Oakland Triathlon Festival – Preview to the Preview

It’s almost time – we are officially 16 days out from the Second Annual Oakland Triathlon Festival.

I have been really distracted since the Sandman. I was working on a run foundation all last week, hitting a solid two-mile loop for five days, but this week has been negligible at best. I swam hard on Sunday, and haven’t done much of anything else (active, at least) since. I have been diving deep into other exciting things, but unfortunately that precluded my race preparation.

What does this mean? This weekend: all Oakland, all the time.

Love. The. Logo.
Love. The. Logo.

I am fortunate enough to live in Oakland, and live less than 15 minutes away from the start/finish lines for the race at the end of the month. Unfortunately, our Oakland Triathlon Club-planned-preview for this weekend has been temporarily cancelled. This weekend is “The Town’s Half Marathon,” a cool new off-season half marathon through my favorite parts of the city. I wanted to volunteer, but unfortunately cannot due to the above “other exciting things” (I’ll share, eventually – for now it will remain under wraps). My preview plan will be limited to scoping out the swim and transition, and doing the ride and run on Sunday. I may do the run Saturday evening, too.

Here’s my preview to my preview of the course.


Packet Pick Up will be held Thursday evening and Friday. Since this is a Saturday race, the logistics of this were a little funky for me, so I threw my hands up and took Friday off. I’ll be attending a pre-race meeting and strolling through the Expo, so if you’re there, come say hi.

Transition opens at 5:00 am. OTC should have reserved racks, but it sounds like my teammates are even more punctual than I am – planning on a quarter-til arrival.

Start is at 7:00 am, and the waves run three minutes apart, with sprint starting first and Olympic starting at 7:30. It sounds like the Aquabike divisions will start with the age groups in the sprint waves.



The swim is in the Oakland Estuary – the water in between Oakland’s Jack London Square and Alameda. For those of you unfamiliar, Alameda is actually an island next to Oakland connected by tubes and bridges. According to the race organizers, we will be swimming at either a slack tide (no movement) or an ebb (water flowing out of the Bay). Basically, the current is our friend for the swim.

I’ve heard mixed reviews of the swim. From pictures last year, the exit looked… hard. Big boulders and getting a hand from volunteers. Knowing my on-land coordination, odds are I’ll fall back into the Estuary and bring a volunteer with me. Sorry in advance.

Don't mind me, just swimming through this boat.
Don’t mind me, just swimming through this boat.


Not looking forward to this. Quarter mile run from the swim exit, up stairs to cross over the railroad tracks, back DOWN stairs and out to transition. Have you tried running in a wetsuit before? Ugh.


The bike is not necessarily the most, uh… scenic? ride of Oakland. I am absolutely looking forward to cruising up Broadway without cars or lights to worry about! That ride can take forever, and is a little scary on weekend nights. What’s that you say? What are you doing on weekend nights? Why, believe it or not I do have a social life. Not a big one, but it exists.

I’m actually looking forward to the Port section of the ride. I know the railroad tracks pretty well, so I feel like OTC’s homecourt advantage will be pretty evident during this portion. I am a little concerned about avoiding other racers who don’t know the course, because if they crash, and I crash, I’m probably out.

Olympic is 2 laps; Sprint is one.

Ah, the scenic route. Everything but Broadway is either old residential or industrial.
Ah, the scenic route. Everything but Broadway is either old residential or industrial.


Should be super fast!!


The run course was adjusted for this year to follow the water up to Lake Merritt! This is definitely when I wished I was doing the Olympic course, because they get to (have to?) run all the way around the Lake. We’re just cruising up to the bottom of the lake and turning around.

To get back down to the finish, we do have to go back up onto the bridge from T1. I’m a little worried about these stairs – I’m going to want to run up them (trip), and I’m going to want to run down them (is someone in my way? Did I SERIOUSLY just fall again?).

Oh look, Lake Merritt! Just kidding I'm gonna turn around.
Oh look, Lake Merritt! Just kidding I’m gonna turn around.

Final Thoughts

I’m hoping the lesson here is to take the race as it comes and enjoy the ride. I’d like to PR, because I think this and Monte Rio are pretty similar in conditions, but let’s see come race day!

Are you racing?! Let me know!

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