Monday, April 2, 2012

California 70.3 Race Weekend and Recap

A few weeks after Amber took the Silver medal at the World Snowshoe Championships in Quebec, Canada her next race brought us to San Diego, California for a half Ironman.
Amber with the TriBike Crew

Amber shaking her tail feathers in Quebec

We used TriBike Transport to get Amber's bike down which made the flight down really smooth only having to check one bag.
Amber's team, Zoot Ultra, had generously offered to put us up in a hotel for Friday, Saturday and Sunday but we were arriving Thursday and needed a place to stay that first night.We had arranged to stay with a local triathlete who also kindly put us up for a night. He took us to dinner, showed us around and made us feel at home.
Jim and Amber

In addition to being a great host, Jim also had a great set-up. Out his back door lead to a great trail network that I utilized while Amber was doing some warm up rides on Thursday and Friday. I'm not sure what I was expecting but definitely not the mountainous terrain of Arizona or Utah which I found outside his door. Maybe I was thinking Southern California would look like Florida. Great running with nearly constant up or downs.
Great Trails for Running

On Friday after carbo loading at Breakfast(which I believe is the real reason after likes to race), we went to the Expo where we met some of Amber's sponsors.

Amber's first course
The Breakfast Club Dinner
In addition to PR bar and GU, we met the head of the Zoot Ultra team and SPY sunglasses. She was very excited after meeting everyone and seeing(and tasting) the different products. I'd definitely encourage you to take a closer look at all her sponsors here.
Amber at the PR Bar
The goober at the GU station
The Swim in the Harbor
Amber at the swim start
After the checking out the sponsors, expo, the transition set-up, and taking a look at the swim in the Harbor we checked in at the Pacific Palisades. Zoot put us up for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at an amazing hotel with a full-length salt-water swimming pool which was located right next to a micro-brewery.
Amber at the entrance to the hotel
Amber in the full-length, salt water pool at the Palisades

Amber in front of the flower gardens right next to the hotel.

Danny and Amber sitting next to Matty Reed and in front of Andy Potts at the pro meeting

Amber taking her bike out of the car

Race morning came early as it always does, and before we knew it Amber was setting up her bike transition. The water was cold. 58 degrees! Luckily Amber had her new Zoot Prophet which is probably the best wetsuit that is legal in WTC races. 
I won't attempt to do a race report for Amber as she has promised me she'll do one later this week and post it here. But below is a series of pictures from race day:
Andy Potts leading off the swim
Amber swimming in third place on the swim

Amber continues to lead the second pack

After Amber got out of the swim and on the bike I took some pictures of the waves breaking on the run course
An overcast day may be bad for the spectators but great for racers
Amber at the start of the bike

Jim drove us out to mile 20 where we watched Amber pass. Smiling of course!
Amber coming out of the bike transition: Pick em and Pass em!

Amber turning the corner on the Strand

Andy Potts, the men's overall winner, being chased down by Amber
Andy Potts running scared seeing Amber closing the gap

Amber in her new Zoot Suit at the finish

Amber finished 9th female overall with a scorching time of 4:38 in a really competitive field. I am so excited to see how her race season progresses.
After the race, Amber, her dad, Greg(who had flown in from Las Vegas to watch Amber) and I headed back to the hotel for a soak in the hot tub and some March Madness basketball. Within a half hour of sitting on the hotel bed, Greg and I were passed out, while Amber decided to go out and meet with her teammates. You would have thought we were the ones that did the race.

Elite Women at the Carlsbad 5000
The next day Amber had a Zoot Team Camp so Greg and I headed into Carsbad for breakfast and to watch the Carlsbad 5000. This race is the fastest 5k in the world. It also is huge! The races are broken up to age groups with masters, walkers, 29 and under, elite women and elite men all are in separate groups. There must of been at least 5,000 racers. We watched the men's elite 5k where the first runner ran a 13:11. Imagine a running a 13:20 5k and not even making the podium! That's ridiculous. The elite women took off next and they didn't seem to be much slower with the first women finishing in 15:02.

Team Zoot Ultra
As generous Zoot was with the hotel, they also treated us to dinner at the Stone Brewery. The Stone Brewery produces the Stone IPA which is my drink of choice at the Barley House in NH. It was a sign! A great dinner meeting all of Amber's teammates.
Amber with Angi Axmann a fellow Zooter

The trip to California was a very fun time and made Amber appreciate her team even more. She cannot wait to represent them again throughout the upcoming season.
Up Next: Danny has the Merrimack River Trail Race then we both have New Orleans 70.3 in late April

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