Just three weeks ago I completed Ironman Mont Tremblant, but there was still work to do with one last race on my triathlon calendar. My final triathlon of the year was the Olympic race at Lakeside, which is relatively local as it is just east of London. Lakeside has a Sprint race as well as Kids races on Saturday and then on Sunday there is the Olympic along with a Give it a Tri. MultiSport Canada runs season long series and I needed one more race to qualify for the Olympic+ series…they take your top 3 results in races that are Olympic distance or longer and crown age group champions at the end of the season. With a decent result I would be in good shape to win the series for my age group so I decided to sign up and give it a shot despite the heavy post-Ironman legs. Training was somewhat non-existent leading up to the race as I only had a couple of swims and just one bike ride, but I was getting out running a bit more than I had been during the Ironman training (something that has made me happy…I’ve been feeling disconnected from running for a while and it feels ‘right’ to be back at it). This race was going to be interesting, I really didn’t know what to expect going into it.
I arrived at nice and early with plenty of time to get a great spot to rack my bike, set up my transition and say hi and catch up with friends. It was a very cool morning (only 15º), something we haven’t had in a long time in these parts. I chatted with one of the officials and he commented that wetsuits would probably not be allowed as the water temperature the day before for the Sprint race was 28º. I was hoping that I could wear the suit with the air temps being so low, but I wasn’t worried if they weren’t allowed…I have enough confidence in my swim that I knew I would be fine. Non-wetsuit might even be an advantage for me.
Swim - 1500m
24:21 (1:37/100m), 1st AG
The wetsuit call was made and to most people’s relief, they allowed them. I headed down to the beach to get a quick warmup in and to scope out the two-loop swim course. I was in the first wave and we took off at 10:00. I positioned myself all the way to the far left and went out hard. It wasn’t long and I had some nice clean water to work with and by the first turn I could see that I was up at the front with about 7 or 8 other guys. The swim at Lakeside is fairly weedy, something a lot of people complain about, but I actually liked having the weeds just below my fingertips…they were a good reminder to maintain my form (or else I would get a handful of the stuff) and as a bonus it made me feel speedy as I saw the weeds zip by below me. We made the second turn to head back towards shore and I decided to close the gap on the guy right ahead of me. A few good strong pulls and I was on his feet, allowing me to catch my breath and settle in again. I always find it hard to gauge my effort when I’m riding someone’s wake in the swim, but this felt way too easy. I decided to pop out and go around him and the effort was minimal…good decision as he was slowing down. I made the turn through the start line to begin my second loop and I swam the rest of the time all on my own. There were still a few guys ahead of me but they remained just out of reach. My hands started grabbing sand and I popped up to run it in…one of my better swims of the year as I was 5th out of the water.
Bike – 40K
1:07:26 (35.6kph), 6th AG
T1 was my typical 1:04…I always seem to be right around the 1 minute mark. I set out to take on the 40K bike course, complete with wind and rolling hills. Right from the start I could tell my legs really weren’t feeling it. I wasn’t ‘slow’, but they just didn’t feel right. I pushed with what I had and kept the cadence high and managed to hold off the charging pack behind me through the first 10K. After we turned north I started to feel the wind a bit. It wasn’t too bad as there were some treed sections that blocked it and I just tucked in a bit tighter to try to minimize the impact. A couple of guys rode past but I was still holding my own. We turned east and were able to get a bit of a push from the wind, but the wind wasn’t able to help me when my crank decided it didn’t want to turn anymore. I tried to back pedal in an attempt to free it up to no avail so I had to come to a stop and get off the bike. That’s a get-off-the-bike issue two races in a row now after never having a problem before. I thought maybe I had dropped the chain and it was stuck but that wasn’t the case…figuring that it was probably bearings I gave the bottom bracket a bit of a knock to try and free things up and that seemed to get things moving again. A couple guys zipped by me as I was going through my troubleshooting and looking back at my ride details it cost me a little over a minute. Again though, I stuck to my seven year old’s mantra…”You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” I didn’t let it bother me as it was out of my hands at that point, but I guess I’ll be looking at that bottom bracket in the near future. I was able to catch and pass the two guys that went by me but the bigger pack was now a minute closer and a few of the stronger cyclists were able to get me (I’m looking at you Zindine!). I kept pushing with what I had but between the mechanical and tired bike legs I knew it just wasn’t my day. I made the turn back towards Lakeside and took on the rollers, which seemed like mole hills after Tremblant. Back into transition, but not before one more bike gaffe…as I went to slip my left foot out of my shoe I ended up pulling my shoe right off the pedal. I managed to get it back clipped in and dismounted well enough, but the shoe must not have been quite in as it went flying across the road once I crossed the dismount line. I yelled back and asked a volunteer to get it off the road for me and they obliged, even tossing it over the fence to me at my rack during transition. Thanks volunteer!
Run - 10K
41:47 (4:10/km), 2nd AG
The temperature was warming up a bit and the sun was shining…really great conditions for a nice 10K run. Judging by the empty racks in T2, I knew I was still up towards the front of the pack. I took off for the two-loop run and started picking of relay runners and duathletes right away. The run here is great as it is on a nice dirt road…really easy to run on. There are a few potholes to look out for but I’d rather that than running on hot, hard pavement. Just before I hit the first turnaround I saw Zin coming towards me from the other direction…he yelled something at me basically saying he wanted me to try and catch him. The volunteers at the water station got a kick out of it and it gave me a bit of motivation. I dug in a bit and picked up the pace. Heading back to the start turnaround I saw teammate John coming (easy to spot each other in the Team Sheri jerseys) and we nailed a picture-perfect high five. He’s in his first year of racing and looked great, getting better every time out. I hit the start/finish turnaround and set out for lap number two. My legs were really feeling good now and I was finding my groove. It helped that there were a lot of other people on the course which gave me motivation…I was cheering people on as I went by and feeding off of the energy they were putting out. I made the last turn and began the run back to the finish. I was picking off plenty of people now and moved past Ryan Van Praet and his guide Steve Moore. Ryan is a blind triathlete who is training for Ironman Florida this fall…it is so cool getting to race with him, what an inspiration. He is tethered on both the swim and the run to his guide and they ride a tandem tri bike like a couple of bosses. They went by my like I was standing still on the bike and took home the fastest bike split of the race. He looks like he’s going to do great at IMFL! Next up was the eventual race winner Jim Sunners…Jim is in his 50’s and shames the best of us with his fitness. Very impressive. I went past Jim with less than a kilometre to go (he started in a later wave than I did) and gave him a cheer…he just yelled something about how I better not be on my last loop :) I came up to the turnaround to cheers from some familiar faces in Loe and Scott, then headed down the chute to finish up the day. I crossed the line in 2:15:37, which was good enough for 8th overall and 1st in my age group.
With the age group win I was assured of enough points to win the series as well, so I had achieved the goal I set out for myself. It was a great season and I thoroughly enjoyed it, with podiums in every race not named Ironman Mont Tremblant. Thanks to everyone for their support this year and thanks to MultiSport Canada for hosting such a great series right here in our own backyard…we are so lucky to have local races all summer! Thanks for reading, cheers!