Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

2011 Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego

October 13, 2011 2 comments

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

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: , ,