1996 Monterey Bay Challenge Triathlon - A Brief Report

This event proved considerably more exciting than I'd anticipated. Powerful 4-foot swells churned at the shoreline, making entry and exit a real adventure. The lifeguards and race officials had their hands full, that's for sure! And just wait 'til I tell you about the run from the beach to the transition area: First across a wide, fine-grained sand beach, then UP a steep concrete path for nearly a 1/4 mile! Can you say, "Ouch"?

Half Moon Bay's Pete Kain once again dominated the field, covering the 1/2-mile swim, 16-mile bike, and 4-mile run in a time of 1:14:36 (I may have the seconds wrong, but the 1:14 is correct). Second place was more than 5 minutes back! I saw Pete powering in on the bike as I was heading out, and he already had an enormous gap on the competition. *Whew!* The winning time for the women was, I believe, 1:33:something.

The fog and overcast never lifted all morning, but it wasn't cold, and made for excellent race conditions. Yours truly choked big time, however, finishing in a poky 1:49:51, OUCH! That was bad enough for 8th place out of 12 in the Women 25-29 division. Well, I guess that kicks me back to BOPper status again. However, in my defense, I can say that I was fighting a cold all last week and hadn't worked out since Tuesday evening. My legs just never warmed up on the bike---at least, not until about mile 15! But then it was time to run, and my legs didn't perk up there until about two miles. Oh well, not to worry; this was a sprint, and the BIG race is in two weeks (Vineman 1/2).

Old and In the Way Productions put on an excellent inaugural event. At only $40, I found this race a great bargain. Goodie bags were quite respectable, and the T-shirt is the best I've gotten all year. Plenty of pasta, bread, fruit, and drinks post-race. Unique awards! And each competitor also received a plant from one of the sponsoring businesses, a local Santa Cruz nursery.

The course was safe, interesting, and challenging. Ocean swim, rolling bike through coastal agricultural fields, and flat run that was roughly 1/3 on dirt through a seaside park and the rest on adjacent residential streets. The bike was almost exactly 16 miles, but I'm pretty sure the run was a bit short. I was NOT running well enough to be doing 8:37 miles, that's for sure.

There were 234 individual finishers (I finished up in 156th place), and quite a few relay teams. A very healthy turnout for a first-time event, I'd say. I know of at least two people who chose, understandably, to bail out as they contemplated the thundering surf we were supposed to negotiate; I'm sure many others did the same. There could be absolutely no dishonor in such a choice; those waves were pretty darned intimidating, believe me. Personally, being the endorphine/adrenaline junky that I am, I relished the challenge! Woohooo!



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