Knowing that you are living in Utah and coming to Santa Cruz for the next 4 months changes the gameplan a bit.
Since I live in San Jose California, it is only 40 mins from Santa Cruz, so please stop by for a visit. If you are on Strava then lets connect, if you are not on Strava then you should sign up asap. It will help your training by showing workout stats and pretty graphs. Being on Strava will also help you expand your triathlete circle of friends and reinforce social commitments. When you see your friends working out you are more likely to do one as well.
I've done most of the triathlon races in California at least once, so if you have a question about a specific event you have in mind, don't hesitate to ask for a recommendation.
Chris asked if I recommend indoor training. The short answer is: absolutely! The long answer is a lot more complicated when it comes to the actual set up, choosing the right trainer and program.
The most beautiful race in California (if you are willing to drive):
Toughest race at the most beautiful place...