Joesph Hicks - Oceanside 70.3
The 2019 season has begun and certainly with a bang. A bucket list race that draws in incredible pro field and amateurs that could be racing pro. For the fans, it was as impressive to watch the pros as it was for the top age groupers.
Southern California weather is amazing and race day did not disappoint. Light cloud cover and 56 degrees started the day and at race finish we were enjoying upper 60’s, bright sunshine and a light ocean breeze.
As with most Ironman events, we toed the line with about 2600 other athletes looking for a successful day. While in transition we were getting reports that the surf was being measured in inches and the water temp was 61 degrees. And with a snap of the fingers, the ocean said…..not so fast! The surf quickly turned into 5-6 feet waves and a quick northernly current.
With the sound of the buzzard, the season was underway and with wrath. It was exhausting to dive under crashing waves and try to find rhythm for 400 meters. Holy crap! But once I got into the smoother water with a few deep breathes and “normal” swimming…..all was good.
It was 35 minutes flat and and then into a long transition. Not a bad swim for my weakest leg of the 3.
Outside of 70.3 Worlds in S. Africa, the most scenic ride of any Ironman event. With almost 3000’ of climbing it was almost as challenging as well. There were 2 real climbs in addition to all the “rollers”. The first was just under a mile climb averaging 10-12 % with the second much longer and more like foothills pkwy at 5-6%. Finishing with a 2hr 40min ride was a solid day in the saddle with juice left in the legs for the run.
There was not a moment on the 2 loop course up and down the oceanside when there weren’t people cheering. A very motivational run with a cool ocean breeze. The course was flat with a few short quad burning climbs going from ocean level to street level. The goal was to hold a 7:10-7:15 pace, which I did for about 8 miles. Crossing the line with a 1hr 35min run and a 7:20 pace gave way to finishing time of 4hr 58min.
With a super competitive field the solid finishing time did not give way to a top 10 finish. I was happy with the day’s performance and one to build on for the season. Next up will be Ironman Virginia 70.3 in May with several of my teammates!