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Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
CREATED: 01/28/10 by wombat REPLIES: 15
wombat's ravatar wombat    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 266
Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 1:01 PM

I got a lottery slot for the May 2, 2010 race. Anyone done it and have any advice for me? Swimming is my strength so I am not really worried about that, but the hilly bike and the sand steps worry me. A lot. Especially since Ed just taught me that I might be able to actually get up a hill by using my small ring. Really? I had no idea that was what it was for! (So yes, I am in trouble on the bike!)

Tammy

ballstoncyclist's ravatar ballstoncyclist    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 490
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 1:06 PM

I second the request for advice. I just got the email as well.

alex's ravatar alex    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 19
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 2:35 PM

I did this race last year and it was fantastic (a msut do race in my opinion). The distances don't seem too far but this is a challenging course, I'd prctice on riding lots of hills (steep rather than long) and perhaps training runs including some hills/steps would be helpfull.

The swim was challenging but fantastic and I personally did not feel that it was too cold, I wore a neoprene hood and I feel this helpded. I also had some old shoes ready for the run from the swim exit to T1 (it's quite a distance and on rough sidewalks).

Good luck and if you want any more info then let me know.

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 682
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 2:42 PM

the difficulty of finishing the race is all hype, they have to do that to make it feel special.

its a great race, run professionally at a great venue.

others have their advice, here is mine.

swim = its in 55-58 degree water, meaning its cold, if you dont' like cold water wear a wetsuit, 99% of people wear them for this race, full suits at that. the swim is actually very easy to do since there are so many kayaks and such you can't get lost. if you do the training to be able to do a 2000meter swim straight you will get through this swim fine. train correctly and its no harder than an olympic distance swim in some choppy water.

bike = its SF, you have hills, to practice i would say ride the columbia triahtlon course a few times for training, that will give you confidence on the hills, the hills in the race are not extremely long or steep, tehy are not killer but if you don't know how to ride up hills in the small ring then you are at a disadvantage. again its more hype than anything else, train correctly on some hills and you will be fine, train to do a ride that is 25-28 miles long and that will serve you fine for the 18 mile ride in san fran.

run = this IS the reason you do the race, possibly one of the most fun run courses in triathlons. you run on some single track and on the beack a little and then the sand ladder. its 8 miles long, do training so that you can comfortably do a 9-10 mile run straight without biking beforehand and you will get through this run fine. the sand ladder does come at around the 5 mile mark or so so yes it hurts, but again if you do some hill wokrouts between now and then you will be fine. its going to be a bit tough getting up the sand ladder but hey that is why are doing it, if it was easy there would be no fun in it.

good luck and do proper training and you will thoroughly enjoy the race.

silvercannonca    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 41
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 3:06 PM

Friend of mine did it and said the best thing she did to prep was take cold showers for a month in advance

EricB's ravatar EricB    JOINED: 9/14/09    POSTS: 5
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 3:32 PM

I also got into the lottery, so thank you for the advice. Since I am shelling out so much money for this, I am not excited to buy a full wetsuit to replace my sleeveless. Can you buy just sleeves?

wombat's ravatar wombat    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 266
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 3:44 PM

I have a sleeveless wetsuit too and am debating my options. (a) rent a full suit; (b) buy a full suit; or (c) cowboy up and go sleeveless - it's only 1.5 miles.

To cut costs I am using frequent flier miles. Mom and Dad generously gave me the entry fee and money toward bike transport. I may have enough hotel points for a couple nights but I need to check. Everyone staying at the host Hilton? Someplace else?

lisalisadc's ravatar lisalisadc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 423
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 4:02 PM

Buy a full wetsuit (5 mm) and hoodie. Not sure if you can just buy sleeves. You definitely don't want 55 degree water seeping in your wetsuit because you're cheap. DeSoto sells 2-piece wetsuits. Perhaps, you could layer up on top w/ your sleeveless wetsuit. Btw, DC Tri gets a discount w/ Xterra.

You can wear booties but not gloves, but I never have. Keeping warm on the boat with an old sweatshirt helps. (you can pick it up later at the finish). The T1 and T2 transition areas are separate. If you have an old pair of sneakers bring them, although a 0.75 run on pavement isn't bad.

The climbs, hills are SF but just train in DC sensibly and study the grades of the course. The course is short but a bit technical. Should be comfortable w/ passing 3 or 4 abreast (or staying on the right) as the course can be a bit crowded. You don't need a TT bike. But some people may need the compact gearing. I've always used a road bike. But, I will say I've done this race 4x and the roads are shit now. Lots of potholes and bad surfaces (and flat tires).

The run has changed a bit since Justin has done it. It is no longer true single track. Some of the dirt trails have been paved. It is harder to pass here because of the width of the path and oncoming runners. Fun climbs and they're kind of long. Running on the beach is fun b/c they put an aid station 1/2 mile out.

All 3 parts of the race are awesome. No part of the race is 'easy' but it's not a long race. Beautiful scenery and lots of top AG and pro triathletes. You should definitely sign up and enjoy the entire long weekend in SF!

Contact me if you need more advice on hotels, bike shipping, training, etc. kildaylisa at yahoo dot com

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1269
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 5:01 PM

Tammy,

I have a neoprene hood that you could borrow if you want. I wore it in 57 degrees waters at IM Cali 70.3 last year and never felt cold but I had a full wetsuit on. I'm not man enough to swim sleeveless in that kind of temp.

Sandy Point in April should be a good training ground, temperature-wise, for 55-60 degrees swimming condition.

By the way, are your parents looking to adopt a Vietnamese son ?

wombat's ravatar wombat    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 266
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 5:12 PM

Thanks Tuan, I'll borrow the hood as soon as Sandy Point opens again. Doubt my parents want to adopt a Vietnamese son -- they met on the Air Force base in Guam during 'Nam.

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 682
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/28/10 6:45 PM

i wouldn't worry about hte wetsuit so much, like you said you are a pretty good swimmer and you do have a sleevless and if its not much of a concern you can easily do the swim in a sleeveless if you are an intermediate to advanced swimmer no problem. you really don't need booties or gloves for the swim becuase if you dont' have either you will just go numb for the swim after 10 minutes anyway, also if you use a squid lid it makes it a bit better, remember you do have people doing the swim in just a speedo and and a swim cap so it can be done. also its 1.5 miles on paper but you go with the current so normally your time is more akin to 1-1.25 miles.

that sucks that some of the trails have changed to now more paved bummer.

the roads on parts of the bike course were always sort of bumpy guess they are more so now, moral of the story= keep your head up and ride it sensibly and enjoy it.

ballstoncyclist's ravatar ballstoncyclist    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 490
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 1/29/10 1:47 PM

For those that got in, I propose sharing emails so we can organize workouts and have each others contact info. I can take care of compiling the info.

alejandro.escobar [at] yahoo [dot] com

mosered's ravatar mosered    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1655
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 5/05/10 9:53 AM

Are the rumors true that the Wombat, and Alejandro, and others, did indeed escape?

ballstoncyclist's ravatar ballstoncyclist    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 490
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 5/05/10 10:21 AM

RR will be posted soon

mosered's ravatar mosered    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1655
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 5/06/10 9:55 AM

Michelle Buckley forwards a photo of Tammy Farmer featured in a major area newspaper, kicking butt on the bike:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2010/05/03/BAD01D8HB5.DTL&object=%2Fc%2Fpictures%2F2010%2F05%2F02%2Fba-ALCATRAZ_0501590063.jpg

wombat's ravatar wombat    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 266
RE: Escape from Alcatraz - advice sought
POSTED: 5/06/10 10:16 AM

Photo 26 -- passing someone at the beginning of the bike.

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