I escaped from Alcatraz and it only took 45 minutes!
On Sunday I completed the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz, it’s one wild race! In fact I had such a blast I think it’s one of my favourite triathlons to date.
It all starts in the wee hours of the morning, setting up transition in the dark at Marina Green and then catching the bus to Pier 3 for the boat to Alcatraz. That’s 1,800 athletes packed onto a boat sailing off at 6:15am as the sun peaks behind the Bay Bridge, quite surreal.
Given the extremely windy conditions the previous day, they only let 4 of the 12 test swimmers even attempt the swim and the rescue kayaks capsized, it was a relief to see the mirror calm sea as we headed to Alcatraz. The conditions couldn’t have been better.
The pros lined up on the outside rail of the boat and come 7:00am were off, quickly followed by the rest off us piling out of the door and jumping into the chilly waters. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, looking one way at the Golden Gate Bridge, another at Alcatraz looming large, another the sun silhouetting the Bay Bridge and finally the San Francisco skyline in front, surrounded by a 1,000 other swimmers. One word, WOW!
You don’t swim directly to the swim exit at Marina Green, if you did you’d end up at the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead you swim further east, more towards Aquatic Park and then let the current drift you westwards. After 1.2 miles or so you hit the makeshift steps and climb out of the sea.
Next stop, a 25 mile bike ride up and down and around the bendy streets and hills of San Francisco to the Great Highway and back. It’s a bit hairy in places, the lumps and bumps in the road nearly knocked me off more than once. You want to go fast on the downhills to make up for all the effort you put in to get up the other side, but you’ve got to have some balls to go all out on those roads!
Back from the bike in one piece, legs a little tired from the hill climbs and it time for the bit I like the least, the 7 mile run, the other wild part about this event. The run is more cross-country than the normal road race. Despite nearly being out of action during the first mile when my left knee gave way again, I was able to stay with it and have to say I really enjoyed the run. It’s mostly along dirt and gravel paths, up steps, ducking through an underpass, along a cliff path, down the road a bit and then along the beach in the sand to the 400 step sand ladder and then return.
I finished in 3 hours 51 minutes, the swim took 45 minutes, the bike an hour and 35 minutes and the run an hour and 16 minutes, finishing first in my class (physically challenged athletes) and setting a course record for my class (since it’s the inaugural race).
I’ll be back next year to defend my title!
You can view more pictures of my race on Facebook or watch me finish the swim and cross the finish line below.
On the fundraising front, I just want to say thank you to my top donors this last month, Sam, R2, Hemant, Lea Ann and Prashant thank you so much.
I’m over the $5,000 mark with 6 races done. I’d love to reach $6,000 before my next race in 2 weeks and with your continued support I’m sure I will!
By making a donation you will directly help a challenged athlete in need.
Help me raise $10,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation