On Sunday Michelle and I got up early and took off from the cottage to go take part in the Goderich Triathlon about an hour's drive up the coast of Lake Huron. Michelle would be taking part in the Duathlon while I was taking on the Olympic Tri. We had never done this race before but had heard good things about it from a number of people and were looking forward to seeing some new sights.
We were on the road just before 6am and arrived at the race site just before 7. We had plenty of time to rack our bikes, pick up our race kits, etc as well as say hi to a few people who were also racing or had made their way up to Goderich just to cheer us on. This was our club race for the year so there were plenty of familiar faces out there on the course as well as a London Triathlon Club tent stocked with ice cold water, which would certainly come in handy on a hot day like this.
Swim - 1000m
20:26 (2:03/100m), 3/12 AG, 11th Overall
Rough swim. We started at 8:30 and the waves were crashing pretty good right away. This was one of those triathlon swims where the best way to describe it is swimming in the washing machine. All of the Olympic triathletes started together in one wave and there was plenty of crashing and banging out towards the first buoy. The water was rough right from the start, but as soon as we were clear of the breakwall it got really tough. The waves were large enough that they would slam you in the face and I'm light enough that they would pick me up and drop me at times. The water itself was beautiful though…nice and cool and an amazing shade of clear blue. It was tough sighting with the waves and the early morning sun, but I "only" added an extra 65m to my swim based on my Garmin, so I kept it fairly straight. As much as the swim was rough and tumble, I actually enjoyed it. Once I was able to just settle into a decent rhythm I was fine. I lost the fast feet just before the first buoy but I managed to keep them in sight most of the time. Overall I was happy with this swim.
Bike - 42.5K
1:17:56 (32.7kph), 3/12 AG, 10th Overall
An uneventful T1 (that's always a good thing) had me in and out in 1:21. I hopped on the bike and immediately had a long climb up the hill from the beach. The temperatures had already started to climb as well and it was hot by now. The sun was beating down and my legs were in for quite the hill workout. I knew that there were some hills on this course, but I didn't realize that it was basically all climbing (over 1100 feet). Usually I am good with the hills, but this was tough. I can bounce right up a regular hill just staying in my big ring no problem, but these hills went on and on and on and on. Even when you got to the top of the hill it would keep going! I had no choice but to drop into the small ring on a few of them. I normally aim to ride the bike course around 35kph, but that simply wasn't in the cards with this course. I still managed to keep it close to 33, which is over 20mph, so that is pretty solid. I managed to hold my cadence in the 95-100rpm for most of the ride, averaging 97 overall…just keep spinning I passed a few people, a few people passed me…nothing too exciting really, just a lot of hills. The most exciting part of the bike was my dismount (which you can see in the picture above). We finally have a good downhill section but it is coming back down to T2 at the beach, with a sharp left-hand turn ahead and volunteers yelling at you to slow down. I slipped my right foot out of my shoe easy enough, but when I went to tug the heel strap on my left shoe to get my foot out, the entire shoe came off in my hand! (again, see photo above ) The left pedal also happens to be the side I dismount on, of course. Smooth.
Run - 10K
48:02 (4:49/km), 5/12 AG, 13th Overall
Ugh, the run. Still the leg of triathlon that needs the most work (funny, isn't it?). I started off the tri season in June with a sub-20 5K run and a 40 minute 10K, but my last 3 races have all been in hot weather (upwards of 30ºC plus humidity) and I have been just sapped on the run. The worst part is that my legs feel fine…I get off the bike and I'm able to run well, but the heat just beats me down. Goderich was more of the same and I'm really going to need to figure this out for next season. The run itself was beautiful…we ran up the beach hill and then darted off to the rail path, which is a chip & dust trail that is great for running on. Quite a bit of the trail is shaded which at least kept the sun off of us. Of course, this is Goderich so that meant climbing the whole way out to the turnaround. As I turned onto the rail path I saw Michelle up ahead of me completing her second run of the day. I came up behind her and gave her a little kiss on the shoulder and wished her well…she yelled at me that I better not pass her again or else I would need to carry her the rest of the way. She was looking good though and finished up well. I went out hoping to hold the pace around 4:30/km and was doing a decent job of it up to the 5K turnaround, coming through 5K in 22:55 (4:35/km). Once I hit the turn though I was done…the heat was really getting to me and I was starting to play mind games with myself. My brain kept telling me to stop and take a walk break, it was okay, blah blah blah. I knew this was coming and I pushed it out as best as I could. I decided that I would walk through just one water station so I could actually get a whole cup down and another to pour over my head and I stuck to that plan. I was really encouraged to see a bunch of my teammates coming through on the run course and we cheered each other on…there were lots of great results out there for a bunch of people I knew! Eventually I made it off the trail and back onto the road where I gave it a strong finish line kick. I heard Tom yelling my name and knew the finish chute was just around the corner and I cruised through in 2:28:51. The time was good enough for 6th overall and second in my age group, much better than I had expected after the strugglebus run.
It was a tough day but in the end it was a fun and successful day. Michelle did great too and made a podium appearance taking 3rd in her age group woot woot! The race itself is very well organized with plenty of great volunteers. It is a tough course but it is also a beautiful course…I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a challenging race. A nice surprise at the end of the race was a food truck was set up and was offering free breakfast sandwiches to all athletes…what a great post-meal snack!
Couldn't beat the support we had from the London Tri Club as well…the shade of the tent (and the ice-cold water) was such a relief after the race and it was great having Tom, Nancy, Catherine and Richard all make the trip from London just to cheer us all on. And thanks to Tom for all the great pictures! I stole most of the ones here from him
Now it's time for a little race break as I have just over a month to get in my final training for the Barrelman Half Iron in Niagara Falls. Time to work on getting my run straightened out!
Thanks for reading folks!