What appear to be ripples are actually many, many swimmers! A well organized array of bikes and clothing awaited their cyclists. The first half-cyclist was on her way by 7:40am, and the first of the full triathletes was heading out before 10am.
The Californiaman Triathlon and its half-sister, Caliman Half, selected the City of Davis as its permanent host in 2005, but abandoned it by the following year when the event was also downgraded to a half-triathlon. After its inaugural event in May 2004, event promoters were approached by Mad Cows Racing Team's Californiaman liaison Mary James, who proposed the idea of considering Davis. The team put forth Davis' "...rich history and an active participant base of triathletes and other endurance athletes.... Athletes will discover a very receptive town, with numerous organized swim workouts and training pools, a fantastic network of bike and running trails and healthy restaurants you could literally take an airport shuttle to town and never need a car for your entire Californiaman stay." With Davis' tremendous large organized triathlon, cycling, running and swimming clubs and overwhelming initial support from local athletes, city officials and 6-time Hawaii Ironman world champion Dave Scott, the Davis City Council voted unanimously to host the event in December 2004.
The original Californiaman included a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run — competitors had 17 hours to finish the race and cutoff times were applied to each segment of the race as well. Professionals competed for $15,000 while relay teams competed for $5,000 going to the top three teams.
The inaugural 2004 Californiaman event was held in Folsom with nearly 1,300 athletes ranging from 18 to over-80. The 2005 event took place September 17 beginning at 7am and was expected to sell out quickly with a maximum of 1,000 half-distance and 1,000 full distance racers competing simultaneously. The 2005 course included a swim in the Port of Sacramento after which competitors stripped down to cycling attire before heading across the Yolo Causeway toward Lake Solano County Park, similar to the Winters race ride course, then back to Davis. The bike-run transition and finish line were at Civic Center Park in downtown Davis, capping off a flat, scenic run along Davis' bike paths. A kid's triathlon was held in conjunction with the event as well as a Californiaman festival village. The youngest ironman in the 2005 event was 16-year old Nathan Muldoon from Merced while the fastest split time for swimmers was marked by a Matt Roper of the UC Davis Tri Team. By 2006, the event relocated to Morgan Hill and was held June 11 of that year.
See Bicycling Activities and Clubs for other bike-related events.
Competitors began stripping off wetsuits as quickly as possible after leaving the water. Volunteer strippers were available to help athletes transition from swim to bike. Some experienced triathletes were able to change and get on their bikes within two minutes!