by Lydia Roth
Nobody wants to get up at 4:30am. I mean, let’s be real… only crazy people get up that early on a Sunday morning. As triathletes, however, we wear the term “crazy” on our sleeves with pride whenever it’s time to head out for a race. On the morning of Sunday, September 29th we headed out for our race, with our “crazy’ sleeves on, in the lovely beach town of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz puts on a great race, evidence of the fact that a couple of us did the race last year and came back this year for more. This year the race was preceded by perfect weather, a luxury we didn’t experience last year due to an hour-long fog delay. Five and a half hours after our alarm clocks had gone off, our male athletes were sprinting across the sand into the chilly Pacific Ocean. Five minutes later, I felt their excitement as I rushed across that same sand with our two other female athletes to brave the water as well.
Running into the water, I thought about two things: (1) the fastest way to get to the first buoy, and (2) sharks. I have been swimming since I was six years old, but that never stops me from being terrified that sharks will eat me at any moment. I told myself, “the faster you swim, the less the they’ll will want to eat you.” The fact that this statement is completely and utterly false is something I try not to think about; I have yet to be eaten by sharks so it must work.
After the swim and a long run to transition, the bike offered a beautiful outlook onto the endless blue waters. On the run, I was greeted by another wonderful view and multiple “Go Bears” from Santa Cruz residents walking along the run course. If it wasn’t for the Golden Bear fans encouraging me on the course and our energetic Cal Triathlon cheer squad, who selflessly made the long drive down to Santa Cruz that morning, I would never have finished as strongly as I did. It’s always the peer pressure of having my friends watch me at the end of the race that makes me want to be elegant in my final twenty yards rather than crawling across the finish after working so hard for so long.
The best part of the day was when our newest member and first-time-triathlete Glenn finished. As he neared the finish, the entire Cal Tri cheer squad along with all of our finishers stood 30 yards from the finish, chanting his name as loudly as we could. By the time he reached us, he was running to the beat of our chant, with his hands in the air and a smile on his face. I had just met Glenn that day, but I could feel the happiness radiating off of him and a surge of energy rushing through his body as our cheering overwhelmed the whole crowd.
Cheering on Glenn at the finish line and racing in my “California” tri kit reminded me of how proud I am to race for this team. Glenn’s amazing performance and our returning athletes’ improvements were absolutely inspiring. After a whole summer of being deprived of racing with my teammates, the Santa Cruz Triathlon excited me to train in a whole new way. This was a great start to the new season, and showed me that the talent and new blood on this team will show the Triathlon community how much Cal Triathlon has to offer in the coming year. GO BEARS!