Boy oh boy what a tremendous Halloweekend we had!! For the past few years, our go to race to kick off the new school year has always been the Playa Del Rey triathlon. Unfortunately this year, that race was cancelled and for a while we seemed lost without our beloved race until Coach Matt found “Trick or Tri” in Irwindale, CA. So on Friday, a group of 11 of the finest triathletes UCSB has to offer, packed up and got ready for the long car ride out to Torrance where we would stay for the night. After 3.5 hours of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and listening to the Beastie Boys, the Dodgers lose (tragically), and…cat podcasts??? we finally made it to our destination where a FEAST of Olive Garden awaited us. Sarah was ashamed for getting seconds, Ethan woke up with “the meat sweats” at 1 a.m., and my grandparents had a look of concern when they saw everyone’s plates but all was well. With bellies full of delicious pasta, we got a good nights rest and woke up the next morning bright and early at 4 a.m! I can guarantee that, at this exact moment, all the newbies told thought, “This is not what I signed up for.”
After getting to the race site, we were reunited with Coach Matt, Emme, Iris, James and most importantly…BOULDER! After getting our transition spaces ready mostly in the dark, it was a waiting game. The sun decided it was ready to come out, only to reveal the heavy fog over the lake. It began to clear up and we thought the race was going to start so we started warming up and putting on our wetsuits only for the fog to get even worse than it was before making it nearly impossible to see the buoys that were not even 100m out. All events ended up getting pushed back an hour in an attempt to wait for the fog to clear and while it cleared a bit, it didn’t clear enough for the half and olympic athletes to swim their normal distances so everyone swam a 300. At this point, the swimmers doing the olympic questioned their existence but were troopers and pushed through anyways. After the waves of the half were sent off, the men’s olympic waves were sent off which included Ryan, Gordon, Ricardo and Cole. The girls, Emme, Sarah, and myself, all went after. Then it was time for the sprint! Super excited for this race because all of our first timers were in it! So excited to see Bella, Ethan, Paige and Adrian out there discovering how great our sport really is with some of our lovely veterans, Nicole, Adriana, Iris, Ray, and James right beside them to help them out.
What a crazy race our team had! Gordon was first off the bike with a HUGE lead, injury free Emme happily ran her heart out, Cole didn’t crash, and Nicole had some trouble with her shoes in transition but don’t worry Coach Matt was there to offer her support (just kidding, he just sang the jeopardy theme song.) James and Adriana did not let their nerves get the best of them and showed us what a stellar performance looks like! Our first timers weren’t too shabby either! Ethan out there completing the race in a speedo like a champ, Paige getting into the Halloween spirit with the best lion mask I’ve ever seen, and Bella and Adrian coming in with times that definitely did not show their rookie status.
And what can I say…our team CLEANED UP. Gordon taking first for the Men’s Olympic distance with fierce competitor Ricardo right behind him taking second. Excited to see these two battle it out through the year! Not to be outcompeted by the boys, Emme came in to nab the first place time in the women’s Olympic distance and while not placing on the official podium, Sarah came in 5th with a tremendous race!! Iris won the women’s sprint and despite the run being on a dirt trail, Ryan won the para race and the battle within himself when finishing the race early seemed like the better option. While it was almost a full sweep of first place by UCSB, we couldn’t quite get our hands on the men’s sprint, but don’t count us out, we still took third with a snazzy time from Ray who’s going for number one next time. Our accomplishments are almost too much for one blog post as most of us made top 10 in our races. WOW.
We have so many people to thank but we will start with the Trick or Tri race director, Thom Richmond, for welcoming us with open arms to his race. Everything from giving us discount codes so more athletes could afford to go to giving us a special place in transition made us feel so special and like we’ve been coming to this race for years. All of your hard work did not go unnoticed! Big thanks to my grandparents for hosting a whole flock of us and feeding us YUMMY food!! HUGE thanks to Dane for waking up with us at 4 am just to cheer us on! From helping us with bikes to screaming at us on the course, this race would not have gone the way that it did without you. Also quick thanks to our bike shop sponsor, Velo Pro, for getting our team bikes to us before the race, we LOVED them! And of course, always thank you to Coach Matt for giving us so much and more to prepare for this race and for supporting us. Whether it be through sarcastic comments or stressful moments, you’re always there for each one of us!
Our work began early and the Gauchos are hungry for more wins and PR's. If reading everything that happened this weekend isn’t enough for you to figure it out…it’s going to be a GREAT season and THIS. IS. OUR. YEAR.