March 21, 2012

Superseal No-Race Recap

This past Sunday, I was supposed to race in my 7th triathlon (and second Olympic distance), the Superseal. I was excited about the race as I had done the sprint distance last year and had a great time. I was eager to up the ante to the Oly distance.

Spoiler alert: the race never happened.

I had been training for the Oly, and the week before felt confident that I would do okay on the 1500 meter swim, 40k bike ride and 10k run. I had even done a brick a few weeks ago of a 25 mile bike ride immediately followed by a 10k run, and performed well, so I knew that while I may be slow, I would not only finish the Oly but would finish strong.

The week before the triathlon, the weather forecast showed severe storms for the weekend ahead. We had gorgeous weather all week, but sure enough at the end of the week it started to turn bad. On Saturday, I drove through the rain all the way to Coronado Island (about 45 minutes away) to pick up my packet. The website had stated that if there was 0.1 inch of rain they would have to cancel the swim portion (most likely due to bacteria that would make the water unsafe) and turn it into a duathlon (turning the swim into a 1-mile run). So when I got to the packet pickup, having driven in the pouring rain, I asked one of the race crew if the swim was called yet. He said be prepared to swim.

I got my stuff (t-shirt, race numbers, swim cap and timing chip), came home, and started packing up all my triathlon stuff, including my wetsuit and goggles. Soon afterwards, I got this email:

Latest Update: It’s now official. Our lifeguards just pulled the plug on the swim due to a small craft advisory (double red flag). We wanted to take the decision point to tomorrow morning. Our apologies. The race founder , Moki Martin, will send an email out to all racers this evening addressing the issue. Stay positive!

So I unpacked my swim stuff, and started to psych myself up to do a duathlon. I've never done a du before, but while I was a bit apprehensive, I was glad I wouldn't have to swim in cold, yucky water. I read some things online and talked to a few friends about things I could do to make biking safer in the rain (I've only biked in the rain once; actually that was in a triathlon too!), like lowering the tire pressure in my tires to create more friction, avoiding cycling on the white lines of the road which would be slippery.

I went to bed and woke up several times to the sound of high winds and hail. When my alarm went off at 4:30, I was not happy. At all. However, I decided to go down to the race site, in case the weather let up. I got dressed and, since I always pre-load all my gear in the car the night before, was ready to go in no time. I drove down to Coronado again, in the rain, hoping for the best.

Transition opened at 5:45, and I got to the parking lot at 5:40. I sat in horror as my minivan started to rock back and forth due to the high wind. I opened my car door, and the wind was out of control. I made my decision right then---even if the race was on, I wouldn't be doing it. There was no way that I could ride in gusts that strong. I'm a novice cyclist, although I suspect even elite bikers would have issues.

I noticed everyone getting out of there cars and walking to transition, all without their bikes. I got out too and got to transition just in time to hear the race director announce that not only was the swim canceled, but so was the bike portion. The winds, which were 35-40 mph, made it too unsafe for the triathletes. Also, they couldn't keep their signs up and if one blew across the highway and hit a driver that would be very bad too. The director said that maybe, possibly, they would do a 5k run, but he wasn't sure. I didn't stick around long enough to find out. Yes, I had paid $140 for the race, but I wasn't going to wait for hours, whether alone in my car or outside in the terrible conditions (it later started to hail!) just to run 3.1 miles. I went home, got back in bed, and took a nap.

It turns out that they DID do a 5k later, as the weather let up a bit. The Oly triathletes didn't start running until 8:00. I'm glad I left...I would have had to wait 2 hours and 15 minutes! An announcement on their website said that this was the first time in 34 years of running triathlons that the race director had to cancel any part of any race. Although it was not their fault, and they indeed made the right decision to cancel, they are generously giving a 25% discount on next year's Superseal (and this year's 70.3 Superfrog, which I am not doing).

Now I need to choose my next triathlon---I have no more on the schedule!


  1. Those are some serious conditions! I give you credit for even going!!

  2. Last weekend's weather killed my run too :-0 I was supposed to run 18 miles and ended up doing 11 in the pouring rain. It was hailing on Sunday :-( I can't believe you still woke up and drove to Coronado.

  3. What harsh weather conditions! I hate that you didn't get to do your triathlon.

  4. What a bummer! I've only had a 5k canceled on me, I would be sooo bummed if they canceled one of my tri's! That sounds like some crazy weather!


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