Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SOAS's Home Game: Oceanside 70.3

For SOAS, we consider Oceanside 70.3 in our backyard. Since we are based in San Diego, it’s just up the road from our offices and it’s one of our favorite events. Not to mention our season opener.  For those of you coming out for this excellent event that are not from the Southern Californian area... here’s some information we hope you find helpful.

The city of Oceanside is about a 40 minute drive north from San Diego and a two hour drive south from Los Angeles. That’s the good news. The bad news is that to get there you may have to take the 5 or the 405 freeway which can be incredibly congested. So when you get here, stay put for a while, enjoy the Oceanside pier and watch the surfers do their thing.  Also don’t let your spouse forget their golf clubs... there are more than 90 golf courses close to the Oceanside area....some quite famous, almost all of them are spectacular.

Now the race...

The race was originated as an Ironman event in 2000 and 2001. Back then, it was completely held inside Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the US Marine Corp. The Camp has over 125,000 acres of varied terrain and 17.1 more miles of shoreline. Truly, some of the best realty in SoCal. But after 9/11, the race was turned into one of the first 70.3 events, due to the heightened security. Now, the bike portion is the only part of the race allowed within Camp Pendleton. The City of Oceanside worked alongside Camp Pendleton to accommodate the race, going so far as to allow the one and only time of the year that anyone is allowed to swim in Oceanside Harbor. 

The athletes will swim in Oceanside Harbor, cycle through San Clemente State Park and Camp Pendleton and run through Oceanside’s beachfront neighborhood. For an “Ocean Swim”, the water is generally somewhat calm since you'll be inside the harbor's protective wall. Guaranteed that the water will be down-right cold and the swells can pick up at the turn around.  

The bike is really interesting since it combines stretches of flat at the beginning and the end that can be lightning fast with three pretty significant climbs in the middle. It is a beautiful ride through the base, and if you aren't inspired by the Marines manning the aide stations and cheering you on, then its hard to imagine you getting inspired by much. Chances are, you'll tell them you should be cheering for them!

The two loop run course is really flat and spectator friendly down the main beach boardwalk & nearby neighborhoods. The only risk is you wanting to plop down in the sand to watch the surfers or join a cookout. 

An interesting feature of this race is that Accenture and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (one of our favorite non-profit organizations) are teaming to support eight injured military service members and first responders to race in Ironman event as part of CAF’s Operation Rebound. Additionally, CAF will be the official event charity for the race. Also half of the volunteer staff comes from units stationed at Camp Pendleton, so it truly a good time to give thanks to our men and women in the military community. San Diego is a major military town and we love our troops and encourage y'all to give them a shout-out or a hug!

For more race tips and info, check out our review at: http://soasracing.com/resources/race-reviews/rhoto-ironman-california.php

Have fun and a great race! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

IRONMAN 70.3 San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 17, 2013

So…are any of you doing the 70.3 in the oldest city in the U.S.?  Which one is that, you ask?  Boston…Philly?  Actually, it’s Ironman 70.3 San Juan on March 17th. That’s right...San Juan. We’ll leave the semantics debate over Puerto Rico’s status (technically it is a U.S. Territory, although there is talk of making it the 51st U.S. state) to another time and just give you our perspective on this cool event. 

Puerto Rico was founded in 1521. English and Spanish are its official languages (who says Americans are never multi-lingual?).  The U.S. dollar is the currency, and you don't need a passport or visa to travel there.

It is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean. You may think the plane took a wrong turn and landed in Miami when you see the bustling hotels and modern establishments in downtown. But take solace in knowing that there are sections that remain quaint, restive and yet oh so cosmopolitan…enter beautiful Old San Juan.

When you enter the walled city of Old San Juan, often called the Soul of Puerto Rico, you will feel as if you have been transported to Seville or Buenos Aires. The architecture is magnificent and you’ll notice incredible aromas emanating from the tons of alfresco restaurants, bistros & coffee stops.

We could go on about the beaches and watersports but of course, dear Athlete, you are here to RACE!

Swim: 1.2 miles
The spectator friendly swim starts in Condado Lagoon which is well protected from any rough open water. While you most likely won’t have the benefit of a wetsuit, since the water temperature should be near 78 degrees, the buoyancy of the salt water should help keep you level in the water.  And if you get nervous, just look down and pretend you’re snorkeling…along with a couple hundred really close friends.

Bike: 56 miles
Even though Puerto Rico does have a lot of hills, the bike is fairly flat.  There are a few rollers and false flats but in general, it’s a fast course. Sweet, right?!  

Run: 13 miles
Ok, so you’ve had it fairly easy with a protected swim and a flat bike. Be ready though, as a few of our SOAS ambassadors have told us that the run can be really punishing.  Not only is the course hilly, it’s likely that the heat and humidity will have kicked in by the time you toss on your kicks.  One saving grace could be that the run is usually lined with spectators cheering you on.  Hopefully you can feed off their energy and hang on for a great finish. 

The race has 40 2013 World Championship 70.3 Las Vegas Qualifying spots.

After you’ve finished, it time to engage in a little carb replenishment, right? What are you in the mood for? A juicy steak? A fab Asian-fusion experience? Middle Eastern? It’s all available here. Or perhaps just stick to the incredibly fresh local seafood and home-styled Creole cooking.

No matter what you do, we hope you have a blast.  And as always, wave and say hello to the other SOAS athletes on the course!


Sunday, March 3, 2013


Los Cabos is hosting its first ever Ironman on March 17th, 2013.  It joins Ironman Cozumel and Cozumel 70.3 as one of the growing number of long distance triathlon events in Mexico.

SOAS has quite a few friends heading to Los Cabos, so we wanted to say “happy taper” and share a few thoughts about the event and the area.

The race starts with a swim in the Sea of Cortes and ends with a run course that travels along a 20-mile corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The stunning views of cliffs, desert, mountains and turquoise color of the sea will serve as the backdrop for your day.

Cabo San Lucas is on the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and is a magnificent beach and coastal town that is easily accessible by air. It and its neighbor towns are international resort destinations, where you will find Five star spas, and condo timeshares galore.
For those of you who truly love fish... and not just in bouillabaisse.... the Baja Peninsula is a perfect destination. The snorkeling can be outstanding. While there are several beaches in the Los Cabos area, Playa Santa Maria may be the best of the lot. It’s known for the small size of the cove, the variety of fish, the easy access, and the peaceful views.
To get there, drive from Cabo on Hwy 1. After the Km 12 sign you’ll see the cleared home-sites on the right. Just before you reach the Km 13 sign, you’ll see a covered bench / bus stop. Exit the highway and head down the dirt road.  
Amenities include a restroom in the parking area, a few vendors that rent snorkeling gear and rumor has it that there is even a masseuse on the beach (post race recovery perhaps?).  We’ve heard that you should bring your own umbrella if you want shade and lots of fresh water to drink and rinse off with.
While Ironman obviously knows how to operate an event, you should remember that this is an “inaugural”.  As such you should do your best to be prepared for a few wrinkles. From our experience, dazed locals and confused logistics are two of the potential challenges of a new event. In all seriousness, it seems as if veteran cities (like Coeur d'Alene for IMCDA) know what to expect when Ironman comes to town.  It is possible that the Los Cabos residents won’t know about road closures or be used to driving in close proximity to packs of aero helmeted triathletes. So we’d recommend that you keep your head on a swivel during your practice rides and add an extra 15 minutes to your pre-race timetable in case logistical issues arise. 
Oh...and remember, it’s possible that all the distance markers will be in kilometers.  So brush up on the metric system.

The good news is that after your race, you’re in for a real treat.  The tip of Baja is a major tourist destination for good reason. Great food and great fun await just past the finish line! If you close your eyes, you may even hear a mariachi band playing in the distance... and cold margaritas calling your name.