Carlsbad Triathlon
May 23rd, Carlsbad, California

This race comes a good time in the season, if you're a Californian. As for those of us up on the ranch, we've so far competed in a pair of races (World's Toughest Half and Wildflower) which, taken in their totality, consisted of one full Ironman contested in a temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit, with about 20,000 feet of vertical. We needed something short and balmy. The Carlsbad Tri is it.

Furthermore this isn't just any triathlon. This one has an awful lot of people—well over a thousand. There's a pretty decent pre-race expo, plenty of volunteers.

The City of Carlsbad puts on its own race. How cool is that? What if every city with a swimmable body of water split up the workload as follows: "Okay, your job is to fix the potholes, you run the police department, you over there, you take care of fires and emergencies, and I'll put on the triathlon. That about wraps it up."

If you're lucky, you'll end up at a race where Gurujan Dourson will give the pre-race meetings. They're neither long nor boring, and they're rife with colorful examples. He was saying, "There's drafting, and that's bad, and there's crossing the centerline, that's worse, but there's nothing as bad as the guy who gets a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct." As he then turned around and pointed at me, I snapped this photo.

Be careful, though, because on race day the mild-mannered Mr. Dourson dons the uniform and, armed with ticket book, heads out to bag his limit. "Penalty Dourson" we call him. This is not a USAT race. Here, when the catch you drafting, they cite you and you have to return and appear before a municipal judge (no, not really, but not a bad idea, eh?).

Speaking of cops, aFu

re there enough to marshall the roads? There are so many of them controlling traffic at this race, Monty and I thought this would be a perfect time to rob a bank on the other side of town (we figure the cops are all over here working the race). Then you'd do a quick change into race clothing and get away on a tri bike, with the money stuffed in a camelback. Pretty crafty, eh?

When you finish the race, you go straight to the post-race food area and put on the feedbag. Lots of stuff here. And the results? This is the only race where you cross the line and by the time you're out of the finish chute your name is up there with your time and place beside it.

Okay, perhaps we're giving more credit to the timing crew than it's due. But Ken, an old cycling buddy of mine, owns the timing company and he can popsicle-stick-time a race better than most others can chip time it (he chip times this race, though he liked it better in the old popsicle days, because of all the popsicles you had to eat in order to get enough sticks).

And while I'm coming clean on my embroideries above no, we don't call him Penalty Dourson.

Also nice about Carlsbad is the strong field for the pro race (results). You get a lot of good athletes here, what with so many of them living within 20 minutes of the race start. It's always nice when you can wake up, go to the race, finish, and are back home in time to take mom for Sunday Brunch. That's why perennial winner Michellie Jones comes just about every year. The men's race used to be dominated by Spencer Smith, but he was off racing the Disney Half and Aussies took most of the top spots.

Next on the schedule is the 7-person running relay around Lake Tahoe. Click here for last year's Party Tour coverage of this race.