7 Tips for the ING Escape from Alcatraz

The Escape from Alcatraz is one of the world’s most famous triathlons. Here are 7 quick tips from professional triathlete, Rachel Sears Casanta.
Casanta will have raced ten Escape from Alcatraz events when she crosses the finish line on May 2nd, 2010.

Running from the fog.

1. Leave your rings at home on race day. Cold water will make your fingers constrict and those once perfect fitting rings will quickly become loose on your fingers. Don’t risk losing your wedding ring, engagement ring, class ring or family heirloom to the deep, dark waters of the San Francisco Bay!
Sounds kind of mundane, but imagine how your day could be ruined by loosing your jewelry during the swim.

2. Keep swimming. If you don’t see kayaks or water support to your immediate left or immediate right, you are in the middle of the field and presumably on a trajectory that will eventually get you to shore. Keep sighting on your preferred landmarks, but keep moving, you will get there! Remember that the athletes directly in front of you will have already been carried towards the Golden Gate bridge by the currents. Adjust your own sighting accordingly.

3. Wear toe warmers on your cycling shoes. The neoprene covers create a barrier to the air flow through your shoes and will help your numb toes warm up quicker.

4. Plan ahead as to when you will take in nutrition on the bike. The bike course is fairly technical by triathlon standards and get get congested along the way. It is easy to get caught up racing and focusing on your bike handling. Possible places to take in fuel including Marina Blvd and Golden Gate Park.

5. Anticipate your gear shifts. There are numerous points on the bike course when shifting into too large of a gear can be detrimental to your momentum. Also, not shiting in advance may significantly affect your ability to a) actually get up a steep hill or b) reduce the speed at which you can get up and over the incline. Ride the course before race day. If you can’t ride the course, try to drive the course. Know that parts of the bike course are not navigatable by automobile, but at least you’ll have a better lay of the land.

6. Keep your head up on the run course.  It is easy to zone when you are tired or very focused. Watch your footing (roots, rocks and everything from pavement, gravel, grass and sand and stairs) and choose a run shoe that works well for you in these varied conditions. An off-road racing shoe like the AVIA Stolz may do the trick.

7. Be sure to take the opportunity during the race to soak up the beauty of the course. Whether it’s a moment during the swim, taking in the views as you descend/climb Lincoln Ave or the gorgeous sights seen along Baker Beach, soak it up and be grateful for what your body is able to do!

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