The Half Moon Bay Triathlon

NB. I didn’t do this race. I’m not a triathlete. But the Husband did it, as part of his training for Ironman Vineman in July. I’m posting about it because it might be useful for anyone investigating this race in the future and also because I like talking about races, especially when I get to sit down, drink coffee and catch up with friends during the race!


Ironman Vineman is 3  1/2 months away now. Not long, really. The Husband hasn’t done a triathlon since last Spring so it was time to get back in the game! We were excited to discover that our friend Matt was also doing it, so the Dude and I could catch up with Amanda at the same time! Result.

Matt's in blue, Amanda's in pink, the Husband is in dark blue and I'm the midget!
Matt’s in blue, Amanda’s in pink, the Husband is in dark blue and I’m the midget!

The course is based at Pillar Point Harbor, north of Half Moon Bay. The swim takes place along the jetty in the harbor. The bike ride goes down and up Highway One , the run goes down and up the coastal path along Highway One. This meant that on both the bike and the run, there could be a BIG headwind/tailwind situation and we weren’t sure which direction would get which! It would be a hot day, especially for the coast!

The Husband’s goal was to assess his training, practice stringing the whole event together and if possible to beat his Olympic Distance time from Folsom Lake, the equivalent ‘test’ triathlon he did whilst training for Ironman Canada. That time was 3.21!

We were late getting there. Not ‘LATE’ but ‘later than we had hoped in order to ensure a stress free arrival’. As we arrived (at about 6am for a 6.50 start) the parking situation was already chockablock. The Husband pulled over, emptied the car of tri-stuff and I drove off to find a parking spot. I found one very easily but had to cough up $10 for the privilege! Worth it, at 6am. So bring money, people!

It was a much bigger event than we had expected. There were many events over the course of the morning, from the Olympic tri which the Husband was doing to paddle-board triathlons to duathlons and a very popular super-sprint option. So transition was bustling!! Transition is also a good 0.3 – 0.5 miles from the swim start down on the beach so by the time the Husband was all set-up, it was time for him to go down to the start! It’s an open-water start which means swimming out 30 metres or so and treading water, but before long, the Husband’s white-cap wave was starting and he was off.

HMB tri sunrise
Sunrise at HMB
husband HMB tri
HMB tri
Two different approaches to a Sunday morning!

We found Amanda and her dog Pepper very quickly and spent the swim catching up! I haven’t seen her for ages so that was brill. Having company as you spectate makes for a much better morning. Before we knew it, Matt was heading out of his swim and we waited for the Husband. Being a breast-stroker, he was one of the last out the water but also one of the more identifiable swimmers, bobbing his head up and down the water. I spotted him   easily and got a photo 🙂

tri HMB swim Husband

T1 took a while. The water had been brutally cold so he spent some time in the ‘hot tub’….

HMB tri

…and had cold hands for getting ready for the bike. A guy in transition next to him had to ask him to do up his helmet for him, his hands were so frozen!! But before long, the Husband was heading out for the bike! We spectators regrouped and headed to the nearby cafe for breakfast. The sun came out, we started to warm up.

husband amanda spectating HMB tri
Cheering Squad…one of whom was still in PJs

HMB HMB tri husband

Matt came in and set out on the run. A little later, so did the Husband! We positioned ourselves along the final stretches of the run and cheered everyone on. Lots of inspiration coming past us, including one mum pushing her daughter in a ‘Team Hoyt’ style wheelchair – Amanda and I suddenly found we had something in our eyes! Matt flew through and then, finally, the Husband was coming too! He crossed the line in 3.28.

husband HMB tri


husband HMB tri

Pretty good morning’s work!

Notes on the event:

  • Well organised, no real flaws.
  • Get there in decent time for parking or take $10!
  • It was busier than expected with more events than we’d known about, so be prepared for that.
  • The water was FREEZING!!
  • There’s a long run from the swim finish to T1. 0.3 miles uphill. Take shoes down to the water for that section and also a little drink!
  • It got hot out on the bike course and the run course, neither of which had any shade! Be prepared. Wear sunscreen!
  • Lots of sand on the road during the bike course. Beware! There were enough aid stations and they were fine!
  • Surprisingly little head/tailwind this year!
HMB tri
Not quite sure how to caption this fashion moment…

6 Comments Add yours

  1. gracechua31 says:

    Oh man. I thought the Vineman event wasn’t Ironman-branded, but then did a little search and found the Vineman events were acquired last year. (I have mixed feelings about the giant monopoly that is the Ironman brand.) Sounds brisk…brrr!! I am glad you put that last pic last because you just can’t unsee it; it would’ve distracted me the entire way through.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yes, Vineman got taken over. Like you, I have mixed feelings about that but I can’t deny they do an excellent job running the events. And I’m delighted to have caused a stir with my last photo 🙂

  2. Angela says:

    Man, yesterday was a hot one!! Good job IronHubs!

    1. Cathryn says:

      He thanks you kindly.

  3. Jen says:

    Congrats #ironballz! Glad you got a chance to catch up with Amanda too.

    1. Cathryn says:

      It was so good to see her!

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