Sunday, August 22, 2010
Race Report - Offroad Triathlon 2010
Woke up to find that it had rained all night long. Dense fog and rain mist made up the drive to the race course. I'm ok with this though, I have so much muddy mountain bike experience from last year that this should give me an edge. After Peterborough triathlon in the scorching hot sun, I never want to do that again. Rain and mud is fine by me!
This is the first offroad triathlon in Ontario in a very long time apparently. 1K swim loop, 18km Mountain Bike(2 laps), 8.5km trail run out and back.
I could tell right away I was going to enjoy this event. In the parking lot everyone made eye contact and smiled and there was a good vibe in the air unlike the typical snobby tri-dork events. Reminded me of being at a 24hr mountain bike race. Especially the rain and mud - every race for the past 2 years has rained.
In the transition zone it was different. Scary as it seemed I was among the more experienced people there as some extremely noob questions were flying about and the majority looked lost. Yup, definitely falls more into a mountain bike event than a triathlon. Heck, with 10 minutes to start the majority didn't even have their wetsuit on and I could count the number of swimmers in the water warming up on one hand. During my warmup I speared a guy. Everyone, the 5 of us, was swimming in the general direction to the first buoy and back. This guy came out of nowhere and I ran into the side of him. He was going completely perpindicular to the 'course' and didn't seem too happy with me that I didn't see him. I brushed it off and finished my warmup.
The swim course was not very well understood. The lifeguards, nor the volunteers, knew how to swim the buoys. There were green buoys and orange smaller buoys. It made sense to keep the green buoys to our left, except the last buoy was in a strange spot PAST the swim exit and against the shore. Heck you could pratically run the beach to get to the last buoy. Anyhow we all guessed amongst ourselves and collectively agree to cut the last buoy to the right. Eventually the race director came over to clear it up, but still, we were all clueless until 30 seconds from race start. Oh and he mentioned the small orange buoys were just for sighting. Strange though as I seen little to know logic in their placement. They were all over the place.
With 10 seconds to go until start - people still looked pretty clueless. It was a beach start in the shallow water. As the guy counted down EVERYBODY started backing up. They were all going the wrong way. In the end, I wound up way out front for the start. Horn. Start. Run? Ok, it was pretty shallow and you could actually run for a bit. Once in the water and on my way I realized I was in trouble. I couldn't sight the buoys at all. It was so dark from overcast rain clouds and so foggy that my tinted swim mask made it near impossible to see where I had to go. I just followed the crowd, or so I thought, until I found myself waaaay left and off course. A quick correction, or 10, and I made it to the first buoy without drowning. Obviously we all converged on the buoy so around the corner I got run over by a couple swimmers. I thought to myself I just want this over, I am not enjoying this part. I could feel I was not in 'the zone' and my heart rate was in panic mode. The turn to the last buoy was the worst. It was so far away that nobody could see it. I could see plenty of people making repeated corrections. It was placed way too far out in this fog. I was glad to get that swim over, I did not enjoy it at all.
The bike - well I just biked. I didn't race all out, but I certainly didn't dog it. On the technical downhill I really enjoyed myself. On second lap I blew a guy away enough that he had to commend me after the race. That felt good, technical singletrack is my biggest strength followed by uphill, or so I thought. On the uphill I made most my passing. However on the second lap I actually got passed by two people on that same uphill. I'm a strong climber but these guys were in a whole other league. It was a very humbling experience. They had huge leg muscles and while I was middle-ringing this hill, they no doubt were big ringing. I just remind myself - there is always another level. Wow. I have something to work towards over the winter.
Run - well I held back a bit on the bike so I could test out my new run. I am such a weak runner that I've died every race. I've been working to improve that so here we are. On my way out of transition, which was a mud pit by the way, I donned my fancy new Garmin GPS which made all the difference. Knowing my heatrate and pace was crucial. I dont have enough experience to know how fast I'm going or gauge my percieved exersion. I end up blowing up on the runs because I push way too hard. So with the Garmin, I just adjusted myself to remain in the 'comfort' zone. I got passed by some really fast runners. Sorry, I meant sprinters. Then I got passed by a couple runners but I felt good about this. I know my run sucks, but I was smiling and loving the fact that I was ACTUALLY running and not suffering and walking/crawling like all my other races. I got passed by a couple very fit woman that obviously were the leaders for the womans race. I could only appreciate that my run allowed me to hang around long enough to enjoy the view. That was until I got passed by a large athlete. She was running a good pace faster than me and I couldn't understand how she got up here in the top of pack. It was a little uncomfortable having to follow her for awhile but I was happy that her run was faster than mine and she left me in her tracks, pretty deep ones at that. I didn't see anyone around me for the majority of the run. I was pretty much solo. I think I was passed by 6 or so people on the run which I was ecstatic that it wasn't the entire field. I was proud that I was able to run the entire split. No 1 minute walks were needed! I pushed hard at the end, oops it wasn't the end, so I ended up going way too hard for way too long. That hurt, but it was the finish so it looked good. I think.
At the finish I learned that the large woman on the run was actually part of a RELAY team on the same course, sadly this made me feel a bit better at least.
I was happy to have my family out to watch me. The wife and kids really toughed it out in that humid wet weather. Surprisingly my mother came out to watch which meant alot. Its always great having someone there to cheer you on. It can make that little bit of difference.
I finished Overall 18th, Category 5th. I believe I was Swim 6th, Bike 4th, Run just short of dead last.
Now I'm just in taper mode for Ironman Muskoka. I know that I need to significantly slow down my pace if I am to make it to the finish. I forsee a great deal of suffering! :)
Here's a vid of the race, check out those trail conditions lol!