Morro bay is always a favorite for our family as we get out of the house, hang around a giant rock, play in tide pools, eat lots of seafood, and wander through cute shops in the town.  It has been a few years since I had competed in the race in its correct format due to covid, etc, so I had only vaguely remembered the course.  What quickly came back was a relatively flat course with a swim full of grass and a run full of… SAND!

The swim was a bit chilly with 58° water temp, but was a nice smooth two laps around bouys.   Unfortunately the sighting bouys were not lined up with the first turn, but thanks to the current I went around them anyways.   Also, another race with another set of water leaking goggles, but by the second lap I quickly cleared them and swam much more smoothly!   A much better swim than Santa Cruz and finally trying to recognize all that swim speed I get with grueling Saturday masters class.

The big was gorgeous and smooth as always. My new QR bike really sails and it was a total blast out on the course. And per usual of being not in the young male age group I got a chance to pass quite a few folks and didn’t see a ton in front of me.

Lastly, the run. The run was torture in the beginning per usual with a small stretch of very un-packed beach to maneuver through.   Then half way in, I had a minor bout of GI, but for some reason the wave passed and on the turn back onto the beach things were much smoother sailing. Sadly I got passed by two people despite passing two others, but considering I had been sick the most of October with a cold I was still happy to be competitive. In the end I got 6th overall which was way better than I expected and a nice vindication from my two santa cruz races where the field was stacked.


Last years rains did a number on the Santa Cruz triathlon bike course - eliminating the typical west coast drive bike ride before you get out to Highway 1.   The run course did feature west coast drive though despite running around some tortuous barriers… it will be a mystery if they’ll even be able to fix all the damage though as it looks like the road may be permanently caving into the sea.  The other major change was moving us out of a parking lot transition into a large turf field.   The field extended the run in/out of transition and also included the wonderful rubber turf debris that got over our stuff.

Despite the changes, the race still felt as familiar as ever.   The swim was an easy pass around the warf, though my goggles filled with water a few times which significantly slowed me down.   Then after a very long run through transition (must have been close to a third or half mile run), the bike course was quickly remembered after getting through the dips of the new roads out to HWY 1.   The bike course was also slightly shorter than before thanks to the re-routing.  

The bike is where I reeled in the most time from last year.   A whopping 4-5 min faster just by better bike training and fitness really paid off.   Lastly the run was a game of pain as always.   I’m still hovering around a 7 min/mile 10k and ever so slightly slower than last year.   But still fun and hopefully I can focus on some long runs this off season to really bring these times back in to the 6:50 where I would love to be again.

So with a slow swim, fast bike, and average run, it was a great course to get back to with only one race left until the next age group!


Always one of my favorite races, Sandman is a true test of speed on a foggy swim, hilly bike, and sandy run.  This year was especially different thanks to the loss of the pier that leads to the cement ship causing the swim to be foggier than usual as well as a totally new bike course that I didn’t realize was new until I got out there.   Some races you execute to perfection, and some races like this one, you just roll along and have to enjoy the race you are in.

The swim was at least the most straight forward of the race.   Perfect conditions with warmer water, almost no surf, but a healthy dose of fog.   Straightness of the swim was definitely off and I struggled to catch the draft of someone who passed me, but my pace was up from last year at 1:35/100 which is about where I am swimming distance in the pool.

The bike was like a tourist wandering through a new city with a hand drawn map.   Within the first quarter mile we started a climb up a steep hill I had never seen before and after that I knew all calls were off. Halfway into the out of the out-and-back I even made a wrong turn and a policeman steered me back causing me to have to re-pass two people I had just passed. The whole bike failed to drop into a total groove since I had no idea what was coming until the half way turn around point and the road was pretty rough. I still passed a solid 5 people who had beat me in the swim with one last pass coming right at the end in transition.   Overall it was a lot of small hills and I definitely will be better practiced for next year.

The run at least was the most familiar.   With a pretty low tide, I was able to find some harder sand to run on and picked up the pace from the year before to sub 7:30 - which for sand is amazing.   Of course, to continue with my flawed day I rubbed some pretty nasty blisters into my feet from the wet conditions.  I need to experiment with some tape on my foot to reduce the rubbing, but that is for the next barefoot race.

In the end - I took 8th place which was still 4th in my age group (I always say the prize you win has more to do with who shoes up than how you do) and am happy to be much stronger than last year.   Next year hopefully we can put together the strength with the skill to make a more perfect race.


After failing to really do a race until July, Donner lake was the start to my 2023 triathlon season with a bang of a race.   A very short sprint (400m swim, 10k bike, 2 mile run) it is a 110% effort at altitude the whole way through.

The swim was a little silly since I swam really wide of the first bouy and had to adjust course.   Definitely lost un-needed seconds to this silly mistake, but the goal is always a smooth start to the high altitude swims so I’ll take it instead of blowing up or getting punched in the initial brawl.

The bike was FAST.   Averaging 24 mph on a bike with clip-on aero bars, I love riding at altitude.   I quickly passed the swimmers who were right in front of me and slowly boiled down the field to only 2 people ahead.

The run is always a game of how hard can you push without blowing up your HR too much.   I am still not there in terms of run shape, so off my sub-7 pace from years prior, but I still managed to get close and reel in the other person in front of me.   After a big final push to stave off anyone behind me I finished second place in the group I took off in, and third place overall.

Hopefully I get some run strength back and maybe a little better swimming sighting, but overall no complaints about a fast fierce race.


After missing the race last year due to COVID, it was great to do a running only event again and enjoy the trails.   Like all things, you can never expect what is going to get changed up, so while preparing for 1600’ climbs the race was snowed in (even though it was July 7th!) and they had to race at much lower and flatter elevations.   The event still started at 7500’ above sea level so the air was thin and the legs were tired, but all times were faster than predicted.

My first leg was the green leg.   A nice sprightly 5k up and over a ridge.   In the cool crisp evening with family watching, I happily ran down the course, up the hill, and over onto some of my favorite runs at sugar bowl.   While trying not to push it too hard, I still let loose a little and ran the whole way.

The second leg was on the red loop at a crazy 2am run.   Thankfully my head lamp was way better than before so I happily ran along passing an amazing 40-ish people.   The only issue was the sloughs of mud that had been created through the race, so my feet were very soaked and legs very muddy.   A good case for long compression socks though since I could just peel them off and hop back to sleep for as long as I could.

Finally, my last leg was on the yellow loop the following morning around 8am-ish.  The loops had all been nested versions of each other so I knew what was coming, but this time my legs were definitely on the toasted side.  Still I pushed through one last climb between the base passes from Mt Lincoln to Mt Judah to come in right on time and be the second fastest on my team.   Running is definitely farthest behind in my covid recovery, but I’m in a much better position than a year ago and with another good hard winter of ski/run training I think I’ll be in tip top shape for next year.