I really enjoyed the opportunity to come back and be a part of the “re-birth” of the LA Triathlon. The last time I had raced here was back in 2012 as a part of what was once the Lifetime Series. I won the race that day, having a breakthrough performance that ended up being the springboard for 2013, which was probably one of the best years of my career so far.
Since the training isn’t super optimal in downtown LA we arrived late Friday night, did some light shake out training on Saturday which was easily executed thanks to the facilities at the Marriot and we brought our Feedback trainer. The nice thing about racing on the west coast when you’re coming from the east coast is those super early wake up calls on race morning don’t sting quite as bad. We went to bed before 8pm, and the alarm clock went off at 3am.
We then met outside the Marriot where our bikes were loaded onto a box truck and transported to the start, while we boarded a shuttle. It was a bit of a process but it was fairly smooth. We arrived at the race site around 4:30am and promptly set up transition. Our T2 gear was already set up downtown so there wasn’t a ton to do here. There was about a 10min delay to ensure road closures were complete.
The surf wasn’t high, maybe 3-4 feet but enough that if you had some skill in the surf you could use it to your advantage. I got out well, and onto the feet of Sarah Haskins. Sarah was having a difficult time sighting and was changing directions a lot. Direction change is a strategy for dropping someone in the open water and even though I could tell Sarah wasn’t trying to do that, but regardless, I was getting tired! So, I just swam my line and ended up exiting the water about 10 seconds back thanks to catching a wave on my way in. I should be grateful that no one recorded our exit from the surf because it wasn’t pretty; we were all exhausted. The suction from when the waves were receding was so difficult to run against. The dept of the water after the waves crashed wasn’t deep enough to continue to swim in but also nearly impossible to run in. I was grateful to be back on land and running towards T1.
In T1, we needed to place all of our gear in a plastic bag so T1 was a little slower than usual but I made up the 10 seconds I had lost to Sarah. Sarah, myself and Elizabeth Bravo all mounted our bikes in succession. Sarah and I pushed the pace immediately. After my experience in St. Anthony’s I wanted to ride with Sarah as long as I could; I wanted to stay calm and in control. There were times it hurt very badly, but it was always a good pain. I didn’t experience anything like what I had experienced in my last race. Even with a couple U turns I didn’t see that Heather Jackson had closed some time on us, and in T2 she was only 50 seconds back.
T2 was a bit of an adventure! It was set up in Ironman style: after dismounting our bikes we handed them to volunteers, then ran to retrieve our T2 bags and had to go into a changing tent. Sarah and I dumped our bags out and Sarah’s stuff went everywhere. It was almost comical! If I wasn’t so tired I definitely would have laughed, though we did laugh about it after the race. I got onto the run with a small lead as Sarah had to retrieve all of things and place them back in the bag before starting the run. The run course was hillier than I expected it to be. I felt good on both laps but the second lap I lost some time on the up hills. Heather caught me at around 6k. We really weren’t that far behind Sarah at that point- I would estimate around 25 seconds. But Sarah turned on the after burners in the 2nd lap. I don’t know how close Heather got to catching Sarah but I could see both of them up the road in the final stretch to the finish. We were all going as hard as we could but the gaps weren’t getting any smaller. Sarah held off Heather for the win, Heather placed 2nd and I was 3rd.
The fun part of my day was getting to watch Robbie Webster run his way to the win! He's been working with Jarrod for the past few months and see him have this kind of break through performance was really exciting. Finally, a massive thank you to the entire organizing staff from LA Tri: Brennan, Tiffany and Herbalife for bringing back an Olympic distance non draft event with a pro prize purse and doing it with gusto!
We will fly to SFO today in preparation for Escape from Alcatraz this weekend. It's a small but very mighty field. Getting on the podium is going to be very hard, but I will do everything I can to get there. Thank you for reading!