Alcatraz - this is where the swim starts
Escape From Alcatraz TriathlonThis weekend, I was off to test my “speed” with some of the greatest short-course athletes in the world. The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon took place on June 10, 2001 and the event was a smashing success.
After the boat ride over to the island of Alcatraz, at 8am, they had us out on the gunnels of the boat where we would start the race. With the blow of the horn, it was into the water and attempting to make our way back to shore. The water temperature was not too bad (I would say 60-62 degrees) but it was very choppy. They told us that we should follow the large buoy that was on the lead boat. Well you can imagine that within about 2 mins, I couldn’t see the lead boat let alone follow the buoy to shore. Luckily I had a good group of people around me and so I was able to follow them. Without this, I would have had NO idea what so ever as to where we were going. Every time I got smashed by the wave, I ended up facing a different direction and would have to locate my group again. Needless to say, I was very happy to finally reach shore and know that I had survived the rumored shark infested waters. As was expected, Craig Walton lead out of the water for the men and Barb Lindquist for the women.
Next it was off on the hilly 18 mile bike ride. It is an amazing course that winds through the hills of the Presidio and into Golden Gate Park. This is one of those rides that goes by really fast because you are always climbing, descending or turning. Craig Walton continued to put the hammer down on the bike but chasing hard was fellow Aussie Chris McCormack. In the women’s race, Barb Lindquist maintained her lead and behind her Michellie Jones was keeping contact despite some mechanical problems. I had a number of girls that I was riding near and around and was slowly catching up to some of those up ahead. By the end of the bike, I had Wendy Ingraham in sight. Wendy was having a gutsy performance even though she had just won Brazil Ironman a mere 2 weeks ago. The bike finished and I was probably in about 10th place. This was OK and now I just hoped that I could have a good run.
The 8 mile run includes a nice flat section at the beginning and the end, some great trails, and then the dreaded beach run followed by the sand ladder. It has been many years since I have done this race (at least 6) and so of course I had forgotten how bad the sand ladder really is. The only saving grace was that it was high tide and so the beach run was actually quite hard packed. Chris McCormack continued his chase and moved past Craig Walton to take the win for the men, and Michellie Jones had a great run to win her 6th Escape From Alcatraz triathlon. My run went well – I slowly picked off the girls ahead and ran myself into 4th Place. Only a short distance before the finish did I eventually pass Jessi Stensland who put in a strong effort to finish 5th.
The final results for the day were:
Chris McCormack: 2:00.09
Craig Walton 2:01.09
Simon Whitfield 2:02.37
Paul Amey 2:03.35
Greg Bennet 2:03.56
My fellow countryman and Olympic Gold medallist Simon Whitfield prevented the Aussie Sweep.
Chris Legh also put in a strong effort in his first short race since Ironman California finishing 13th.
Michellie Jones: 2:16.21
Barb Lindquist 2:18.56
Becky Gibbs 2:20.50
Heather Fuhr 2:22.30
Jessi Stensland 2:23.32