Very, Very Best of Bay Area Active Life 2005
By: Todd Walsh
One of the more intimidating starts in Triathlon: Alcatraz
Island, SF, CA.
The Bay Area
is an active life dream come true:
With terrific climate and varied terrain there is no shortage of activites
and events for the multi-sport or endurance athlete. Over the years,
we've done a ton of events in the Bay Area and with this list aim
to bring you the best races and nuggets of Bay Area active life. Happy
and safe training and racing to you in 2005!
Best Overall Triathlon
Alcatraz Triathlon. (August 14, 2005) The race that best illustrates
why triathlon even still matters in 2005...An incredibly scenic, challenging,
and rewarding triathlon race. Unlike other Alcatraz races, this one
always makes sure you start the swim at the rock, and isn't that the
whole point of an Alcatraz race? It is less glitzy than other tris,
but it is by far the best triathlon course around and is expertly
run by veteran triathlete and Event Race Director, Dave Horning and
his staff. Read
our reviews of past races. For more info: www.envirosports.com
Runner up: Santa Cruz Sentinel. This race is quintessential
California triathlon. Ocean swim, super bike course north of Santa
Cruz, and gorgeous run along West Cliff. Also, you can expect awesome
race volunteers, fabulous race weather, and a great T-shirt. For more
Lake. We don't recommend too many "lake" triathlons
around here, but this is one of the best. Donner Lake, a cousin to
mighty Lake Tahoe, has wonderful, cold, crystalline waters and the
bike and run courses are just as stunning. One of the toughest "Olympic
Distance" races out there.
it Real" Tri Series
Tri-For Fun Pleasanton.
In a day and age when race promoters are jacking up the price of entries
capitalizing on the sports popularity, at $35 a race, you can't go
wrong. Includes T-shirt. For info: http://www.onyourmarkevents.com/
racing has been around for years but is growing in popularity. And
it's at the stage where most of the participants know each other and
events are low key, friendly events... all at the beach/ocean. Two
of our favorite events in the Bay Area:
Moriarty Memorial Race. This race is held in memory of the late,
great Jay Moriarty. 10-12 miles of paddling off of beautiful Santa
Cruz. 100% of profits go to local Junior Lifeguard Programs. Also,
a short/novice course of 2 miles. July 9th.
Wharf 2 Wharf - a more lowkey and easy
event compared with the Jay. You paddle from Santa Cruz Wharf to Capitola
Best Open Water
Cruz Pier. Big race, big fun. Runner up: Lake Berryessa. The quintessential
Masters Open Water race.
Best relay swim
Tahoe Relay. Put on by the Olympic Club in San Francisco, this is
an epic race. Swim as a team across magnificent Lake Tahoe! Teams
are made up of 5 swimmers, each swimming a 30 minute leg then alternating.
As the third deepest lake in North America and the tenth deepest in
the world, it is a unique and special place. Water temperatures vary
widely year-to-year. The hardest part is getting your boat to the
starting line on time. Positives: You swim across
Tahoe! Also, check out the Donner Lake Multi-Event Challenge the next
day. (swims, runs, tris). (Team Mountain
View Masters making the tag to switch swimmers.) See www.pacificmasters.org
Mountain View Masters.
Billed as a "swimming and social club" MVM has the most
well rounded masters swimming program around: Solid and varied workouts,
enthusiastic, knowledgeable coaching staff and great team events (e.g.
the annual "Triathlounge", socials, volunteer days etc.)
Runner up: Santa Clara Masters. Their summertime long course workouts
can't be beat!
based in Menlo Park. Not only is this team run by a legend in Bay
Area Triathlon, Tim Sheeper, it has a super staff of coaches, is well
organized and has a ton of events and great workout programs for every
level triathlete -- year round! Plus, Tim is a great guy who combines
a passion for fitness and triathlon with a laid back, Zen like attitude.
Best long training
Los Altos area over to the Coast. Roughly -- Old La Honda road
to skyline, down 84 stopping in at the San Gregorio General Store
for a late breakfast, lunch or snack. If you go on a Saturday midday,
you can usually catch some live music there. If you're tired at this
point, turn around and ride all the way back up 84. That's the easiest
way back. Or, if you're feeling strong, ride north up to Tunitas Creek
road all the way back up the Skyline, then back down King's Mountain
to Woodside. This is probably a 60 or 70 mile ride. Be sure you have
enough water and food, spare tires, and a buddy or two to ride with.
Cars can be an issue, so exercise caution. Not for the faint of heart.
San Francisco waterfront. Start at the Marina Green, run out to
the Golden Gate, up the wooden stairs at Fort Point, under the Gate,
out to the Land's End trail down to Baker Beach and back. Around 8
miles or so. If you're feeling strong, extend it by going up into
SeaCliff and to the Palace Legion of Honor. Good mix of flat trail,
stairs, dirt and scenery and usually pretty mild weather. This is
pretty much the route that the Alcatraz Triathlon takes.
Best place to
practice open water swimming
Aquatic Park, San Francisco. Even though this is fairly protected,
inside the cove, you still get currents, wind, chop. You can swim
right near shore along the buoy line if it's your first time, or venture
out into the middle of the cove. Free (cold) showers by the beach;
or use the Dolphin Club or South End if you know a member there.
Best place to
score a date, or at least people watch while working out
Marina Green, San Francisco, around 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
Runner up: Rancho San Antonio, 5-6 PM weeknights in the summer.
Best post workout
Los Gatos Roasting Company on Main Street on any sunny day.Runners
up: Santa Clara International pool deck, post noontime swim. Sam's
of Tiburon -- too tired (or inebriated) to ride back to SF, take the
Todd Walsh: Todd has swum from Alcatraz a dozen or so times, competed
in over 60 triathlons from Santa Barbara to Donner Lake and is an
avid open water enthusiast. Increasingly, he is surfing more, triathlon-ing