2022 Stanford Treeathlon Triathlon Race Preview and Tips
This preview will focus on the Open Age Group (Classic) race. There are also Collegiate and Draft-Legal races going on that same day.
First, the good news. You can sleep in! Open Men are at 11:30am (under 40) and 11:45am (over 40) and Open Women at 12:00pm. Registration and parking was fairly smooth last year. The slight complication is transition area closes at 10:50am. This means if you plan on riding the course beforehand you're not actually going to be "warm" from the bike warm up by the time the race starts. Nevertheless I suggest setting up your transition and then rolling out at 10:30am for a look at the course to be back just in time before you get kicked out. I would actually recommend bringing a second pair of running shoes to do a run warm up in after the transition area closes. Also, it's quite a long walk to the swim start (especially if it's raining like it was last year) and you could use the old sneaks to do that and discard them at the swim start.
The Swim (650m)
The water will be cold, it's just a question of how cold. You can check the current water temp here. I recommend long sleeved wetsuit, thermal if possible, and a neoprene cap to wear under your swimming cap to keep the heat in. Booties are legal in triathlon and they make them specific for swimming but for such a short swim and the importance of the transition I'm not sure that trying to pry them off with frozen hands is worth it.
You're not allowed to swim in the area before the event but you do get about 15 mins before your wave to swim around behind the start line. Also, it's a deep water start. You line up between a buoy and the pier.
Tactically, you want to get around the first buoy pretty quick for the left hander then it's a straight shot to the wharf. The buoys can be a little hard to spot as they are sometimes hidden by the boats, but you can't go too wrong because there's a bank on your right and boats on your left. The best line is to hug the piers to the left. There's a long-ish run to T1 but would still recommend going bare feet than messing around with shoes or flip flops at the exit (which you're allowed to do).
T1 is a pretty straight forward and easy to navigate parking lot situation. It's a short race which means the transitions are key so practice doing it the fastest way.
The Bike (20K)
Dead flat. There can be some wind on the out and back section. The road surface is generally OK but as mentioned I recommend riding a lap before the race just to get to know any bumps or holes. There are some speed bumps on the in and out sections which you need to bae careful of. They aren't steep but I nearly threw myself off the first one one year being a bit too aggressive on the aerobars.
The course can get a little congested, especially for the later waves, so if you're a faster rider be prepared to be "communicative" so people stay on the right, or stay to the right if you're getting passed. The far end hairpin especially can be tricky with athletes slowing down to turn. Another complication is the 4 laps you have to do. You'd be surprised how confused you can get. A good way to double check to keep track is to have distance on your watch and when you get to about 18-19K you know it's time to turn right and head back to transition. Also get to know the entry back to T2 and pick a landmark where you're going to start getting your feet out of your shoes.
The Run (5K)
T2 is easy and then you're out on the run. Again, completely flat but can be windy. It's out and back so you'll have a pretty good idea where you are in the race. Again, it can get a little congested on the bike path so keep your head up. Just make sure you know the last half mile to time your glorious sprint finish!
Results and Prizes
For $100 the race is not bad value. The long purple Treeathlon socks are disappearing this year and it will be Sock Guy socks this year but is probably the most prized article of the race! The last two years it's taken a while for presentations to actually take place. I've won Specialized bar tape two years for winning my age group. Very handy and more valuable that a plastic medal...