Dan Escapes from Alcatraz

Hey ShokzSquad, Dan Cox here with an update from the other side of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon I raced on June 9th. Three months ago, I started my training journey to get redemption over my brother, Will, who beat me at this race six years ago. I restructured my training schedule and approach thanks to Coach Gareth, got fit for a new bike, and showed up on race day focused and ready.

So how did race day go? I’ll give you the quick story now, but you’ll definitely want to get the full story. Make sure to tune into The BibRave Podcast Episode 149 where I dive into all the fun details from race weekend! Spoiler alert: I beat Will!

THE SWIM

I don’t think I’ve ever felt better going into a race. I knew I trained well, and I felt very relaxed. Setup on race morning was around 5 AM, so I got there early, set up my stuff, and did a final gear check. Still feeling comfortable, I hopped on the shuttle, then the ferry, to get onto the starting barge. I know I’m a strong swimmer, so I wasn’t stressing about the swim.

The race is known for its epic start. Participants jump off a barge into the ice-cold water three at a time and swim 2400 metres to shore. My brother jumped off just ahead of me, and then it was GO TIME for me to jump in. It was a beautiful morning for the swim, and I felt lucky to be there.

A few minutes into the swim, I could still see Will. Midway through the swim, I could STILL see Will. NOT. GOOD. As a strong swimmer, this is where I was hoping to gain my advantage!  I swam strongly the rest of the way, and when I got out of the water, I looked around and was relieved that I didn’t see Will. And then...there he was! I was shocked, and pissed, to see him right on my tail during the transition! I rushed out of the transition area so I could get out ahead of him when I jumped on my bike.

THE BIKE

As you’ve probably read, the bike is NOT my strong suit. But I’ve been putting a lot of work into it to gain confidence, and it paid off! Especially with Will right on my tail, I needed every ounce of biking strength to get me through an extremely challenging, hilly bike course covering 29 kilometres of San Franciscan coastline. I concentrated on being safe, while also hammering, so Will wouldn’t pass me. When I pulled into the second transition, I was thrilled not to see Will. And then, just like the swim, there he was! A mere 30 seconds behind me at most. Ugh. We had ourselves a footrace, heading out to run together.

THE RUN

For the first time in our lives, Will and I ran together in a race. After heading onto the course together, we ran the first two 3K side-by-side. It was at this moment I started worrying if I was undertrained and I didn’t have enough to beat Will.

Finally, as we hit the infamous sand stairs, I saw a crack in his armour. Will started to fade, and I was still feeling great, so it was time to charge. I put in a push to pull away, and at the next turnaround, I was about 400 metres ahead of him so I couldn’t relax. The hammer came down again through the finish and no Will in sight! I had beaten him!

THE POST-RACE

Flying into the finish line was an incredible experience. Not only did I achieve what I set out to accomplish by completing this challenging race, but I also gained redemption over Will from our previous race AND walked away with a personal best time by over 20 minutes!

I was elated from my accomplishment, but the journey wasn’t just about me. Will was still out there, he had trained with me throughout the past few months and motivated me throughout race day. So I waited at the finish line for him, grabbed a race medal from a volunteer (sorry kid!), and was able to give Will his finisher medal when he came through about four minutes after me. It was an incredibly special feeling spending time on the course with Will and then giving him his medal.  

After hanging out at the finish line, we headed off for a breakfast feast and began thinking about what’s next.

Returning to The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon has been a HUGE goal of mine for quite some time now, and I am so happy to have achieved that goal! What are some big goals that you have for the future? Tell my friends at AfterShokz by tagging them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!