2012 Alcatraz Challenge Swim

For the past few years, I’ve enjoyed adding TriCalifornia’s Alcatraz Challenge to my schedule.  This year I felt my swim has been progressing well and I was excited to let ‘er rip.  They had just under 400 peeps registered this year and we were all huddled up on the ferry heading out to Alcatraz.  For this race, you head out over the timing mats on one of the two side doors three at a time.  It does pay to jump early, as everyone is trying to swim away from the ferry.  The water this year was a balmy 54-55’.  I was rocking my Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit and have been loving the feel in the water.  When they mentioned the water temp, they gave us a heads up that the temp drops a few degrees in the last 200 or 300yds.  They try to time the start so that the current will start to pull you out towards Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge.  The biggest challenge this year was the choppy water.

Great pic from kayak (@2012 LisaKayaks)

Like in years past, I wanted to  track my sighting/swimming on this great race.  Without a waterproof watch this year, I decided to take my Garmin 500 for a swim! I triple ziplocked her and put her under my swim cap.  To make sure not to lose my cap, I put my goggles over them.  The risk was losing the goggles when I jumped, but that would be cheaper than replacing the 500!  As you can see below, I was spot on again swimming a pretty straight line.  That’s the Golden Gate Bridge on the left. I did see several swimmers taking a more aggressive line towards the beach to get a little extra current though.  Sighting has never been a problem for me, but having 2-4 ft swells was making it hard to see the other swimmers.  I made sure that no one passed me once I was about half way home.  Every time anyone was close, I dropped them and charged on!

My sighting was good even with 2-4 ft waves! (Garmin Data overlay)

I felt like I pushed hard throughout and really picked up my pace the second half.  The swells made it hard to keep consistent momentum though.  Regardless, I sprinted out onto the sand and felt good about my race.  Last year I was sixth, so it was nice to beat that this year with a 3rd place finish in my age group!  There was even a 9yr old girl that raced with her Dad and finished in 54min!  It was amazing to see her finish with that huge smile.

Always a great event!

Any race that includes Alcatraz should be on everyone’s bucket list, as it is an epic experience.  I’m a bit spoiled for having raced and trained here for so many years and I will be back again!  Big thanks to TriCalifornia for again putting on a great race.

Cool finisher certificate

One of my “A” races in Kansas 70.3 is fast approaching and I will be writing again soon.

Thanks for reading about my adventures!

Michael

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