Nautica Malibu Triathlon 2011 Race Report

Nautica Malibu Triathlon – Herbalife International Distance
Malibu, California
United States
Michael Epstein Sports Productions, Inc.
70F / 21C
Total Time = 2h 11m 53s
Overall Rank = 21/1037
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 2/120
Pre-race routine:

Before I knew anything about triathlons, way back in 2009, I was attending a friends birthday party at Zuma Beach. There was this huge event going on, or rather just wrapping up, and some dude was leaving with a gigantic check…like the ones Happy Gilmore collected in the back of his car. Turns out that was the winning pro from the Malibu Triathlon. Malibu Triathlon? hmmm…ok….

Fast forward one year and now I’m finding out more about this great sport. The first thing I do is look up the Malibu Triathlon. I find out that the race is a BIG one and sells out immediately. The Classic distance was already sold out but there were still spots available for the International Distance. The only problem was that I didn’t think I was ready to a race that long. So I asked my friend Corey and my girlfriend Ashley if they wanted to do the relay. They both accepted and we had what is still one of the best triathlon memories to this date. It was just a blast.

Since that epic time one year ago, I wanted to come back and win this race on my own. It’s right in my back yard and such a big event that it just draws my attention…and I think it will for a long time.

Did I mention this is a huge race? Well it is…Saturday is better than Sunday but they are both packed with people. Getting there early is key. We arrived at just after 5am and barely made the parking lot. We had a hell of a walk to the race. I wasn’t able to ride in because I was with Ashley and Corey again as they teamed up once again (with Alison De Lucca as a swimmer) for another go at relay glory.

I arrived at just after 6am and started getting setup. A few minutes later, we were being asked to leave transition and it was closing. I was a bit rushed but no big deal. Everything was ready to go. I walked out to listen in on the prerace meeting and met up with my Dad and Susan who came down to spectate and cheer.

I must also mention that one of the things that makes this race so special is that EVERYONE I know involved in triathlon, cycling, swimming or running are all there. There is no way I could mention everyone I saw but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that came down to cheer and offer encouragement. It’s an early, cold morning and it means a lot to me and I’m sure other athletes that you take the time to come out.

Event warmup:

Walked down to the swim start with my CV Tri teammate Su Corti and got into the water for just a few minutes to get acclimated and loosen up the shoulders. The water was crystal clear. This is so rare for Zuma Beach. It was very cool to be able to see the bottom almost the entire swim. Got out and lined up in the front. Held my ears to shield me from the stupid canon they blast off in your ear….and we were off.


Coming out after a tough swim

As I mentioned, last year I did the swim as part of a relay…so I had a good idea what to expect. I lined up as far as I could to the right to make sure I had the straightest line to the first buoy. It was a little tough because there was a sand berm that extended about 20-30 meters out. So right when I went down to start swimming, my hands grounded and I had to stand and start dolphin diving again. Made it to the first buoy in like 3rd or 4th….not bad.

The next few hundred yards of swimming were simply a struggle to get back on course. Something was forcing me out to sea. I don’t know if it was a current or if I was just swimming extremely left. Every time I would put my head down for a couple strokes, I would start going left. I was like 50 yards outside the buoy line. I didn’t panic though and the stroke felt good so I just tried to inch my way over. Caught some feet about halfway but that didn’t last long as the person, in my wave, started fading and swimming too slow. So I went around. Finally able to get back to the buoy line and made the turn for home. Swim just “felt” slow. I feel I could have navigated better but not really sure how much time I lost…if any. I would say no more than a minute.

Short run up the sand and to the bike.

What would you do differently?:

Definitely try and stay closer to the buoys. My swim needs improvement. I come out of the water nicely in my AG, but I’m too far off the fast guys to start to contend for overalls. I’ll continue to work on it.


Coming out of T1

Very good transition. One of the fastest in AG. Slow from the top guys though. I do things in T1 that I can cut out if I need to. Things like putting my running watch on. I might have to rethink some stuff.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing….for now.


I felt really good leaving T1. Bike legs were there but I just had to keep them reigned in. My power was way too high at the end of the parking lot road and heading out to PCH. I dialed it back a little…but I also think it was just a function of a lot of turns and accelerations that accounted for the high avg once onto PCH. On PCH it is very easy to dial into whatever you want. My goal based on the last race and training was to be around 220…when I got onto PCH I was at 236….but that eventually came down.

Heading out

The bike was rather uneventful. I was never passed. I caught 2-3 people in my AG and was pretty sure I was in the lead by the turn around. I did recalibrate my PM at the turn around because the readings also seemed a bit high for the effort. I didn’t see much change coming back though. I would say it could have been 10 watts high going out…maybe. Not really sure though. My RPE was constant though. I was pushing the bike just a touch above what I would consider a run protecting ride. I was putting the run slightly in danger, but not much. No real hard efforts. Just a solid effort. I was hoping for around 1:03 but came in just over 1:04…ok not bad. I also almost perfectly split the out and backs…so I paced very well. Which is kind of hard to mess up riding with power.

Here are the numbers for those interested.

Entire workout (220 watts):
Duration: 1:04:06
Work: 842 kJ
TSS: 86.6 (intensity factor 0.906)
Norm Power: 226
VI: 1.03
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 24.906 mi
Elevation Gain: 591 ft
Elevation Loss: 598 ft
Grade: -0.0 % (-8 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 594 220 watts
Cadence: 19 152 88 rpm
Speed: 5.3 41.3 23.3 mph
Pace 1:27 11:22 2:35 min/mi
Altitude: 10 175 64 ft
Crank Torque: 0 666 212 lb-in
Temperature: 66.2 68 67.2 Fahrenheit

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This was a solid ride. I guess if I had to change something it would be to produce more power….lol. But that will come.


Last turn on the bike

Came back to the rack to like 5 wetsuits, including mine, hanging on my rack…I was like WTF is going on here. I just pushed them aside and racked and left…very good T2.

What would you do differently?:

Find out who decided to hang up all the wetsuits and punch them in the balls.


And here is where my day gets ruined. Everything going really well. I hit the run and the legs are sore. I come to expect this on Oly runs. The bike is hard enough and the run long enough to really make these hurt. As is the goal with every run I do, I just want to improve. My run sucks donkey balls in the grand scheme of things and I need to keep moving forward.

Off to the run....

I headed out and it was about 2 miles before some short out and backs where I could see the competition. Guess what, they were there and they were coming….ah shit. This isn’t going to be easy. I just kept trying to concentrate on form and cranking out the fastest miles I could do. I was going to make them work for it. At about mile 3.5, you hit the turn around….they were getting closer. A couple guys with numbers oh so close to mine. I figured they had to be in my AG. I kept looking down at my watch and my splits were good. High 6:30’s sometimes creeping into the low 6:40’s…that was the best I could expect.

I was caught with 2 miles to go by a 32yo…he was bummed. He said he was chasing me the whole time and didn’t know I was 5 minutes ahead…lol. Sorry bud! I just tried to hang with him and have him pull me along.

1 mile to go and I’m really hurting….and I start hearing footsteps….ah shit man….serious? All of the sudden, a dude comes sprinting by me. Obviously he wasn’t running that fast, this was just a move to break me. This is when I *think* I made a very bad tactical error. I was thinking, don’t let him break you…go with him! I started to sprint as well and hung on for about 400 yards and then started to fade with about another 400 to go. What I believe in hindsight that I should have done was let him go…and look dejected and beat up because I knew he would look back. My only shot would have been a sneak attack very very late. Maybe it would have worked and maybe not, but it would have been better than running myself into the ground too soon to be able to do anything at the line. I’m a pretty fast straight sprinter…I should have tried to use that.

Heading home....tough stretch

Ended up losing by 12 seconds…..ugh.

What would you do differently?:

I explained it above….let him go, let him slow a bit…and then sneak attack at the line with a mad dash hoping to catch him off guard.

Post race
Warm down:

Nothing….met my dad and friends and waited for Ashley.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I did my best and bettered my previous 10K Oly time by 12 seconds per mile (including standalone 10K’s which I haven’t run in a year)….which is substantial.

Event comments:

This was a very tough pill to swallow. I should also mention in the interest of full disclosure that Tim Hola was there but raced elite. He’s a top 35-39yo and finished 3rd at IM 70.3 WC last week in Vegas…he went 2:02:xx and crushed us. That didn’t feel good.

One thing the winner said to me that really made me feel like crap was “Hey, I guess the fast guys didn’t show up today”. That really hit me hard because he was right….or right and wrong. The fast guy did show up and happened to race Elite even though he is an age grouper normally. It really lite a fire under me to keep pushing to get better. I want to be up there battling with the best. Does that mean I want to go Pro? No…I started this far too late in life to get that very last bit that it would take to compete as a Pro. But I do think I can compete with the best AG’s. I do think I have what it takes to do that…so that is my goal. I know it will probably take a few years but so be it. I will continue to do everything I can to get there.

Again, I want to say thanks to all the folks that came out to support. Especially my Dad and Susan, the whole Fortius Racing Team, All the members of CVMM and LA TRI…and everyone else I’m forgetting. You guys are the very reason I enjoy this sport and want to excel at it. Thanks to my sponsors 101 Pipe & Casing, Inc, Kurt Orban Partners LLC, KSwiss and Wins Wheels. I would also like to happily report that Ashley, Corey and Alison podiumed in their relay with a 4th place! Ashley PR’d her 10K time as well…Love that girl so much. Brian Stover, my coach, is doing everything right for me and I am progressing faster than we both expected. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in all of this.

Oh, Ashley also took charge when I was rushing to go get setup and fixed the relay teams registration and ALSO fixed Coreys wheel cover in his HED9…she is getting good at race logistics!

Next up is SOMA Triathlon in Phoenix. I’m super excited to get out there again and see what I got!

About Dusty Nabor

I'm an Age Group triathlete out of Southern California...
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