Entries Tagged as 'Tri-California Ambassadors'

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.

Cross-Training Does a Body Good

Alcatraz , Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors 1 Comment »

By: Abra Cranford

When I lace up my Airmax’s, puffs of dust rise into the sunshine. I double knot them and take off running. I run to the Edgewood Park trailhead from my house and start up the mountain. A guy passes me while heading up the trail when I’m pulled over to adjust my ponytail. Not to be discouraged, I chase him up the hill for a while. I catch him at the halfway-up point where he is catching his breath. I feel very pleased with myself as I run past him and continue up toward the summit…that is until I see him bypassing the switchbacks I’m on and launching himself straight up the spine of the hill. I make a mental note to try that sometime. On my way down, I see a high school (or college? They all look so young to me now) track team take off down a different trail. I know I’m in the right place to train for a race.

To train for Alcatraz, I decided to focus on cross training and running. There are just not enough hours in the day for me to swim, bike, run plus, cross train. For me, the run portion is the most difficult part of a tri since my legs feel like bricks and I’m tired, so very, very tired. If I can just get those running legs up to par, maybe the last few miles will come a little easier? (Please?) The funny thing is, I’ve been running at Edgewood Park for 2 years now, and I’ve only just recently been able to continuously run the grueling 2 miles of uphill. For this I thank my cross training. Thank you cross-training!!

For the last few weeks my schedule has gone something like this:

Monday: Run or if I raced Sunday, rest. Or maybe still run. Depends on how hard the race was. I should not have admitted that.
Tuesday: Sculpt class. I think I should explain this class. It sounds like a lot of ladies with 1lb weights and yoga mats but be warned, there has been more than one occasion I’ve been close to tears in this class, but I was sweating so hard, no one would have noticed anyway.
Wednesday: TRX Boot Camp. Excellent interval training. It’s a strength set followed by cardio, strength, cardio, strength, cardio. You get the picture.
Thursday: Run
Friday: Swim then run.
Saturday: Long bike ride (or rest if I have a race)
Sunday: Rest or Race Day


So you can see my swimming/biking is a little lax these days while I dedicate two days to strength training. I do bike an easy 10 miles to work sometimes so my legs don’t forget how to ride but thanks to my cross training, my legs are the strongest they’ve ever been and my arms/shoulders are not too shabby either. Let’s hope they get me through the bay, over those hills and up that sand ladder (eek)!

I always used to think it was stupid to skip a run in favor of squats, lunges and push ups. If I wanted to be better at running, the only way to get there is to run more, right? Wrong. Turns out my running strength (and biking too) has drastically improved, even though I only run a couple days a week. Being able to charge up a mountain that I used to have to power hike is proof enough for me!

When I signed up for the Alcatraz triathlon, I knew it was going to require me to be stronger, mentally and physically, than any other race to date. Race Day is approaching fast and if I’m not prepared, it will be my own darn fault. So I lace up my Airmax’s in a puff of dust and take off.

More Than A Finisher Medal

Training Tips , Tri-California Ambassadors No Comments »

By: Kelvin Brillante

Receiving a finisher medal after a long race is probably one of the greatest feelings of accomplishments a person can feel. Personally, I feel like I have accomplished a lot. By receiving that finisher medal shows that I have done it; I have survived the swim, bike, run. Every time I receive that finisher medal, I feel like that I have proved to myself that all of my hard, dedicated training has paid off. Receiving the finisher medal is the easy part, however the process to earn that medal is not easy at all.

As I wait nervously in the water, waiting for the gun signal for the athletes to start, I get my mind set for a long race ahead of me. Swim, bike, run; sounds easy to get through right? Wrong. There are many obstacles that occur during the race. First off, the swim portion. Some things that may need to be accomplished during the swim portion are: Finding space betwwen other swimmers, sighting a landmark, and maybe adjust to the water current. I always find it nerve wrecking to be swimming near other swimmers because I always end up getting hit or I hit someone else. So I use those nerves to pull away from the big pack of swimmers and find my own space where I am not so close to other swimmers, but still have some swimmers in my site.

After the swim portion there is the next process of running and unzipping your wetsuit at the same time—setting yourself up for the bike portion of the race. This may be a little difficult because, if you’re like me, I feel like I have no balance once I get out of the water. When I head to my transition area I sit on the ground to put on my cycling shoes, because if I stand trying to put on my cycling shoes, I will fall to the side (I found that out the hard way). Once on the bike, many athletes forget to hydrate, which is very important because your body needs replenishment from the long swim you just did. Some things that need to be done during the bike portion are: Breath, hydrate, and keep relaxed shoulders (some riders don’t notice that they are tensing their shoulders while riding).





Once the bike portion is completed, the athlete needs to quickly transition into their gear. During the run portion, the athlete needs to do the same things as on the bike portion: Breath, hydrate, and relax the arms while running. Finally, while finishing up the race and you spot that finish line, always finish strong because you have your finisher medal waiting for you at the end.

In shorter terms, the process to receiving a finisher medal takes a few things: Planning, a set mind, courage, determination, technique and strength.



As you can see the process to receiving a finisher medal is not easy, but a lot of things aren't easy right? Even though it is a tough challenge and process, it is the most accomplishing feeling, I personally have ever had. Even though I have done some triathlons in the past, I always surprise myself when I finish, thinking " I can't believe I just did that" and at the end when I receive my finisher medal I feel like I have accomplished the impossible.

Gear Up for the Triathlon at Alcatraz!

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

By: David Sinclair

The Triathlon season is full tilt now. Some of us have already completed some "A" races and there is still a load of top-notch races this summer. Tri-Cal still has the meat and potatoes of the race season coming up. If you haven't competed at one of the Alcatraz races, Pacific Grove or Tinley's there is still slots for these great races.

To prepare for these events Tri- Cal will be supporting a free training Clinic in Cayucos CA. on August 14th. This event will be the Inaugural Cayucos-Multisport Olympic Distance training Clinic. This Clinic will entail two swim loops around the Cayucos pier and a 26-mile out and back bike course to Cambria and a 10k run up Cayucos Canyon and finish at the Beach pier. For those training for a sprint distance you can cut the distances in half. There will be added challenges in the transitions and the course will be supported with all the great nutrition and hydration products that are on all the Tri-Cal race courses.

The swim support will be provided by local surf shop GOODCLEANFUNUSA.COM. Go to their web site for the up to date weather and surf reports. If your training for a longer distance, on Saturday the 13th, there will be an open, self-supported 80 mile bike ride up Highway 1 to Ragged Point—one of the most beautiful routes anywhere. Be sure to sign up early as these events will fill up quickly.

You can always count on the best produced and race proven events.