This was the third year of the Superseal Triathlon, an Olympic distance triathlon that was added onto the long running Superfrog Triathlon when Koz Enterprises started managing the event. I had done Superfrog in September 2001 shortly after 9/11, when it was located on Naval Air Station North Island. I was registered to do it again in 2002, but 2 weeks prior had a bicycle accident that took me out of triathlons for almost 4 years. Superfrog is truly an epic event, but last year and this year I chose to do Superseal instead because of my plans to do Ironman California 70.3. Although I miss the challenge that Superfrog presents, Superseal is a great race because it is Olympic distance (which there are few of in San Diego), and the course is rather mild, so it provides a good gauge to measure how well you can do at this distance. The races also offer some prize money, so there are some great athletes that show up.

On Wednesday evening before the race I went out to Fiesta Island where Andy Conors was conducting a 20K time trial for the Tri Club. There was a huge turnout, probably over 50 people. Unfortunately there were a lot of other people on the island. There were lot of cars on the road and many people visiting dog beach, but also a lot of cyclists including SDBC practicing group skills. I get a little concerned about doing a time trial on the island when there is so much activity. I’ve been run off the road a few times there before, and when people get into racing mentality they can often take extra risks. I realize I’m speaking in generalities, and this is mostly what I’ve noticed about myself, but I’ve seen and heard of other people getting hit by cars on the island.

Anyway, the time trial went well, and I didn’t hear of any accidents. During my first lap I came upon the SDBC team and several cars, as well as other participants in the time trial. I basically just had to wait until I had an opportunity to pass. Some of the SDBC team members were apologetic, but really that wasn’t even necessary. We were all just trying to get some practice and training in.

My goal was to practice holding power at 330-360 watts. After my analysis from the Pine Valley Duathlon I decided that I probably wasn’t holding a high enough power, and wanted to feel out where I should be for Superseal. The thing is, if I’m holding 330-360 watts, my average power is likely to be a fair amount below that. This is what I found:

This graph is with 0.5% smoothing so that it is easier to see. I drew the horizontal lines at the power range I was trying to hold. Three of the large dips are at the south-west corner of the island where there are a lot of cars for dog beach. Although this is a great area to build momentum because the elevation drops, it is also a great place to get hit by a car pulling out. The turn is a little blind, and this is one of the areas I’ve been run off the road. If the course was closed, it would be a different story.

Overall it looks like I did okay keeping it in my goal range, but it was getting a little sloppy later in the ride. My normalized-power for the three laps were 342, 324, and 335 watts. Based on this I felt that I should attempt to hold 320-350 watts during Superseal’s 40K bike.

This is also with 0.5% smoothing, and I drew in the lines for 320 and 350 watts, which was my goal range. You can see that I had a little bit of difficulty maintaining this range. My legs felt really heavy, and I thought it might be residual fatigue from Oceanside, but it might have just been that I was trying to maintain too high of a power range. The four drops in cadence and power were at the 180 degree turns on the course. My normalized power was 308 watts.


Swim T1 Bike T2 Run Total
2010 21:56 2:36 58:38 0:21 40:18 2:03:49
2009 20:17 2:16 1:00:17 0:35 39:16 2:02:41

Overall there wasn’t a big difference between this year and last year. I had hoped for a sub 2 hour race, and was particularly disappointed in my run. My swim was slower, but I realize that I haven’t been swimming very much. I’m fixing that now. My run should have been much better based on recent races. Two problems I’ve identified: residual fatigue from Oceanside, and recent weight gain. My weight cycles quite a bit, and it has been going up quite a bit for the previous few weeks, and happened to be 16 pounds higher than I was for the 2009 race. This alone could account for a much slower run.

Sometimes you have to relish in the little victories. My victory during this race was actually catching and out sprinting Felipe Loureiro, head coach of Breakaway Training. I caught sight of him at mile 4 and realized that I was catching him. I totally didn’t think I would catch and pass him, but I needed something to focus on while the wind was blowing in my face. I picked up the pace, and eventually caught him on the last stretch where I just went for it. I don’t have a kick, and usually lose every sprint finish I find myself in, but this time I beat him by 6 seconds.

Some other friends and colleagues deserve a shout out for their great performances.

From the military, Tommy Brown (Navy) finished 6th overall with a time of 1:59:01, and Greg Price (Marine Corps) finished 8th overall with a time of 2:02:57. Greg Price also represented the USMC at Kona in 2009. I also met David Haas there, who finished 35th overall with a time of 2:11:03. David Haas was one of the Navy athletes featured in the 2009 Kona video.

Some friends that had awesome races include Kosuke Amano (1:58:47, 5th), Mike Clinch (2:01:40, 10th), and John Nowoslawski (2:02:20, 11th). They all destroyed my 15th place finish. We’ll race again though.

A couple of my friends had great performances at the Superfrog Triathlon as well. Philippe Krebs finished 5th with 4:20:12, Matt Dixon 11th with 4:33:46, and Brandon Mills 12th with 4:34:42. Matt had a phenomenal performance in Oceanside just two weeks earlier with a 4:31 finish time. I think that was the first triathlon Matt has beaten me at, so it’s probably a good thing that he didn’t do Superseal. Again, there will be more opportunities to race against Matt this season.