IM CDA: Escape from Alcatraz

Today I raced Escape from Alcatraz as a warmup to IM CDA. I had not intended to race so close to IM CDA, but I made a mistake when I signed up for the Alcatraz lottery as I thought this race was 2 weeks before IM CDA, not one! Well as fate would have it, I actually got in and decided to race.
The race was huge. There were 2000 people signed up! I wasn’t really serious about this race so I told myself I’d take it easy. I almost didn’t manage to get everything together as I was preparing for the race and also packing for IM CDA. In fact, I did forget one crucial thing, which was to take my Sportlegs. This was definitely a mistake as on the bike, I did feel the burn whereas I normally don’t. Likewise on some of the run, I also felt the burn. But thankfully I didn’t cramp – it was the first race I’ve done without salt tablets, although I did put Endurolyte powder in my drinks. So I was very glad to not seize up in pain during the race.
This was the first time I did the swim landing at Yacht Harbor. It seems like such a tiny place to land – the last time I did a similar crossing I landed at Crissy Field for the Alcatraz Challenge, which is a much larger landing spot. So I was worried I would overshoot. Thankfully I did not and landed fine. It was a bit choppy and the current didn’t seem to sweep me as fast as I thought it would. I landed in about :45.
The bike was very challenging. It seemed like I was always climbing through the small mountains of San Francisco. I don’t think I was on my aerobars much at all, maybe three times. There was one small stretch where it was so steep that I was out of my seat and in my second to lowest gear. I was happy to get back to T2. The hills and the fact that I wasn’t trying too hard got me in at 1:05.
The run was very scenic. It took us past the Golden Gate and down the west side of SF. But it was also a mountain climbing exercise. We were going up stretches and stairs where we had no choice but to walk. Then we also went up the famous sand ladder and we had to walk up that as well. By then, I was sick of mountain climbing – first on the bike and then on the run. Geez. I pushed it gently once I got up the sand ladder and got in around 1:15.
I don’t think I’ll do this one again soon. The race is exciting and fun, but it also cost $400 and that’s about as much as for a full Ironman. Also, the mountain climbing all day long wasn’t too much fun.
Now for recovery and get ready for Ironman next weekend!

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  1. Bill Avatar

    Dave, Glad you had fun! You’re right about the $400 – good chunk of change for the size of the race as compared to IM. Good luck in Canada!!!