7 Key Questions to Answer Before Racing the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

The Escape from Alcatraz triathlon is one of the most famous triathlons in the world. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful city of San Francisco, this 1.5 mile swim, 18 mile bike and 8 mile run endurance challenge is favorite triathlon of many! While training for Alcatraz requires special focus and dedication, choosing the proper equipment and understanding how to safely and effectively take on the course are all keys to a successful escape.

If you are signed up and committed to ‘escape’, here are 7 quick (but very important questions) you’ll want to be prepared to answer to be ready to ‘escape’ on race day:

1. What equipment will use choose for the bike? Road vs Tri/TT bike? Gearing? Wheel Selection?

2. What gear will you use for the swim? Full wet-suit, sleeveless? Neoprene cap, double swim cap? Goggle choice?

3. Given the varied run surfaces what is the best shoe selection to best navigate the 8 mile run course?

4. What are the key landmarks to sight off of during the swim? If you know the names of those landmarks, will you recognize them from water level while swimming in the San Francisco Bay?

5. What is the best way to prepare for the cold temperatures of the San Francisco Bay waters?

6. How can you train effectively for the technical aspects of the bike course?

7. What are effective training methods to be ready for the infamous sand ladder?

For over fifteen years I have been coaching athletes to successfully escape on race day.  I have coached hundreds of athletes from all over the world to their best possible race day experience. For 2016 I have updated our 12 and 16 week training programs to get you ready for race day. Unlike many training plans, our Alcatraz triathlon program includes coaching support via Q&A throughout the program. Athletes also receive 16 weeks of newsletter full of tips and guidance to most optimally prepare for racing in San Francisco on this most famous triathlon course.

Take the guesswork (and worry) out of your preparations.

Updated for 2016:

Sign up today for the 16 week (starts 2/22/16) or the 12 week (starts 3/21/16) training program.

You will ESCAPE!
-Coach Rachel Casanta

-Rachel Sears Casanta is a full time endurance sport performance coach and former professional triathlete. She has competed in 10 Escape from Alcatraz triathlons, including an age group win, three podium finishes and seven professional starts. Known for her blistering bike splits and runs, Rachel works with self-motivated athletes who are committed to giving their own personal best effort in life and on the race course.


I escaped! – 2013 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon –

The 30th annual Escape from Alcatraz triathlon took place on March 3, 2013 in beautiful San Francisco. This multisport adventure is one of the world’s most beautiful and most famous swim-bike-run events. Each year Hypercat Racing and coach Rachel Casanta helps guide athletes from all over the world in the preparations for this event. Her “Alcatraz triathlon” training plans are used by first time Alcatraz participants and podium finishers alike with great success. Below is a note from one of this year’s Hypercat Racing Alcatraz triathlon program participants.


I wanted to thank you for the plan you provided us to prepare for the Alcatraz race.  Despite arthroscopic knee surgery in November, a hip flexor injury in January and a bad case of respiratory flu in February, I made it through the race under my goal time of 3 hours.  I credit the plan you put together for much of what I consider to be a very successful race.  Thank you…and best of luck with the remainder of the 2013 season!

Tim Thompson

Best Bike Fit in Northern California.

Best bike fit at Hypercat Racing

Best bike fit at Hypercat Racing

Coach Phil Casanta has conducted more than 1,000 bike fits over the past twenty years. Getting his start at Avery’s Open Air Bicycles in Ventura, CA during the 80’s, “Coach Phil”  has earned the reputation in the San Francisco Bay area as one of the best and most desired bike fitting experts. Coach Phil has conducted basic and advanced bike fits at various bicycle retail stores including Marina Cyclery, Start to Finish Bicycles, Pacific Bicycles and Transition Sports.

Over the past eight years, Coach Phil has offered his bike fit services exclusively from his studio at Hypercat Racing.  His services are ‘advertised’ by word of mouth and are sought after by athletes ‘in the know.’  Members of  the Golden Gate Triathlon Club and San Francisco Triathlon Clubs, look to Coach Phil to fit them annually in preparation for a wide range of events including big name events like Wildflower, the Escape from Alcatraz triathlons, San Francisco triathlons, Vineman and Ironman events.

Below are comments from two Hypercat bike fit clients that were posted on the Hypercat yahoo group this week.

I had my bike fit by Coach Phil and it made a huge difference. Not only was I more comfortable in the saddle but my power output also increased. This service is well worth it.
-M. Fleming

Just to add my two cents worth to the bike fit issue. I have had a number of bike fits over the years and recently, after moving to CA, four different fits with Coach Phil on four different bikes (tri, road, combined road tri, & commute). Just want to reiterate what Mark said, Coach Phil is the ultimate professional, taking whatever time in takes to get it perfect. Not only will you feel more comfortable and have better power output, you will also be less likely to get injured. It is definitely worth it to have a professional bike fit.
-H. Goodman