Hey all, it's race recap day! Seems that races are the only thing that motivate me to post these days…sorry about that.
I signed up pretty much last minute to race the Multisport Canada Series season opener in Woodstock, which is relatively close to home at only 45 minutes away. The Sprint was the longest distance offered, but they also had their Give-it-a-Tri as well as Duathlon options. I signed up for the Sprint (750m swim/20K bike/5K run) figuring it would be a great opportunity to put my offseason training to the test and knock the rust off my racing legs.
I arrived at the race site about an hour and a half before the start, so I had plenty of time to rack my bike and go through packet pick up. I was glad I was early as the pick up line got really long really fast. I snagged a primo spot on the end of the rack, literally step from the bike in/out, and got to the business of setting up transition. I was also able to meet up with all kinds of people and catch up a bit, so the time passed quickly. It was a cool morning, but the sun was shining and the water temperature was recorded at 20°C, so it was looking like it would be a great day to race.
Swim - 750m
13:35 (1:48/100m), 6/29 AG
I was in wave 2, so we set out 3 minutes after the first group left at 9:00. I had almost forgotten how fun the mass swim start was, but I was reminded about 100m in as I was clocked across the head and was forced to stop to fix my flooded askew goggles. There was a pretty good crush of swimmers until we hit the first turn buoy and then I was able to find clean water and get moving. There was a bit of a chop on the lake, but nothing too bad, especially after the turn. I was able to settle in to a good rhythm and cruised to shore at a much better pace. Overall it wasn't my best swim and I know I can do better, but it wasn't terrible.
Bike - 20K
34:51 (34.4km/h), 6/29 AG
I ran up the hill to T1 and peeled out of my wetsuit as quick as I could. I noticed that the rack was still pretty full, always a good sign. I strapped on my helmet, put on my bike shoes and then ran towards the mount line. T1 took 1:24, which is pretty good for me…I was pleased as everything went smoothly. As I got to the mount line there were 3 or 4 people stopped and trying to get on their bikes, so I just ran right through them and once I was clear I was able to make a flying leap onto my bike in one nice smooth beautiful motion (at least that's how I imagine it looked!). It wasn't a full-on flying mount as I still had to clip my shoes in, but it was much better than my usual stop-at-the-line-and-get-on method. As soon as you get on the bike there is a big hill to climb coming up out of the park and it is designated as a no passing zone. I had to hold back a bit, which really sucked because I have worked hard and become a pretty decent climber, while some of the riders in front of me well…not so much. I find it so tough to slow down on a climb and lose your momentum and then try to get it going again. Oh well. As soon as I was out of the park and able to pass I continued up the road nearly 5K to the first corner, a pretty nice steady climb. There was a pretty decent wind out on the course and it somehow seemed to be in your face the whole time, but it wasn't enough to really bother me. I was picking off riders throughout the course and only counted two guys that went past me, one of which was Strava buddy Luke who finished the race 9th overall. Luke went screaming by just after the turnaround and yelled at me, "Time to hammer Mike!". I thought I was hammering! I was able to get some great speed on the last 5K coming back to T2 as I rode hard on the downhill. Entering the park we were again subject to the no-passing zone, but at least this time the only rider in front of me was moving quick as well. I got my feet out of my shoes and swung the leg over to make a solid running dismount…my Dad would be proud (he always makes fun of my crappy mounts/dismounts, so I had to work on them just for him).
Run - 5K
19:33 (3:54/km), 3/29 AG
T2 was a breeze, nice and uneventful…in and out in 57 seconds. The run was a 5K out and back and we covered all kinds of surface. There was grass, dirt, gravel and a little bit of pavement mixed in when we crossed over the dam. It was a tricky course as there were plenty of twisty narrow sections with two-way traffic which made it difficult to pass. I had been warned about the run though and that it was a tough setup…but it's the same course for everyone out there. My legs felt good as I had maintained a high cadence on the bike and I was off right from the get go. First kilometre clocked in at 3:55 and I was able to keep pushing it from there. I moved through the field scoping out ages on other runners calves…I felt great and had plenty of people to chase down, something I haven't had in running races in quite a while. I loved having that motivation to push harder! I put down a 3:47 second kilometre and cruised through the turnaround in under 10 minutes. I had one goal coming into the race and that was to go sub-20 minutes on the run…I was well on my way.
There were still a few people out in front of me on the way to the finish line, but I was also encouraged by the runners on their way out on the run…lots of familiar faces offering words of encouragement to help me keep pushing on. I managed to keep every kilometre in the 3:xx's and as I turned into the finishing chute I gave a big kick even though there wasn't anyone there to kick with. It felt great to finish strong!
Official Time - 1:10:19
33/361 OA, 6/29 AG
Very pleased with the effort and the time…nearly a 5 minute PR for me in the Sprint distance. I just wish that my age group wasn't so deep! It was a great day out in Woodstock and I was able to have a good race and take away a few lessons learned as well. Clearly there is still room to improve on the swim, but I was moving good once I found some clean water…need to get used to swimming in the washing machine . I was also happy to see that the higher bike cadence worked to keep the running legs fresh…19:33 on this course is a big mental boost going into future races.
Congrats to all my buddies who raced as well, there were good results all around! Big thanks as well to the volunteers and Multisport Canada who always put on an excellent race.
As for my race calendar, next up is Guelph in a couple of weeks where I'll take on the Olympic distance Tri…already looking forward to it!
Thanks for reading, cheers.