On June 18th I raced the Big Bear Triathlon in Big Bear, CA. This race has been around for 20 or 30 years, but I’ve never done it. It has been on my bucket list for a few years and now I can say I’ve done it. It is a unique event because it is held at 7,000 feet above sea level in the San Bernardino Mountains. Not easy!
The 0.85 mile swim was in Big Bear Lake. The signs of the drought were immediately apparent as the lake was very shallow. The lake bottom was soft and thick with mud to mid-calf. I was amazed I did not lose my timing chip which was strapped to my ankle. The water was 66 degrees and very comfortable for the 2 lap swim. Typically I breathe every 3rd stroke, but the altitude forced me to breathe every 2nd stroke. I had the 4th best swim with a time of 22:13. Bill Richardson swam 19:15, but the next handful of guys came out of the water with me. I was in a good position.
The 30.5 mile bike was on open roads, but there was very little traffic so that was not an issue. The road surface was mostly good. The course offered plenty of ups and downs, but no brutal climbs or descents. The only part I did not like was the final 4 miles was thru a residential neighborhood with a lot turns. But everyone had to ride the same course. The weather was clear and temperatures were in the mid 70’s so it was a gorgeous day. I had the 7th best bike split with a time of 1:36:35 (18.9 mph) to drop me into 6th place.
The 5.6 mile run was all on paved neighborhood roads and it also had plenty of ups and downs. My wife, Laurie, was out there spectating which is always nice. I saved some energy for the run. I had the best run split with a time of 37:37 to finish 2nd out of 16 men in the 50-54 age group with a time of 2:41:03. Kevin Sullivan won the age group by a whopping 13:43. Kevin won the race with his outstanding bike split. His bike split was 17:38 better than mine. Either he’s a much better cyclist than me or he was breathing out of a bigger straw than me. I managed to edge out Duane Morrison who placed 3rd by 5 seconds. And I placed 17th out of 125 overall finishers. I was satisfied with my race as this event definitely favors the better cyclists.
Living the life…