A decent race all around. I showed up fit, relaxed and ultimately executed pretty well. I had a steady swim that set me up to hit my goals on the bike and run. I finished the day in 6th overall, winning my age group and crossing the line as the first amateur. While this was my best placing in a race to date, I definitely left some room for improvement. Overall, I had a lot of fun racing the Malibu Tri for the first time and look forward to doing it again. As a long-course guy, I’m really enjoying these short races…
FINISH TIME 2:08:44
- SWIM (1500M) 24:13
- BIKE (40KM) 1:03:38
- RUN (10KM) 36:50
I signed up for this race a few months ago as a way to stay sharp during the final stretch of my Kona build (race was 3 weeks prior to Kona). Given that I live in Venice, it’d also be very easy logistically and seemed like a fun race.
With focus 100% on Kona, just like the NYC tri, I’d be treating it more as a training day than a key race. I’d be going into it very fit, but also pretty fatigued from a string of big training weeks. In the days prior to the race, I felt solid though and was excited to get out and race after weeks and weeks of just training.
With the race starting at 7am, I got up at 4am and had my standard pre-race breakfast of apple sauce and a banana along with a strong cup of coffee. I like to have this in the system ~3hrs prior to the gun going off. After chilling for a bit and doing some final prep, I loaded up the car at 5am and headed towards Malibu on the PCH.
It’s been a while since having done a race where you check your bike into transition the day of the event. It actually made life pretty easy since it meant that I could park on the side of the PCH a few miles away and then just ride my bike to the start. It was still dark at this time — maybe 5:45am — so I rode the 2-3 miles very slowly. I got to transition around 6:15am and took 15-20 minutes to set up my gear.
M30-34 would go off at 7:05am, 5 minutes after the male pros and 29 and under. With time to spare, I got in my wetsuit and went out for a 10 minute warm-up swim. I’m glad I did this since it allowed me to get a feel for the waves. We’d definitely have some rollers coming in that would require a bit of tact in getting out beyond the break. Watching the pros & under-29s go also made it clear that getting out could be a bit of a challenge.
We went off at 7:05 on the dot, starting from the beach and running into the Pacific. Our start was coincidentally timed pretty well with the waves, and getting out wasn’t too much of an issue. I quickly got into a rhythm and found feet after hitting the first buoy, which was maybe 500m from shore (and where we took a 90-degree right turn and then swam parallel to the shore). Sighting wasn’t too big of an issue with buoys and a ton of lifeguards on surfboards lining the way. I kept things really chill and just relaxed while sitting in a small pack. The final turn buoy came pretty quickly, and it was time to head towards shore. While swimming in, I caught a solid wave at the end and found myself near the beach and able to stand.
I came through the swim exit in 24:13, putting me in 13th in M30-34. Not a bad swim (it would end up being 60th overall in the race). Definitely nothing to write home about. That said, it set me up pretty well and I had saved a lot of energy by sitting in and not really pushing it.
After a lengthy run through transition — transition is f’ing huge at this race since there are 1,200 participants — I set out on the bike. I got right down to business, pushing ~230 watts through the exit area and turns that lead up to the PCH. I felt pretty good, but not fantastic. My goal would be to hold normal power of 240 watts.
Once up on the PCH, I got into a decent rhythm and and started passing people pretty quickly. I was holding 245w going mostly just by feel. With the different start times, I had no idea where I was in the race, so really just did my own thing. Focused on riding both by feel but also keeping an eye on power. I hit the turnaround at halfway (the course is an out and back) in just under 32 minutes and had an NP of 240watts.
My legs were feeling good now and I could tell that my ride was going well relative to the field — there really wasn’t that many people up ahead. Coming back, I realized that the back half of the course was easier than the front, with a bit more descending and a slight tailwind. My watts came down a bit, but I was still riding strong and moving at a good clip. I finished in 1:03:38 with an NP of 237 watts. (I didn’t know it at the time, but I passed 12 people in my AG and came into T1 first off the bike.)
Looking back on it, if I had known the course better, I definitely would have tried to push harder during the first half of the ride. Maybe looking to hold 245-250 watts through the first 30 minutes. If I race here next year, I'll also hit the climbs a bit harder on the way back. Just some slight adjustments on the execution front. Please with the effort though.
As I racked my bike, I saw EMJ teammate Brad Austin cruising down the first stretch of the run course out of transition. Seeing Brad, who’s a very solid triathlete, drilling the run was pretty motivating and served as a kick-in-the-ass for me to go do the same. He had also started 5 minutes ahead, so I figured I was in a good position in the race overall.
The hard ride had taken a bit of a toll on my legs and the first mile did not come easily. I knocked it out in 5:52, but did not feel like I was gliding. I really had to muscle it out. The next two miles were more of the same, requiring some real effort to produce a 5:54/mile and then a 6:01/mile. The run course had a little elevation gain, but the hard part was more the 180 degree turns mixed into the first few miles. The only benefit of these was dishing out some high-fives to Brad and seeing how far up the pros were. From mile 3 onward, I started to find my groove again on the run. I think hitting the halfway point provided some mental relief and opened up my willingness to push harder. I got the pace down to 5:58 for mile 4, then 5:52 for mile 5, and finally 5:45 for mile 6.
I finished the run in 36:50, and came in about a minute after Brad who was chilling at the finishing waiting for me to come in. We both won our age groups. I found out a few hours later that I had been the fastest amateur.