July 12, 2015

Race Report -- Sydenham Triathlon, Super Sprint

July 12, 2015 
200m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Breakfast: Sbucks bagel and cream cheese, tall 1% chai, water, some of my Skratch bottle

Finish time: 1:13:36 (1/23 OA, 1/4 AG, 1/30 men and women)

Wooooooooooyeahhh!!! Today, I had my first OA win -- and also came in ahead of all the men, which was a nice bonus. I've been close before, but I was really pleased to finally pull it off.

Smiles and swag (and sweat... lots of sweat)

I decided against driving down to Sydenham (near Kingston, about 1.75 hrs from Ottawa) the day before. My car's been giving me issues, so I figured I'd throw the extra $100 at that rather than at a Motel 6. Besides, my event didn't start till 10:00, so as long as I made it there before kit pickup closed at 8:30, it was all good. I'd get up at 6:00, throw on my suit, top up my tires, hit Starbucks for drive through breakfast, and be on my way before 6:30. Except that's not exactly what happened... let me start by saying:

Never touch your bike before you've burned off the early-morning stupids.

I discovered that the fastest way to empty your tires of every last drop of air within 1.5 seconds is to push the schrader end of your pump against the presta valve on your tube. Now you know -- in case you ever want to do that.

No problem, still got out of the house in time to keep to the schedule. Except when I got to Starbucks, it turned out they didn't open till 6:30. So I kind of did that hovering by the door thing, watching the baristas move around inside till they opened the doors. OK, still recoverable. Munching my bagel, I hit the highway with a little extra getup-and-go -- and proceeded to miss the exit to highway 7. Really? Anyway, I did eventually make it to Sydenham, find the venue, get my race kit, rack my bike, and settle in.

Bright start to a hot day in Sydenham
It didn't take long for the sun to get uncomfortably hot. I'm currently sitting here at 7:30 pm, and the humidex is still at 37. It was stinking hot out today. There, that's out of the way. I was the first super sprinter in the water to warm up, mainly because the lake was so beautifully cool. This is the first race I've ever done without a wetsuit -- yes, even the 200m swims. Don't judge... I love me some free buoyancy, alright? There were dozens of small fish cruising around, and when I stopped in the shallows and stood still they started to gather around my legs. Some looked intrigued by my shiny blue nail polish. Before a feeding frenzy could ensue, I meandered over to the start line.

Swim split + T1: 7:46

You'd think that 200m would be a piece of cake, given that yesterday I swam 3k. However, despite positioning myself well at the line and feeling good during my short warmup bursts, I was soon getting passed and feeling thrashy instead of strong and smooth. This is not new for me, but it's frustrating that while I can swim at a leisurely pace for ages, things go to hell as soon as I pick up the pace. On the plus side, I don't have to flip over on my back anymore to keep breathing.

Mercifully, the swim was over quickly and I started running as soon as my feet found land. I passed a number of folks on the run to transition. Unfortunately, at least 3 of them passed me back when a lens popped out of my sunglasses and I had to pause to get it back in. This was not the day to be biking and running with no shades. With everything finally sorted, I headed out on the bike in 5th place.

Bike split: 39:41

Personal best on the bike! I finally broke a 30km/h average speed, which I'm really happy about. Though the course was open to traffic, vehicles were mostly very respectful and gave a safe amount of space. I took the lead near the end of the outbound leg -- which I wasn't sure of at the time, as I didn't know how many people had beat me out of transition. The turnaround was slightly confusing, as I had interpreted from the course map that it went all the way to Perth Rd. so I had the flashing light at the intersection in my sights as I initially blew by the actual turnaround. Heading home, I tucked down small on the downhills to try to ease off the legs without giving up too much speed. I kept pushing to the end of the course, knowing I would need some breathing room to hold off faster runners.

Run split + T2: 26:09

I hustled through transition, cramming half a waffle into my mouth and chasing it with a couple of gulps of Skratch. I don't carry anything on the bike for the 20k distance, and I normally don't take in any food for this race distance. But with the heat, and the fact that my two previous days had contained a 2 hr ride and 3k swim respectively, I didn't want to push my luck. The run course along the Cataraqui trail would have been lovely, had it not been for the oppressive heat. I kept reminding myself that everyone was running in the same conditions. I passed a bunch of people, but until I reached the turnaround I still wasn't sure of my position. Honestly, I didn't fully trust it even then, as there's always the possibility someone's wearing the wrong colour bib. I got passed only once, by a woman in the Oly group. That sounds pretty good on paper, but I felt pretty wretched and would have preferred to be doing something other than running at that point. Everybody on the course, and even after the finish, looked like I felt. With a seemingly endless 500m to go, I glanced over my shoulder to see if there was any sign of someone catching up. There wasn't. I kept going as best I could all the way across the finish line. I wanted to run the best time I could, but also frankly... the sooner I got there the sooner I could stop.

Somebody get Todd a snowcone, stat!
Accepting my award from Christine and one of the awesome volunteers

Celebratory dinner, even got most of my body marking washed off first


  1. Congrats on an OA win! That's super exciting. Way to push through despite the weather and some big training/racing days beforehand!