Tri-Shasta is just one hour and 15 minutes away. That's the key here: we need to support this race next year with everything we've got! The Redding people were also thrilled to have another option available that does not involve three hours of driving. It was mostly Redding folk there, other than my family, Laura V, Liam and his family, and a couple others I'm forgetting.

Oh, and Tammie Watkins' bike was there; it did quite well considering the new owner had never done a triathlon before.

Now for the race part... Water temperature was high 60's low 70's or so, quite doable without wetsuits. They started Women and Children first, 10 minutes before the men. Liam — remember I mentioned Liam was there? He's 11 — Liam was the first one out of the water! Awesome job! I started my swim too hot, trying to hold on to a couple of refugees from this year's St. George Ironman, tired quickly and ended coming out of the water 4th, 5th, and 6th.

Yes, 4th, 5th, and 6th... I should probably explain that. The start was on one side of the community center at a sandy beach. The swim finish was on the other side, on an extraordinarily slick boat ramp. I got to thigh-deep water, put my feet down, slipped back. I swam in again to knee-deep water but could not stand at all. I tried crawling up the ramp: no good either! It was just too slick. I eventually did a sort of penguin belly-slide breaststroke up the ramp until the water was six inches deep, then dragged myself out with my hands when they reached dry ramp. But apparently only the CENTER of the ramp was this slick: people were passing me on foot on both sides!

Once I got out, I blasted through T1 and started the bike in 5th. The bike is about 12 miles of "mixed" terrain, mostly good pavement other than about 2 miles of chipseal in the middle; but mile 2 is a brutal hill. Really brutal: I was pedaling squares at under 5 mph when I caught the 4th-place rider. Coming back down that hill at the end was sketchy: I was riding both brakes hard just to keep it to 45 mph. Finished the bike in 3rd.

The run (4 miles) starts flat, then has a vicious hill at mile 2 just like the bike. Totally different route, but there you go... It's about like Lone Pine trail in terms of grade, but double-track. I caught the 2nd-place runner there. The rest of the run is pretty flat and fast, other than a sharp downhill just before the last mile.

I kept asking "How far ahead is he?" as I passed aid stations on the run, and they'd just laugh. That's a bad sign... I came in 2nd, by about 6 minutes.

I should have come in 3rd. The other St. George Ironman refugee I mentioned was in second and closing on the bike leg when a course volunteer stepped directly in front of him on a corner. He was ok, but she was unconscious; so he kept her breathing until the medics arrived. And yeah, he would unquestionably have beaten me: he was so far ahead when the accident occurred that the firetruck got there before I did! Once they took over he gave a police report and then took off after me again; and he nearly caught me still! Last I heard she's ok, but they flew her to the hospital to get more carefully checked out.

Laura finished 3rd of the women with Kristi in hot pursuit. Liam finished very well, way ahead of anyone else in his wave. Stefan had a sharp lesson on the importance of fueling during a race, and finished DFL. He finished, though. They offered him a ride home on the last half of the run, which I am proud to say he refused.

So... Next year, let's show up for this one in force! Small race, but fun and friendly; we should really support it.