On the drive into downtown San Francisco (left), you see the lights of Candlestick Park over on the stadium. Originally, I was going to bike on Wednesday, and run Thursday but decided to run one day early due to the heavy rain. That plan paid off as you can see that it was perfectly clear and dry on Thursday morning as I cruised up the Highway 101 into the downtown after the morning rush had cleared up.
On the top right, you can see the volunteers setting up all the bike racks in the transition area. When I chatted with them, they were quite proud that they were giving each competitor lots of room. One guy told me that at most triathlons, they put 10 bikes/rail but here at EFA, they only put 8/rail with 4 on each side. So, there was lots of room for my Rubbermaid bin and associated stuff.
Below that, you can see what the transition area looked
like when all the racks were in place. I felt like a real hick as I
chatted with other competitors who had come from all over, and I kept saying
that I had never seen anything of that magnitude before.
On the middle left, you can see me having a short rest by the lake in Golden Gate Park. You will note that I have the new Michelin Pro3 Race tires on the bike - red of course - and I am enjoying the feeling of brand new rubber in contact with the just resurfaced blacktop that ran all the way through GG Park. After I had read the blogs from people who had done this race before, they always complained about the rough pavement and potholes all through GG Park. At the pre-race meeting, they thanked the Mayor of SF for funding the resurfacing and they said that he took an interest in that kind of thing since he took up the sport of Triathlon. Apparently, he was not ready for this particular race. If you click on this photo for the hi-res version, you will notice a high-speed model boat zipping by. The guy who took the photo for me was there to see the model boat go, so he though that it would be nice to have that as a backdrop for my picture!
On the bottom right, you can see the bottom of one of the 13 degree hills. You can imagine the amount of braking that was required on the way down this hill to make the 90 degree left turn at the bottom. Also, it was almost impossible to complete the 90 degree turn on the way back, and hit the bottom of the hill with any speed. One thing that was reinforced to me was to ensure I was in 1st gear as I approached that hill.
On the bottom left, you can see Chrissy Field where the bike and run began and ended. On run practice day, I took a little break and walked the area where the transition would be and to try and visualize where the finishing strip would be. On bike practice day, I actually began and ended at my '1738' position so that I would get the full feeling of the entire bike sequence.
What did I learn from the Bike Practice on D-3?
First, I learned that the hills in San Francisco are steep (not too obvious)! Second, I learned that the drivers in SF are crazy, and don't care for cyclists even when the signs say that the cyclists are 'entitled to the full lane'. But, that was not going to be a factor on race day as the streets were closed. Third, I learned where I could hold my speed, and where I had to be careful on the downhill and when to be in the big ring and down on the aerobars (not very often).
The final thing I learned was the 4 geographic points during the race where I would force myself to have a caffeinated gel:
1. On the flats heading towards the GG bridge;
2. Upon entering GG Park on the uphill;
3. Upon leaving GG Park on the downhill; and
4. On the flats heading for T2.