July 2006 Archives

NOT a Training Ride

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My plan for today was to ride the bike paths around the city. In places, the traffic is almost exclusively bikes, but along the waterways there are a lot of runners, bladers, and walkers. I'd been meaning to ride from home to the river for a while, but so far I'd always gone south, away from the city. Today, it was time to head for the city. As a result, rather than aiming for a tempo ride, I'd be taking it leisurely.

I also brought my camera. If people thought south of the city was nice, wait til they saw what happened as I went north.

(Warning, long load ahead.)

What Racing Teaches

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My wife needs the vehicle pretty much all this week, so Monday I brought a couple of changes of clothes in to work. The plan was to try to bike commute to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The advantages to the plan were less gas, less inconvenience for my wife and family, and the training the commutes would provide. The drawbacks....

The forecast called for rain yesterday and today. I shrugged it off, the way I shrug off running in winter. When I woke up on Tuesday, it wasn't raining. The forecasts predicted no rain until 8am, so I wolfed down my breakfast, and was out the door just before 6am.

By 6:05, it had started lightly raining.

By 6:08, the rain was moderate.

So there I was, already wet from the spray from my tires, thinking that I really didn't want to be there. It occurred to me, though, that there woud be no hiding from the rain. I was already a few kilometers out, and the forecast called for the rain to increase, not decrease. There would be no waiting out the rain. There was no shelter, only my destination. It became my mantra - no shelter, just my destination. I had no choice but to go forwards.

In a way, I reflected, it was just another tough training run. You're uncomfortable, you need to run to the end, but then you're done.

By around 6:20, the rain was back to light rain, and I wasn't noticing it anymore. By around 7:00, I was at work, and ready to reward myself with a hot shower and change of clothes.

Though it was sunny by the time I was ready to leave work, I wasn't looking forward to the ride. I was tired, in an "I've exercised enough" way. I got on my bike, took it easy, and made it home. No sprints, no attacking the hills, just a commute. Then I showered, ate dinner, and went to bed. Didn't even have dessert.

I woke up before my alarm this morning. I had a leisurely (read: lazy) breakfast, and finally got rolling around 7am. I was still feeling bleh, but could not find a reasonable way out of what I had to do.

Since the rain was forecast for this afternoon, and since I need more clothes and food at work anyways, I convinced myself that I'd get my wife to pick me up, bike and all, after work. Then, since I knew I needed to break my habit of only riding 20km at a time, I took the long way back into work.

I started slowly, hands on the tops of the handlebars, meandering through the neighbourhood. When I finally got to the country roads, I set a decent, but in no way fast, pace. Somehow, I just kept rolling, until I cadenced myself up the hill on Richmond, and flew down Hope Side road. If the ride was 50% longer than usual, there was no mental shuffling of feet once I got going. I did what I had to do.

So that's it. Three not-fast rides in two days. Yet, somehow, I'm getting a pretty strong feeling of accomplishment from them.

Landfall

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I finally made it to swimming this morning. We did a balanced back/breast/free workout. My shoulders were a bit sore, and I felt a bit slow, but wasn't too harshly punished for my truancy last week.

When I got home from work, I talked myself into heading straight out for a run. Almost immediately, I got that sloshy feeling. Bleh. Sometimes, running is a perfect concert of balance and power; sometimes, it's, umm... not.

I passed my phantom 1km mark in aroun 5:30, and thought about the fact that I'd be uncomfortable for more than half an hour before I made it back home. Somehow, I just wanted the run to be over.

Without intention or purpose, my pace picked up. I hit my first walk break a bit further than usual. My second walk break was probably a full minute beyond where I usually stop, and I felt like I was really moving. After the restart, I felt a bit slower, but was still working hard. When I took a cheater's walk break at the second turnaround, I was genuinely surprised at my time.

If there's one thing that I've been lacking lately, it's speed. Mostly, it's that my running since the marathon has been erratic. Just before my third walk break, though, as I moved onto the grass to pass some walkers, I felt it, just for a moment. It was something in my core, something powerful. Suddenly, I was doing more than moving my arm and legs quickly - I was running. The feeling was gone in a heartbeat, but I reflected on it on my walk break.

When I started up again, I was flying, and really trying to work on recapturing the feeling. My breath was ragged, but despite the exertion I wasn't ready to fade yet. When I made my final turn towards home, a bit further out than my 1k mark, I glanced at my watch. On my mind was whether I had been quick enough to leave myself 5 or 6 minutes to get home in under 40 minutes. What I saw was disappointing - 35:something. I'd need four something to get home in time.

I backed off the pace, but only for a moment. I still wanted that feeling. The pace wasn't fun, but I was holding it. That which does not kill me and all that.

There was no sprint to the line. I could up my rhythm, a bit, but I wasn't up to breaking it. I hit the line, and was a bit shocked with my finish time. Apparently, I really had been working on the home straight.

Did I feel it? Yeah, I felt it.

The Long Way Home

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Who's to care if you're feeling good?

My haphazard training continues. Rather than have my triathlon training dictate my schedule, I'm trying to fit it in around the actually important stuff.

Somehow, I talked myself out of swimming this week. Monday I woke up with my back hurting a bit. It occurred to me that I'd swam the day before, so I could probably be excused if I skipped. Wednesday, I had been up late watching the tour. I told myself I could sleep in a bit, go for a run, then swim Thursday. I was only ever planning on swimming twice a week anyways, right?

Thursday had never been an option all along, though, because I was taking a half day off work, and hoping to leave by 11am. Ergo, I had to get up and get to work early. Ergo, no swim. How convenient that I forgot about this until I'd stepped out for my run Wednesday morning.

The good news is that my running and cycling have compensated nicely. I commuted by bike Tuesday and today (Friday), and ran on Wednesday and Thursday. I can't remember the last time I ran two days in a row. Weird.

Today was one of those classic "I don't feel like riding to work" days. I slept in, dallied around the house, then finally, resigned to the fact that my wife needed the car anyways, off I went. I aimed to take it easy on the ride in, just like I had on Tuesday (total leisure ride, and it showed in my times), but I cheated once or twice when the pavement was smooth and I felt good. Oh well.

At work, a plot occurred to me. I opened gmap pedometer and did some quick calculations. Then I quickly closed it and went back to work.

When I finally left work, the wind positioned itself solidly at my back. I flew down Terry Fox, which is never difficult. The pavement is smooth, and while it undulates a bit, it starts with a downhill. The uphill on Hope Side Road was a pain, but the reward, as always, was the downhill on Richmond Road, though Fallowfield village. There's something awesome about having a nice wide, smooth paved shoulder, a downhill, and the wind at your back. I was comfortably into the 40s (km/h) the whole way down. At the bottom, where the slight uphill starts, I checked the lights. When they turned green, I picked it up a bit, and went through just as they turned yellow. Home, and my usual route, lay to my left.

There was a certain joy to continuing down Richmond road. The pavement was smooth and well maintained. There was little traffic, and it generally had the room and courtesy to swing into the oncoming lane. Even the city bus moved completely into the oncoming lane as it went by me. The road was a slight uphill, or so it looked, as it closed in on the Jock river. I held very steady at 37-38km/hr. All I could think was "so this is cycling. This is what it's supposed to feel like. Not that start, stop, clip, unclip, is that truck behind me going to blow me off the road?" Over and over. Awesome.

When I finally made the bridge, I felt like stopping. I felt like celebrating what I'd just done. But, of course, I wasn't home yet. Back on Twin Elm, I tried to recapture my pace, this time without the hill to kickstart me. I got back up to 37, but it wasn't quite the same. Close, though.

When I found my turn, I lost the tailwind. The wind was now a crosswind, but I was now truly on my own. The rare car passed me in the oncoming lane, having plenty of time to move out and back. I rode first past cornfields taller than my head, then a wheat field, then a cattle pasture. The slightly rolling hills hurt me. This is hard, I reminded myself. With no tailwind, I was less exultant, but the ride was no less fun. I was still a domestique in the Tour. I was still a Joe in my own personal time trial.

When I hit Greenback (sooner than expected), I turned north, and into the wind. It hammered my chest, demanding that I pay the toll for my speed on Richmond. It invoked the laws of physics, demanding its due. I was slower, but still I worked with that constant determination. The world was reduced to wind in my ears, and a constant effort. Why was I working so hard? That was a question, and questions (and thoughts) had no place in the roar of the wind. I did, I was. Thought was for Descartes.

Finally, I hit my neighbourhood, and turned onto a busy street. As I pedalled up the hill, with its bumpy pavement, wondering when the first car would blow by me, it occurred to me to wonder why I was doing this. Surely there was a back way home that would have more smooth pavement, and less cars? And so it was.

It took me quite a while to recover, once I got home. I huffed, puffed, showered, ate, and sat down to blog. I put the jukebox on, and Hurt gave way to Matthew Sweet, Marathon, Today and Couldn't Stand the Weather, as I looked for my uplifted mood to be reflected in song.

It's Friday, and I'm in a happy place. Life is good.

Graham Beasley Triathlon

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Graham Beasley Triathlon, Sprint Tri, year 2.

Year 1 results:

500m swim + T1: 16:26 (127/210)
20km cycle: 39:29 (94/210)
5km run + T2: 26:26 (63/210)

Overall placement: 86/210

Year 2 results:

500m swim + T1: 13:07 (77/228)
20km cycle: 39:47 (63/228)
5km run + T2: 24:45 (54/227)

Overall placement: 58/227 (44/125 men, 7/17 age group)

I knocked 4:41 off of last year's time.

We had company this morning. That, combined with an early departure for an out-of-town race, precluded family attendence. So I hit the road just before 7am, with my bike and a bagload of gear behind me. Unlike last year, this year I parked on a quiet street, with nobody around. I walked down, grabbed my race kit, hit the washroom line, then went back to my car for my gear. I grabbed a spot in the transition zone near the water, which would be a disadvantage for T2, but gave me choice of an end-of-rack position.

I spotted Brian, who I ran with in the North Bay Tri. He was doing the Half Iron distance. I set up my transition area, then pondered going for a swim.

I really wanted to test out my wetsuit, and my general ability to swim, before the race started. After clearing it with a race marshall (by then the half iron swim had started), I got in near the Swim In, and swam across the river and back. The current was noticeable, but I felt pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. Then again, swimming was NEVER my strength in triathlon.

I left my wetsuit on (I'd gotten it done up once by myself, and wasn't about to take any chances), and headed over to the start line. Last year they'd encouraged wearing water shoes, due to the prevalence of zebra mussels. The prerace email hadn't mentioned them, but when I got to the docks one guy was nursing a nasty cut on his toe. Uh oh. Apparently, they were back.

I stayed on the docks until the last possible minute. I had to put my feet down once, to get into the water, but was advised that I'd be ok if I went slowly and tested the bottom gently. The 20-29 wave left, then it was our turn.

I started behind the front wave, and tried to start out strong, smooth, and most importantly aerobic. I was less concerned at first with going straight than I was with avoiding collisions. I had someone swim up my back a few times, but there wasn't a lot I could do about it. Surprisingly, whenever I looked up, I seemed to be headed pretty close to the right direction.

As with last year, we do about 225m into a stiff current, then turn around and do 275 with the current at our feet. I probably would have preferred to start slowly to build confidence, but the truth of the matter was that the current necessitated starting with power. It would be easier and much less costly, I figured, to ease up on the return journey.

About 50m before the buoy, I realized that I was swimming alone. Of course, there are two possible explanations for this. I chose to believe that I was having a good swim. It felt like I was. I breathed every 2 or 3 pulls, depending on how I felt, and ocassionaly stopped, looked up, and sputtered. I made the turn alone, which I can tell you is a huge blessing.

Off the turn, I sighted the 3 buoys, and aimed slightly to their left. Someone was swimming well off to my left, close to shore, but that looked like they were adding distance. I stuck to my guns, stuck to my line, and let myself glide a bit more between pulls. I started to get a bit winded, and felt a bit constricted in the wetsuit, but I was far from panicked. I passed under the bridge, positive that I could hear someone cheering my name. Not likely, but it felt good. On the other side, I angled to shore.

I quickly got to my bike, and sat down. Off came the wetsuit. Um, what comes next? Off with goggles and swim cap, on with glasses. On with helmet, since the rules are so tough. Socks and shoes were next, I forgot to dry one foot before I did, though, so the first sock was tough. Grabbed my race belt with my bib, took a swig of Gatorade. Anything else? Nope. Time to clip clop to the mount line.

As you can see above, my swim + T1 was over 3 minutes faster than last year. I don't think my transition was anything special, so I'll say it was my swim.

Feeling good, but winded, I got on my bike and started going. It felt like I was going to need a minute or two to get my legs. I got up to 90rpm and tried to ease my way out of town.

I recalled the course being primarily gently rolling hills. Actually, I was pretty much looking forward to the ride - flat, but with the opportunity to get some speed off the downhills.

I hit the rollers almost immediately, but was still struggling to get my heartrate down. I passed a few of the 20-something triathletes, and a few who were in the sprint duathlon. I was maybe 7 kilometers in, approaching the first turn, and feeling good about my pace and my slowly descending heartrate whne one of them went by. You know. One of those people who ride like they're from another planet? Fancy bike, aero bars, spinning some crazy gear the rest of us reserve for downhills? Yeah, that.

Mentally, you allow for that, of course. I watched the guy who wasn't even in my age group go by, and kept at it. The hills got a bit rollier, and I resolved not to push too hard, until I'd seen the turnaround. Then I'd know I was more than halfway done, and could push a little more.

I thought they'd changed the route a bit from last year, but the turnaround out by Almonte looked familiar, and I kinda had an intuition that it was coming. Just past it, I was passed by two riders of the human variety. I tried to stay out of the draft zone as they eased by me, the first two "human" riders who'd passed me on the day. I repassed one on a downhill, but was repassed the next uphill, which was fine. The speeds I was holding weren't everything I was hoping for, but I was moving.

When we finally hit town, I was still in touch with at least one of the passers. I thanked the police officer who was keeping the one busy intersection open for the race. I tried to keep it going right onto the bridge, then broke hard for the dismount line. Suddenly, my ride was over.

Feeling-wise, I was pretty happy with my ride. While I can't keep up with the superhumans, I thought that I was decently fast, but still had some room to improve. From the results above, I was 18 seconds slower than last year, and 31 positions higher. Hmmm.... Maybe the course was a bit hillier than last year. Maybe it was windier. I'll call it a cautious victory.

T2 was again incident free, but no great shakes. Someone on my rack didn't have to change shoes, and passed me in transition. Oh well.

Onto the run I went. The run is usually my forte, but at this point in my training, I wasn't expecting blazing speed. I quickly broke the run up into thirds - the first third, up to 2km, I'd keep my cadence high, but stay relaxed. In the middle third, from 2-4km, I'd keep myself slightly breathless. Over the final third (1km, yeah yeah, mathmatically they're uneven, but any racer will tell you they're close) I'd do whatever I could (even if that wasn't much).

I was passed around 1.5km by a nice young lady (20-something) in a green top. It's sad, but I don't have to be very far into the 30-something age group for 20-somethings to be "young ladies". Somewhere, someone's laughing at me. Oh yeah, that would be me. Anyways, my exertion-dazed mind told me that she was already 5 minutes ahead of me, so I would never have beat her anyways. Just after the 2km mark, a 40 year old man passed me. Again, I figured he was ahead because of the different start time. This time I was right. Fortunately, I'd passed a few runners of my own, including at least one in my age group.

At the turnaround, I took stock of what was behind me. I saw two likely candidates for people in my age group who were maybe 15 seconds behind. I simply could not afford to let up on the way home.

I ran through the water station, and dumped water on my head. I hadn't noticed heat on the bike, but it was getting hot - probably already 25 and humid, I'd say. Green shirted lady wasn't pulling away from me, which gave me some courage. I could imagine the guys behind me, though, and I knew I'd have to break them with pace, or they'd catch me at the end. (No illusions of TdF grandeur in me mid-race, eh?)

The 4km mark seemed to come early. I couldn't see the bridge, I couldn't see the turn. I passed another young lady who was struggling. To be fair, I probably sounded to her like I was. I was losing control of 2-and-2 breathing, and I wasn't quiet about it. Still, I didn't really think I'd picked it up.

Then, there was the bridge. It seemed so close. 400m? Dunno. Can't go just yet. We make the turn. Somehow, there are 5 or 6 of us, all close, including green shirted young lady and 40 year old guy. Someone recognizes someone else, and invites them to "go". Suddenly, we're all going, picking up the pace, soaking up the cheering, eying the finish line greedily. Behind me is quiet. No real point in passing anyone in front of me, and no real inclination too. I finish strongly, but not insanely.

I ran 1:41 better than last year. I know last year's run felt awful. This year's run didn't feel great, but was probably still around 23:00 for 5km. Not bad for being a bit low on speed yet.

Once again, I really loved this triathlon. Familiarity made me comfortable, which put me in a good state mentally. If I want to move on to olympic distances, I may have some work to do. For now, though, I'm pretty happy with the current state of my fitness.

Friday at the Beach

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When I was riding with Bill back in April, I was commenting on how much better his local scenery was than mine. Not that Ottawa isn't the most beautiful city on earth (it is), but the south and west ends, where I tend to ride, are generally farmland. I think I promised him pictures, in a rash moment (thinking, perhaps, that I was jeff).

Anyways, after an insane couple of weeks at work, I was determined to get out for an early ride, before the heat set in. At the last moment, I thought of the above, and grabbed the camera.

I did not head in the direction of work (sick of that way), and while the pictures aren't super comparable, they give a rough idea, I guess. Ok, maybe not, but they're nice to look at, anyways.

A few weeks back, I rode down to North Gower and back; out along the river, and back along the highway. The wind was in my face on the way home, and I was pretty grumbly at the time. Today, I decided to ride the same route but in reverse. That way, if the wind was in my face on the way home, at least I would have nicer scenery (the river) for my struggles.

I headed out along the highway, and stopped beside a Llama farm to take stock of my surroundings.

Behind me:

To my left:

To my right:

At the south end of my loop, I turned east towards the river. I came back up the Manotick highway. The highway still has the occasional farm along one side (as opposed to the highway, which was pretty much open farmland). Along the river side, there were either trees, houses, or the occasional bit of open land between the road and the river.

The river is on the right, as I look back up the road.

As I was riding along, I came across a side street near Manotick that had a nice view downriver, so I had to stop and snap (and drink, of course).

After the ride, I checked in on the Tour. Then the whole family headed for the beach. While the city in general was fairly hot, our blanket was in the shade, and the water was cool. I did 2 triathlons at this beach last year, and I took the opportunity to get in some swimming. I only did maybe 300m, but it was still an important confidence boost.

While I watched the kids play, some people swam back and forth at the deep end, along the buoy lines. The full distance is maybe 300-400 metres. It made me want to come back another day, to do the same thing.

I've been avoiding some of the longer, early morning open water group swims around here, partially due to timing, partially due to inaccessiblity, and maybe partly due to the distance they swim. Maybe the solution to getting used to open water swimming is to rely on good old-fashioned techonolgy - beaches.


Thursday = Hurtsday

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It was nice to be back in the pool in the morning yesterday. It was nice to have some of my old lanemates back. It was also nice to exorcise my swimming demons by having a comfortable, maybe even strong swim, in familiar surroundings.

What wasn't so nice was the "1000m broken freestyle" main set. (The "broken" part was that we got maybe 1 minute rest over the 1000m, which included 200m of pull.)

One lanemate mentioned that it was going to hurt swimming today, as he'd never swum two days in a row before. For that matter, nor had I.

For some reason, summer swimming is now 3 days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. I'm not sure that I'll be attending all three days, but since I missed Monday (and struggled on Sunday), some extra work was in order.

Well, it happened. And yes, today hurt. Our new coach laid out a nice 3000m workout for us. *faints dead away*

The swim started with another 800m warmup. My arms were still sore from yesterday, but I tried to get through it with as few breaks as possible. After a 400m drill/kick set that is best forgotten, we were on to our main set.

3x400, 60s rest between, pick 3 of:

A. Free
B. Free pull
C. IM (yeah right!)
D. kick (yeah right!!!)
E. alt 50 free/50 not

I went for B, E, A.

The pull reminded me very quickly how little arm strength I had left in me, after yesterday. The free/breast was a nice way to break it up, and made counting the laps very easy (nobody in our lane claims to be good at counting, most sets end with "was that it?" or "did we do too much?")
For the free set, I tried to pace myself. My lanemate was right on my heels, and it wasn't until after 300m that I started to gain time on him. I'd been afraid that I'd been slowing him down, but in the end, maybe my pace was just right.

After that, we did some breast technique work, and a few more drills.

To show how rough the workout was, I took an Advil when I got home. I seldom take Advil/Tylenol (unless under doctor's orders).

On the bright side, it looks like I'll be getting some excellent workouts in the pool this summer!

North Bay Triathlon (in Pictures)

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Some pictures from this weekend's triathlon

North Bay Triathlon

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The first triathlon of the season is done. And like last year, the water was incredibly cold.

This was a homecoming of sorts. It's the first time I've ever raced in the town I grew up in. The results list has a few familiar names on it. A teacher I had in grade school. Some people I went to school with.

I did NOT sleep well last night. The wind blew, the rain fell, thunder boomed. Me, I did not sleep much. I wouldn't really say that I was stressed about the race, but something had me burning the midnight oil.

I was up at 6 (after checking the time on my cell phone no less than 4 times). I had some cereal, and checked the weather. Windy (yeah, I heard that). Low of 16, high of 21.

I headed to the beach an hour and a half before race start. I racked my bike, set up my transition area, and lay down to watch the clouds go by. They were really moving. The PA announced that they'd lost buoys during the night, and that the swim had been cut to 750m. This revelation was well met by the competitors.

Half an hour before race start, by cheering squad arrived. I started to warm up, first by running, then I got my wetsuit on and tested the water. It was as cold as expected. I took a few minutes to acclimatize myself, but did not dive in over my head. Then I headed for the beach, to await the start. I hopped, and paced, trying to keep warm.

Suddenly, I heard the countdown from 4, and we were off. I ran as far as I could, then jumped in. As soon as the water closed in around me, the air was squeezed from my lungs. I gasped for air, breathing every second pull, and still needing more air. I switched to heads up freestyle. It was awkward, and still I gasped for air. I switched to heads up breaststroke, trying vainly to keep myself above water.

It occurred to me that I was in some trouble. I stuck with heads up breaststroke, and eventually calmed myself down. As I did so, I watched the field pull away from me. This was frustrating. I thought of Lisa Bentley, and of how she spoke about taking everything as a positive. I could still envision myself having a great bike and run, but what about the swim?

The only positive was that the turnaround was already close by. I did whatever I could to get there, and rounded the buoy alone.

About halfway back to shore, I flipped over onto my back to rest, and saw the lead women, who had started 5 minutes behind me, coming up fast. I moved aside, and struggled onwards to shore.

When I finally made land, I could move at no faster than a walk. I found my bike, changed gear, and took a swig of Gatorade. I walked my bike to the mount line, and was off.

The bike course features a huge climb, two loops of a hilly area up top the hill, then a descent back to the lake. I was already breathing heavily from the swim, and I knew that the ride would be no fun. I breezed up to the turnoff, then started the long struggle to the top. I passed a few people, and some bikes blew by me - mostly relays, or so I hoped.

At the top of Lees, we turned onto Tower, but kept climbing. I switched to the granny gear, only to have my chain fall off. Grrrr... I thought this was fixed. I put it back on, and continued the climb. Fortunately, I was at Carmichael by then, and the start of the two loops.

The loop was mostly across the wind, with two short bits into the wind. I spent a good amount of the first loop trying to catch my breath. I was pleased with my progress, until I turned onto Airport, and found out just how strong the wind was. I actually overbroke for the corner, not realizing that the turn was 45 degrees, not 90. That lost me some speed from the previous downhill. The rest of the speed was lost on a short, steep hill just past the baseball diamond, on the base.

Just past the hill, and I crawled along, my parents were at the main intersection, cheering me on. I went by, trying to stay low to the wind. A gust from off the runway blew my two feet to the left before I could react. The wind was murder.

Onto Little Down Lane, the yellow Bianchi I'd been tracking slowed up to drink, and I passed him on the right. I had some speed, but nearly blew in on the turn back onto Carmichael. I had to brake hard to avoid going off the road.

This part of Carmichael, I had the wind behind me. It was a gradual uphill, but I had no problem holding 35km/hr. That's how strong the wind was. Yellow Bianchi repassed me, asking jokingly if I had a spare front derailleur. =( So that's why he was clattering and clanging. I charged past him on the downhill, but he caught me on the uphill, and passed me on the subsequent steep uphill. Lap 1 was, however, done.l

The second lap, I picked it up a bit. I felt more comfortable, I took a swig of Gatorade on Carmichael, and another on Springdale. Then, I set myself to picking off a few bikes that were in front of me.

(Have I mentioned how great it feels to pass a Cervelo? I mean, I love the bikes, but still....)

I repassed the Bianchi, and a few others. When I hit the steep downhill, I resolved to carry speed onto Airport. It was a bit nervewracking, but I succeeded, and managed to make it to the top of the short steep hill with a modicum of speed, though it cost me. Past my parents, I was low into the wind, and moving. Hard to believe I broke 30km/h here. I guess maybe it was downhill, but still!

Again on Little Down Lane, I nearly overshot the turn. I powered along Carmichael, catching my breath for the double hill ahead. I powered down the hill, determined to use my momentum on the first uphill. I kept my speed over 30km/h the whole way up it, which was a huge moral victory. Then came the steep uphill, where I was passed (by a Cervelo). Suddenly, we were done the loops, and on the way back down.

The downhill started right away. I looked ahead of myself, trying to figure out where on Lees I was. Eventually, it occurred to me that I wasn't on Lees yet, as Tower was in front of me. Still, the road was good, and I easily held over 40km/h.

Onto Tower, and onto Lees, I started to think about passing a few more people. I'd forgotten, though, that I was going to be a chicken on the descent. Folks passed me while I braked, and that was that.

Onto Trout Lake Road, I was passed on both sides. Remembering my rulebook, I let them both go, THEN took off, repassing both and a few more, into the wind. My family cheered as I rode into T2.

This transition went a bit better. I put on my shoes, grabbed a cap, and took a big swig of Gatorade. My legs were tight, but off I went.

Almost immediately, there were a pair of 30-something men in front of me. A chance to move up in the standing! I passed them both, but was repassed by the 36 when I retied my shoes. I stopped for water on Anita, then repassed him, and had a stretch to myself. The turnaround was at the top of a hill, which I decided to walk. 36 surprised my by repassing, but I caught him by gliding down the hill. When I caught up, he pointed out that he'd picked a good spot on the rack. HIs bike was beside me, and we were keeping compatible paces. It wasn't until I finished that I realized he was likely the yellow Bianchi rider!

I stayed ahead of him until I rewatered, at which point he passed me for good. I had visions of picking it up at the end, but I was pretty beat. I upped my cadence with 800m to go, and passed lady (who may have been my grade school teacher!), but didn't make up any more ground. I huffed and puffed in to the finish.

My results:

750m swim: 21:15, 69/88, 8/10 in my age group
34km bike: 1:17:27, 55/86, 8/10
8.4km run: 40:58, 36/85, 6/10

The race was won by Canadian Ironman star Len Gushe, who it turns out is a local.

All in all, I'm a bit disappointed with the race. My bike and run were ok, but showed I needed work. My swim was a disaster. I need to sort that out before my next triathlon, in two weeks.

Still, the postive I can take is that I recovered nicely from the swim, and I got stronger as the race went on. This is no small success, considering that this was the longest triathlon of my life.

The best part was that I got to do it in front of my family, parents, and in-laws. Somehow, it's so much more gratifying when people you love are there to cheer you on.

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Recent Comments

  • Cheryl: Right on Wendy! read more
  • Wendy: That swimming fitness will be back before you know it! read more
  • deene: you have to listen to your body, you probably needed read more
  • Cheryl: The heat, mixed with the humidity were extreme and it read more
  • Wendy: Sorry to hear you were so ill, Warren, but good read more
  • Cheryl: Sounds like a tough go! It's a shame that everyone read more
  • deene: anything timed in seconds and with repeats sound tough to read more
  • jank: Ease comes soon while riding in a group. As long read more
  • warren: Sadly, no. Nor did I delve into the Leguminosae family read more
  • jeff: WOOHOO! did you ever come up with a name for read more

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