September 02, 2014

Race report -- The Canadian triathlon, super sprint

August 30, 2014
Swim 200m, bike 15km, run 5km
1:07:53 (3/38 OA, 3/9 AG, 13/74 men and women)

Short version: this was a fantastic day. My two little ones did their first event, the weather was great, and we stuck around to volunteer afterward. Now for the long version...

I started right at the front near the buoy, and this swim was the scrappiest I've experienced so far, in terms of body contact. Nobody seemed too fazed by it though, there wasn't any hitting or grabbing... just a lot of people occupying the same space. The clear area ahead of the front row didn't last long, and swimming in a sea of bodies rather than water, I wasn't able to find a rhythm. Looking on the bright side though, look at all these feet to choose from! Eventually the field spread out a little, and somehow I lost all my drafting possibilities. I managed to keep from hyperventilating, just barely, but I didn't feel nearly as strong as I was in Brockville where I had more open water (and frankly, more time in the water leading up to the race). On reaching the beach, I took off at the fastest run I could manage -- knowing I couldn't afford to give up so much as a few seconds anywhere on the course in this strong field. The run to transition at this venue is long, and cruelly uphill.

Swim + T1: 8:53, goal under 10:00
(last year 10:13)

On the bike (you probably would've figured that out without a caption)

Had a reasonable transition, and wasted no time on the run out to the mount line. I knew I would have to go hard on the bike -- I pushed the gearing into the big ring, crouched into aero, and started picking off cyclists. The first part of the course was very crowded. The male super sprinters had started 5 minutes before us, and the back members of that pack were carrying a relatively slow speed. Some were also clearly not used to the "keep right unless passing" protocol. This combination made the first few km a little hair-raising -- this was exacerbated by a course marshal on a motorcycle who put himself in the middle of the melee, on a downhill curve, doing about 25km/h (not fast enough to avoid hindering passing cyclists). At the turnaround, I lost precious seconds clipping back in -- I've developed a habit of unclipping my inside foot on my tri bike at tight turnarounds. I don't feel as maneuverable on it as I do on my road bike, and I also almost dropped it on the last of 4 turnarounds at my first event this season. That spooked me a little. I really need to stop doing this... It totally wrecks my momentum (I had to re-pass 2 people after the turn). Ugh! The return portion of the bike leg is slightly uphill, and was also into the wind on this day. Tough mental game when you know you have to push hard on the bike, and you've also got to run a fast 5k afterward. Kathy greeted and then passed me around the Bronson bridge, asking if I knew how far ahead Lucie was. I had no idea. Careful to dismount before the line, I hustled back to transition... still racing while running with my bike, not wanting to give up any time.

Bike: 31:15, goal 30:00
(last year 31:36)

T2: 1:36, goal under 2:00
(last year 2:05)

I passed Kathy in transition, but it took her less than a km to regain her lead on the run. A fellow   OTCer, Rachel, passed me at about 1.5 km. I saw from the back of her calf that she was in my event, but not my age group. Even so, I was pretty sure only Lucie and Kathy were ahead... So the battle was on for 3rd place overall. I was skeptical that I'd be able to stick with Rachel let alone pass her, but that became my goal. Did she ever make me work for it. She would get 10 feet ahead, 12... Then I'd grit my teeth and pick it up for a few steps to close the gap back up. I wasn't sure I could sustain this, but I knew I'd either do it or spend every last calorie of energy trying. I shadowed her all the way to the stadium entrance, then spent the last of my reserves in a final kick -- succeeding in making the pass only a few steps before the finish line.

Run: 26:10, goal 25:00
(last year 27:54)

Hard-fought finish
So that's it! My second triathlon season is done and in the books. This season saw my first 1/2-Ironman, my first Olympic distance, and speed improvements at the super sprint distance over last year's results. I'm happy with the results I saw from my training, and grateful to finish the season injury-free. What's next? I've made a list...

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