Santa Barbara Tri Photo Gallery

I wanted to upload some images from the Santa Barbara Triathlon this weekend.  Haven't posted many images lately so I'm trying to make up for it here! I took this first photo on Friday, the day before the long course event. Steph and I were re-visiting Firestone Vineyard in Los Olivos, about 40 minutes north of Santa Barbara.  We're probably going to get married there.  In this exact spot one year from now!  That's my beautiful bride-to-be. I'm a lucky dude.

It's always easier to shoot photos before the starting gun goes off at a triathlon.  Especially with a camera that doesn't do action sequences well.  In the second photo I'm with my buddy Kevin, a fellow Fortius team member who had a terrific race -- clocking in around 3:39.  By the way, the water temperature was a crisp 59, or possibly even colder. Hence me wearing a "squid lid" for the first time.  I actually found it to be very comfortable and effective.  I was noticeably warmer in the water and would use it again if necessary.

Image number three is a quick one of Steph and me minutes before the start of the race. You can really see my "race face" come out in the fourth image shortly taken after that in the next shot standing at the starting line.  Go time.

Image five...aaaaannnnd they're off!!!!

That's why I looked so intense a few seconds before. I've done enough of these tris to know I was about to be kicked, hit, grabbed and shoved underwater for the first 300 yards of the swim.  It's that moment right before the starting gun goes off where you wonder, "Why am I doing this to myself again?"

OK, not really.  I love this!  I thrive on the competitive chaos. Who am I kidding?!

Somewhere between the image above and the sixth image taken with my Fortius coach, Gerardo (right), and Fortius teammate, Bob (left), I swam a mile, biked 35 miles and ran 10 miles in 3:43:01.  I outlined what happened on the bike in Saturday's post, but I haven't really said much about the run.  It was my fastest "distance" run to-date, with an average pace of 7:46 for a total time of 1:17.  But that's not what jazzed me the most.  For the first time I can recall, I was told I paced someone else to their personal best run.  That's what I usually tell someone else at the end of every race!  A 25-year-old kid , Chris, was clocking 8:15 miles with me for the first few miles of the run.  Chris felt out of his league on the pacing but I gave him advice on how to stay in the right physical and mental zones for longer. I suggested that he walk through the water stops, walk up inclines if necessary and save himself for the final three miles of the run, where he could really pour it on.  I outpaced Chris on the final five miles, but he wasn't far behind at the finish.  We shook hands, and the gratitude he showed really made my day special -- especially after such a frustrating bike ride.

Once again, giving back to others or motivating them somehow feels so much better than just taking from this sport.

Finally, after the race and the Fortius team celebratory lunch that followed, I took Steph out for a special thank you and surprise. It's important that our significant others know that we couldn't compete to our fullest without their understanding and encouragement. I always try to keep that in mind, every day.  So, I took Steph to a flower stand so she could pick out her own special bouquet, and we enjoyed some fantastic gelato at Scoops in Montecito.

What a relaxing ending to a frantic day!

And for those playing along at home, today's workout: 28.68 miles on the bike before work, 2,200 yards in the pool after work.

Now I'm done.

80 days and counting.