up, and if you are racing the Sprint race on Sunday, lucky you, the kelp will be pretty shredded up from the Olympic distance racers on Saturday!

The water in the Monterey Bay has an average temperature of 58 degrees F in September..brrrrr!  A wetsuit is a huge help, you might see a few brave (crazy) souls without a wetsuit but not me!  Also, a neoprene swim cap helps, or even double up on your regular swim cap. Either way put your goggles on under your last swim cap. Take advantage of the time before your startwave to get in the water and get a feel for the water, and the cold.

The 2011 race will be my third time doing the Triathlon at Pacific Grove.  It is such a beautiful course, that it is now a must do for my race calendar. One of the cool things is during the swim, as I get in a grove, I try to actually look around under the water. The kelp, and the rest of the world under the water is such an awesome sight. Try to relax and get a few good glances of this world and its beauty!  You can now make your friends envious, because you have conquered the Kelp Crawl and lived to tell about it!

Relax, have fun, and have great experience that will bring you back again and again!

I May be “Certifiably Crazy”, but I love What I Do!

Alcatraz , Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: Brenda Hammans

This will be my fourth time swimming Alcatraz, and I’m afraid my friends really think I’m crazy.  “Certifiably crazy”, is how I’ve been described.  But once you do it, and do it again, you find yourself wanting to do it again, but better, and faster.  This year, my goal is to do just that….the swim is tough.  It’s cold! The last couple of times it’s been choppy.  But I continually want to improve my swim time.  So, my advice to “newbies” is to make sure they spend plenty of time in cold water (I sat in a bathtub of ice water for weeks before the race….it helps you acclimate), and to put earplugs in BOTH ears!

Sounds crazy, I know, but I have heard of several people who experience vertigo from the chill of the water.  If you put earplugs in, the water can’t get to your inner ear, and the vertigo will be avoided.  Make sure your goggles are underneath your Triathlon cap (hopefully, you also have an insulated cap under that).  Hold your goggles to your face to prevent them from coming off from the jump.  Never dive.  Jump off the boat scissor-style, and then swim like *#$*&#&$ once you hit that water!!

Honestly, although the bike is amazingly beautiful, and the run is challenging and memorable, it’s the swim that brings me back.  To say I swam Alcatraz is a real eye-opening, conversation stopper!  People are amazed and frankly, so am I especially when I watch those dreaded You-Tube videos.  Just swim like you always swim, and remember to site to be sure you don’t get too far off course.  And, more important than anything, enjoy the ride!  Take the time to flip over on your back to enjoy the view around you, and really absorb what it is you’re doing at that moment!  Priceless!

In every race, I take mental pictures of what I see throughout any of the 3 disciplines, since carrying a camera isn’t much of an option.  But there are scenes I will never forget in San Francisco.   The Golden Gate Bridge on every breath to the right in the swim, the beautiful homes, the terrain, and the shore on the bike, and Baker Beach, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate bridge, and everything in-between on the run.

You see, if I can do it, anyone can do it.  I only learned to swim 2 ½ years ago.  Well…you put me in a pool and I’d be fine floating around, but I had never taken swimming lessons when I was a child, and certainly never knew how to swim with goggles, a cap, and all that other nonsense like ear plugs!  I had to learn how to swim freestyle (elbow up!), how to breathe correctly, etc.  It seemed so much harder than I thought it would, and as I was going through it, I would tell friends that I now know why we teach children to swim at a young age.  At the time, I was 44, and I felt like I was twisting and turning things that hadn’t twisted or turned in years!

Here’s how it started…When I moved to Michigan a little over 4 years ago, I knew no one.  One morning at the gym where I work out, a group was talking about doing a relay in a local duathlon.  They asked if I’d like to do the bike portion of the race, but I told them I couldn’t because I didn’t have a bike.  WELL!  One girl in the class spoke up, and offered her bike to me, if I would do it.  I couldn’t refuse.

Problem is….they never did the relay….they all signed up individually, so I did, as well.  I did 3-4 duathlons and realized I really didn’t like to run twice…but I couldn’t swim. That was in November.  So, in the cold December winter, I took swimming lessons every Friday night (sounds exciting, eh?!).  I did that for 3 months, until I joined the local Y to practice my swimming there.  I spent most of my time in what I like to call the “tadpole lane”, huffing and puffing after 25 yards.  I never thought it would get any easier, but eventually it did.  There was a group of “sharks”, as I liked to call them, in lanes 4 & 5.  They all swam very fast, and it just seemed like there were arms and water flying all over when they were there.  One day the “sharks” asked if I wanted to join them, and I did.

Today, they are my swim friends, and we swim together 2-3 times per week, or as often as my triathlon coach’s schedule allows.

I love doing triathlons out of state.  I’ve done only 2 in the state of Michigan, and all others out of state.  Last year, I completed 7 triathlons, all Olympic and half ironman distances.  This year, I will complete 8 triathlons, including my first full Ironman in Panama City, Florida on November 5th.

So, traveling to triathlons is how I vacation.   I love to find races in neat cities, like San Francisco, go a few days early, experience the people and the place, do the race, and then fly home.  It’s become a real hobby (although an expensive one!)

But mostly, I love going out into the city, starting to walk, and doing whatever I want to along the way.  To go to a new city, and have no plans is actually very relaxing to me.  My work schedule is very demanding in terms of time and travel.  It keeps me on the road quite a bit, so the challenge is to get in my necessary workouts on the road.  That means joining gyms across the country to have access to pools and treadmills for those cold winter mornings!  How do I do it? I have no idea…just do it, and everything should fall into place.  Weekends, unfortunately, are taken up mostly in training, and then recovering.  It doesn’t lend much to a social life, but I do enjoy what I do.