||SURF TOWN TRIATHLON
Surf Town Triathlon
Imperial Beach, CA
Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
This was a special event in my comeback tour after 13 years off from the sport of Triathlon. This is the first race that I had done before. Back in 1995 it was known the Imperial Beach Multi-Sport Festival. I still had my shirt from the 1995 race, and I wore it on race morning, for I remember either Bob Babbitt or Scott Tinley once writing that it was not cool to wear the shirt that was given to you for the race you are doing; cool is wearing a shirt from the same race, only from many years ago.
The weather was chilly, for August in San Diego county. The air temperature dipped all the way down into the high 70's. I was among the first to arrive, which was good, as there is only street parking. As I approached the transition area, I noticed that this little race had grown since my last visit. I still have the result sheet from 1995, when there was less than 300 finishers. This year, there was about 1000, a sell out. The once small transition area was now overflowing from the parking lot, into a small street near the beach.
The swim is the only part of the course that has changed over the years. It used ot be one half mile, starting on the north side of the Imperial Beach pier. We swam around the pier, to the south side. It is now a point-to-point, starting south of the transition area and going north, all south of the pier. The water temp was what I consider to be perfect tri temperature, right about 68 degrees. Being a Clydesdale, I was in one of the last waves. As I watched the first wave, we all noticed that a strong current was pushing the swimmers in the 1st wave to the north. At this point, everyone started walking as south as possible to start the swim. Any farther, and I would have been at "la linea". It was almost 40 minutes before my wave started, and the current was still strong. This didn't really affect me until I passed the second bouy and started to swim back to shore. I didn't notice at the time, but I was a lot farther from the transition area than I thought I was, and as I got out of the water there was some serious walking on the sand to get to my bike.
The bike route took us south down Seacoast Dr., then east on Imperial Beach Blvd., and finally south through the neighborhoods of IB to the Imperial Beach Naval Outlying Field, an air station location on the US-Mexico border. You could see the border across a field from this part of the course. It was two loops around the runway. Curiously, the photographer was stationed here, even though it may be the least scenic part of the course. I still have my pics from 1995, which they snapped them from Imperial Beach Blvd., which made for a much better shot. During my second time around, I did an aero position for the camera, which is the only time I went aero during the race. After the two laps around the runway, it was back into the neighborhoods from whence we came, up IB Blvd. and back north to the transition area. The entire course was quite flat. It was at this point that I noticed that Koz's volunteers were picking up cones behind me. Those who've never been at the end of the pack have no idea what I'm talking about.
The run took us north on Seacoast drive, eventually meandering through a neighborhood and on to the grounds of the another Naval station. I was barely moving, thanks to my slow rehab in my knees, but still hoping I could catch the one person ahead of me, which I did not. The only strange part was the exit out of the transition area. Because of the size of the area and that fact that it is overflowing into the streets, you must navigate a strange labyrinth to get to the course. Once on the course, it was all flat and well-marked. My only complaint about the whole race came at the end of the run. As I began the run, I saw an official race photographer and told him to wait for me at the finish line. He said he would, but when I finished, as the very last participant, he was gone. I am being picky, but I am the kind of schmuck who likes to buy race photos, and having done a few Koz produced races in the past, I expect nothing but the best from this organization.
All in all, it was a fine trip to the southwestern most city in the continental USA, and I hope to be back next year.