Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spectating at the 2012 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

First pack comes out of the water in the 2012 Escape from Alcatraz triathlon (swim leader Andy Potts came out about 1 minute earlier)
We headed out at 6:30 am by bike. Our destination: the 2012 Escape from Alcatraz triathlon.

Unusually clear views for early morning in San Francisco. Just a tiny bit of mist!

We reached the swim "exit" in the Marina and hung around watching the swimmers approach through binoculars. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day here in SF, and the morning was unusually warm and quite clear.

Age groupers come out of the water at the 2012 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Tons of swimmers are visible in the bay at this point.

It was super cool to see the swimmers exit the water and run along the beach. The bay seemed unusually surf-y and several people were toppled by waves as they tried to run onto the beach.
Ouch! Barefoot runner heading to T1
After a while, we headed out to the bike course, pausing to watch the wetsuit strippers in action and to watch people start the longish run to T1.  Some folks did it without shoes, but most stopped to put on sneakers.

Heading out on the bike course, on Crissy Field Ave
We rode out along the Crissy Field bike path and watched the riders, mostly age-groupers at this point.  Dan stopped to help a guy with his bike- his rear brake had locked up. They ended up disabling his rear brake so he could ride.

Riders heading out towards the Golden Gate bridge
 The bike course is an out-and-back (mostly), so we hung around on the bike course until the race leaders came back along the course. We cheered on about the first twenty or so (including the top women), then headed off to spectate at the infamous sand ladder on the run course.

Pretty portion of Escape from Alcatraz run course
The run course is super scenic and follows trails along the area near the Golden Gate bridge.
Escape from Alcatraz runners approach the sand ladder on Baker Beach
We missed the top of the sand ladder (off of Lincoln Ave), so headed down to Baker Beach to the base of the sand ladder. This  involved some riding on sand, portage down a log staircase, then some pushing of bikes along a long stretchy of beach. Cyclocross anyone??  Our reward: a great view of the racers coming up the beach, confronting the sand ladder, then heading on up...

The sand ladder on the Escape from Alcatraz run course
 The thing is a beast and most folks were walking it, some even using the cable railing to pull themselves up. It was interesting to watch the reaction of the runners when they hit the sand ladder. There was some colorful commentary and some folks were visibly shocked at the sight of it. While we were there, mega-blogger DC Rainmaker raced by. I think we startled him when we said hi- sorry Ray!

Runners head up the sand ladder on the 2012 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
After a while, we headed home on the bike course through Lincoln Park and down to the Great Highway (the roads were still closed though all of the riders were through at this point), then turned off into Golden Gate park to head homewards. I had a major cranky bonk at this point, even though we'd done only about 20 miles of riding-- too much time in the sun without eating, I think. Dan was a very nice boyfriend and bought me a smoothie at the Haight street fair, which helped a lot. Thanks Dan!

2012 Escape from Alcatraz runners on Baker Beach
What a great day! Congrats to all of the racers!

Thanks Dan for a wonderful day (and for the anti-bonk smoothie and for carrying my camera when my back got tired)


Anonymous said...

Great photos, I feel like I was there watching the event. --Christine

Anonymous said...

Nice photos. I especially liked the ones with the swimmers. I did an Alcatraz triathlon once as a relay. I did the swim leg and I was so happy not to have to run in the sand, especially up those stairs. Ouch!

Rainmaker said...

Hi Nadia!

Thanks for the cheers! And no worries about startling me. Apparently my ability to both climb sand ladders and turn around and say hi was limited, but, just barely caught myself. :)

Great pics and overview of the race!