Hollywood’s Tri: The 2010 Malibu International Triathlon

The Nautica Malibu Triathlon is considered to be THE L.A. race to attend. Each year, dozens of celebrities come out to show their athletic prowess and commitment to fitness by racing the short course, sprint distance race on Sunday. David Duchovny, Terri Hatcher, J-Lo, Matthew Mcconaughey and countless others have been seen at the event over the years. So many celebrities come out in fact, that the organizers have established a celebrity-specific division.

Because of its popularity and offering both sprint and olympic distance races, then event takes place over an entire weekend, Saturday being the Olympic distance and Sunday being the sprint. This year was my first time attending the Malibu Nautica Triathlon and I opted to participate in the Olympic distance race on Saturday. An Olympic consists of a 1.5k swim, a 40k bike ride, and a 10k run. My goal going into this race was to get a new personal best at that distance and finish with a total time of around 2 hours and 22 minutes.

The day started off with a Lemans-style start from the sand, sprinting into the water, then turning North around a buoy a couple hundred yards out, and then swimming nearly a mile along the coastline before rounding the last buoy and heading to shore. I got a solid start as well as a good line to the first buoy. After that, I quickly found a rhythm that worked for me. I stayed on a pretty straight line and never strayed too far from the buoys (a problem I have lost time from in the past). I came out of the water in just under 30 minutes, not an amazing time by any stretch but I wasn’t terribly disappointed.

From there, I made quick work of the transition area. If there is one thing I have gotten pretty good at in triathlon over the last 5 years, it has been transitioning. This is a skill I have been trying to pass on to my wife as well but it is not going as well. This is ok though because whatever she lacked in transition speed this last weekend, she more than made up for with a lightning fast run.

The bike course turns out of the Zuma Beach parking lot and heads North on PCH. The undulating hills are just mellow enough to allow one to keep a good pace, and just steep enough to make sure your legs still sting a bit. About 9 miles into the ride, Jeff, a good friend and teammate of mine came speeding up from behind so I picked up my pace and we paced each other for 5 or 6 miles before I watched him slowly drift ahead. After he got a short lead out in front of me, I came up on another rider named Sean. Sean is a guy I continue to see every time I race in Southern California. He is a phenomenal swimmer but I seem to be a stronger cyclist, so I am always catching him at about half way through the bike on every race. While there are thousands of triathletes in Southern California, the community of racers is still pretty tight, so these kinds of run ins and development of friendly rivals are not uncommon.

I came in off of the bike, made quick work of T2, and then got out onto the run in hopes of chasing down, passing, and putting timebetween my friend Jeff and I before the finish. The run course is very flat and with the exception of one or two 10 to 20 foot climbs, it should have been a course I could have really laid down the hammer. The first mile did not feel good. I was hoping to consistently run 6:35 minutes/mile but just couldn’t get my heavy feeling legs to turn over that kind of pace. I followed Jeff’s grey and orange Team Poseidon tri kit as long as I could, but he was on fire and no matter how much I tried to tell my legs to make chase, they just didn’t want to do it.

At around mile four, my legs started to feel a little better and I felt like I could have kept getting faster and kept running for another ten miles. I guess that is just my body getting more conditioned for Ironman Arizona than it is for shorter distance races right now. As with any race that I don’t meet my goals, I constantly analyze why things happened and how I could have made a difference, and the days following Malibu have been no different.

I crossed the finish line with a final time of 2:31:18. This wasn’t near my goal time but I was still happy with the performance on the day given where I am at with my Ironman training. My wife, Elise had a good day as well and in spite of having a small mechanical incident on the bike, she managed to PR at the olympic distance by 30 seconds, get 7th in her age group, and had her fastest 10k split ever, averaging 7:20/minute miles.

I would definitely recommend the Malibu Nautica Triathlon for either the sprint or the Olympic distance. The event was well organized, the course was well equipped and stocked at aid stations, the schwag bag was well stocked, the course is pretty fast, and there was a good community of racers in attendance.


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