The tagline to the Golden Bear Triathlon is ‘This Bear Bites’ and they are not kidding. I thought this race was way harder than Wildflower Short Course and I’ll show you why. Let’s compare and contrast.
A swim is a swim. My Wildflower swim is kind of legendary and will never be trumped (scroll to the bottom of that link for a quick view). The swim for Golden Bear was fine but slow for me and I’m not sure why. The lake is so small you had to swim the perimeter, then get out, run down the beach about 25 yards and do it again for a total of 1,000 meters. I would tell you exactly how long it took but they removed the clock before I finished!! One of a few penalties for being slow. I didn’t let it get me down, though and it was off to the bike.
Wildflower Bike Course elevation map:
You have that nasty, sharp up on Lynch Rd coming out of T1 but then it’s some up and some down and all in all it’s a pretty nice ride.
Now here’s the Golden Bear Bike elevation:
See you have that not so huge up coming out of T1 although it was more of a thigh burner than you might expect. Then you get some serious down that was way fun. It is steep and curvy to the point where they had monitors on the course telling you to slow down. Then you get some no big deal rolling stuff and then… just when you are getting tired you get some uuuuuppppp and some more up and then some down followed by some more up until you want to rip your legs off and toss them over the barbed wire fence into the cow pasture. And then it’s one more sharp, nasty up, teeny down and then UP again and you are thinking “I thought it was the THREE BEARS!! Where the eff did this last bear come from???” . Brutal. Then, when you finally get to start screaming downhill they flag you down and tell you turn right into T2. Bastards!
And then there’s the run. My recollection of the Wildflower run is mostly that it was so effing hot I got sick and walked almost the whole thing. I remember a hill or 2 at the begining and then miles of asphalt trail with no shade. I don’t remember a lot of uphill running, though. This map is fuzzy but here it is and I guess there was more up than I remembered but that’s what happens when you devolve into a death march:
The biggest problem is just when you’ve had enough you have to run down Lynch Hill and try not to have your legs tie themselves into knots. And then you’re done!
Here is the Golden Bear elevation map of the run we were supposed to have but the watershed people changed it. I forgot to reset my Garmin so all I have for an elevation map is the bike and the run together
Mostly what it felt like is climbing 11ty billion feet and finding no water at the water stops – just diluted Heed. That was punishment #2 for being slow. And then the return trip is mostly down – only it’s not. This was really brutal and I did walk the steep hills but I did my best to run everything else:
Okay – I might have walked that last hill and then burst through the trees running like I had run the whole thing – maybe.
Marty who owns the store that sponsors my race club was giving out medals and he smiled at me and asked, “how was it?” as he hung my medal around my neck and I looked up at him, all sweetness and light and said, “THAT WAS F#CKING HARD!”
The bike at Golden Bear was only 22.76 miles compared to a full 25 at Wildflower and the swim was short but the runs were the same.
Times: Wildflower – 4:39 Golden Bear 3:28 which included about 2 – 3 minutes of going the wrong way and having my bag go to the wrong guy in T2. Not a bad improvement, eh?
My race club, FMRC had a small but powerful showing. Our relay team took first and the women took 2nd in 35-39, 1st in 40-44, and 1st in 50-54* and the men took 2nd in 45-49 and I think that covers everyone who raced. We rule!
* that was first out of 2 but be that as it may – I beat her and a win is a win!