• Augusta 1/2 Ironman 2015
  • Spring Fling Triathlon 2015
  • Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic distance triathlon 2015
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High Desert Triathlon 2017 Race Report

Edwards Air Force Base, CA

Pre-Race – How I got to Cali

I know it may seem odd that I am racing a pool Sprint triathlon in California, when my previous race was an Ironman (Chattanooga). To make a long story short, I basically decided to start working outside of Los Angeles, and hadn’t signed up for any races. I hadn’t even been triathlon training. After I decided where I would be working, I signed up for the next race that wasn’t sold out. I arrived on a Monday, and raced on Saturday. So here I am. This race had a very disappointing conclusion though.

The High Desert Race has both an Olympic and Sprint distances. With limited openings for the Olympic, I was stuck doing the shorter distance. I treated it as a training day, and was looking forward to feeling the race day excitement again.

This was my first time packing my bike, and shipping it with me on the plane. Like an idiot, I didn’t remove the rear storage case, and it broke off. Everything else arrived perfectly. I fixed the case later. My new Team Zoot kit arrived just in time. I’ve been swimming in Masters Swim classes, running, but not biking like I usually do. Too busy skiing. I still felt race ready.

Race Day

The drive up to Edwards Air Force Base was easy. It’s way in the middle of nowhere. To enter, I was previously cleared by security. Check in at the pool was simple. I was concerned about the (lack of) security around the bicycles, but I was reassured that since it’s a secured facility, there would be no issues. I racked my bike, and watched the Olympic racers start in the pool. I fueled up with Hammer Heed and Gel. I didn’t see any familiar faces. I was the only African American racer. Still, I was very eager to race.


The race started about 15 minutes late. The swim was an up & back in the pool, snaking down through each lane, until 350 yards, 7 lengths, were completed. The line was by bib order, based on you estimated swim time. So was lined up near the rear. Despite swimming for 4 years, I’m still way slower than those that have been swimming since they were kids. I was ready to test my improvement!

The volunteers were recording the staggered start times, and gave each swimmer a countdown. When it was my turn, I jumped in, started my Garmin 920xt, and off I went! My goal was to implement everything that I have learned from classes, and don’t stop swimming no matter what happens. I met the second goal. In a race environment, a crowded pool, any technique that wasn’t muscle memory or second nature was non-existent.
About 1/3 through the swim, I passed the first lady. Then I passed a couple more. I felt very motivated. I never got passed. I kept on swimming, then it was to transition to the bike.

I had an average pace of 2:33/100 yds. Much slower than I hoped for. On the other hand, my watch was still in open water swim mode, not the pool, so the times are estimates.


The pool was very warm, but the air temperature was still pretty chilly. I ran to my bike all wet, grabbed my sunglasses, helmet, put on my shoes, and I was off. 1:52


The bike was only 12 miles, but the brisk breeze while wet was enough to wake a polar bear out of hibernation! Brrrr!!! Not to be deterred, I gave it my all. I never got passed, but blew by a countless number of racers. For the desert, the course was not flat at all. With the hills, I averaged 20.4 mph, maxing out at 33.0 mph. 328 ft of climbing. Time: 35:11


There were a lot of bikes not returned yet, so quickly put on my Zoot Makai shoes, and started the run. 1:04


The 3.1 mile run was an out and back. Eager to make up more time, I started off on an 7:46 pace. I was too eager, because I intentionally ignored the first water station. Big mistake in the desert. I’m used to humidity! There was more water halfway through the run. I ran hard to the finish, and was proud of my performance, given my lack of training. 8:32/mi pace, 26:29.


I was eager to learn my results compared to my age group. The winners were announced for aged 30 – 50 age group. Wait… what? I’m racing against 30 year olds? I left, headed home. Waited for the race results to be posted, since I couldn’t get them on sight. That evening, an e-mail came in saying the volunteers were not able to salvage the race results, and they could not be posted. At first, I thought this was an April Fool’s joke. Nope, joke’s on me. No race results. Very disappointing. Oh well, on to the next race.