I was a tad worried about race day weather, given that we had 2/3 days of constant rain before the race, and reports of hurricane winds due to batter Vancouver any time soon. Luckily the weather gods managed to sleep all day Sunday, allowing us to wake up to a cool and dry day – perfect conditions for racing.
My heat was not due to race until 11.50am, so I had a long sleep on Saturday night and a very relaxed morning. By 10.50am I had everything organised in transition and was ready to race. I did have a small panic when the buckle on my cycling shoe refused to open but thankfully I was able to fix that quickly then head away to the swim start and warm up.
As we were organising out heat into fastest –> slowest swim times everyone got quiet a shock when a swim team decided to enter on race day. Their estimated time of 8 minutes for a 750m swim was causing quiet a commotion from the age-groups further back in the swim queue. The swim was fairly straightforward – we were stagger 10 seconds apart and had to zig zag up and down the lanes, eventually finishing on the other size of the pool. My swim was pretty solid. I caught a few swimmers infront of me at about 400m into the race, then from 550-750 played tag with the guy infront of me. I passed him, he passed me… then I realised it was much easier just to draft off him as we were obviously swimming the same speed, so I cruised the final 200m behind my tag buddy. Lesson learnt – draft and save energy if the guy is the same speed as you.
Out of the pool I whipped on my pool shoes and darted of on the 300m run to bike transition. I was please how efficient my tranistion went – shoes off, top on, socks on, shoes on, helmet on and GO! No fiddling, no messing. Only more equipment upgrades could make this faster I think i.e. having triathlon specific cycle shoes already clipped into the pedals and not wearing socks.
On the bike I stuck to my game plan and held back a little on the first 5km (ish). High cadence, low gear. The next 10k I slid into the drop bars and gave it my all, averaging 40kph on the slightly downhill outlap, and then about 27kph on the uphill return. The intention was to ease up a little for the final 5k, but given most of this was slightly uphill, I figured slowing now would really effect my overall time, so kept going pretty hard. I did manage to get into a lower gear and increase my cadence for the final 1.5km and so gave my legs a small ‘recovery’ before the run.
Bike to run transition was also smooth -jump of the bike, rack it, helmet off, shoes off, runners on and GO! I dont see how I could have done this any faster.
Game plan for the run was basically to give it all from start to finish. The first couple hundred meters I could feel my left calf cramping, but this soon eased off once my confused muscles worked out what I was trying to do. Looking back, I feel like I could have pushed a little harder on the run. This is the hard part for me as a new triathlete. I worked harder than I planned on the bike, so if I started the run too fast maybe I would have crammped and not finished the race? Or be left a crawling mess dragging my sorry ass over the line. Only more experience will answer this question.
Either way its fair to say at the end of the race I was well and truely goosed. But I was confused and disapointed when I saw the clock (regualar clock, there was no race clock for some reason). I started at 11.50am so was hoping to finish about 1.05pm, but the time was 1.20pm – therefore 15 minutes longer than I expected and 10 minutes slower than my first triathlon! WTF??? Surely not??? I was feeling pretty disheartened for the next hour until I heard someone else tell a similar story. To add to the misery, my name was not on the time sheet when the results were printed! So I left the event feeling pretty dejected – I busted my gut on the course, and after 4 months of training I was 10 minutes slower!
To my relief this was all ironed out when the official race results were posted online Sunday night. My time was 1 hour 21 minutes, with a 12.17 swim, 46 bike (including both transitions) and a 22.22 for the 5k run.
Now here lies my mistake – I estimated a time of 1 hour 15 for this race based on my performance at my first triathlon in Septemeber. What I did not remember however was the bike course at my first tri was only 18.5km, not 20km (my bike computer actually tracked the bike course as being 20.5km). So I was wrong to be disapointed with the same overall time as my first triatlon. YAY… all that training actually did pay off!
To complete the comback from misery to elation I was please to see that I had finished 3rd/19 in my age group and 29/240 overall. Should have stayed around for the medal presentation eh!
- 1 hour 21 minutes overall
- need to get faster on the bike
- 22.22 for the 5k was a new PB
- my first medal since I stopped swimming 10 years ago
- “2012: My Return to Competition” is now a true statement, not wishfull thinking.