Posted by: Travis | July 19, 2008

Triathlon

For starters, the triathlon went very well, but i have a bit of a tangent to make that i promise to to relate to the triathlon. If you get bored or feel the need to skip it, feel free to jump past the italics.

For those of you that don’t know the story behind how i got my job, i’ll give a brief run down: I decided a few years back that i wanted to get into product design after school. I submitted my resume to a bunch of small firms, but because they were all so small, they had limited spots for mechanical engineers (they tend to prefer industrial designers anyway, and being fresh out of school certainly wasn’t helping)  so i didn’t get many bites. I had a company in Pleasanton, about 45 minutes east of Palo Alto on the other side of the Bay, that offered to interview me in person after a phone interview and asked if there would be anyway i would be in the Bay Area any time soon. I can take a hint, and i was desperate so i used some flight vouchers my parents had and flew up to interview with them. Things went pretty well. On the day i was returning home i got an email from one of my professors about a buddy of his that had a Silicon Valley start up aerospace company and was looking for someone out of school and thought that Trinity’s generalist engineering curriculum would be a good fit. I got the guy’s information, met up with him for lunch and the day before graduation i got a job offer by email. The rest, the cliche goes, is history. The real breaking point was when i asked both guys where they thought their company was going. The guy with the design firm basically told me that he was fine with the way things were and wasn’t looking to change anything. Eric (now my boss), lit up and talked for 20 minutes about all the possibilities. That was pretty much all i needed.

So the tie in is that the design firm that i initially flew up to interview with is located in Pleasanton, the same cute, sleepy town that the triathlon was held in. Rachel and i got up bright an early this morning at 4:15am, ate breakfast and headed out to Pleasanton for the 5:30 check in. Everything went smoothly, we set up in the transition area, got suited up and headed down to the water front for orientation in the swim area. Rachel and I decided to go in the very last wave of people so that we could be racing at the same time, and because the swim is my weakest leg of the race.

The gun (or air horn) goes of and we take of. The swim is a total of 400 yards long. The first 150 yards went smoothly and i made it past the first bouey. At around 150 yards i got kicked in the face and my goggles came off. Though i normally have thick skin, when it comes to swimming in triathlons i am pretty fragile. If my goggles get messed up, i get some water in my nose, get choked up, or get out of my rhythm, i’m toast. Confidence shot, prospect of having a decent swim down the toilet. Its silly, and i understand that, but it doesn’t mean i can control it. So i got my goggles kicked off and everything hits the fan. My breathing gets messed up and i start freaking out. I decided to get my head above water, just breathe, and breast stroke for a while. After 100 yards of breast stroking i get my confidence back and settle back into my rhythm and put the freestyle stroke back into action. I finish up okay, but spent so much time breast stroking that i’ve lost lots of time. Once again, i’m one of the last people out of the water.

First transition goes reasonably well and i’m out on the bike, my strongest leg. I crank it up to about 20mph but i feel pretty stiff and my legs hurt, then i realize we’re going into a head wind. After 2 miles (out of 10 on the bike) i get my legs and i’m cruising pretty easily around 23mph. After 3 miles i finally catch up to Rachel and pass her after saying a few words and singing a song (just something i do). There’s a short but pretty steep hill around mile 8. People a freaking out and fanning out across the road. I have to go outside the cones (into traffic) but i don’t down shift, i leap out of the saddle and sprint up the hill. I finish pretty strong. Average speed was 19.5mph, not bad over 10 miles. I didn’t get passed by anyone on this leg (probably more of an indication of my lackluster swimming skills than my cycling skills).

Second transition is even faster than the first. No socks, rack the bike, off with the helmet and bike shoes, on with the running shoes, on with the number and i’m off. The run is on a series of dirt trails (better for the knees) and its hilly. Really hilly. This has to be the longest 3.1 miles i’ve ever run, but i finish with a respectable time. The final section was over grass and people who had already finished were lining up along the final stretch of the course to cheer everyone else on. I was coming in with a group of 3 or 4 people, with a big gap between us and the people in front of us. There was a guy at the finish line with a computer and a microphone looking up people’s names by their numbers and providing running commentary. With about 200 yards left i could see the finish and broke from my group by lengthening my stride and then kicked. With about 100 yards left the commentator looked up my number and starts screaming about “..and here come Travis Dubose flying into the finish!” it was pretty cool. Certainly reminiscent of all those 80’s cliche sports movies i grew up on. But it was fun.

I finished in 1’14”:30, Rachel finished in 1’19”. Rachel beat the snot out of me in the first triathlon we did last spring, so i guess now we’re even.

This same company will be doing a more organized and competitive triathlon in September that we’ll probably do. Maybe this time we’ll actually train for it a bit more. I’ve got to do something about my swim.

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