Santa Barbara Aquabike 2012

Santa Barbara Triathlon (Aquabike)
Santa Barbara, California
United States
Santa Barbara Triathlon
65F / 18C
Total Time = 1h 54m 45s
Overall Rank = 3/71
Age Group = All
Age Group Rank = 3/71
Pre-race routine:

This race has become a staple on my calendar. I just love the location, atmosphere, and course. So many friends do this race that it makes it much more than just a race. It makes it a very social affair and that’s something that some of us in endurance sports really try and seek out. I don’t choose to go out on Friday nights, or any nights for that matter, and that makes training a lonely endeavor. When I get the chance to be social in training or racing, I try and take advantage of it…just to try and remain sane at some level.

Normally I get a room at the hotel located right across the street from transition but this year I decided to just drive up the morning of the race. Back in March I was battling a stress fracture that sidelined my run for several months. I decided back then to not do any running races or triathlons until September. This meant I was going to have to skip this race…but then, in a stroke of good luck, the organizers added, for the first time, an Aquabike option. Same swim, same bike but then you get to just run through the finish line…ahhh….so perfect. It also took quit a bit of stress off the race for me and that’s when I decided to just drive up the morning of. Turns out, it probably would have been better to get a room. Our wave was the LAST wave to go at 7:45. This meant I had a ton of time to sit and wait around. Ah well…I walked around and chatted it up.

Before swim warm up

Event warmup:

Warm up consisted of a short run in my wetsuit and then a quick swim to get the muscles working, juices flowing and get acclimated to the water. It was very warm by this races standards. I’ve been really working hard on my swim and bike since the stress fracture and I was really hoping to take home the overall win in this division. But, as usual, you just never know who’s gonna show up. I’ve got a LONG way to go before I stop worrying about the random fast guy to show. I’m just not in that league….yet.

00:22:55 | 1760 yards | 01m 18s / 100yards
Age Group: 5/71
Overall: 5/71
Suit: blueseventy Helix
Course: Rectangle ocean swim
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average

I took off quick relying on my fitness to be able to settle in. I mean, I was swimming fast and was only able to manage 4th to the first buoy. I wasn’t expecting that. Looks like some fast swimmers were here. My only hope, they don’t know how to bike. lol. One guy after rounding the first turn absolutely took off…I mean, adios, see ya later. This always makes you question your pace when someone makes a complete fool of you like that. I didn’t know at the time but that person turned out to be Mike Shaffer. If you have a second, google that name and everything will make sense. The chop was “medium” I would say but it was very distracting and difficult to maintain a good rhythm.

Swim Start

After we rounded the first buoy, I was going back and forth with some other guy. A lot of times you can tell how “good” someone is by their equipment and this guy looked the part. Sometimes this is good to pay attention to, especially in the swim, because it’s a safe bet when the dude looks like a kook, he’s probably way over his threshold and you don’t want him to take you with him when he’s just going to blow his wad 500 yards in. It was apparent I wasn’t up against this as we traded spots several times throughout the swim. He was on my inside when we got to the turnaround and I tried to force him to crash into the buoy but he held his line well and we continued side by side. Drafting was never an option. Being the last wave, we were constantly swimming through previous waves. It was really tough navigating through the people. We were holding a very fast pace and would come up on people in a heartbeat. I would take a breath and be on someone’s back. I didn’t mean to but I was there before I could even look.

After about 2/3rd’s through my swim buddy put in a surge and came out about 13 seconds ahead of me. He would turn out to be the eventual winner. I came out of the water 5th…and I thought throughout the swim I was in 3rd. Couple guys must have gone by at some point.

Exiting the swim

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I had a great swim. Knocked ~2.5minutes off last year in tougher conditions. My swim split would have been 2nd out of the water in my AG in the triathlon and I obviously wouldn’t have swam any different if I were racing the full. Still though, I was about 1.5 Min’s off the fastest swimmers in the tri. I would like to close that gap over the next year.



Very solid transition…I did have an issue getting on the bike which I’ll touch on it the bike segment.

What would you do differently?:


01:29:41 | 34 miles | 22.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 3/71
Overall: 3/71
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: ~2000 of climbing on this course. Great tri course.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 87
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right

Bike out

So getting on the bike I had one of the weirdest sensations that I have NEVER had happen before. When I hopped on, both calves cramped. It was so bizarre. That made havoc getting my feet into my shoes because I had such little control. Thank god I had the new Specialized SWorks Trivents as they are sooooo easy to slip on. Once I got my feet in and tightened, I was totally fine. Very strange.

Just getting into the bike course

I decided to take the first ~10 mins of the bike kind of easy. I need the warm up otherwise my legs get really sore. I took it easy through the first neighborhood and over the freeway and didn’t really start putting down power until Sheffield Dr. As with the swim and being the last wave, the bike course was packed. I was constantly passing. Everyone did such a great job staying right and passing was not a problem. The roads were extremely wet from the mist and fog. I knew that there were going to be a ton of crashes. It was one of those day where you would just go through a corner and all of the sudden be on the ground. I was extra careful knowing that a crash could come from just normal didn’t even need to make a mistake.

My race plan for the bike was to cruise the flats and downhills and really go for it on the three climbs. That’s about the worst way to ride a tri course if you need to run but it is the fastest way around. It just usually leads to a high VI and ruins many a run. Didn’t quit go as planned. I did go for it on the hills but I think riding at threshold the whole time kind of zapped the big horsepower out of my legs for the climbs. I guess I wasn’t really cruising the flats. It was ok though. I think I got a lot out of this ride. My bike fitness is really high right now and my time was what I expected. Watts were a little lower than I expected and my VI was more in line with a triathlon bike leg at 1.06…which would have been awesome if I was doing the whole thing. I guess my TT riding style is so engrained that it is tough for me to vary power much on the top end.

Bike Dismount

I pinned it the last few miles knowing I had a shot of breaking 1:30 and I almost took out someone on the bike course…I had to give him the old “WHOA WHOA WHOA” as he started to move over. Then I hear, “Sorry Dusty”…haha…turns out it was my friend ChrisM. Figures the one guy I almost kill, knows me 😉

Coming into T2

I ran through the finish line and saw the first two standing there who beat me by a couple minutes. I was very disappointed.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Great bike for me. I had one of the fastest splits in the entire race.

Post race
Warm down:

Nothing…I never warm down…lol. I just hung around after the race with my friend James Adams and his wife. James is a Wattie athlete that I got to meet in person for the first time. This was his first time at this race and he took 2nd in his AG with a 59min run….so sick.

After the race

Event comments:

So, takeaway from this race. My swim and bike have improved so much. I entered T2 a full 8 minutes faster than last year. I would have been right up there with the top guys in this race at least into T2. Now I know I don’t have a 58-59 min 10 mile run in me at this point. So contention for an overall is out of the question at this time. But I would have been right there for the AG win with a mediocre run and a vast improvement over last years time. The big question is, could I have run effectively after this ride? My gut reaction based on how I felt, I could have.

My VI was in line with what I would shoot for on this course if I was running. My power was only a little higher than what I would have shot for if I knew I had to run. What my coach and I came up with was that I slightly under performed on this bike and my bike fitness is so high that it’s almost difficult for me to dig a hole on the bike right now that I couldn’t run off of. I mean, yeah, I could ride the first few minutes at 400 watts and completely blow up…but if I just ride “hard” I think I’ll be ok.

So rather than speculate and be scared of messing up a run, we are going to test this theory at Malibu. I’m going to race like there is no run and see what happens. I could very well be walking at mile 3 but if you never try, you’ll never know. You have to be willing to blow up in order to find your limits. Again, I’m not going to go out there and try and set a course record, but I am going to ride “hard” and see what happens. No power goal, just blitz it. If I blow, so what…we’ll learn more through that than if I go out there and ride to protect my run. Let’s see what happens….

As usual, I’d like to thank my sponsors, Wattie Ink, 101 Pipe, Kurt Orban Partners, and Wins Wheels.

A big shout out to those who have contributed to my improvement and continue to do so. My coach, Brian Stover who continues to inspire me and provide me with the best guidance I could ask for. Nancy from CVMM and Gerry Rodrigues from Tower 26 who have helped my swim so much over the past year. My training partners from CVMM, T26, Fortius, CVTri and Wattie Ink. I owe all of you.

Running is coming along well. I’ve got a big September lined up with Malibu Tri, Leadman 125 and LA Tri all back to back to back. I’m so excited to be back.

Awards – 3rd Overall

About Dusty Nabor

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