Home > Travel, Triathlon > 2011 Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego

2011 Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego

After the relative disappointment of the Ottawa Tri in September was hoping that wasn’t going to be the end of my year. As it turned out I had a week long trip planned for Los Angeles early in October and if there was an easy Tri to do I could just fit it in.

So the search began. Naturally these days the search is pretty quick thanks to the web and there was a very interesting Triathlon in San Diego called the Mission Bay Triathlon. And it turns out that it’s effectively the world’s oldest Triathlon (at least according to Wikipedia). It’s a very short sprint race, .5k swim, 15k bike and 5k run. Still it looked uber cool.

As usual all the info is up on the website, I paid my dues and a couple of weeks later I found myself outside of Holland’s Cycles in San Diego expecting to pick up a Specialized Transition…except it wasn’t a exactly a Transition.

Naturally on their website they have a nice picture of a fully Tri ready Transition…granted one from a couple of years ago, but it was going to be $50 or considerably cheaper than the hassle of shipping my bike down. The shop was easy to find and I entered to get my bike. To be fair the process was quick but it was obvious the bike was more of a rental hack. It was a transition frame, but had a Tiagra front derailleur, regular handlebars, heavy wheels and pretty crappy brakes.  But I am a pretty stoic guy so I just had them slap my pedals on and away I went. Since I was used to racing with a road bike at least it seemed no worst than usual.

Here is a picture of the bike racked prior to the race.

Bikeracked MBT 

I tool it for a spin around a bit of the course on the Saturday and it was heavy, not very fast it seemed and my front overlapped the front wheel so when I took a sharp turn they met. Still I had a bike and I felt ready.

The Race

Sunday dawned warm but dark as the Transition area was gong to be closed by 630am and I had to be racked and ready by then. 1st off no official pictures, yes there were some but the price is SHOCKING…$16 for a mid-res download. I thought about it but in the end decided to forego it.  Saving up for my own Tri bike don’t ya know.

If I had known that I would have taken a few more pictures but I did get a few with my iPhone. Here is the transition area.

MBT transition

As you can see it was a beautiful morning, the were very little wind and I was about to enter my first ocean swim! Mind you we were in a very protected bay so no waves but still the atmosphere was very cool.  I was in the very last wave so had a lot of time to get my transition area set up.  Then headed down to watch the other waves go off. There were about 1400 participants and I was one off about 140 40-44 age-groupers. Soon enough it was our turn and we were off!

The Swim

I have my own Zoot suit now and that coupled with the salt water made it seem like I could glide over the water. I felt very strong and the swim went by in a matter of minutes (9 minutes 10 seconds to exact) and I was out of the water. I was able to get thru the transition in pretty good shape but it was still slow at 2 minutes 56 seconds. Still need to work on that. But soon I was mounted and on the bike leg.

The Bike

This is my strength and it’s the one area I can make up time. I had a pretty crappy bike and the course (as my Garmin outlined it below) was a bit technical. I didn’t hold much hope with the bike compared to the array of Tri weaponry on display with my rack buddies.


Still, it was a good bike leg. I had a bit of an off and on battle with a dude with a fully decked Felt Tri bike and another with I think a cannondale. We passed and repassed each other until about 10k in when they pulled ahead a bit. At one point another dude ripped by me and I pushed to retake him then put him well behind me. In the meanwhile we were cutting thru the wave ahead of us and I think I passed about 100 or so riders. On one corner I was coming by so fast I almost came to grief and had to yell “COMING THROUGH” as everyone was cutting the corner at about 10kph slower than I was.

After all was said an done I did the 15k in a respectable 29:14 according to the Tri timing but an even better 27:48 according to my Garmin. Depends a bit on where they start and stop the timing and I didn’t start until after I was mounted and turned it off before I discount. Still the average pace was higher than I expected. Also the distance came out higher on my Garmin?


BTW my timing is public at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/120303250

Either way it was a competitive bike leg on an uncompetitive bike. I was also surprised that I was the second bike back to our rack (there were about 20 positions on it). So up to the run I can be competitive.  Still I could rule the bike leg. Based on this I have decided to take the plunge and get a Tri bike soon.  I think I can really push myself a bit harder and a Tri Specific bike is what I need.

The Run

This leg was what I am the most proud of. I have been working on my run for a while now. At the beginning of the season I struggled to break 30 minutes in a 5k. After a short 2 minute transition I was off and I felt better running that I have in the past. I seemed to be keeping up a bit better and not being passed as much. I pushed harder in the second half and I finished my 5k in a personal best off 27:32 which for me is a big deal!!

I crossed the finish line in a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 2 seconds. That was good enough for 341st place out of 1,466 entries and in my age group I was 37th out of 137th. Nice! So I am getting there. My bike is saving my bacon but I know, I just know, that if I lose 20 pounds and learn how to run I can be very competitive.


This was a great way to finish off the year. I ended up doing 4 Triathlons including my first Olympic distance and hope to improve both my bike and run over the winter and having a fantastic season next year!!

Categories: Travel, Triathlon Tags: , ,
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  1. December 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm
  2. May 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm

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