I woke up to rain. Not good. I could also feel sore muscles from a Boot Camp two days before; either the glute bridges or hamstring curls on the Swiss ball had taken their toll. I wanted a good breakfast – a protein shake with Zico coconut milk water, hazelnut milk, real milk, Manitoba Harvest hemp powder and almond butter beside oatmeal with Greek yogurt and wild blueberries.
I had packed the night before and even pumped up my tires and the race didn’t start till 10:00…. I had plenty of time, right?
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but my 7:45 planned departure became an 8:00 one, and the 90 minute drive ran into 100 thanks to a bathroom break on the way.
My wife was with me; I figured there wouldn’t be much for spectators to do and everyone but me should stay home, but she wanted to cheer me on and my mom had come over to watch the kids – so I had my favourite roadie/cheerleader along.
By the time we parked the car and I had my race kit picked up, they were calling for athletes to clear the transition area, and I had somehow lost my timing chip, much like I had the week before at the Kortright Centre (though I left that part out of the recap). Luckily in both cases it was short-term loss and the chip was found.
And yet I still hadn’t found my way into transition. For security, they were giving everyone bracelets that would be keyed by bib number to each bike so that athletes taking bikes out after the event could be verified. I figured I’d cross that bridge when I got to it, and snuck under one of the fences. I racked my bike, grabbed my goggles, swim-cap and wet-suit (leaving my earplugs behind) and exited the transition area without having done any organization or setup, though apparently my transition bag (which I’ve used in at least half a dozen races) was a violation that they let slide in the interest of time. At least I wasn’t the last one out, or the one to hold up the whole race…
I got to the swim start and nearly literally ran into my friend Steve and his wife Andrea. They wanted to see me put on my wet-suit while wading into the water; challenge accepted. According to them, Lakeside is quite the nice venue for families when the weather is nice; I’ll have to make a note of that for next year. They were doing the relay and swimming in a later wave, so they helped me zip up (and get the sleeves high on my shoulders) seconds before my wave took off. Being at the back of my wave didn’t seem so bad considering I had no idea where I was going; I’d need to follow the crowd as best as possible.
Once my face hit the water, I settled in mentally – I was at the start of the race on time, and here to enjoy myself. Being insecure about the navigation and everything else made me pop my head up to sight too much, but I think there was a little extra adrenaline for keeping a good pace. I think I had managed to get to the front of my wave of yellow swim caps by the time we could put our feet down. (Swim Time: 16:12)
I exited the water and the run to transition was really short. I think my legs felt somehow, I could almost describe myself as feeling woozy. I even lost my balance taking my legs out of the wet-suit and fell on my butt; which is exactly what I was trying to avoid given the wet grass and mud around. The T1 transition was going to be extra-long, I had made my piece with that. Getting my Garmin sorted out, finding my shoes, etc. gave me lots of time to get my bearings, catch my breath and start confidently. Except for how cold it was and the fact that I don’t own arm warmers or anything like that. I’d have to ride myself warm. (T1 Time: 5:20)
I’d been worried about the rain not only for the sake of being cold and wet, but also for safety. I’d heard a co-worker had broken his collarbone entering transition at a race a few weeks before and couldn’t even lie down to sleep for all the pain he was in. The rain had stopped fortunately, and though we had to exercise caution, the ride never felt precarious, especially given that there weren’t many turns involved and it was a relatively flat course for long stretches (though not entirely free of hills – what fun would that be?).
I heard my name being called by someone about to pass me – it was Phaedra of Blisters and Blacktoenails! If you don’t know her from her blog, just check the podium at a given Ontario race, she’ll be there. Needless to say I expected to be passed by her, I’m just glad that it was on the bike course where we could spot each other and say hi instead of the swim where there would be no recognizing each other. She’s not just fast, but she must be perceptive to recognize me (we’ve met all of twice) – I wasn’t wearing my race bib. Still thinking of the wet roads, I told her to stay safe and watched her pull further and further ahead. I toyed with the idea of trying to catch her once, just for kicks, but it proved hard with some of the blocking and drafting that was going on in the pack I found myself in. I’m tempted to name and shame since I still remember the bib numbers of the worst offenders, but instead I will just say, that it’s very romantic that you two want to ride as a couple, but this is a race that actually has rules against riding side by side like that. I kept Phaedra in sight longer than I expected to, which still wasn’t that long. After the turnaround I took a gel, and but my concentration wavered on the latter half, which may be why I averaged less than the elusive 30 km/h on the race. Averaging 28.7 km/h isn’t too bad given the general state of my conditioning, though (Bike Time: 46:48)
|Coming into T2
T2 is always simpler than T1, even when you’re completely disorganized. I had my Zoots along, so it was easy to slip off the bike shoes and into the run shoes (no socks) once my helmet was off.
I ran out of the transition area, and promptly stopped, snuck back under the fence, and went back, because while I had ridden the bike without my bib, I knew I wanted it for the run. The timing mats counted my first exit, not my second, but I started my Garmin according to the second attempt; more on that later. (T2 Time: 1:59)
|So fast the camera couldn’t catch me… except in those pics above where it did.
The dirt road was pitted and there were times you had to avoid deeper mud, so nobody seemed sure exactly what part of the road we were supposed to run on, luckily we had it all to ourselves. There was a young girl who must have twisted her ankle and was crying pretty badly around 2 km in; luckily she was about 50m away from an aid station so help arrived quickly. I took water or whatever carb-electrolyte drink they were serving (they said Gatorade, but I don’t think so) every time, but I used the little breaks to make sure I had a good aggressive pace, especially on the last 2 km. My Garmin said I got a time of 27:10 for the 5km which is not a personal best (within a triathlon), but pretty close (I did 24:31 at the Muskoka Sprint of 2011). (Run Time: 28:54)
I was happy and proud to be done. The post-race food was pizza, but I really love the chocolate milk the most. I got cold fairly quickly, so we opted not to hang around, though it would have been nice to socialize a little more. I managed to talk my way back out of transition with my bike by showing my bib and body marking (by then I was wearing a hoodie and track pants to stave off hypothermia) and I made the long drive home with a smile on my face.
I owe another thank-you to my lovely wife, who’s support not only makes racing triathlon possible, but her photography is what makes this recap possible! Thanks, my love!